Roast Chicken with Lebanese Stuffing (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

I was crossing my fingers that I would nail this recipe on the first attempt and I did. I think because I have such an emotional connection to this meal from childhood, my limbic system was able to guide my cooking intuition. I explained on Instagram recently that my family didn’t do traditional Thanksgiving turkey & stuffing growing up, but a simple Lebanese roasted chicken stuffed with a spiced mixture of beef, rice, onion, pine nuts, cinnamon and allspice. I was hell-bent on making an AIP version of all my favorite “Lebanese Feast” (that’s what my twin sister and I call it) dishes so I can enjoy them this year too. Last year, I couldn’t eat ANY of the Christmas dinner, and I threw a temper tantrum full of tears and “Why can’t  you guys realize that it sucks to have allergies, and that I deserve to eat this food too!!!!” So attractive. I still throw tantrums in my head, but I try not to execute them in front of other humans. That’s how you do AIP responsibly.

 

It was really only after that outburst that my family recognized my need to have that emotional connection to food that they all still get to enjoy. Nobody was going to forgo the rice stuffing or tahini and chickpea hummus just for me though, so I said F it, I’m going to make my own AIP versions and they’re going to be even better, starting with this dish! The parsnips add such a nice earthy taste, and you won’t believe how awesome ground beef stuffing with a perfectly roasted chicken tastes! The skin will be crispy and the meat very juicy by using my method below. With a squeeze of roasted lemon on top and a heaping scoop of stuffing, you’re going to shoot right out of any bland food rut you may have found yourself in lately (it happens to the best of us!)

 

So for Lebanese Christmas Feast this year, I’ll be making both the traditional and AIP versions of these dishes

– Lebanese Chicken & Stuffing (recipe  below)

AIP Hummus by Me

AIP Pita by He Won’t Know Its Paleo

– Whole Carrot Taboulleh from The Paleo Approach Cookbook

– AIP Kibbeh (recipe to be developed) <– this usually has gluten, pine nuts, and seed-based spices

– AIP Mammoul Balls (recipe to be developed) <– these are traditionally made of walnuts

 

 

 

Lebanese Roast Chicken & Stuffing

Serves 4-5 | Ready in

Beef & Parsnip Rice Stuffing

1 lb lean grass-fed ground beef

1 small onion, peeled and diced

6 large parsnips, cut into chunks

1 tsp cinnamon, divided

1/16 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup bone broth, divided

1 T lard

2 T dried mint

¼ tsp granulated garlic

2 tsp lemon juice

Optional: 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (if tolerated – not AIP)

  1. Process parsnips in food processor using the ricing disc, or alternatively pulse in a high powered blender until the parnsip is broken into rice-sized pieces.
  2. Cook ground beef in a large, deep skillet until almost cooked through. Break up with a spoon into small pieces as it cooks. Turn heat off and stir in just ½ tsp cinnamon, cloves, and ¼ tsp sea salt. Set aside in a bowl.
  3. Heat lard over medium heat in the same skillet. Add onions first and then the parsnips, cover, and let cook for 3 minutes until the bottom layer of onions begins to caramelize. Remove lid and stir well. Add just ½ cup bone broth to skillet. Cover with lid again and let steam cook for 3 more minutes until parsnips are cooked through but still tender. Remove pan from heat, stir in mint, remaining ½ tsp cinnamon, remaining ½ cup bone broth, remaining ¼ tsp sea salt, garlic, lemon juice,  the cooked ground beef, and pine nuts (if using). The broth should be absorbed in the meat and vegetables as you stir.

Lebanese Roast Chicken

1 whole pasture-raised chicken (about 3 lbs)

1 T lard

½ lemon

4 sprigs fresh oregano

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

½ tsp sea salt

  1. Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to seasoning.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set a small roasting rack on top of a large baking sheet. This allows the chicken to crisp up on the bottom too. No one likes soggy chicken skin.
  3. Prepare the chicken for roasting: Dry the chicken well by patting with paper towels both on the outside and inside the cavity (very important!!). Rub lard on the chicken, coating evenly. Sprinkle the sea salt evenly over the whole chicken. Stuff the lemon and fresh herbs in the cavity and tie the legs together with kitchen string. You can also bring the wings closer to the breast and secure them tightly with another piece of string.
  4. Cook the chicken: Roast on prepared rack and baking sheet for 55 minutes. Increasing cooking time by 15 minutes per lb (if chicken weighs more than 3 lbs) until breast internal temperature reads 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn the oven off and let the chicken rest in the oven for 10 minutes with the door closed. Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest on the countertop, covered, for 10 more minutes before slicing. After slicing, squeeze lemon all over chicken and sprinkle with more sea salt. Serve with warm Beef & Parsnip Stuffing and AIP Hummus!

