Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Green Beans with Pearl Onions

I needed a good accompaniment to go with my second attempt at Crock-Pot BBQ Pulled Beef. Since we had greens last week, I wanted to serve something new. Cole slaw would be a natural choice, but because this pulled beef was for our lunches, I needed something that could be reheated. I always put the main course and side dish in the same container for easy transportation in our lunch boxes. So, if the main dish goes in the microwave, the side dish should too. Otherwise you end up with microwaved fruit cocktail, and nobody wants that!

Whole Foods always has a cute little sack of pearl onions in the produce section, and I've been thinking about how I could use them in a recipe. Since I was headed that way for a beef roast, I decided this was the  perfect time grab those little cuties and make a pot of homestyle green beans.

Green Beans with Pearl Onions

Aren't these the cutest little bowls?


2 lbs cut grean beans
10 oz pearl onions (about 2 cups), pealed
8 oz ham with bone, diced*
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups water


In a large pot, heat olive oil then toss in diced ham and cook until the meat starts to caramelize. Add pealed pearl onions and cook until they become aromatic. Pour in 1 cup of water and deglaze the cooked solids from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon. Add green beans. Pour in the rest of the water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until beans and onions are tender. About 30 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

*Note: Ham can be omitted for a vegetarian version. In that case there is no need to deglaze the pan. If you prefer bacon over ham, omit the olive oil. The bacon brings plenty of its own fat.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cake

Paleo pineapple cake? What?

I was inspired to create this recipe by paleOMG, so you'll recognize some of the portions from her nut free banana bread. If you're not reading paleOMG, you're missing out. Seriously. She's amazing. She has a little bit of a sweet tooth, so her site is full of recipes for paleo treats. And she recently gave up nuts, so I've been sampling her recipes more and more.

Her nut free banana bread was perfection. Instead of three small loafs, I made one large cake and increased the baking time a little. It worked out perfectly. I even whipped up a batch of banana bread french toast with the leftovers. It was a hit!

When I made the switch to pineapple, I wasn't so successful. The cake was a lot wetter than I wanted. Tasty, but soggy. I went to work reducing liquid, changing ratios, and experimenting with cupcakes instead of cake. Thankfully our friends were willing to eat my experiments. When I received multiple requests for the recipe at a recent BBQ, I knew I had found the winning combination.

So, after four delicious tries, I give you...

Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cake

How pretty is that?


1 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained completely, juice reserved
2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice
4 eggs
1/3 cup solids removed from a can of coconut milk*
4 heaping tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Coconut oil spray

1 20 oz can pineapple rings
6 cherries, pitted**


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add drained, crushed pineapple, 2 tablespoons pineapple juice, eggs, coconut solids, and rum to a blender and blend until whipped and creamy. Add coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and blend until fully combined. 

Grease a small baking dishs with coconut oil spray. Pour in cake batter and smooth into an even layer.  Float pineapple rings on top of the batter. Place cherries in the centers.

Bake at 375. This is a very wet batter, so even tho the cake passes the knife test, it won't be done in the center. Once it does pass the knife test, continue baking until cake is golden brown and pulls away from the sides of the baking dish. Basically, cook it as long as you can without letting it burn. About 65-75 minutes. Makes 6-8 servings.

Bonus Recipe: Pina Colada CupCakes

If you're short on time, or don't feel like running your oven for an hour, make Pina Colada CupCakes instead! Omit the pineapple rings and cherries, prepare the batter as described, grease a mini muffin pan with coconut oil,  distribute the batter evenly among the muffin cups (the blender spout is a God-send for this process). Bake at 375 for 25-35 minutes. Again, until the CupCakes start to pull away from the edges. Makes 24.

*Note1: If your canned coconut milk hasn't separated, place it in the refrigerator overnight. The solids will thicken up and rise to the top. I like to keep a can in my refrigerator just in case I get the urge to bake.  Trader Joe's also has a canned coconut cream that works great for recipes. The thickened coconut solids are readily available when you open the can.

**Note2: For a slightly less-paleo treat, you can also used maraschino cherries. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bacon Braised Greens

Has Paula Deen gone Paleo? Last weekend on her show, she made braised greens with fried eggs and an Irish lamb stew. l didn't stick around to see if she made a dessert (and let's be honest she probably did), but it doesn't matter, those two recipes are headed to a dinner-plate near CaveBoy.

