Paleo Beef Liver Meatball and Cabbage Soup

Yup, I said it.  “Cabbage” and “liver” in the same recipe title.  But trust me, if I didn’t find it to be 100% delicious, I would not be sharing it with you.  I’ve been intrigued by the amazing health benefits of grass-fed liver for a while now, but I wasn’t really sure of how to introduce the topic on this site.  Liver is not something that most people tend to get excited about and so in order to sell it, I knew I’d have to find an incredible way to prepare it.  I’ve tried the classic liver and onions, a chopped liver sandwich, and even a curried version (which was actually pretty good but I forgot to write down my recipe).  This is the first that I feel I can confidently promise you will love.  Now, on to a discussion of the health benefits.

Beef liver is an extremely nutrient dense food, providing an abundance of vitamin A, B vitamins, copper, zinc, iron and folate.  These vitamins are essential for proper functioning of the immune system, combatting fatigue, promoting healthy metabolism, and protecting against oxidative stress.  On top of all that, it is very high in protein.  I find that when I eat liver, it takes hours for me to feel hungry again.  Which is unusual for a snack-monster like me  🙂

The nice thing about this recipe is that there are many layers of flavor that make the liver much less noticeable.  There is a savory, salty broth made with a parmesan rind, lots of hearty vegetables, and the meatballs which contain ground beef, liver, and spices.  You can also adjust the amount of liver according to your taste.  Try just 1/4 pound if you’re not sure about the stuff or go all the way to 3/4 pound if you’re a liver-eating pro.

Do you include liver in your diet?  If so, what are your favorite ways to prepare it?

Beef Liver Meatball and Cabbage Soup
makes 12 servings

Ingredients
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 3 large carrots, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ pieces
– 4 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
– 1 zucchini, quartered and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
– 1 large head of cabbage, shredded (about 8 cups)
– 8 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
– 1 parmesan rind
– salt, to taste

– 1 lb ground beef (grass-fed, if possible)
– 2/3 lb beef liver (use more or less, to taste)
– 1 egg
– 1 Tbsp ground flax
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp paprika
– 1 tsp dried oregano

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add carrots and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes.  Add zucchini and sauté another 5 minutes, until vegetables are starting to soften.  Add cabbage and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.

2. Add broth or stock and parmesan rind.  Bring to a simmer and prepare meatballs.

3. Place liver in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Place in a large bowl with ground beef, egg, flax, salt, paprika, and oregano.  Mix ingredients until uniformly distributed.  In a large sauté pan, heat a little more olive oil.  Drop beef mixture by tablespoonfuls into the pan and cook for about 1 minute on each side, until lightly browned.  They do not have to be cooked all the way through as they will continue cooking in the stock pot with the soup.

4. Add meatballs to the soup and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.  Add salt to taste.  Serve hot.

* I shared this post with this week’s Whole Foods WednesdayReal Food WednesdayAllergy Free Wednesday, Gluten-Free WednesdayFrugal Days, Sustainable WaysHearth and Soul HopFat Tuesday and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Moroccan Carrot Salad with Raisins

One of my favorite bits of kitchen wisdom is that good things can come from mistakes.  My new favorite summer salad began as a failed attempt to make an Indian carrot halwa.  For some reason, I decided that if I was already grating one carrot for the recipe, I might as well grate half a dozen more.  I ended up with about 8 cups of shredded carrots but decided that I hated my halwa (my fault…I did not even remotely follow the recipe!).  What to do with the rest?

This moroccan carrot salad was the perfect solution.  I ended up making a single serving of it every day for about a week.  The pre-shredded carrots stayed fresh in an airtight container and the salad came together in no time.  I highly recommend this for days when it feels too hot to cook.  It is best eaten on a patio in the shade!

Moroccan Carrot Salad with Raisins
makes 2 servings

Ingredients
–  2 cups shredded carrots
–  1 Tbsp olive oil
– juice from 1 lemon
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– 1/2 tsp paprika
– 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– pinch of salt
– 2 Tbsp raisins

Mix everything together and serve.

* I shared this post with this week’s Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back FridayPennywise Platter and Wellness Weekend.

Sweet Potato Nachos

Hello!  I have been completely sidelined from the blogosphere by a particularly brutal week of school.  I’ve still got one midterm exam and a couple of papers to go, but I had to take a quick break to write a post about the incredible lunch I just ate…sweet potato nachos.  They are basically like regular nachos but with sweet potatoes taking the place of tortilla chips.  They’re quick, versatile, and you can make them as light/healthy or decadent as you want.

I was leaning towards decadence today.  These did not let me down.

I topped mine with refried beans, lean ground beef (cooked with taco seasoning), verde salsa, cheese, avocado, and sour cream.  If you want it vegetarian, I might suggest sprinkling taco seasoning on the sweet potatoes or mixing it into your beans.  I think the extra oomph from the spices makes a big difference.  I think I’m going to try that tomorrow 🙂

To make the sweet potato chips, just slice your sweet potatoes into rounds and bake on a greased pan at 450F for 15 minutes.  Then flip them and let them bake for another 10-15 minutes.  If you buy organic sweet potatoes, you can leave the skin on.  Otherwise, you might want to peel.

I cannot wait to eat these again tomorrow.

Ok, I’m going to go hit the books for another few hours.  Tonight, J and I are getting treated to fancy dinner at Clyde Common by some folks he is working with so I have some motivation to work hard this afternoon!

 

Baked Delicata Squash (or, the weirdest lunch I ever made)

Well, it didn’t take long for school to get back into full swing.  I try not to look too far ahead at my calendar since doing so is likely to throw me into a panic.  I haven’t had a chance to cook a real meal in almost a week, but I’m trying to at least keep the kitchen stocked with quick, healthy food options…and sometimes even that doesn’t quite happen.  Like the other day when I realized that the only thing I really had to pack for lunch was a baked delicata squash.  An entire delicata squash.

It was actually delicious.  It’s just that I don’t think I would recommend making it the main and only course of your meal 🙂  If you haven’t had one of these before, I recommend that you make it your next side dish.  Delicata squash are ridiculously easy to make and have a lovely sweet flavor.  Best of all, their skin is so thin (you might say delicate) that you can eat it along with the flesh.  It’s a lazy person’s dream come true.  This, as well as most types of winter squash, pairs well with other sweet flavors.  Brown sugar is a favorite but you could definitely experiment with another sweetener of your choice.  For this recipe, I actually decided not to add any extra sugar and relied on the sweetness of the squash instead.  I found that this was plenty for me.

Baked Delicata Squash
serves 2

Ingredients
– 1 squash
– a little olive oil
– 1 Tbs coconut oil (or butter)
– a few dashes of cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 400F and lightly oil a baking sheet.  Using a sharp knife, cut off the ends of the squash and cut in half, lengthwise.  Scoop out seeds.

2. Place squash face-down on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until squash is tender and easily pierced with a fork.

3. Remove from oven and spread coconut oil or butter evenly between the two halves.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Serve warm.

I love the coconut oil in this, which is good because I have a LOT of coconut oil in my pantry at the moment.  I mean, I have a ridiculous amount for someone who does not have a restaurant of a family of, like, 12 to feed.  Why do I have so much coconut oil?  Because I love deals and when I ran out of my last jar of coconut oil I decided to find the most cost-effective (per ounce) replacement.  I ended up finding it on amazon.com.  The catch being, of course, that it was in bulk.  So here is what showed up on my doorstep a few days later.

[Headsmack]  I love deals too much for my own good.