Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winter wonderland dinner to warm your belly

It has been COLD here in North Carolina guys. And I know that some of you must be from the ice-swept lands of Kansas or Montana where there are like ten inches of snow a day, but this is the South. It is not supposed to be snowy here. We got three inches of snow on Tuesday. Three inches! The high was like 20 degrees. Our house and my wardrobe are not equipped to handle those kind of temperatures.
We did build a tiny snowman and make snow angels though. That was pretty rad, I can't remember the last time I actually played in the snow.
So, Mr Idiot and I needed to whip up something nice and hearty to keep us toasty. And so we did. The only problem is that my go-to recipes for heart meals almost always involve potatoes or pasta, both of which we're not allowed to eat. So, we came up with a solution.
This recipe is a personal favorite because it utilizes what I think is one of the world's least recognized vegetables, the parsnip. I absolutely adore parsnips. My dad makes them at Christmas and he roasts them and they are crispy and crunchy and just the right amount of sweet and omg. So. Fricken. Good. So when I saw them on special I couldn't help but buy some. Mr. Idiot had never even heard of a parsnip before, so this was the perfect introduction.

Baked salmon and root veggie hash

This is super easy to whip up, and following the theme of most of my recipes lately, was a very efficient way to clean out some straggler vegetables in preparation for the Great Fridge Restocking of 2014.

4 parsnips, peeled
3 carrots, peeled
4 strips of bacon, diced.
3 fillets of salmon
Ground sage
salt and pepper
Dried lemon peel
I found some asparagus spears at the bottom of the crisper that look like they were about to be done, so we grilled those up as well, but you can add any other veggies to this as you like.

Line an oven tray with tin foil and preheat the oven 375 degrees.

We didn't really measure out the seasoning, just add enough until the top of the fillet is pretty well covered. If I had to guess I'd say on each fillet ½ tbsp sage, ½ tbsp lemon peel, and be liberal with the salt and pepper.

Pop in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until the salmon is flaky.

Peel your carrots and parsnips and then grate them into a bowl. I just used the peeler and peeled strips off until I had little nubby centers left.

In a large skillet over med-high heat, melt coconut oil and add carrots and parsnips. Stir the hash occasionally.

After about seven minutes on the heat, add in the bacon. Stir until the bacon is cooked. Once your bacon is done, lower the heat and leave the hash in the skillet to keep it warm.

Once the hash was done cooking, we grilled the asparagus with a bit of salt and pepper. 

Cut the woody ends off the asparagus. Ours were perhaps on their last legs, so we cut most of the ends off and had the spears. 

Plate, and serve. Hey presto, delicious hearty noms.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Paleo baking SUCCESS

I cannot tell you guys how pleased I am. I've been messing with paleo bread and paleo pancakes and they just have not been working out, but I have finally had success with paleo baking. 
Paleo banana bread. I made it this morning, I ate it for breakfast, I'll be eating it tomorrow, it's delicious and it WORKED! It didn't turn into a gooey mess or taste like bland flour. Huzzah!

So, here's the recipe. This lovely, lovely bread goes great with tea (That's what I had for breakfast, nom) or coffee or as a snack mid-afternoon. So lovely, so easy. 

Paleo banana bread

6 eggs 
1/3 cup coconut milk (I used almond hazelnut cashew milk I found on sale)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tbsp apple butter
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 ripe bananas mashed

Add everything into a mixing bowl and combine. 
Whisk if you don't have a hand mixer, and hand mix if you do. (Thanks, again mum. My life is so easy now)
Pour into a non-stick pan (Pro-tip, spray pan with oil to ease removal) and put into a 350 degree oven for an hour. 

Check that your bread is done by sticking a toothpick into the center. If the pick comes back clean, you're good. If it's gooey, put it back in.