Garlic & Herb Chicken Nuggets (Paleo, AIP, Whole30, 21DSD)

 


Chicken nuggets and BBQ Sauce were one of the few junk foods my mom allowed us to eat occasionally when we were tiny tots. Still one of my favorite foods – how worldly and classy of me.

 

We had another beautfIul weekend in Chicago before sh*t hits the fan and its -30 degrees for 12 days straight. We went to a Notre Dame football game this weekend, and it was SO adorable to see my husband giddy like a 7-year-old boy seeing his first Sports Illustrated. He has liked the Irish since he was a little guy without cable in the middle of small town Nebraska – apparently ND was one of the only games they got on TV. I bought him a new fancy pullover sweatshirt to wear to the game and a hat for myself. I feel like a huge fraud with all these people coming up to us in Chicago today pumping their fists and shouting “Go Irish!” I have to awkwardly respond with my own forced fist pump and pretend I know what football is. The hat’s comfy so I’ll continue to wear it.

 

Garlic & Herb Chicken Nuggets [AIP, Whole30, 21dsd]

Makes 3 servings | Prep time 5 minutes | Cook time 12-15 minutes

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thigh

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

¼ tsp granulated garlic

¼ tsp sea salt (or garlic salt)

2 T coconut flour

2 T coconut oil

  1. Pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Toss chicken thighs in a bowl with oregano, basil, garlic, and 1/8 tsp sea salt (or garlic salt). Now toss with the coconut flour until evenly coated.
  3. Heat 1 T coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place half the chicken nuggets in the pan and ensure they are not touching. If the pan is overcrowded, they will not crisp up.
  4. Cook 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown all around and cooked through.
  5. Clean out the skillet by wiping it down with a paper towel. Repeat step 3 for the remaining half of chicken nuggets.
  6. Sprinkle nuggets with 1/8 tsp sea salt (or garlic salt). Serve warm.

Cranberry Relish Meatballs [AIP Friendly]

These lil’ pups were one of the dishes I took on my trip to Omaha this weekend. We had a second reception so that more family & friends could be included since we had such an intimate wedding. It was a blast to bring my family from Florida to the Midwest for the first time. A cold front of 40 degrees didn’t get in the way of us having an amazing time. We took them to downtown Omaha for lunch, I got to play on a playground (my, like, 3rd favorite thing to do in the world), we had a huge family BBQ, did a nice trail run wth my sisters, and then the reception was at a beautiful home (er, lodge mansion) on a secluded lake. It couldn’t have been better.
I don’t like to “bother” people with all my food allergies/intolerances, so I never ask for special accomodations. I usually just prep my ass off the week prior and bring everything I need for the weekend (providing I am gone no longer than 2-3 days). I put everything in a freezable lunchbag that I got from Bed, Bath & Beyond which keeps my meat frozen until I get to the hotel fridge. The hotel we stayed at had a full kitchen with an oven and microwave which was awesome, but that is usually not the case.

 

For Friday-Sunday morning i brought

– 3 grassfed burgers, pre-grilled

– 3 servings of these Cranberry Chicken Meatballs

– Roasted sweet potato coins (those are like candy to me and lasted 1 whole afternoon)

– Baby carrots

– Cooked radishes

– Two types of dressing

– AIP BBQ Sauce

When I arrived, I picked up a few fresh items from Omaha’s Whole Foods including

– Mineral water

– Kombucha

– Organic lettuce for salads

– Grassfed ribeye to grill

 

This was probably the best I have planned for the trip and the first one that I wasn’t starving and feeling deprived the entire time. I have learned it is BEYOND important to pack delicious food on vacation or you have to suffer on the sidelines, watching everyone enjoy Bacon-wrapped Fill in the Blank, Cheesecake, and BBQ sandwiches. I knew we would be serving BBQ at the reception, which is why I brought my own AIP BBQ sauce, since it is by far my favorite food, and it would be emotionally difficult to have to avoid it.

 

I will be going to San Diego this Thursday through Sunday, and I will be packing enough food for probably 1/2 of meals. I’m confident I’ll be able to find restaurants to accommodate me there since it’s more health-centric than Omaha or Chicago. I’ll definitely do a round-up next week on that trip!

