Rogan Josh Hot Plate (Whole 30)

The older I get the more I like to cook with big flavors.  I never cooked with spices like cumin and cayenne when I was younger because I just didn’t like the taste of them. Now they are in most of the recipes I cook.   I would like to contribute this culinary growth to having developed a more refined palate at 48 than I had at 30 but I don’t think that is the explanation, at least not all of it.

I have been aware for quite sometime I am slowly loosing my sense of smell. I have no idea why except that it may be genetic because my dad started loosing  his sense of smell about the same age as I did and his sense of smell was gone by the time he was my age now.  It is very scary to be loosing my sense of smell because smell is such a big part of the sense of taste.  I can’t imagine not being able to taste the food I so love to cook.  My dad,  however, says that he hasn’t lost his sense of taste along with his sense of smell.  Here is to hoping that I don’t either.

This recipe has big flavor.  Rogan Josh is traditionally made with lamb.  I made mine with ground beef in order to make mine cheaper and  ground beef is easier to find than lamb in many places  I know it looks like a lot of spices for 8 ounces of meat but it really is the amount you need.

Rogan Josh Hot Plate

adapted from the Well Fed cookbook

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cardamom, optional

1/8 ground cloves

1/2 lb ground beef

salt and pepper, to taste

3/4 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup onion, diced

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup plus 1 TBS water

Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add oil.  When hot saute the onions until they are translucent.  Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink; drain the any fat.   Add the spices and stir to coat the ground beef.  Add the coconut milk and water.  Cook for 5 -7 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and it is heated through.



Cranberry Bars


This recipe isn’t Whole 30.  This recipe isn’t Paleo.   This recipe is good, old-fashioned baking and it has cranberries.  Win and win again. This week’s recipes are all courtesy of  Christina Lane at Dessert For Two.  You already know how much I love  Dessert For Two.  I have posted many of her recipes over the years.  Christina Lane is my favorite blogger ever.

What you don’t know is if  I had never come  across Dessert For Two there would be no A Solitary Feast.  It was never my intent to start a food/recipe blog when I started adapting recipes for one or two.  My intent was to adapt some recipes for my friend, Steph, who was moving out on her own for the first time and I wanted to encourage Steph to  cook.

When I gave her the recipes, Steph started telling  me I should start a recipe blog.  I kind of blew her off because 1.  I didn’t really know what a blog was.  2,  I didn’t really think anyone outside my circle of friends and, maybe, my mother would be interested in the recipes.  The idea of recipe blogs intrigued me enough I wanted to  check it out, though.

The very first blog I found was Christina Lane’s Dessert For  Two.  I love to bake as much as I love to cook so I tried her recipes right away.  I fell in love.  I have made dozens of her recipes over the years.  As I watched Dessert For Two bloom and grow, I started thinking there might be some place on the internet for my dinner recipes.  Three months later I posted my first recipe on A Solitary Feast.

Christina is not only my cooking and baking inspiration she also inspires me as a person.   In a world that seems to take pleasure in tearing you down, Christina has taken time to build me up and encourage me to step outside of my comfort zone.  In a world full of negative, she is a bright and shining positive.

Cranberry Bars

From Dessert For Two

6 TBS butter, cold and diced

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 1//2 cups leftover cranberry sauce

1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.  Leave enough parchment paper hanging over the sides to help remove the bars after baking.  In a medium bowl, add the  flour, sugar and salt.   Add the diced butter to the flour.  Using your fingers,  rub the butter into the flour.  You will know when the butter and flour are mixed well when it sticks together when you lightly squeeze it in your fist.  Spread the flour/butter into the bottom of  the prepared pan. Using  your  hands,  press the  crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the  pan.  You want to press relatively  hard  so the flour/ butter  mixture sticks together to form the crust.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Meanwhile, stir the vanilla into  the  leftover cranberry sauce.  When the crust is done baking, spread the cranberry sauce over the crust.  Bake another 20 minutes or until  the crust is golden brown.  Let cool in the  pan before slicing.

Instapot Mini Spaghetti and Meat Sauce


I got my  Insta Pot Lux 3 quart mini on Sunday.  The first thing I made was Christina Lane’s Insta Pot spaghetti and meat sauce.  As  you know,  I don’t usually use store-bought ingredients in my cooking.  However,  I found a Whole 30 compliant marinara sauce i wanted to try for my next Whole 30 so I thought I would use this recipe to try it.