Once it's baked, go ahead and eat!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday salad: extra easy because I'm extra tired

It's nearly 9pm here at la casa des Idiots, and I'm finally sitting on my bum. FINALLY.
Today Mr Idiot had the day off, so we used our Monday much more productively than last week (in which we binge-watched Netflix and ate bacon) and ran all of the errands. ALL. THE. ERRANDS. We prayed at the alter of the Army Gods (aka the Soldier Support center) to get some of the cost of the move back, (YAY MONEY!), we visited Mr. Idiots long-ago-neglected UPS box only to find out that they only keep mail for thirty days before they return it to sender. And his has been closed for at least three months. Oh well. We also needed to pick up some groceries, but it's my least favorite time of the month, which is the time three days before payday where we have maybe a $60 buffer, and we're all out of almost everything. My fridge is a sad, mostly empty mess right now, and it gives me a big sad. But! We're trying this new thing where we space out our bills so we don't get completely drained by the 3rd of the month, so here's hoping come February we won't have these shitty three and four day periods where we've got zilch in the bank. To make that long story short, we need some more food, but we had to really scratch out what we've got left. So, thirty bucks poorer, we've got enough nosh to see us through until payday.
We even remembered to return my (shockingly) overdue library books, which I think they've written off as lost by this point.
By the time we got home, I was ready to cook dinner and just flop on the couch, but nope. Mr. Idiot has plans for his Monday and they've gotta happen. We spent almost an hour moving a couch from the spare room into the living room, and moving the pull out couch into the spare room. I know that sounds like no biggie, but the movers tried to get that sucker into the spare room and failed. The people whose job it is to make things fit through doors couldn't get it, so these two Idiots figured they'd try. Yeah, pro tip, if the movers don't do it, don't try it yourself. Eventually we got it through the door with only minimal doorframe damage. I was sweaty, grouchy, had pulled something in my back, stabbed by invisible couch nails, and had yelled at Mr. Idiot at least six times to NOT DROP THE COUCH ON ME, the last thing I wanted to do was actually cook dinner.
But, what did I do? I went and made some awesome salad thanks to Michelle Tam over at nomnompaleo and as luck would have it, it was easy as hell. I did make a few modifications to her recipe, because I'm lazy and I need to improvise sometimes...

Asian nut salad
This salad is awesome because it makes enough for both of us to be full, and to have leftovers for our lunches tomorrow. And just let me say, Mr. Idiot eats A LOT for both lunch and dinner, so the fact that there's leftovers is saying something.

For the sauce, you'll need:

2 tbsp almond butter (I used peanut, sue me)
1 tbsp fish sauce (I'm pretty sure you could sub coconut aminos for this and be okay)
1 tbsp white vinegar.
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp applesauce (unsweetened)
1/2 tbsp garlic chili paste

For the salad:
2 chicken breasts
1 whole head of romaine lettuce
3 or 4 carrots, grated/julienned/sliced however
2 apples, sliced

This salad has shredded chicken in it, and before we got a hand mixer/food processor (THANKS MUM <3 ) we had to shred chicken by hand (like savages). So, my advice is boil the chicken breasts while you're doing everything else to cook them. If you don't have a mixer or anything, you can shred by hand once the breasts are cool, or use two forks to rip it to bits. Your call. IF however you just got God's greatest invention, the food processor, you're fine.

So, put the breasts on on boil and start grating/julienning/slicing your carrots. I used four medium carrots for this, but use your judgement. Whatever ratio of carrots to lettuce to apples you want is good.
A mandoline makes your life easy

Put your carrots in a big bowl.

Chop up the apples. I didn't peel them because I love apple skins, but that's totally your call. Slice them into eighths and then in half long-wise, so they've still got some chunk to them and toss them in the bowl with the carrots.

Hopefully, your chicken is done boiling, so let it cool if you're using your hands, or cut it into quarters and process that bitch.

Wash off the lettuce and rip it into bite-sized bits. I hate the giant...spines, whatever they are on lettuce, so I just ripped off the leafy parts.

Throw that into the bowl and mix it all up.