The braised greens were especially inspiring.

I was looking around the produce section for something to round-out the Crock-Pot BBQ Beef and sweet potatoes planned for dinner last week.  When my gaze happened upon the Southern greens, Ms. Paula's recipe sprung to mind, and my decision was made.

Bacon Braised Greens

Paleo or not, Ms. Paula is correct. These greens taste great with a couple fried eggs.


8 oz bacon, cut into large pieces
2 16 oz bags cut and washed southern greens
2 cups beef stock
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Hot sauce (I prefer Texas Pete)


Add bacon to a large pot over medium heat. Render the fat out of bacon, careful not to let it burn or stick to the bottom of the pot.  Once fat is rendered and the bacon is cooked, add the greens 1/2 bag at a time. Stir with a spoon to ensure all of the greens are coated in bacon grease and begin to wilt. As the greens shrink down, add the next 1/2 bag and so on until all the greens are in the pot and coated with grease.

Add the beef stock. Season with a pinch of salt, a few shakes of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 4-5 healthy shakes of hot sauce. Reduce heat to low. Cover and let cook until greens are tender. About 2 hours (beauty takes time). Makes 8 servings. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Crock-Pot BBQ Beef

This recipe is a happy-accident-slash-experiment.

First, the accident. It was supposed to be Crock-Pot BBQ Pulled Beef. But when I arrived at Trader Joe's, all they had was beef stew meat (feedlot-free beef stew meet, mind you, so I was still buying).

And, the experiment. Caveboy and I are still on our Whole30 and bottled BBQ sauce is a major no-no. 90% have high fructose corn syrup as the first ingredient (yuck!) and the other high-dollar-grocery-store BBQ sauces use maple or molasses or some other sweetener in large quantities. Steve's Original has a Paleo Peach BBQ Sauce that sounds amazing. But using that would have required me to plan this meal more than 2 days in advance of cooking it. So I had to turn a BBQ rub into a BBQ sauce.

Not all experiments end in success (trust me, I'm a physicist). But in this case, I'm so happy with the way it turned out! No lie. I want to drink the sauce. It's that good. It is definitely not as sweet as traditional beef BBQ (duh) but it is tangy and zesty and all the other terms you'd use to describe your favorite sauce.

Crock-Pot BBQ Beef

What a pretty and nutritious meal!


3 lb beef stew meat
2 yellow onions, sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups beef stock
1 can tomato paste
5 tablespoons BBQ rub (I used Pork Barrel BBQ dry rub, an impulse-buy from Costco)
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 


Place stew meat pieces into the Crock-Pot. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and then sprinkle on 3 tablespoons of dry rub. Use your hand to combine, ensuring the rub gets on all of the meat.  Add the sliced onion and then pour in the beef stock.  Cook on high until meat is tender. About 3 hours.

Once the meat is cooked, turn off the Crock-Pot and let cool for a few minutes so you don't scald yourself while performing the next steps. Then, with a slotted-spoon, remove the meat from the Crock-Pot and set aside. Leave the juices.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the diced garlic. Cook until it becomes aromatic. Pour the Crock-Pot juices into the skillet and stir to combine with garlic oil.  Whisk in the tomato paste and apple cider vinegar. Season with up-to two heaping tablespoons of dry rub (to taste) and a pinch of salt, and cook until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat.

Return the beef to the Crock-Pot bowl. Pour the sauce over the beef and stir to combine. Makes 8 servings.

Update: One week later...

Bonus Recipe: BBQ Pulled Beef

I loved the recipe so much I decided to see just how great it would taste as originally envisioned. CB was game to be my taste-tester, so I made a special trip to Whole Foods for a roast and pulled my Crock-Pot back down off the refrigerator. The verdict? The pulled beef is even better than stew meat. It transported perfectly in our lunch boxes and reheated great in the microwave. This is going to be a go-to recipe from now on! As CB says, "it's in the rotation."


Simply replace the stew meat with a beef roast, and omit the 3 tablespoons of olive oil when you rub the BBQ seasoning onto the meat. The roast will have a layer of fat on it, providing delicious flavor and eliminating the need for additional oil. Enjoy!