 

 

Cranberry Relish Meatballs

Makes 16 meatballs | Ready in 30 minutes

12 oz cranberries (I used frozen)

1 T coconut vinegar

½ tsp cinnamon

1 T organic blackstrap molasses (adds depth of flavor & sweetness; I do not suggest omitting)

2 lbs chicken thighs

2 T chopped fresh rosemary

½ tsp sea salt

1 T coconut oil

  1. Place all cranberry sauce ingredients except molasses in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook about 10 minutes until the cranberries are softened. You may need to stir once or twice to prevent burning. Remove from heat and stir in molasses, mashing the cranberries with a spoon as you do this.
  2. Place chicken , rosemary, and sea salt in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. In a large saucepan, heat 1 T coconut oil over medium-high heat. Make 16 2-oz meatballs with the mixture. Fry on each side for 6-8 minutes until cooked through. You will likely need to cook them in 2 batches to avoid over-crowding the pan which prevents proper browning.
  3. Serve topped with a dollop of cranberry sauce. Side dish idea: mashed root vegetables or braised greens.

Plantain Chicken Fritter Clubs (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

 

Well, that was a mouthful! I can guarantee these are incredibly flavorful for two reasons. #1 I have been sick this week with a sinus infection and have not been able to taste my food for days, but I could taste these babies, and boy were they good. #2 My husband went bonkers over them too, and he is fairly indifferent to food in general (I know, what a weirdo).

 

I struck a genius moment last week when all I had in my fridge was 1 plantain and half a chicken breast. I let my Vitamix work its magic along with some of my favorite flavor boosters and WA-BAM! Sandwich bread so easy it makes lettuce wraps look a’ fool. Plus you get extra protein by having chicken inside of the bread itself. I typed “inside of the breast” itself, and had to erase it, but I still wanted you to know how hopped up on probotics and nasal spray I am.

 

I got this pleasant little snotfest from my property management company neglecting to repair a leaky roof which quickly led to a black mold infestation of my apartment. This is serious stuff for anyone, especially if you have an autoimmune disorder, and especially if you are allergic to mold like I am. Well I forced them to reduce my rent for next month by 75% by kindly reminding them of their responsibilites to maintain a safe living environment for their tenants. Unfortunately we are now stuck with a whole week of invasive construction work, and the only two rooms I have to work with are the kithcen and the bathroom. Lucky for me we had a fiesta today, and they treated me to the latest mariachi hits and some solo singing. Bunch of chaarcters. That’s okay, they kept me company on this rainy day!

 


Plantain Chicken Fritter Clubs

Serves 2| Ready in 30 minutes

4 slices uncured bacon

1 green plantain, peeled

6-8 oz organic boneless skinless chicken breast, uncooked

¼ tsp granulated garlic

¼ cup packed cilantro leaves

Pinch sea salt

For Serving: Garlic Mayo dressing HERE, lettuce, avocado, kraut

 

  1. Cook bacon in medium-sized skillet over medium heat until crispy. Set aside. Pour bacon fat into a small cup to use for frying.
  2. Place remaining ingredients in high-powered blender or food processor and blend until pureed into a paste.
  3. Heat ½ tsp bacon fat over medium-high heat. Place ¼ cup of the mixture into pan and flatten with the bottom of a measuring cup until about ¼ inch thick. Cook for 2 minutes until golden brown and then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Repeat step 3 for remaining chicken-plantain mixture.
  5. Assemble sandwiches by topping 1 plantain chicken fritter with Garlic Mayo, lettuce, avocado and a slice of bacon. Top with a second fritter to make a sandwich, or leave open-faced.

 

AIP Chicken n’ Gravy (Paleo, Whole30)

 


I am so not a comfort food girl, but dang do I like me some gravy. Well, AIP gravy. I have actually never had “white gravy” in my life, so I had to consult my fiance on how it’s supposed to taste. He approved, so here we are staring at a picture of bacon-seared chicken thigh and gravy made out of sweet potatoes, bacon fat, broth, and fresh herbs. Yeah all of those things are really awesome on their own, but make for an Anchorman-like team when combined. As in they all complement each other and will make you giddy and gleeful. Lamp. I love lamp.

 

Ignore me if you don’t know what I’m talking about and scoot down to the recipe. I’m sure you do that anyway. Ah, so today I had to take some “professional” looking photos for an upcoming guest post I’m doing on another person’s website. I felt like a HUGE tool posing in the middle of a public park. I realized two things 1) I cannot and will not fake a smile (I usually think of something funny, so it makes me look more natural) and 2) My double-jointed arms look downright creepy and contorted.