Combine all the ingredients for the sauce and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the coconut oil and soften the almond butter. Mix all that goodness together, pour over the salad and serve.

I was too damn tired to take any pictures after I'd added the chicken or the dressing or plated it, because I was so excited to eat and sit down.

This blog entry took longer to write than the salad took to make, so it's AWESOME when your feet hurt and you're hangry.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Breakfast of champions

Breakfast is a pretty easy meal for paleo, because it's basically bacon and eggs every morning, no sweat. Plus, that much protein in the morning means I'm not hungry again during the day until nearly three. As much as I love bacon and eggs in all its permutations (soft-boiled eggs, hard boiled eggs, scrambled, fried) sometimes it's nice to mix things up. I've been experimenting with paleo pancakes, but with zero success so far. There's tons of recipes online, but mine just turn into mushy puddles. 
So, we're sticking with egg-based recipes so far, but I'll keep experimenting with non-egg breakfast foods. 
Anyway, this Mexican inspired brekkie is an amalgamation of a few recipes I found online, and whatever the hell was in my fridge. I think I'm getting the hang of throwing things together and getting pretty solid results. 
I made this recipe again this weekend for Mr. Idiot, and improved it vastly, but...I didn't take any pictures for you, so use your damn imagination. 

Breakfast of Champions
This recipe kept me full right up until dinner last Sunday, and then again for breakfast and lunch the next day. So it will (in theory) feed four.

1 sweet potato, diced
1/2 bell pepper diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced (or 1 tbsp pre-minced stuff)
2 tbsp coconut oil
handful of spinach (Or any other filler you like, spring onions, broccoli, anything you like)
2 roma tomatoes (you can use any tomatoes, this is just what was in the fridge)
7 eggs
Bacon. As I've said before, you can NEVER have too much bacon, I made 4 strips each

Chop everything, all the veggies get diced up and thrown in together.
Once the veggies are chopped, add coconut oil to large skillet, and add garlic over medium heat. 
Once the pan is hot and the garlic starts to brown add in chopped vegetables. Don't add the spinach yet. 

Once the sweet potatoes are soft to the touch (Use a spoon, not your hands, dur) add in the spinach and lower the heat to medium low. 
Crack the eggs directly into the skillet and mix everything together until it's all a nice big lumpy mess. 
Serve with bacon and some sliced and salted avocado. Feel free to add salsa, hot sauce, whatever you like. 
Alternatively, substitute the bacon for pork sausage mixed in with the eggs. I added two big spoonfuls of salsa to the scramble, and it was SO MUCH better the second time around. I think the fat from the pork sausage really helped bring all the vegetable flavors out. 
So. Good. 
I'm now officially on the lookout for paleo tortillas, so I can make breakfast burritos with this lovely, delicious mess. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Idiot burgers w/ the wrong lettuce

Happy (Very, very) belated MLK day everyone! I hope you used your day off wisely like Mr Idiot and I did.

I mean, watching IT Crowd and Fringe all day on the couch is wise right? Right?

Well, whatever, judgeypants, we made some pretty damn tasty burgers too, so there.

I've been longing for a good burger for a while, and I'm going to have to seriously investigate some paleo bread options, so if you've got suggestions, send them my way. But, as I was browsing the internet wondering what the hell I was going to eat, as is my wont, I kept finding beautiful, cheesy, delicious looking pictures of burgers (thanks Tumblr, geez) and figured we could throw something together.

And so was the born Idiot Burgers With the Wrong Kind of Lettuce

We're still in the process of keeping on top of the vegetables we buy. I DETEST throwing away food, and I try really hard to use everything that we've bought (I'm looking at you slowly wrinkling apples) so I needed something that used up the tomatoes hiding on the bottom shelf, as well as the last of the mushrooms in the bottom of the crisper. I'm always nervous about mushrooms, after a few days they get a little slimy and all of a sudden, there's mushrooms in everything.