Update: One month later...

Double-Bonus Recipe: BBQ Pulled Pork

CaveBoy rarely makes special requests. So when he asked for my "special" BBQ sauce on this week's pulled pork, I was elated! For one, it means he really likes the recipe. And it means that I get to eat pulled pork, which is pretty-much my favorite BBQ. Well, OK, baby-back ribs are my real favorite BBQ, but I don't have a pressure cooker (yet) so they are not on the menu.


Replace the beef roast with pork roast and - in keeping with the pork theme - saute the garlic in 1 tablespoon bacon grease, instead of olive oil. TahDah!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

GuestBlogger: Jazzy Little Meatballs

In honor of my two-thousandth page-view, I present my first GuestBlogger!

And first, I know what you're thinking: It seems like only yesterday I was celebrating my one-thousandth page view. Because it was (now I promise I'll stop counting until 10 thousand).

But enough about me, back to my guest. I met Rachel a little over 18 months ago when I first joined the local CrossFit gym.  She was (and still is) a little bit taller, a whole lot faster, and about the same strength as I am. She also has one important quality that I lack - she's fearless in the gym. And she's an excellent motivator on top of all that.

Rachel knows instinctively when I am holding myself back out of fear, when I have the strength to tackle a new movement, but haven't realized it myself yet. It is because of Rachel that I can do a 30 inch box jump, have a handstand push-up, and went from one double under to 17 in a single morning. She's like the CrossFit angel sitting on my shoulder telling me I can do more, and she's always right (It's kind-of annoying actually).

Rachel also is an excellent cook and an impeccable hostess. After one taste of her Jazzy Little Meatballs, I knew she had to share the recipe with all of you. I'm so glad that she agreed.

Now, here's Rachel.

This is my first "real" blog post and I have the honor of being a guest blogger for the amazingly multi-talented and inspiring Silly Little CaveGirl.

Like many of my friends we experiment with and love food! Growing up in a huge Italian family, pasta and meatballs was a religion. When I told my Nonno that I was no longer eating grains he looked at me cross-eyed and said, "so you an still eat pasta, right?" I don't eat pasta anymore but these meatballs are a winner. Even Nonno approved.

This past weekend I hosted a housewarming party and our very own Silly Little CaveGirl also approved. Give them a try if you are looking for spice with depth. 

Jazzy Little Meatballs

CaveGirl: Jazzy Little Meatballs on Rachel's party buffet table.
They disappeared shortly after this photo was taken.

For the Sauce:


3 tomatoes, diced
1 white onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 can of diced pineapple


1. Combine all ingredients above in a sauce pan and place on stove over medium heat, stirring frequently.
2. Once your sauce starts to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 60 minutes
3. Once your sauce has simmered, turn off the heat and pour your sauce into a blender or food processor and run until you get a nice smooth sauce consistency
4. Return to the pan to keep warm or place on the food of your choice
5. Store in the refrigerator

For the Meatballs:


1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 lbs ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 small red onion, grated or very finely chopped
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter, softened


1. Pour a cup of the sauce you just made into the bottom of your Crock Pot.
2. Mix all meatball ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Once everything is mixed evenly (yes, use your hands) start rolling your meatballs, again by hand. Make them small (like a Sweedish meatball size). I rolled them and put them directly into my Crock Pot.
3. Pour about 1/2 cup of sauce over the top of the meatballs.
4. Cook meatballs in crock pot on low for about 4 hours.
5. Remove and place in serving dish. Warm remaining sauce on the stove on low.
6. Pour warm sauce on meatballs and serve! So tasty! So tender! So Yummy!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Toasted-Coconut Curry Chicken Salad

CaveBoy bought me an awesome picnic basket when we first got married. It looks just like this one only better, because it also has adorable plates and cups that fit right inside. We've used it a handful of times. Once (back in the old-days) I brought fried chicken and fruit punch out to the rifle range for CaveBoy and his buddy Duke, when they were teaching a week-long class in the 109 degree Texas heat.

We've also used it to shuttle Paleo goodies to our CrossFit gym for summer-time-Friday-night grill-outs. And I've used it to bring breakfast to the pool on Saturday mornings, to celebrate my friends' first CrossFit workouts (because I'm that good of a friend).

