Category: Recipes

Back when we lived in Indiana, I used to make burgers with extra ingredients that we called Gourmet Burgers. The extra ingredients were garlic, onion, egg, milk, and breadcrumbs, and in the right proportions, they were very, very good. They could be grilled and stay moist and were delicious baked with a beef gravy and served with mashed potatoes. I’ve been kind of hungry for them lately, so that combined with my desire to make something appetizer-like for watching football today drove me in the direction of gourmet sliders.

Obviously the recipe had to be revamped, so I did a little research. Nomnompaleo has some yummy looking sliders with veggies integrated into them, but I was feeling more like a straight-up slider. I finally came up with the following ridiculously easy, delicious recipe. The nicest thing about it is that the numbers play nicely, so you can scale it up or down as necessary.

Without further ado, I bring you:

Amie’s Beef and Bacon Sliders
yields 24-32 three-bite hamburgers

3 pounds ground beef
1 pound bacon
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into several smaller pieces
3 medium eggs (optional–see note)
1/2 pound of mushrooms (optional–see note)
1 1/2 T. wye river black pepper seasoning

Method #1
There are two ways to prepare the meat mixture. The first way is to cut the bacon into small pieces–maybe five or six per strip–and then mince the onion and garlic. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or by hand. Shape into 2-ounce burgers and grill them or fry them, 3-5 minutes per side depending on thickness. Another nice thing about these little guys is that you know they are done when the bacon starts to brown.

Method #2
Because I so love my Kitchen Aid and it’s meat grinder attachment, and because I really wanted the bacon taste to blend into the meat, I took it out and set it up:

The Ingredients

That’s a package of Sam’s Club ground beef (this was an experiment, after all, and I never experiment with my grass-fed beef), 1 pound of Farmland bacon, 1 large onion, cut into chunks, 2 monster cloves of garlic, and one of the new glass bowls I got for Christmas from Tim and the kids. If you’ve never used one of these before, it’s fairly easy. The ingredients go on the white tray at the top and get fed into the tube, which is rotated by the KA motor, then the whole mixture is pushed out the circle and into the bowl. I used the coarser grinding attachment for this endeavor.

Then I started adding things. Katy was helping me. We rotated through the different ingredients to make sure it mixed evenly. It is much easier on the machine to add bacon slices that have been cut into 3 pieces than to just drop entire pieces in. Here’s what it looked like as it started combining:

And here is what it looked like when it was finished:

I’m still getting used to the new bowls. Turned out I could have used the next size up. But you can see what it looks like mixed up. The red is the ground beef and the brown and white are the bacon and the onion pieces. Add seasonings to taste. I just used the Wye River my sister-in-law awesomely gets for us every six months or so. It’s a perfect all-purpose seasoning. Tonight I used the black formula, but you could use the red formula as well for a little bit of kick. Mix it some more with your hands or a wooden spoon, and then take 2-ounce portions of meat, if you are precise, or small meatballs if you are not, and press them into small burgers. I cooked mine indoors, in the cast iron skillet. I added about 1 tsp of bacon grease to make sure the first ones wouldn’t stick.

I cooked them about five minutes per side. If you made them thinner, you could do three. As I said earlier, the edges of the burgers will brown nicely because of the bacon, giving you an idea of when it’s done.

These are great plated with raw spinach leaves or lettuce that has been chopped up to be slightly larger than the sliders,, and a veggie. If you’re not very-low-carbing it, you could add fries or sweet potato fries as well. You can make a little low-carb burger with the greenery. I would also absolutely take these to a party as an appetizer.


  • The amount of onion is totally to taste. After I mixed mine, I decided it wasn’t onion-y enough and added another half of a large onion. The results tasted great to me but the kids said the onion taste was too strong. So I took some of the leftover plain meat (about a half-pound) and mixed it with the last pound of meat mixture and the kids said that was much better. I left the original amount, one large onion, in the recipe. You can adjust it how you like.
  • About the egg: in theory you could also make full-size burgers out of this mixture. If I did that, I would add one egg per pound of ground beef as a binder and to keep them from drying out in the longer cook time. The bacon is pretty good insurance against drying out, but the egg can’t hurt, and adds protein to the dish as well.
  • About the ‘shrooms: if I were making these for myself, I’d have put some chopped mushrooms through the grinder as well as onion and garlic. But I wasn’t, and Tim and the kids are not mushroom fans, so I didn’t. But I think they would be very good. 🙂
  • About the Wye River: Here is a link to it. We use the original red and the spicy black. It’s basically a mixture of salt, pepper and a couple of other seasonings.  If you don’t have any of that on hand, just salt and pepper it to taste. You could also add pretty much any other seasoning that strikes your fancy.