 

AIP Chicken n’ Gravy

Serves 4-6 | Ready in 30 minutes

1 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 ½ c peeled and diced white sweet potato

4 slices thick-cut AIP-compliant uncured bacon

1 T chopped fresh herbs (I like a mix of thyme, rosemary, and sage)

Salt to taste

½ cup warm broth or water

Time Saving Tip:  Steam the sweet potatoes at the same time as Steps 2 and 3 to save time!

  1. Place sweet potatoes in a steamer basket set over a pot of boiling water. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes until easily pierced with a fork. Add sweet potatoes, herbs, and a pinch of salt to the blender.
  2. In a large saucepan, cook bacon on medium heat until crispy. Pour 4 T of bacon fat in blender/food processor. Leave the remaining bacon fat in the pan to cook the chicken thigh.
  3. Generously salt both sides of the chicken thighs and place in pan with bacon fat. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes each side until cooked through and golden.
  4. Pour ¼ c warm broth or water in blender and puree. Add remaining ¼ cup and blend until pureed into pour-able, smooth gravy. Gravy thickness can be adjusted by adding more broth/water for thinner gravy, but I suggest adding a pinch more salt if you dilute it anymore.
  5. Serve chicken thighs with gravy and a sprinkle of additional herbs for presentation.

Paleo BBQ Chicken Nachos (Nightshade-free, AIP)

paleo nachos

 

Craving Paleo nachos? This grain-free version uses sweet potato chips & has two options for nightshade-free homemade BBQ sauce!

 

Most women probably don’t eat a plate of nachos two weeks prior to their wedding, but I did. Why? Because they’re freakin’ made of fruits & vegetables.

 

If you haven’t gotten your paws on Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips you need to find a way. Hatch a plan. If it involves a getaway car and a Brazilian alias, don’t feel ashamed. They truly are THAT good.

 

If you want to go about it in a legal manner, just order a case from their website. I cannot do such a thing because I can easily (and have three times now) eaten an entire bag in one day.

 

I love BBQ anything. We used to grill all the time when I was little. My favorite foods were BBQ chicken, coleslaw, and steak.

 

Not much has changed actually. My favorite part of a BBQ meal is using the moist towelette. That lemony scent is very satisfying. I feel so clean after. Like I didn’t just eat a pound of meat.

 

 

Below I’ve given you two versions of AIP nightshade-free BBQ sauce! One is Tangy & Fruity made with cherries, plums, bacon, fresh thyme and a bit of honey! The second is Smokey Cherry-Thyme which is made without the plums and apple cider vinegar instead!

 


 

 

BBQ Chicken Nachos

 

 

Tangy n’ Fruity BBQ Sauce

10 red cherries, stemmed & seeded

2 red plums, pit removed, cut into chunks

½ tsp finely chopped thyme

½ T lemon juice

2 tsp honey

3 slices bacon, chopped

  1. In a small pan, bring cherries & plums to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir in the thyme. Let cook for 10 minutes, periodically smashing fruit with a wooden spoon.
  2. Once fruit has cooked down, stir in lemon juice & big pinch of salt. Pour into a blender to cool.
  3. Add chopped bacon to pan and cook over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Pour 2 T bacon fat into blender. Blend until pureed into a smooth sauce. Adjust salt to taste.

 

 

Smokey Cherry-Thyme BBQ Sauce

1 ¼ cups pitted and halved cherries

1 tsp finely chopped thyme

1 tsp lemon zest

1 T ACV

1 T honey

Salt, to taste

3 slices uncured bacon, chopped

  1. Bring the cherries to a simmer in a small pot over medium-low heat. Once they start to release some of their juices (3 minutes or so), stir in the chopped thyme and lemon zest.

  2. Let reduce for 5 more minutes and now add in your apple cider vinegar, coconut sugar, and salt (to taste).  Simmer for an additional 10 minutes periodically using a rubber spatula to break open the cherries. Transfer sauce to blender to cool.

  3. Cook the chopped bacon in the same saucepan until crispy. Set aside bacon pieces and pour leftover bacon fat into the blender with the cherries. Blend until pureed. Adjust salt to taste.

 

 

BBQ Chicken Nachos

1 cup cooked and shredded chicken thigh

2-3 oz Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips (or your own)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss ¼ cup of the BBQ sauce with the chicken thigh.
  2. Lay sweet potato chips on bottom of plate or pie dish. Top with chicken, bacon pieces & additional BBQ sauce. Bake in oven for 6-8 minutes until warmed throughout. Serve topped with chives & organic sour cream if you do dairy.