So, burgers!

1 lb ground turkey
2 Roma tomatoes
Several leaves of Romaine lettuce
However many mushrooms were left in the fridge (I think five)
1 avocado sliced
1 large sweet potato, sliced
2 tbsp coconut oil

I didn't want to defrost a whole 3-lbs of ground beef, so the little 1 pound ground turkey tubes that we found hidden in the wrong aisle at the grocery store came in handy.

We were also out of eggs, so we had no glue to hold the patties together and they were admittedly a little fragile. So next time, I'll be mixing an egg in to hold everything together better.

Anyway, roll out some patties with whatever ground meat you want to use. We made sliders, so I got nine out of one pound of turkey.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

I shallow fried the patties in coconut oil, they took about seven minutes to cook over medium high heat.

Cut the sweet potatoes into fry-sized bits (Mr. Idiot did that bit, and I have no idea how he cut them so you're on your own)

Coat the fries in coconut oil (I think Mr. Idiot cheated and used peanut oil, but shhhh) and a generous helping of salt and pepper.

Spread them out on a baking tray and make sure they have a little room to breathe or they'll get soggy, not crispy. Put those suckers in the oven for 15 minutes. Once the 15 minutes is up, flip them over and put them in for another ten. Check up on them, they should be getting brown, but not black. Add extra five minutes of baking as you need to.

Slice up the tomatoes, avocados and mushrooms.

I sauteed my mushrooms briefly in some coconut oil, but feel free to eat them raw if you want.

Arrange everything on your lettuce, and top.

We really should have used iceberg or something for this, because the romaine lettuce was a pain in the ass to use as a “bun”

We cut up a little sharp cheddar and put that on the patties too.

That's all, just go ahead on nom on these little burgers. They are delicious. Next time though, better lettuce.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Paleo snacks: back with a vengeance

Like I've said before, snacking while on the paleo diet can be a bit of a challenge. Paleo kind of requires that you prepare stuff, and the last thing I want to do when I want munchies is spend an hour cooking something. But, it also forces you to get creative with your snacks, and I like creativity.

This is a double duty recipe, which I love. This will do nicely for snack food or breakfast food. It's a different take on eggs and bacon, that's portable and really really fast.
These were a hit in the Idiot's house. I made a dozen when Mr. Idiot got a long lunch and came home, and about half an hour after he left I got a "DIBS ON THE REST OF THE MUFFINS" text. These are delicious hot out of the oven, cool from the counter or cold out of the fridge, and they are worth fighting over.

Eggs and bacon "muffins"
To make eight muffins:

4 eggs
8 strips of bacon
3 tbsp coconut flour (for reasons discussed last post, I'm still using regular flour because money)
2 tbsp bacon grease (or fat of your choice)
As much cheese as you feel is necessary

I think Mr. Idiot and I have come to the conclusion that our particular paleo does indeed include dairy. I can't abide fake cheese, and being totally honest with you, dear readers, almond milk is just not the same as a nice glass of icy cold cow juice. And cheese. This Idiot loves her cheese. We're working out our guidelines as we go along, but dairy has made the cut. You don't have to use cheese in these little mini muffins, so follow your heart.

To make a bigger batch of these you can just double everything, but keep in mind, one egg makes two muffins, the amount of bacon in this is completely arbitrary. There is never a need to cut down on bacon, so put in as much as you want. The flour is mostly for consistency, so if you follow the ration of 4 eggs to 3 tbsp, you should do okay. Ditto on the bacon grease.

Anyway, down to business.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, crack your eggs in a bowl and whisk in the flour.

Word to the wise, I googled a few of these paleo muffin recipes before cobbling this one together, and I did NOT read all the way through before I started cooking. If you don't have a food processor (like us) Do Not cook your bacon and try to cut it into bits. You will fling bacon all over your kitchen. Slice into strips prior to frying. Pro tip. Because I love you.

