Hungarian Paprika – Beef Goulash

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This is such wonderful comfort food. Hearty, deep, savory, and yet, bright, delicate, and nuanced at the same time. It’s not a traditional or labor intensive version of the dish, but all the best reasons why it’s a classic remain. Easy weekday fare. I am definitely a meat and potatoes kind of girl.

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Hungarian Paprika – Beef Goulash
Adapted from Williams Sonoma

Ingredients:
2-3 lb. beef chuck roast
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs Hungarian paprika
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 cup beef or chicken broth
28 oz can diced tomatoes
8 red potatoes, about 2 pounds total, cut into 1″ cubes

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Instructions:
Place the onion and garlic into a large slow cooker. Season the beef generously with the salt, pepper, and paprika, and place on top of the onions in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the meat from the slow cooker away from all the juices and soft onions and set aside. Back to the slow cooker of, add in the caraway, oregano, liquid smoke, tomato paste, broth, tomatoes, and potatoes. Cook on high for 2 hours.

Once the roast has cooled a bit, trim any big pieces of fat, the bone, if there is one, and then shred the meat roughly. Add the meat back to the slow cooker, where the potatoes should be soft and the sauce thickened up a bit. Stir to combine and serve! Better the second and third day, as all stews are.

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Weekend Dinner: Balsamic Roast Beef, Cauliflower and Herbed Barley Salad, Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Beets

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This was a lovely dinner. Simple roasted vegetables. Hearty grain. Melt in your mouth beef.

Balsamic Roast Beef
Adapted from Add a Pinch

Ingredients
1 3-4 pound boneless roast beef (chuck or round roast)
1 cup beef (or chicken or veg) broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs honey
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
6 cloves garlic, chopped

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Instructions
Place roast beef into the insert of your slow cooker. In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix together all remaining ingredients. Pour over roast beef, cover with lid, and cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Once roast beef has cooked, remove from slow cooker with tongs onto a cutting board. Break apart lightly with two forks, put into a serving dish and then ladle about 1/2 cup of cooking juices from the slow cooker over roast beef.

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BONUS! Onion Butternut Beef Soup
With all the remaining glorious cooking liquid remaining in the slow cooker, make an onion soup! Add in a chopped, caramelized onion, a couple cups of water, and 2 cups chopped winter squash. Cook on low again in the slow cooker for 4-6 hours. There will be a lot of fat in the broth from the beef, so I let the soup cook completely in the fridge and them remove the solidified layer of fat from the top before reheating and serving. Makes great lunch.

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Warm Cauliflower and Herbed Barley Salad
Adapted from Bon Appétit, March 2013

Ingredients
1/2 cup pearled barley
Kosher salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 15-ounce can white or butter beans, rinsed (or I used 1.5 cups cooked lentils)
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, divided (or 2 Tbs dried parsley)

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Instructions
Place barley in a large saucepan; add water to cover by 2″. Season with salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, 30-40 minutes. Drain; run under cold water. Set aside. Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and oil in a medium bowl until emulsified. Season dressing with salt and pepper; set aside. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cauliflower; cook, turning occasionally, until browned in spots, 10-12 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water, cover, and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl; add beans, parsley, reserved barley, and the dressing. Toss to coat and serve warm.

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Beets – same ol’ simple way

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All together now! Lovely dinner. Great leftovers.

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Sausage, White Bean, and Herb Soup

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I had some sausage leftover from a large package I’d opened for a ragu earlier and with some homemade chicken broth and hearty herbs, this soup came together so easily and it made the house smell wonderful as it simmered through a lazy afternoon last weekend. I stored the soup in jars for an easy to pack lunch and it’s been wonderful to eat through this week. Aren’t cold weather soups so comforting? This brothy, spicy, fresh combination of flavors will save any day you ask it to.

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Sausage, White Bean, and Herb Soup

Ingredients:
1 lb spicy Italian ground pork sausage
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups carrots, finely chopped or shredded
2 cups celery, finely chopped
8-10 cups chicken broth
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh parsley leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions:
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sausage until cooked through. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels to absorb some of the oil. Put the skillet back on the heat and add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery to the drippings left in the pan. Cook until the onions are starting to brown and the vegetables are soft, about 8-10 minutes.

Add the sausage, cooked vegetables, tomatoes, beans, and broth to a slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Add the herbs and stir well. Cook for another 15-30 minutes before serving.

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Slow Cooker Pulled Beef Tacos with Green Onion Slaw and Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas

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Pulled roast beef that’s been slow cooked in a rich, sweet and spicy tomato sauce has got to be one of the best foods ever. This huge roast made a ton of meat and while it was awesome as a salad and on (gasp!) tortillas, it got better after a day, then two, then three in the fridge. I started heating heaps up in the morning and cooking an egg on top for breakfast. I ate it like stew, heated up out of a jar for lunch.

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Layered on top of greens with cool cottage cheese and the sour slaw was my favorite still and I do believe I could eat that everyday and not get bored. It was a sad moment when I finished the last of the leftovers.

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I don’t eat many tortillas these days and these were a bit of a bother to make, but holy moly, they were so amazing. I ate three. To assemble a simple taco, just layer the pulled beef (strained a bit from the cooking juices) on a tortilla and top with the slaw. Incredible. For a taco salad, swap out romaine for the tortilla and layer with a cheese of choice, pulled beef WITH the cooking juices, and a spoonful of slaw. Mmmmmmm.