The quality of the sauce really matters in this recipe. I used Rao’s Roasted Garlic Marinara sauce that I bought at Walmart.  For a store-bought sauce, it wasn’t bad.  The store bought sauce made the hardest part of this  recipe deciding if you stirred the raw noodles enough to prevent them from sticking together

This recipe is enough to feed one very hungry person or two normally hungry people with a salad.

Instapot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Chicken Broccoli “Cheese” Skillet (Whole 30)

I finally did it!!!  This  morning I  ordered an Insta Pot Lux 3 quart mini. It should be here Sunday.  I am so excited  I already know what the first thing I am going to make in it.  I have a whole meal including dessert planned. I am such a geek when it comes to cooking and food.

I am not usually brand conscious but since I broke my 2 quart  Aroma pressure cooker I  decided to give Instapot a try.  I am a little nervous.  I belong to a couple of pressure cooking face book pages and it seems Instapot users have a lot of problems with figuring out how to get the darn things to  work.   However,  I am not new to pressure cooking.  I have over two-year experience in pressure cooking so hopefully, I will be able to figure things out quickly.   I will let you know how it goes.

This is not a pressure cooking recipe.  It is the last recipe I am going to post this week from Physical Kitchness.   Doing a Whole 30 can be really intimidating because we “give up” so many things and we have to spend so much time in the kitchen.  The thing I like about Physical Kitchness is she gives us really good food in a reasonable amount of time in the kitchen.  Many of Physical Kitchness’ recipes could be considered comfort food.

Adapted From Physical Kitchness

1 1/2 cup broccoli florets

1/4 cup water

11/2 lbs chicken thighs

“Cheese”  Sauce

1/4 cups raw cashews, soaked in water over night

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 TBS nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

Place a 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high  heat. Add the broccoli, cover, and cook for 5-6 minutes or untill barely crisp tender.  Turn the heat off and set the broccoli aside.  Dry the skillet.  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil.  Heat over medium  heat.  Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts.  When the oil is hot,  add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Flip the breasts and cook 4-5 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Meanwhile  drain the soaked cashews and put them in a blender.  Add the broth salt, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard.  Blend until creamy, scraping the sides down as needed.  When the chicken is done cooking, turn the heat down to medium low and add the broccoli and “Cheese” sauce back to the pan.  Heat through.

** If you forget to soak  the cashews overnight, bring 1 cup water to a  boil and add the cashews.  Boil for 1-2 minutes or until the  cashews soften.  Drain and follow the directions for the cheese sauce.

Paleo Almond Butter Strawberry Zucchini Muffins


What do you do when you make muffin batter and you can’t find your muffin tins?  You bake your muffins in 5 inch deep dish pie pans.  Isn’t that what everybody does?   Seriously guys,  I keep all my baking stuff in the cupboards above the stove.  My muffin pans aren’t there and I  can’t find them anywhere.  It is driving me crazy that I can’t find them.

I am one of those rare  cooks who loves to bake as much they love to cook.   My absolute favorite thing to bake is muffins.  I love turning on the oven on a cold, rainy, or snowy day and filling my apartment with warm, sweet smells.   I have been interested in learning to bake with alternative flours  for a while but never tried it  because alternative flours can be expensive.  I decided try this paleo muffin recipe because I already everything but the coconut flour after of doing a couple of rounds of Whole 30.  I can afford the $4.50 for a couple of pounds of coconut flour.

I also wanted to try this recipe because I know I can count on recipes from Physical Kitchness to work and taste good.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The muffins had good texture and were lightly sweet.  They were tender and moist, everything a muffin should be.  I think this recipe would make a good base for many other muffin experiments.

Almond Butter Strawberry Zucchini Muffins

From Physical Kitchness

1 cup strawberries, halved

1/2 cup almond butter

1/4 cup honey

3 TBS melted  coconut oil

3 eggs

1 cup shredded zucchini

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup finely  diced strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Place mufifin liners in the muffin tin, set aside.   Shred the zucchini and place it in a colendar.  Sprinkle the zucchini with salt and let sit for 10 minutes.  Add the halved strawberries,  almond butter, melted coconut oil, and honey in a blender and blend  until creamy and  well combined.  Pour the almond butter/strawberry mixture into a medium bowl.  Add the eggs,  zucchini, vanilla and apple cider vinegar.   Mix  until well combined.  In another bowl,  combine the coconut flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix  until just combined.  Fill each muffin liner 2/3 full.  Top each muffin  with finely diced strawberries.  Bake for 20 -25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted  in the center comes out clean.