Bon appetit!


While it might not have the same ring to it as a Fall Out Boy album, I promise to never put a picture of Pete Wentz’s boy parts on my blog, so you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.

Tonight I made Primal Chicken Tenders for our trip to IRM tomorrow. Primal Skeptic Claire proclaimed them not only good, but assured me I could serve them to her friends, which is what inspired the title of this post and made me happy. You know there’s stuff she’d eat just so she wouldn’t hurt my feelings, but being willing to serve them to friends…well that, my friends is a seal of approval.

Tonight was also my first experience cooking with lard, which I bought at Local Harvest Grocery in Tower Grove. It was different but ultimately delicious, and I recommend it highly. I put a little butter in there too to make sure it would brown right.

So, here you go:

Primal Chicken Tenders

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Coconut Flour
Fried Chicken Spices: I used granulated garlic, pepper, poultry seasoning, and a little seasoning salt

Pound out the chicken breasts with a meat tenderizer until they’re nice and even. If you get the bionic chicken breasts from Sam’s like I do, this is a workout in and of itself. Then take a sharp knife and cut them into strips or chicken tender like pieces. (Or be lazy and just get the chicken tenders from Sam’s which is what I will do next time)

Put about 1/2 pound of lard and a half-stick of butter into your frying pan. I used a 10-inch cast iron pan. Turn it to medium heat and let it melt, but keep an eye on it.

Crack a couple eggs into a bowl and beat, then set up your coconut flour for dredging. I always put mine on a large dinner plate and then mix in spices. I shake the garlic, pepper, and poultry seasoning across twice, and then the seasoning salt once. Each time I replenish the flour I do it again. Dip the chicken pieces into the beaten egg, then into the flour. Coconut flour has a slightly different texture than wheat flour, so it takes a little getting used to. I found rolling them back and forth got a nice covering of flour on it. You could also use almond flour, or some other gluten-free meal.  When the lard-and-butter mixture is ready, put the chicken in and cook it like regular fried chicken. Let it stabilize on a cooling rack placed on a cookie sheet.

I liked the color of this chicken and the taste. It was a little sweeter than regular fried chicken because of the coconut flour. Next time I think I will add a little more salt and maybe a dash of hot sauce or something to give it some kick and counteract the sweet. Overall it is really good and will make for a nice primal picnic lunch tomorrow.

Have a great weekend, everyone! See you Monday!

Just a quick note today about yesterday. We are getting ready to go to the Illinois Railway Museum this weekend so not a lot of time to write. Also, not a lot to report. Since I have been trying to eat 50 grams of protein for breakfast, my biggest problem is that I am not hungry for the rest of the day. So I have not been eating lunch. I can’t decide if I need to address that or not. My sense for now is, I eat when I’m hungry because Lord knows there’s plenty of fuel packed onto this body.

Yesterday’s recipe, since I promised to post a recipe for each day of the challenge, was one of those big breakfasts. I needed to cook it fast, and we were nearly out of investment-cooked bacon. So I created the bacon cheeseburger omlette (no cheese for Tim):

Bacon Cheeseburger Scramble (serves 2-4)
8 oz. ground beef, cooked
4 slices of bacon, cooked
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Veggie of your choice

Melt the butter in your cast iron pan. Place the ground beef and the bacon in the pan to warm up while mixing the eggs with the milk in a 6-cup measuring cup. When the beef and bacon are sizzing, pour the eggs over the meat and cook until done. Serve with a veggie on the side and cheese on top of each portion.

Most people are not trying to eat 50 grams of protein for breakfast, so I would say this recipe under normal circumstances would serve 4.  I ate half of it and couldn’t even think about food again until about 2:00pm. I ate my portion of it at BK and Reader Alli’s house at about 9:00 am while I was working and Alli commented that it looked yummy. Enjoy! 🙂

Today I’m doing the recipe first because it was pretty awesome, at least according to the reviews at the Trebing “Cave.” This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe I had for turkey from America’s Test Kitchen. I really like that show and Cook’s Country. They are not primal but they usually cook with whole foods, so it’s easy to adapt their recipes. I think eventually I’m going to do 4 chicken recipes, one that’s good for each season, but all I’ve got for now is a Fall version.