BBQ Chicken Pizza (Paleo, AIP)

bbqchickenpizza2_edited.jpg

This BBQ pizza recipe was one of the first “meatzas” I made when I started AIP. Following a Paleo diet prior to AIP, I would occasionally order gluten-free pizzas on the weekend, but they were never good and the flavor was a mix between cardboard and tomato-flavored straw.

 

This BBQ Chicken Pizza’s base is actually made from ground chicken thighs! It’s pretty neat how baking protein into a thin patty makes a “crust” that holds up quite well to toppings and hand manipulation.

 

The BBQ sauce is equals parts sweet and tangy and even without the smokey flavor of peppers, it’ll still feel like you’re eating the real stuff.

 

Did you know that KC Naturals makes a legit nightshade-free BBQ Sauce!? You can buy it on Amazon now!

 

 

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:25 Serves 2

Ingredients

  • Cherry-Thyme BBQ Sauce:
  • 1 1/4 cups pitted and halved cherries
  • 1 tsp finely chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 slices uncured bacon, chopped
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza:
  • 1 lb pastured, organic chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon each chopped oregano and parsley
  • Smoked sea salt to taste

Directions

For the sauce:

  1. Bring the cherries to a low simmer in a small pot over medium-low heat. Once they start to release some of their juices (3 minutes or so), stir in the chopped thyme, lemon zest.
  2. Let reduce for 5 more minutes and now add in your apple cider vinegar, coconut sugar, and salt (to taste).  Simmer for an additional 10 minutes periodically using a rubber spatula to break open the cherries. Transfer sauce to blender to cool.
  3. Cook the chopped bacon in the same saucepan until crispy. Set aside bacon pieces and pour leftover bacon fat into the blender with the cherries. Blend until pureed. Set aside sauce while you make the crust.

 

For the pizza:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a pizza pan on top of a baking sheet. If you do not have a pizza pan, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place chicken thighs and oregano in blender and puree until a paste forms.
  3. Using your hands, spread the mixture into a round-shaped pizza crust on the pan. Sprinkle lightly with smoked sea salt (or regular sea salt). Bake for 15 minutes on middle rack.
  4. Remove from oven. Using a paper towel, pat dry the extra fat that has risen to the top of the crust. This will help ensure a crispier crust. Spread Cherry Thyme BBQ sauce on crust (leaving an empty ½ inch border).
  5. Top with crumbled bacon and return to oven for additional 5 minutes.
  6. Let cool a couple minutes, garnish with parsley, and slice into wedges. Serve with a large salad!

 

 

 

 

 

Cherry-Thyme BBQ Sauce

Makes enough for 1 pizza | 25 minutes

1 ¼ cups pitted and halved cherries

1 tsp finely chopped thyme

1 tsp lemon zest

1 T ACV

1 T honey

Salt, to taste

3 slices uncured bacon, chopped

 

  1. Bring the cherries to a low simmer in a small pot over medium-low heat. Once they start to release some of their juices (3 minutes or so), stir in the chopped thyme, lemon zest.
  2. Let reduce for 5 more minutes and now add in your apple cider vinegar, coconut sugar, and salt (to taste).  Simmer for an additional 10 minutes periodically using a rubber spatula to break open the cherries. Transfer sauce to blender to cool.
  3. Cook the chopped bacon in the same saucepan until crispy. Set aside bacon pieces and pour leftover bacon fat into the blender with the cherries. Blend until pureed. Set aside sauce while you make the crust.

 

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Serves 3-4 | 25 minutes

1 lb pastured, organic chicken thighs

1 T chopped oregano

1 T chopped parsley

Smoked sea salt to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a pizza pan on top of a baking sheet. If you do not have a pizza pan, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place chicken thighs and oregano in blender and puree until a paste forms.
  3. Using your hands, spread the mixture into a round-shaped pizza crust on the pan. Sprinkle lightly with smoked sea salt (or regular sea salt). Bake for 15 minutes on middle rack.
  4. Remove from oven. Using a paper towel, pat dry the extra fat that has risen to the top of the crust. This will help ensure a crispier crust. Spread Cherry Thyme BBQ sauce on crust (leaving an empty ½ inch border).
  5. Top with crumbled bacon and return to oven for additional 5 minutes.
  6. Let cool a couple minutes, garnish with parsley, and slice into wedges. Serve with a large salad!

Note: If you don’t follow AIP, I suggest adding tomato slices, and grassfed/raw cheese!