Once the bacon bits are lovely and crispy, add those to your egg "batter", and add the bacon grease as needed. If you're adding it straight from the pan it will cook the eggs a little as you add it, so keep the "batter" moving as you add the grease.

Add cheese (and any other ingredients you fancy. I think next time I'll be adding sliced peppers...endless possibilities)

Pour your mixture into muffin tins that you've sprayed with oil or lined with muffin cups and stick that baby in the oven for fifteen minutes, or until the tops are springy to the touch. Resist the temptation to fill the cups up all the way, these muffins rise a lot. Keep it at about 3/4 full.

Take out and enjoy!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Spaghetti squash noodle bowls aka most delicious thing on earth

Hello all. It's day 11 of the Idiots on paleo and things are going swimmingly. It's also (finally) time for Mr. Idiot to come back from training to sit in the mud and the rain and back to me, so we're very excited about that. He's not home yet and I imagine they're having him do important finishing up things like sit around, complain and waste time, so in the meantime let me tell you about perhaps the world's single most incredibly delicious food. I found this recipe on the awesome and if you're looking for truly good paleo fare, this is a place to check out.
One of the nicest things about eating paleo is that you're forced to get really inventive with your food, and to try out vegetables I didn't even know existed. Which is where I'm going with this Spaghetti noodle bowl.
This dish is really really easy, and so good that Mr. Idiot and I were fighting over who got the leftovers.
Now, I'll come clean here to those of you following this blog who are doing a strict paleo thing before we get to the recipe. I used regular Sriracha, not the paleo stuff, and I used soy sauce, not coconut aminos and peanut butter. Now I know none of those are paleo friendly but I cannot abide wasting perfectly good food, and I have soy and Sriracha and peanut butter at home already. I just can't bear the idea of getting rid of them and replacing them when there is really nothing wrong with them. I'm also of the school of thought that being fanatically strict about anything is a path to failure. You have to give yourself a little wiggle room or you're going to snap eventually and binge on things you miss. So, 95% of the time, what I eat is paleo. But I'm not throwing away perfectly good peanut butter, soy sauce or breadcrumbs. I just can't. /endrant.
Now, the main attraction:

Spaghetti Squash Noodle bowl with (aptly named) OMG sauce.

1 spaghetti squash cut in half with seeds and threads removed
Big handful of fresh spinach
1 head of broccoli separated into smaller bits
1 lbs of turkey
1 tbsp Sriracha
1tbsp coconut aminos

That's it for the main part of the dish. The recipe on uses pork, not turkey, but I had turkey in the freezer and it was bloody good anyway.

Now, arguably the most important part of this dish is the sauce.

OMG sauce

2 tbsp almond butter (I used peanut)
juice from 2 limes (I realized I didn't have any so I skipped it)
1 ½ tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce if you're me)
2 tbsp Sriracha
½ tbs honey
1 tsp sesame oil (I didn't have this, so I used extra coconut oil)
3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp ginger grated
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and put the halved spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking tray. The omgpaleo recipe says to bake for 20 minutes, or until the skin gives when you poke it, but it took us almost 40 minutes to get ours to give, so start earlier than you think. I think it depends on the size of the squash, and unbeknownst to us we got a massive one. Apparently.

Once the skin gives when you poke it, take it out and scrape out the inside. If you've cooked it enough, it will come out looking like noodles. Put in a bowl and set aside.

In a big pan over med-high heat put your turkey (or pork or whatever) in with 1tbsp of Sririacha and 1tbsp soy sauce. Cook it through and then put it in the bowl with the squash and set aside.

Put the broccoli in the pan and lower the heat a bit. Once it's browned slightly, put the lid on the pan and let it steam. We added ½ a cup of water so it wouldn't burn. I think when you cook with pork there's more fat, so there's more liquid to steam the broccoli, but our pan was pretty dry. So, use your brain, don't burn your broccoli. Once the broccoli is going, add the spinach and put the lid on. 