Amie’s Primal Chicken: Autumn
2 whole chickens
Ground Cinnamon
Ground Cloves
Poultry Seasoning
1 Apple, seeded and cut into eighths
1/2 large onion, quartered
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Remove any giblets, etc., that came with the chicken. (They can be simmered in a saucepan with carrots, celery, and onion for chicken stock that is out of this world–more on that another time). Rinse the chickens inside and out. Open the cavity and shake some cinnamon, cloves, and poultry seasoning inside, then add a slice of onion, a chunk of apple, and repeat. Place 1 tablespoon of butter on top of that, and then repeat again for a total of four slices/chunks of onion and four chunks of apple. Rub the outside of the chicken with another tablespoon or so of butter and the sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for about a half-hour per pound. Test with meat thermometer, then remove from oven and allow to rest before carving.


  • My chickens were about 4 pounds each, and took about 2 hours and 15 minutes to cook.
  • I use restaurant sized cinnamon and poultry seasoning and went with three shakes of the sprinkley side of each, and a shake of regular sized ground cloves. Use your favorite fall spices for this – you could also use nutmeg or allspice if you like those. Think apple cider spices. 🙂 America’s Test Kitchen also uses an orange, but I am saving that for the Winter edition of 4-seasons chicken.
  • I thought of the internal butter afterwards, but I think it would be a nice addition.
  • I baked my chickens in an 18-quart Nesco Roaster that doesn’t have the air attachment that my 6-quart roaster did, and the skin didn’t come out as crispy and delicious as I had hoped it would (or else there would have been pictures). Next time I think I’ll finish them in the oven.
  • I put these together in about 15 minutes this afternoon because I was teaching tonight, and with a canned or investment cooked veggie (like the asparagus that I could double the quantity I needed this morning for leftovers tonight) and a quick carving, you could have dinner on the table in 20 minutes. They could also be cooked one evening for lunch or dinner the next.

And now, onto Nutrition:

Breakfast: 3 sausage patties crumbled into 4 eggs with sauteed onion and asparagus, water to drink
Lunch: I wasn’t hungry and kinda forgot to eat
Dinner: leftovers from main dinner
Cheat: half of a 20-ounce Coke purchased in a fit of stress after my car accident today. I literally walked into Circle K, filled a 20-ounce cup with ice, and then filled it halfway with Coke, so I am guessing maybe 10 ounces.

…Wait, did you just say car accident?

Yep, highlight of the day. Coming home from teaching class this afternoon, some “jackoff” as the other guy referred to him, made a left turn, cutting me off. When I hit my brakes to avoid hitting him, brakes + downhill + wet pavement made me lock up. I started to skid into the other westbound lane, then corrected, but slightly over-corrected as I wound up sliding into the turn lane the “jackoff” had just turned from and clipped the car that had been behind him. Police said it was the jackoff’s fault, but neither the other driver nor I had noted his license plate number, so we get to both call our insurance agencies and tell them we had an accident that wasn’t our fault, but wasn’t the other guy’s either. Good times. Still no excuse for the soda though. Weak sauce on my part.


Primal Challenge, Day 2/30

First, the nutrition on the day:

Breakfast: 1 boneless chicken breast, 4 eggs, asparagus
Lunch: hamburger patty with bacon and cheese, salad (thanks, Reader Alli! 🙂 )
Dinner: “hamburger gravy” (recipe follows) with spinach

Exercise: Walked Katy up to school this morning, walked part-way home from my meeting in Whispering Hills subdivision tonight (Tim happened to drive by and picked me up. Who can resist a cute guy in a red sports car?)

Here is my recipe for Hamburger Gravy. It’s basically like biscuits and gravy, but with hamburger meat instead of sausage. I just had mine with a veggie, but non-Primals could eat with biscuits, and Primals could try it with gluten-free biscuits such as coconut or almond meal biscuits.
Chopped Onion
Chopped Peppers
(All of those things are optional and to taste)
1 lb. ground beef
Salt, pepper, granulated garlic powder
Heavy cream/half-and-half/whole milk — maybe a cup?
Almond flour

Brown the ground beef with the onion, mushrooms, peppers, or other vegetables of your choice that brown well with hamburger meat. Remove the meat and veggies and drain the bulk of the grease, but don’t get all obsessive about it or wipe out the pan or anything like that. Add 2-3 tablespoons of butter or bacon grease and about the same of almond flour and cook over medium heat until it thickens and turns a nice brown color (this is a roux, with almond flour, and it shouldn’t smell burnt. Keep stirring it to keep it from sticking/burning). Add cream a little at a time, stirring constantly, until it is a little thinner than you would like it. Add the meat and veggies back, stirring to evenly distribute the gravy.

If you do it right, it’s kinda like a crustless shepherd’s pie.

