Greek Spiced Flank Steak Bites

Greek Spiced Flank Steak Bites

It’s time to finalize the Christmas menu! Add some extra festive flare to your party with these colorful bites. Allergen friendly hor d’oeuvres can be hard to come by. My pre-paleo staples were hummus, cheese & crackers and flatbread pizzas, which are far outside my current diet. These little steak bites are a great crowd pleaser and free of most common allergens.

Flank steak is easy to marinade and one of the more inexpensive cuts of beef. Be careful not to overcook it. The meat will become too chewy to enjoy. For extra spice flavor, let the steak marinate overnight.

Greek Spiced Flank Steak Bites
Greek Spiced Flank Steak Bites

Greek Spiced Flank Steak Bites
Greek Spiced Flank Steak Bites
Greek Spiced Flank Steak Bites
Makes 2 dozen steak bites.

Steak Marinade

1 lb flank steak
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp garlic – minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 red bell peppers – sliced
2 green bell peppers – sliced
1 yellow onion – sliced
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp salt

►Whisk together all marinade ingredients. Place steak in a baking dish and coat thoroughly on all sides. Cover and marinate for two hours in the fridge.

►Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat baking pan with coconut oil. Toss onion and peppers with salt and spread out into pan. Cook for 15 minutes.

►Remove steak from marinade and discard. Heat a large cast iron frying pan on high heat. Melt 1 tbsp coconut oil. Place steak in pan. Let sear 2-3 minutes, until browned. Then using tongs, flip steak and sear on other side for 2-3 minutes.
►Turn off the heat and move your pan to another cool burner. Let the steak sit in the pan for 5-10 minutes so it can continue to cook a bit.
(120°F for very rare, 125°F for rare, or 130°F for medium rare. Flank steak is best rare to medium rare.)
►Remove steak to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Leave the juices in the pan.
►Slice the steak very thin, against the grain so you cut through the tough long muscle fibers. This prevents the meat from being chewy.

►Go back to the pan and scrap up all the browned bits. Throw in 2 tbsp of water and heat over high heat. Stir together until juices thicken a bit, about 3 minutes. Use this as sauce for the steak.

To assemble the bites.
►Take1 slice of each pepper and onion, then spiral the steak around them. Repeat this until all steak strips are used. You can use toothpicks to secure them. Serve plain or drizzled with the steak sauce.

Greek Spiced Flank Steak Bites

Balsamic Bacon Fig Jam

Balsamic Bacon Fig Jam

I attended a grand, Southern wedding this fall with a buffet selection to make a bacon lover weak in the knees. There were four rooms of buffet tables and every single dish involved bacon. Candied bacon, peppered bacon, bacon wrapped potatoes, bacon mac & cheese, bacon shrimp and grits, and even the vegetable dishes were cooked in bacon grease. I think I even heard some guests squeal. All that food posed a predicament though. So much deliciousness and not enough stomach space.

My husband and I must have eaten a pound of bacon each that night. I don’t recommend this. We felt less than optimal the next day and we didn’t have one sip of alcohol. How do you say no to bacon though?! It’s nearly impossible.

I believe in real bacon. None of that sorry imitation turkey stuff. Thick, juicy pork fat. Bacon from happy hogs is preferable too, pastured pigs raised humanely in a natural environment.

The bacon feast inspired me to take the fatty meat to a new level. Balsamic Bacon Fig Jam was born.

Balsamic Bacon Fig Jam
Balsamic Bacon Fig Jam
Makes 2, 12 ounce jars.

4 pieces thick bacon
4 cups of onions – chopped
1 tsp salt
7 fresh figs – chopped
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
½ tsp fresh rosemary or 1 large sprig
¼ cup water
1 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar

►Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat and cook bacon until crispy, about 10 minutes. Move bacon to a cooling rack and let the grease drip off into a bowl. Pour ¾ of the bacon grease from pan and leave the rest. Reserve the extra grease for other cooking.
 the onions in bacon grease over medium heat. Sprinkle in the salt, cooking until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in figs, maple syrup, black pepper, cayenne and rosemary.
►Once bacon has cooled, chop into small pieces. Add to the pot with water and stir together. Cook for 10-15 minutes until a thick, jam consistency forms.
►Remove from heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar.
►Keep refrigerated in a glass mason jar. Serve as an appetizer with fresh chopped veggies or as an accompaniment to pork, chicken or eggs.

*Recipe loosely based on Chef John’s Bacon Jam.

Thanksgiving Grain-free “Cornbread” Dressing

Thanksgiving Grain-free "Cornbread" Dressing

When I think of Thanksgiving, I go right to the dressing. Turkey is a side dish. All I want is a huge plate of my Granny’s dressing drenched in giblet gravy with some turkey sprinkled on top.

And yes, it’s called dressing. Not stuffing. Who actually stuffs their turkey anyway? It’s called dressing when you cook it in a pan. If you bake a stuffed turkey, you run the risk of bacteria developing since it takes longer for the stuffing to reach an appropriate temperature than the bird. Then you have an overcooked, very dry turkey.

My Granny’s dressing is famous in our family. She has to use her largest pan to meet the demand. But now that I try to limit grains in my diet, I challenged myself to recreate the recipe. I took the base of my Granny’s dressing and substituted the cornbread for cauliflower and parsnips.

This low carb alternative has an unbelievably similar consistency and it looks, tastes and smells exactly like dressing. Cauliflower absorbs whatever flavor you spice it with and parsnips add some crunch.

The nutrition is unmatched in comparison to the original recipe. The original is made with cornbread and white bread, which offer little nutritionally and cause a great spike in your insulin levels. Heavy carbs are to blame for the lethargic feeling and infamous post Thanksgiving meal nap. My new version adds an extra serving of veggies and I won’t feel guilty going back for that second helping.

Thanksgiving Grain-free "Cornbread" Dressing

Makes 6 servings.

3 cups – cauliflower – minced
1 cup parsnips – chopped
1 ½ cup celery – chopped
½ cup – onion – chopped
1 tsp garlic – minced
1 tbsp butter for roasting and sautéing
1 egg – whisked
½ cup chicken stock
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt

►Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut up cauliflower into small chunks and food process until it’s the consistency of rice. Butter a baking pan and spread onto the pan.
►Chop parsnips into small cubes and spread over a buttered baking sheet.
►Bake both the parsnips and cauliflower for 10 minutes.
►While those are baking, sauté the onion, celery and garlic in 1/2 tbsp butter for 3 minutes until onions are translucent.
►Combine cauliflower, parsnips and sautéed vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, stock, seasoning and salt and then mix well.
►Heat oven to 350 degrees.
►Spread into a 13”x9” baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.
►Serve with turkey and generous amounts of gravy.