Once the spinach wilts, lower the heat again (to low) and add the squash and the turkey.

Let that simmer while you make the sauce.

Combine all the ingredients and mix together. Because coconut oil is a solid, and peanut butter isn't much of a liquid either, you'll have to microwave the sauce to get everything to combine properly. Once that's done, pour over the noodle bowls and eat.

Watch your plate though. This stuff is so good people are likely to try and steal it.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Better than the real thing

So it's been about a week now that Mr. Idiot and I have been paleo.
Well, it's been a week for me. Mr Idiot has been summoned by his country to do important training exercises, which I'm pretty sure primarily include learning how to lie in the mud and get rained dollars at work ladies and gents.
Anyway, they don't make paleo MREs so he's eating what he's given. But I've been (kind of) sticking to the paleo diet, and one of the most challenging parts of eating like a caveman is snacking. When I want a nibble throughout the day, I usually eat crackers, chips, toast, cookies, popcorn, none of which we're allowed to eat on this diet. So snacks have been a real struggle for me. Meals have actually bee much easier than I anticipated. And exponentially more delicious, but that's for another post.
I've been searching for all kinds of snack ideas to satisfy the cravings I get during the day, so here is a great one. If you've got paleo friendly snack ideas, please for the love of god share them, because extending my repertoire is going to be necessary to keep this diet going.

I was dubious about this when I tried it, but I was desperate for something crunchy and salty and it sounded worth a shot.
I was right, it was really really good. Mine got a bit burned, but I think that's because I cut it up too small. I used a popcorn recipe from that I made some adjustments to.

1 head of cauliflower, with large stems removed
coconut oil (you can use any fat you like)
garlic powder to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the cauliflower up into heads about the size of a ping pong ball. Don't do what I did and rip it into tiny little individual heads. Keep them fairly big, and cut the stems pretty short.

Combine your fat, salt and garlic (or whatever spice you'd like to use) in a bowl and coat the cauliflower in it.

Put the cauliflower in a baking tray, line it with parchment paper to save the cleanup, and put it in the oven for about an hour.

Check on it every ten or fifteen minutes to turn the cauliflower, and to make sure it's not burning.

Once it's golden brown and crispy, you're all done.
Mine is definitely burned, as you can see, but even then it was still so good. I'm going to put a little less salt in it next time, but those additions are really up to you and whatever you feel like. I'm pretty sure if you added cinnamon or another sweeter spice this would be equally good. 
This is fake popcorn. And I was of the impression that most fake things are bloody awful. Tofurkey is terrible, turkey bacon is an insult to real bacon, most of the time, the imitation is nowhere near as satisfying as the thing you're replacing.

This is an exception. This was just as satisfying, if not more so, than real buttery popcorn. It was extra good because it didn't evaporate in my stomach like popcorn does, it stuck around and I was hungry again until dinner time. Try this, even if you're not doing the paleo thing, it's very very easy, and surprisingly satisfying. I found myself wishing I had another cauliflower so I could make another bowl.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Easy cheesy (but not paleo) chicken and veg

So, I'm a little behind on the posts. We've been back at home for about a week now, so I've got some recipes to share from last week.
This one isn't paleo (sorry guys...). But it was pretty tasty, if that counts for anything.
This is kind of a...whatever you can get your hands on recipe. We ate this the night we got back from vacation. We drove back from Raleigh, and we were both pretty pooped, so a trip to the grocery store was definitely not happening. Before we left for AZ we'd gotten rid of pretty much all the perishable food items in the house so I threw this together with whatever we had. This was pretty damn tasty, and it'd be really easy to sub out whatever veggies you want, or whatever meat you have in the freezer to customize this however you like. The pasta and the cheese sauce are what make this non-paleo, but it would be easy to make this a paleo meal. I made a really basic bechamel sauce because I didn't have any pasta sauce handy, and I was waaaay too tired to make one from scratch, so I made a cheese sauce for the pasta. Dairy isn't exactly paleo (though it isn't exactly not paleo either) and you need a lot of milk for bechamel sauce, but I think coconut milk or almond milk would make a decent substitute, as well as almond flour instead of all purpose flour. My particular version of paleo includes dairy, but if you're stricter about it you could sub out the milk. The cheese is optional in bechamel sauce, I used sharp cheddar because I think it's a bit bland without cheese, but you can leave it out.