But we've never used it for a real sit-in-the-grass-on-a-blanket-in-nature picnic.

That's going to change. This Summer.

One of my goals for the next four months is to spend more time outside, and therefor outside my cubicle. Working all the time is well-and-good when it's dark and cold. But when the weather turns warm and sunny, it's time to ditch the supplements and make some vitamin D the old-fashioned way. It's just better for morale.

This Toasted-Coconut Curry Chicken Salad is the perfect picnic treat. It's spicy and creamy, and keeps well in the back of a pick-up truck headed into the wilderness. It goes great with grapes and watermelon, and other picnic-appropriate fruit. It scoops up easily with celery sticks and plantain chips. Overall, it's the perfect picnic dish.

Don't believe me? Try it and let me know what you think in the comments.

Toasted-Coconut Curry Chicken Salad

See. I'm learning. This time the side dish isn't the same color and texture as the main dish.
It only took me 10 months to figure that out. It still looks like a pile of mush, tho.
That might just be my trademark.


1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 yellow onions, diced
1 head of celery, diced
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 can coconut milk
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
Garlic Powder
Poultry Seasoning


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken breasts and thighs in two separate baking dishes. They have different cooking times, so separating them in the beginning makes things easier (You also could use 3 lbs of breasts or 3 lbs of thighs, instead of a mixture. I like my chicken salad to have both dark and light meat). Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and poultry seasoning. Bake at 400 degrees until cooked through. For the thighs, about 15 minutes, for the breasts about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

While the chicken is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large skillet. Add diced onion and celery. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook onion and celery until tender, stirring frequently. Let cool in pan.

In a separate skillet, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Add shredded coconut. Stir to combine then continue to stir frequently. Once the coconut begins to toast, stir almost constantly to prevent burning. When the coconut is a golden brown, remove pan from heat to prevent burning. Let cool.

Once the chicken is cooked, allow it to cool enough to touch. Shred or cube the chicken (I prefer to toss the chicken into my Kitchen Aid mixer, and let the paddle attachment shred the meat for me, it takes less than a minute).  Combine light and dark meat in a large dish. Add the veggies and coconut to the chicken.

For the curry sauce, in a medium bowl, add the can of coconut milk, 3 1/2 tablespoons of curry powder, and a big pinch of salt. Whisk to combine.

Pour sauce over the chicken mixture, and stir to combine. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. This will help the coconut milk sauce to tighten up and the flavors to harmonize. Makes 8 servings.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Baked Coconut and Sweet Potato Hash

Happy Whole30 everybody!

CaveBoy and I are taking the next 30 days to cleanup our eating and eliminate the white potato, vegetable oil, and (gasp!) diet soda that has crept back into our diet. Basically, this means we'll be eating at home for the next 30 days. The real problem is that I have no self-control when we eat out, and order french fries and diet coke. Even sweet potato fries cooked in the world are usually fried in vegetable oil (there are some noteworthy exceptions, but we can talk about those another time).

Our first Whole30 was six months ago, so it's about time for a re-do. Especially considering that last time CaveBoy abandoned our efforts 5 days in, when I came home to find him drinking a beer.  His response to my questioning was, "What? I'm achieving my goals." How could I argue with that?

This time, our Whole30 coincides with CaveBoy's month-long strength-building emphasis. I anticipate much better compliance with the protocol this time. Perfect timing? Perfect planning.

And before you get all judge-y, let me warn you upfront that I plan to break one of the Whole30 rules. We're not supposed to paleo-ize any junk foods. Including pizza or baked goods. The point is to get people used to eating real food, and to help them abandon processed-crap food forever. It's a good method. I obviously need their help with my diet coke problem. But I'm also working on a new paleo cake recipe (two attempts down, hopefully only one more to go) and I promised CaveBoy a meatza. Sorry I'm not sorry.

This hash recipe is Whole30 compliant, and was inspired by my friend JD.  Two people suggested that I make a hash for our lunchs this week, and the second suggestion came with a recipe idea.  So, thank you Universe, I hear you. And here we go.