Why do I drain the meat? In this instance, I did it I didn’t know the source of the meat other than it was reduced for quick sale 80% from Sam’s. If it were grass-fed, I don’t think it would generate enough fat and I’d have to add the extra fat anyway.

This would also be delicious over mashed cauliflower, although I don’t get into the “see how it’s like mashed potatoes?” thing. Cauliflower isn’t bad, but it ain’t mashed potatoes! Just wait until a high-activity day and eat the darn potatoes with a good quality butter and cream or sour cream.

File this under, “ways in which I’m grateful I’m not actually a cavewoman.”

Friday I came down with a really, really bad toothache. A good chunk of Saturday, all of Sunday, and all of Monday I was miserable. Tuesday I felt much better, thanks to antibiotics and a visit to Des Peres Dental Group, and today I am back on the horse. Tomorrow? Said tooth will be extracted, so we’ll see. Nevertheless, while I tend to regard modern medicine with a healthy amount of skepticism, I am happy for the existence of Keflex and Vicodin, and even happier for the existence of Demerol which works better than Vicodin and doesn’t give me trippy dreams.

Something possibly only interesting to me about this experience: my face has gotten a lot thinner since I started this whole primal thing. I’ve heard people say it’s from the inflammation in your body from eating grain, which I buy because if grains can cause inflammation in your stomach and other parts of your body, why not your face? Anyway, this weekend, the left side of my face was very swollen, and I thought it looked like a “before and after.” I also gained 2.5 pounds between body inflammation and water weight (water was the only thing that made my mouth feel better, and on Monday alone I drank 400 ounces of it), and then lost it when the infection subsided and the swelling went down.

Recipe time!

Reader BK recently requested the recipe for Nutty Blueberry Protein Balls, which I delivered to him one day at Starbucks as a Primal alternative to his beloved donuts. No, they were not so good that he immediately swore off donuts. But he did ask for the recipe, which is a pretty good endorsement!

Nutty Blueberry Protein Balls
(from Primal Blueprint: Quick and Easy Meals)

4 dates, pits removed
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
2 T. coconut oil
1/2 c. fresh or defrosted blueberries (fresh works best)
1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

Pulverize dates in a food processor until a paste forms, about 40 seconds (the paste will come together in a clump). Add walnuts and macadamia nuts and blend until very finely chopped, about 35 seconds. With the blade still running, drizzle in coconut oil and stop as soon as the oil is blended in. Scrape the batter into a bowl and stir in the blueberries and 1/4 cup of the coconut. Form the batter into round balls, then roll in leftover shredded coconut. Pop a few in your mouth immediately, and refrigerate the rest for snacking later.

Notes: I didn’t have macadamia nuts, and the budget was straining from purchasing hazelnuts for primal nutella, so I skipped them and used a mixture of walnuts and pecans I had on hand. Still delicious. Also, I’m planning to make these again with shaved dark chocolate in place of the blueberries. I’ll keep you posted.

Hooray for a cooking post with pictures!

A few years ago, Tim and I went to Chicago with Tim’s brother Tom and Tom’s wife Kelly. While we were there, we ate at Buca di Beppo, which was pretty yummy! Tim had something called Pork Rustica which was a pork dish with a blueberry stopping that I’ve played around with trying to recreate but have never actually done. However, the kiddos aren’t fans of blueberries, so I knew I needed something else too, and I wanted to make something Claire would like, so I decided to make an apple topping too. You certainly don’t have to make both toppings, or you could make both and combine them!

Here are the ingredients:

Pork chops

Blueberry topping

Apple topping











I cored the apples and pitted the dates, then chopped both and set them aside. I used Gala but you could use any fairly sweet apple, or maybe a sweet-spicy such as Fuji. After two apples, I said, I think that’s enough, so there’s only two apples in the recipe even though there’s four in the picture. I still used two dates though.

I started with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in my 12-inch cast iron skillet. Heat it up and then nestle some pork chops in there. I also put a little bit of granulated garlic and pepper on them. Coconut oil likes to be busy doing something, so I fill up the pan as much as possible:

I turned the heat up fairly high (“7” on my kinda crappy electric stove) and seared the pork chops for 3 minutes on each side before going into a 13 x 9 baking dish.

While the pork chops were cooking, I put the chopped apples and dates in my 8-inch cast iron pan with 2 tablespoons of butter, and sprinkled some ground cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg on top. I turned the heat to medium low (“3” on the stove) and let it cook for a bit, stirring it to make sure the apples were evenly coated with butter and spices:

These apples now look like potatoes, but they are apples, I promise. In the background is the chicken stock that Tim made.After the apples had cooked for a bit, I called Claire in. She took a sniff and said, “It smells like Christmas!”