Easy cheesy chicken and veggies. Feeds two.

2 chicken breasts
½ a box of spaghetti
1 bag “California Style” frozen vegetables (broccoli, carrots and cauliflower)

For the bechamel sauce
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose (or almond) flour
4 cups milk (whole, coconut or almond, your call)
2 teaspoons salt
As much cheese as you feel is necessary. I used about two cups of grated sharp cheddar.

In a medium pan, heat the milk until it's almost boiling. DON'T let the milk boil, it gets all nasty.

In another pan melt the butter over med-low heat, add the flour and mix until all the lumps are gone. Turn the heat up to medium and let the butter and flour cook for about five minutes, or until it gets golden brown.

Add the heated milk to the butter mixture one cup at a time, whisking it constantly until smooth. Bring it to a boil and let it sit, mixing regularly for about ten minutes, adding in a handful of cheese at a time until it's all mixed in. Take it off the heat until you need it.

Cook the chicken breasts—I put them whole in the pan with the lid on over medium low heat and turned them every five minutes or so until they were cooked through. It's easy to burn them this way, but just pay attention to them

Once the breasts were pretty much cooked through, I added the frozen veggies, put the lid on and left it for a few minutes. While the veggies are going, cook the pasta, and everything should be done around the same time.

Plate and serve.

This was pretty tasty for being scrounged up out of the kitchen. And it burned through some of the pasta, which we're not allowed while we're paleo, but I'm too stingy to throw away a perfectly fine box of pasta. So it's just sitting in the cupboard, taunting me. Maybe I'll sneak it in in a few weeks. Have myself a cheat day. We'll see.

First post of the new year!

Hello! Welcome to 2014!
I know it's been a while since I've posted, so I'll fill you all in on how Mr Idiot and I spent the last few weeks.
Doing this. 
I was hesitant to post this before we left in case the family and friends read this blog (hi mom!) but we went home for the holidays. Originally, we weren't going to be able to afford the plane tickets, but thanks to the in-laws we made it home, much to everyone's surprise. I think I've decided to just surprise people all the time, because everyone was so thrilled to see us. Many tears were shed and many squeals were...squealed. We had a really lovely time at home, and the Arizona weather was a nice change from the east coast misery that's been happening over the holiday. I didn't do any cooking at all while we were home, which was another nice change, but I'm ready to get back behind the oven, so to speak.
Mr Idiot and I have decided to do a joint New year's resolution and get fit together, which means going paleo, for at least a little while. So keep an eye out for all kinds of paleo recipes. I'm actually really excited to try out this new kind of cooking. It might be kind of a challenge to go without grains and with seriously reduced sugar, but I'm kind of amped to try out recipes that are delicious but follow the rules.
I doubt we'll be able to do a really strict paleo, because that shit is expensive, but we'll be doing our best. If you've got any cool recipes, tips or stories from your paleo diet, please please share. I'd love to hear them.

So, here's to the 2014, a new year, a new start and another chance to get this Idiot cooking.  
I've been doing a lot of reading about the paleo diet since we got started, and there are tons of great resources out there if you're interested in trying it or just want to learn more about it. Steve Kamb over at NerdFitness has an awesome post that covers the basics. This is what Mr. Idiot and I are basing our paleo off of. It's not incredibly strict, there's a little wiggle room, and he's got some great advice for people living on a budget (us) who want to eat cleaner. I'm super excited to get into these recipes, and to share the best ones with you. 
Stay tuned! Stay cooking!