Baked Coconut and Sweet Potato Hash

Another orange pile of mush - but a delicious pile of mush


5 large sweet potatoes, shredded
5 strips thick-cut, sugar-free bacon, cubed
1 cup sliced jalapeno peppers, or more to taste
4 oz shredded, unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Coconut oil spray for the baking dish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a large baking dish with coconut oil spray. Layer the shredded sweet potato,* shredded coconut, jalapeno, and bacon into the baking dish in that order. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and stir the mixture. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Stir. Stir the hash mixture every 10 minutes until the bacon is fully cooked. About 45 minutes. Makes 10 servings.

We served ours with shredded baked chicken.

This also is a great make-ahead-and-freeze recipe. You could split it into four helpings and store it in freezer bags. Then when you need it, pull it out to thaw. Warm up a skillet with a little coconut oil or bacon grease, and heat the hash through. Serve with fried or poached eggs for an amazing spur-of-the-moment brunch.

*Note: Shredding the sweet potato can be a real workout, especially if you're like me and only have a flat grater. Expect to make a mess in your kitchen. It's cool. Sweet potato doesn't stain. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

CaveLife:* How Happy Is Your Spine?

Feeling like a question mark?

Admit it. You're reading this on your smart phone/iPad/kindleFire/laptop. Your sitting on your couch or at your desk at work (but not in your car, because that's illegal). You're hunched over a little in the shoulders, with your face too close to a brightly-lit screen. I know. I am doing the same thing. The technology we cannot live without is causing problems we don't have time to fix. Or do we?

One of the biggest changes I've noticed since starting CrossFit (besides the weight loss) is the improvement to my posture. First, I'm more confident and no longer hoping to go unnoticed by every passerby. That naturally leads to a raised chin (and a smile). More importantly, I'm stronger and I better know how to carry myself through the world. Relentlessly-soul-crushing workouts like Angie and Fran have made my back strong enough to combat 10+ hours of slumping in my cubicle. Overhead squats and Turkish get ups (and pretty-much every other movement) have given me the core strength to hold myself upright even while teetering in high heels.

And most importantly, excellent coaching on olympic lifting technique, and farmers carry technique, and the constant refrain of "shoulders back and down" that rings in my ears even during the workday, have improved my posture immeasurably.

But what happens when confidence and strength and coaching isn't enough? And how could it be? Just by sheer numbers technology-time far outweighs CrossFit-time. Add to that stress, and rush, and worry and you have a recipe for forgetfulness. And forgetfulness leads to slumped shoulders and a tucked chin.

Enter chiropractic care.

I haven't always been a chiropractic super-fan. As a young adult, I knew that my joints and spine sometimes "cracked" when I stretched, and I experienced the stress-release that accompanied those movements. But I had never made visiting a chiropractor part of my normal wellness routine. That all changed when my best friend became DoctorBestFriend, and she started explaining and then showing me the benefits of professional chiropractic care. She diagnosed my neck and lower-back issues and adjusted me back into alignment. My world changed.

I recently visited DoctorBestFriend for a few days of girl-talk and she gave my spine a once-over. She complemented my diet and said that my joints did not present the inflammation she commonly encounters (three cheers for Silly Little CaveGirl!). And then, despite my confidence and strength and coaching, she adjusted my neck and lower back.  I didn't know I felt bad until she made me feel so much better. And taller (which is important to me - I didn't name this blog Silly Little CaveGirl for nothing).

So back to my original question: Feeling like a question mark?

What are you going to do about it?

*Introducing a new blog post category to share our CaveLife outside the Silly Little CaveGirl kitchen.  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Texas-Style Crustless Quiche

I've mentioned before that CaveBoy and I lived in Texas. That we loved living in Texas. That we miss just-about everything about Texas. Especially the people. But also the food. I spent the day yesterday with a good friend and a few new friends out in horse country. The smell of grass, and horses, and the clear blue sky reminded me of the year+ I spent living on my brother's ranch.

It wasn't a fancy ranch. But it was a lot of fun to live there.

My brother's little blue trailer house. I had the East wing.
It smelled like wild flowers. It was silent at night. And we spent our evenings doused in mosquito spray, sitting outside next to a fire.

The fire CaveBoy built for my birthday party. 
I invented my first version of this recipe after CaveBoy proposed and we move into our first Cave. CaveBoy and his buddy Duke would go out for a mini-Murph on Saturday mornings, and I would cook a high protein breakfast. Before you roll your eyes that I didn't go with them, remember I wasn't always a CrossFitting-CaveGirl and even if I had been, I still wouldn't have joined them. Boys need their time, too.