I cooked a total of 8 pork chops, so it took three batches in the pan. After the second batch it looked like the pan needed some more oil, so I put another teaspoon of coconut oil in there. When they were done, they looked like this:

Pork Chops: We're tired! We need to finish cooking and then rest!

They went into the oven at 325 to finish up cooking while I made the blueberry sauce.

I turned down the heat on the larger pan and used about a third of a cup of red wine to deglaze it, then added 2 cups of blueberries and a tablespoon of lemon juice. I gave the berries a quick stir and then let them sit until they started to swell and split. Then I mashed about half of the berries with a fork to make it a little saucier and mixed it again. I turned down the heat to let the sauce cool and thicken a bit:

Mash half the blueberries (top) and then stir (bottom)

At this point, I had to go to the Cor Jesu fall sports rules meeting, so I turned the camera over to Tim. I had 2 potatoes (for the kids) and a sweet potato (primal approved, for Tim and me) baking in the oven, and Tim steamed some broccoli to go with it:

He also made a greens plate with lettuce, baby spinach, and celery, but I’m not including a picture of that.

A couple of notes: the pork is from Sam’s, nothing fancy. You can use whatever kind of coconut oil you want, but it should be good at medium and high temperatures. The dates are optional, I thought they’d add some moisture, but I couldn’t really tell they were there. The apples were kind of thick, but if you want the apple topping to be more of a sauce, you could mix in a little bit of cream, water, or even chicken stock.

Tim and I both thought it was good, and the kids liked theirs too. Success!

So, how quickly can you put this together? I took my time, and took pictures and such. But I’m thinking you could do it in about 45 minutes, depending on how you cook the potatoes. I like to start mine in the microwave and finish them in the oven. The potatoes are optional as well, you could skip them and do a salad instead.

Tomorrow I’m going to start a recipes page with no pictures, so take a look over there if you want the recipes.
Bon appetit!

After church, we took the kiddos to Tony’s Donuts to pick out two donuts each. (I actually walked out of Tony’s Donuts with no donuts for myself.) When we got home, the kids scarfed their pastries and I started work on my first creation of the day: Chocolate Raspberry Smoothies. I didn’t take pictures, but here is the recipe:

1 scoop of Whole Foods 100% Whey Protein Powder (Vanilla flavored)
1/2 can of coconut milk (6.75 ounces)
2 tsp. cocoa
1 Tbsp. almond butter
1 cup raspberries
8-10 ice cubes

Directions: Mix all ingredients except ice in the blender. Add the ice cubes to your desired consistency.


  • I like Whole Foods 365 Coconut Milk the best. It tastes good and it’s not as expensive as some of the others. Also, if you buy 24 cans (about a month’s supply for our family, you get 10% off.
  • The cocoa is more or less to taste.
  • The almond butter thickens it a little and gives it a creamy yummy taste, but you probably could do without it.
  • I would say this makes 2 servings. We all had a little to try it.

Nutrition (per serving):

  • 310 calories
  • 11.9 grams of protein
  • 13.7 grams of carbohydrates
  • 24 grams of fat

Primal Nutella!

Nutella is one of my very favorite things in the whole world. I first had some when working at a little French cafe in Occoquan, VA (RIP Cafe Rochambeau), where they served Nutella and jelly to kids instead of peanut butter and jelly. It was love at first sight:

*choir of angels singing*

So I was thrilled when I found this recipe and even more thrilled when it turned out to be good. Thank you and God bless you, Gillian Fritzsche.

This is delicious with fruit and whipped cream, and really decadent spread on a coconut pancake instead of maple syrup.

Without further ado:

Primal Nutella


8 oz. hazelnuts, roasted and shelled

3 T. cocoa

1 T. stevia extract

Coconut oil


Spread the hazelnuts evenly in a shallow pan. Roast for 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Let cool for at least one hour, preferably four to eight hours. Shell the hazelnuts and add to food processor bowl. Process on high for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture resembles cookie dough. Add the stevia and cocoa and process until blended. Add the coconut oil gradually, 1 teaspoon or tablespoon at a time, until it is the consistency of a spread. Store refrigerated.


The first time I made this I had not yet tried cooking with stevia, and it was kind of bitter plain, so I went non-primal and added 1/4 cup of powdered sugar to it. If you are looking for a more natural nutella recipe, this is also a good option.

Here is a video of Gillian herself making this recipe: Gillian’s Nutella Video