We are back! And boy have we missed you. Now that our ice cream has its own site at thegingerkitchen.com, we can continue blogging here with our new name! Let’s get right to it!
In January, I decided to train for a half marathon. I won’t bore you with the details as to why, but if you are interested, you can read about that on my running blog. I was hoping all the training would take off the pounds, but after 17 grueling weeks, I was down only 10. After my first half marathon in May, I took 6 weeks off to recuperate and then I started re-training for my next half marathon. This time, I decided to change my diet too and explored the Paleo diet. It was tough at first. I love bread, beans, dairy and sugar—all big no-no’s. I started reading Paleo blogs containing recipes and articles about the health benefits. Jon and I had already adjusted our diet tremendously over the past few years, cutting out almost all boxed or frozen foods, and most canned foods, and focusing on veggies, fruit, and protein as our main sources of sustenance. The Paleo diet just pushed us further. And I say “us” because when I told Jon I wanted to pursue this, he realized he’d have to eat that way too or we’d be forced to prepare two separate meals.
And then a funny thing happened. I started to enjoy the meal planning and preparation. I started to enjoy finding new and creative ways to prepare foods that followed the rules of Paleo. And here’s an even funnier thing. Jon enjoys the food too… like a lot, and that makes me so happy. So, while I will still be sharing flavorful recipes here, many of them will follow the Paleo diet. Perhaps it may even inspire some of you to try it when you see just how well we are still eating without the carbs, beans, dairy and sugar.
First up, Italian Ragout. I found the original recipe on one of my favorite Paleo Blogs, Stupid Easy Paleo, and this one lives up to that name. I substituted and added a lot to this and it turned out better than we expected. I went back for seconds, which is something I NEVER do, and Jon kept saying, “Wow, this is really good.” It’s so comforting and warm, and also healthful, which makes it a definite winner in our book. Plus, it makes a ton, so you can enjoy it all week for lunch or dinner.
- 2 Italian sausages, casings removed
- 1 lb lean ground chicken
- 1 eggplant, diced
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 15 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 15 oz can artichokes
- 4 oz mushrooms
- 1/2 cup sliced green olives
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon paprika smoked sweet
- 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or oil of choice)
In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the ground chicken and Italian sausage until cooked through. Drain any excess fat and move the meat to a separate bowl.
Prepare the veggies: slice and sweat the eggplant and then dice, slice the onion and dice the tomato and sweet potato.
In the same pot over medium-high heat, add a spoonful of your fat of choice. Add the onion and sauté until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients – eggplant, tomato, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, olives, sweet potato and spices.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, partially covered for about 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. Dish into bowls and enjoy.