Anyway - My first version of this recipe was an egg scramble. It's a little easier, and scoops up deliciously with a corn chip (like I said, it was a different time). This version has all the Texas flavors I love, but looks a little fancier on a plate. 

Texas-Style Crustless Quiche

Serve with sweet potato home fries, fresh salsa and guacamole if you want to really be fancy.


12 eggs
1 can coconut milk
6 strips bacon, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 hand-full diced jalapeno (fresh or from a jar)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
Coconut oil spray for the baking pan


In a large skillet, cook the diced bacon until it is crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Leave the grease in the pan to cook the veggies.

Crack 12 eggs into the bowl of your stand mixer (or use a large bowl and a hand mixer). Pour in the can of coconut milk. Beat with the mixer at increasing speeds until frothy. Pour into a greased 9x9 baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. You need to pre-cook the eggs a little so the veggies don't sink to the bottom.

While the eggs are baking, heat the skillet with bacon grease over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring frequently, until they become translucent. Add the diced jalapeno and cook until warmed through.  Season the mixture with garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside until the eggs have baked for 10 minutes.

Remove the eggs from the oven and spoon the veggies into the baking dish. Distribute the bacon evenly into the baking dish. With a spoon, poke or gently stir the bacon and veggies a little so that they are covered with a thin layer of egg.  Return the baking dish to the 400 degree oven. Bake until cooked through. About 20 more minutes. When you take the quiche out it might be puffed up like a souffle. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. The quiche will deflate as it cools. Makes 4 servings.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Buffalo Chicken-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes aka Fully-Loaded CaveYam

Keeping with the theme of appetizers-turned-meals this recipe comes to you courtesy of CB. She's been in my Silly Little LunchClub for a few months now. At first, she provided catchy recipe names, then started contributing recipe reviews and suggestions for minor improvements. Now she's graduated to full-on meal requests, and is getting the hang of paleo-izing her favorite foods.

CB is a fan of televised sports, specifically those of the Notre Dame variety. She's also a sporty-lady in her own right, and plays on a half-dozen recreational sports teams throughout the year. So, she's eaten her fair share of bar foods while cheering her favorite team and celebrating her victories. Buffalo chicken wings and potato skins are natural choices at those events, and combining the two is the obvious next logical step. At least it was for CB. And I agree.

Buffalo Chicken-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

aka Fully-Loaded CaveYam

Doesn't this make you want to yell "touchdown" and spike the keyboard?


5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
8 large (or 15 small) sweet potatoes
1 bottle Buffalo sauce (I like Frank's)
3 heads celery, cut into 4 inch stalks
1 bag baby carrots
6 strips of bacon, diced
1 hand-full of chives, diced
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, poultry seasoning to taste


Wash and arrange the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 until soft to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool.

Open and arrange chicken thighs on baking sheet.  Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and poultry seasoning. I like to use a few healthy pinches of salt and a few good shakes of pepper, then coat the chicken with garlic powder and poultry seasoning.  Bake at 400 degrees until cooked through. About 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

While the sweet potatoes and chicken are baking, cook the diced bacon in a skillet. Remove the cooked bacon from the grease and set aside.

Once the chicken is cool enough to touch, cut it into bite-sized chunks.  Clean the chicken grease off the baking sheet, then return the chunked chicken to the baking sheet.  Pour on the bottle of Buffalo sauce and use your hands to combine, ensuring that all of the chicken chunks are coated with sauce. Return the chicken to the 400 degree oven and bake until the sauce starts to caramelize. About 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

If you are using large sweet potatoes, cut each in half length-wise and press at the ends to create a void in the middle.  You're trying to make a boat for the chicken.  If you are using small sweet potatoes, slice lengthwise, careful not to slice all the way through. Then press at the ends to create a void.

Scoop the sauced chicken into each sweet potato. Sprinkle with bacon and chives.  Serve with baby carrots and celery stalks.

Makes 15 servings. 
That is 5 CaveBoy servings with 8 oz of chicken, and 10 CaveGirl/CB servings with 4 oz of chicken.