Pumpkin and Beef Chili (Whole 30)

I am not the biggest fan of chili. I am not a huge fan of beans and everyone I know makes their chili so hot it makes me cry.  I like food to be flavorful not painful. However, I was intrigued by this chili recipe, Pumpkin and cinnamon in chili! This can’t possiblely be good, can it?? Yes, it can be good. It can be very good. The spice in this chili is more on the subtle side, which I love but if you need more punch use 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or hot green chilies instead of mild.

Pumpkin and Beef

adapted from Pretend It’s A Dounut

1 TBS oive oil

1 lb ground beef

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 4 oz can diced green chiies

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 tsp garlic powder

1 TBS cumin

1 TBS cinnamon

3/4 tsp salt

pinch red pepper flakes

1 cup broth

In a 2 quart saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Add the onion, saute 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add the ground beef and cook until almost done.  Add the tomatoes, chilies, pumpkin puree, garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon,salt, red pepper flakes, and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes.



Meatballs 2 Ways (Whole 30)


Apparently, meatballs are a thing.  This week I have made 3 different kinds and two other bloggers that I follow have also made meatball dinners. Although we all made meatballs, we all varied cooking methods, type and flavor.  What’s For Dinner Moms made slowcooker sweet and sour Meatballs.  Kitchen Portfolio made taco meatballs with black bean spaghetti.  I made wonton meatballs, from Nom Nom Paleo, turkey and cranberry meatballs and Thai green curry meat balls from the cookbook, Well Fed 2, baked in the oven.

I can’t speak for the other blogs yet but the three meatball recipes I made were beyond fantastic.  I like to eat them on a salad or just cold out of the fridge for a snack.  You could serve them with pasta with a sauce or in a soup of some kind.  The only changes I made were to the Well Fed 2 recipes.  I made the meatballs out of 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture instead of one tablespoon. I felt the meatballs were too small otherwise.

Turkey and Cranberry Meatballs

2 TBS warm water

½ tsp cream of tartar

¼ tsp baking soda

1 lb ground turkey

1 TBS orange juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup cranberries, coarsely chopped

1 ½ tsp rubbed sage

1 ½ tsp orange zest

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine warm water, cream of tartar and baking soda, mix well. In another bowl, combine the turkey, orange juice, garlic, cranberries, sage, orange zest, salt and pepper. Add the water mixture to the meat mixture. Using your hands mix well. Using 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture shape into 12 balls. Place the balls on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Cook 20 – 25 minutes, or until cooked through.

Thai Green Curry Meatballs

2TBS warm water

1/2  tsp cream of tartar

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 lb ground beef

1/4 cup canned coconut milk

2 ts[ fish sauce

2 TBS green curry paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

10 – 12 basil leaves, minced

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the warm water, cream of tartar and baking soda. Miix well. In another medium bowl, combine the ground beef, coconut milk, fish sauce, green curry paste, garlic, basil, salt, ginger, and pepper.  Add the water mixture to the meat mixture.  Using your hands, Mix well.  Using 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture shape into 12 balls. Place the balls on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Cook 20 – 25 minutes, or until cooked through.

20 Minute Beef Zucchini Skillet (Whole 30)

I think I have a problem.  My spice cabinet runneth over.  I have 27 jars of spices and that is not including salt and pepper and after a major spice clean out. Is 27 jars of spices extreme? Not if you actually use them.  You know, if you have been around A Solitary Feast for awhile, I absolutely love makeing spice rubs and spice blends for my food.  No matter how basic your ingredients are you make them amazing simply by adding spices, a spice blend or spice rub.  I used alot of spice blends and rubs on my Whole30 because they kept me from being bored with my food when I only felt like spending the minimum amount of time in the kitchen.

I made an adobo seasoning blend to make this stir fry from one of my new favorite blogs, Welless Mama.  It is a quick and easy Whole30 compliant recipe.  Oh, yeah, it tastes really good too, even if you aren’t doing a Whole30.

20 Minute Beef Zucchini Skillet

Adapted from Wellness Mama.com

1/2 lb ground beef

1 onion, thinly sliced

1-2 medium` zucchini, julienned

1 1/2 TBS olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp adobo seasoning

1/2 tsp dried basil

Heat skiller over medium high heat.  Add olive oil, onions,  and zucchini.  Cook until they are just starting to soften.  Remove from the pan and place in a baking dish.  Put under the broiler and cook, 7-10 minutes, or until the desired crispness is achieved.  Meanwhile,  brown the meat and spices until the beef is no longer pink.  Add the zucchini/onion mixture back to the skillet, combine well.  Serve.


Baked Corned Beef

If you don’t like corned beef, please move on. This post is not for you. Come to think of it tomorrows post isn’t for you either. Come back Sunday. I will definitely have a recipe for all the corned beef haters out there on Sunday.

Now all of you still with me must be corned beef lovers right? I have a recipe that is going to rock your corned beef loving world! We are going to make a spice rub, rub our brisket, then put it in the oven and bake it. That is right, bake, not boil it! Don’t get me wrong, I love boiled corned beef. Until this year it was the only way I had ever had corned beef. But this recipe blows boiled corned beef out of the water, pun intended.

This is the most time intensive recipe I have on my blog but it is not labor intensive. The total recipe took a little over 8 hours because I soaked the brisket for two hours before I baked it to reduce the salt content. The only other change I made was not to use the tin foil. This may have accounted for the longer cooking time.

The actual labor part of the recipe is about 10 minutes, if you are slow. The labor and patience required for this recipe is totally worth it. It makes the best corned beef I have ever eaten.

Baked Corned Beef

2-4 lb corned beef brisket
Spice packet, included with your brisket
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder

About two hours before you want to start cooking, place the brisket in a large bowl and cover with water. Every 30 minutes or so change the water, for two hours. Remove the brisket from the water and pat dry. Don’t trim the fat cap. Pat the brisket dry. Rub the spices over both sides of the brisket and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 275 degrees for 4 hours or until the meat is fall apart tender. The time it takes the brisket to get to fork tender may vary due to variations in individual ovens. Be patient. It is totally worth it.

Magazine Monday — BBQ Ribs

IMG_1832Can you believe I have lived 46 years, spent about 15 years cooking and almost 2 years as a food blogger and never made BBQ ribs until Christmas eve 2015?

Since I am usually home alone Christmas eve, it has been my tradition to make an outrageous homemade pizza and watch my favorite horror movies. Hey! It’s my Christmas tradition don’t judge. As if the abdominal snowman from Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer isn’t as scary as hell! No? Okay, maybe that’s just me. Seriously, that thing gave me nightmares as a child.

I don’t know why I decided to change it up for Christmas eve and do ribs (still did the horror movies though) but I did. I figured I could always do a big bowl of popcorn if it was a disaster. I am nothing if not flexible.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to use plan b. I spice rubbed my ribs and threw them in the fridge while I was at work. When I got home I threw the ribs into a preheated oven and let the ribs cook for two and a half hours while I watched The Conjuring, then I made my sauce. I slathered the ribs with sauce and baked them for another 40 minutes. They were so good! I will be making ribs more often.

BBQ Ribs

1-2 lbs bone in ribs, your choice of beef or pork
Dry Rub
1 1/2 TBS brown sugar
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup plus 1 TBS water
2 TBS plus 1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
2 TBS plus 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
2 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS plus 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Several hours before you plan to cook your ribs, rub them with the spice rub, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place your ribs in a baking dish that can hold them in a single layer. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Cover ribs with sauce and bake another 30 – 40 minutes. Enjoy!