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Slow Cooker Pulled Beef Tacos with Green Onion Slaw and Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas
Adapted from Meal Planning 101

Slow Cooked Pulled Beef

Ingredients:
4 lbs beef chuck roast or brisket
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp coconut oil or bacon fat
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs coriander
1/2  – 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbs cumin
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 quart homemade tomato sauce  (or 2 – 14 1/2-ounce cans crushed tomatoes)
1/3 cup molasses

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Instructions:
Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil or bacon fat and heat just until beginning to smoke. Add the meat and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 15 minutes total. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker and leave the skillet on the heat. Add garlic, onion, chili powder, coriander, crushed red pepper, and cumin to drippings in the skillet and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Add vinegar and boil until it’s almost gone (be careful not to breathe in the steaming vinegar fumes), scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in water and pour the mixture over the brisket. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, and molasses. Cover the cooker, set it on LOW, and cook the beef until it pulls apart easily with a fork, about 8 to 10 hours.

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Green Onion Slaw

Ingredients:
1 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 head cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Mix together all ingredients until combined. Season to taste. Cover and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

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Whole Wheat Tortillas
Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food

Ingredients:
3 cups whole-wheat flour
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water

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Instructions:
In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer set with a dough hook, pour in the flour, oil and salt. Beat with the paddle until crumbly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the sides as needed. If your hand-held mixer comes with dough hooks those can be used as well. With the mixer running, gradually add the warm water and continue mixing until the dough is smooth, about 3 minutes. Take out the dough and divide it into 12 equal sized pieces. I do this by making the dough into a big log shape that is about 8 – 10 inches long. Then I cut it in the middle. Then I cut each of those pieces in the middle and so on until you have 12 pieces. Using the palms of your hand roll each piece into a round ball and flatten it out on a baking tray or board. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes or up to one hour.

Heat a cast iron skillet, griddle or 12-inch skillet over med-high heat. The pan should be fairly hot before you begin cooking the tortillas. On a lightly floured board or counter top, use a rolling pin to turn each ball into a 8 to 10 inch flat circle. I used enough flour to make the dough easier to handle and rolled it out between two pieces of wax paper because it was still fairly sticky.

Grease the pan with a touch of oil and then carefully transfer each tortilla, one at a time, to the pan and cook until puffy and slightly brown, about 30 to 45 seconds per side. Set aside on a plate to cool slightly. Eat within an hour, refrigerate or freeze.

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Chocolate Chili on Roasted Pumpkin

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This is my go-to ground beef chili recipe. It’s easy to mix up and you know how I love a slow cooker of spicy meat this time of year. I had the roasted pumpkin already and it’s turned out to be such a great side dish when I don’t want to serve everything on greens. The combination of cocoa with the chili on top of the slightly cinnamon-y squash is so satisfying. I love tucking into a bowl of ragu and this reminds me of that, but with so much more personality.

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Chocolate Chili on Roasted Pumpkin
Adapted from The Clothes Make The Girl

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ground beef
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 Tbs chili powder
2 Tbs ground cumin
1 1/2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 cups tomato sauce or 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (preferably fire roasted and garlicy)
4 cups beef or chicken broth

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Instructions:
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add onions, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until they’re translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until it’s fragrant, about 30 seconds. Put the cooked onions and garlic into a slow cooker and set aside. Put the skillet back on the stove over medium-high heat and crumble the ground meat into the pan with your hands, mixing with the wooden spoon to combine. Continue to cook the meat, stirring often, until it’s no longer pink. Add to the slow cooker.

In a small bowl, crush the oregano between your palms to release its flavor, then add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, allspice, and salt. Combine with a fork, then add to the slow cooker, stirring like you mean it. Add tomato paste and stir until combined, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce or tomatoes with their juice, and broth to the slow cooker. Stir well. Cook on high for 2 hours or low for four hours. Do not skimp on the simmer! Serve in deep bowls with big spoons over the roasted pumpkin (recipe below) and top with cilantro, green onions, or whatever your heart desires.

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Roasted Pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Halve a whole pumpkin, remove the seeds, and place face down on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 1-1/2 hours, depending on how big the pumpkin is. Remove from the oven and let cool. (Can be done the day before.) Remove the skin and stem from the pumpkin and chop the flesh into 2″ cubes. Put the cut pumpkin back on the lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with a bit of salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Stir a bit and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring half way through. The pumpkin should get a bit crisp with the heat and oil and get a bit of color (and flavor!) from the roasting method.

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Almond and Herb Crusted Roast and Sweet Potatoes

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Ah, this was a good dinner. My nighttime kitchen pictures are terrible. But make no mistake. This is real food, healthy, slow cooked winter fare. The combination of tender, hearty beef, soft sweet potatoes, crunchy nuts, and sharp horseradish is just stellar. I layered perfect bite after perfect bite. I happened to use a chuck roast for this, but a rump roast or round or different animal altogether would be wonderful I’m sure. It’s an easy method in a dutch oven and the herbs would be complementary to any meat I can think of. Don’t skip the sweet potatoes. Or the sauce. It’s trifecta – the winning bet for dinner.

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Almond and Herb Crusted Roast and Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup almonds
5 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 (3 pound) beef roast
2 large (or 4 small) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1″ cubes
horseradish sauce:
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

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Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, blend together the almonds, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper until the almonds are ground in uniform size and everything is well mixed. Add the olive oil and mix again. Spread mixture over beef and save a bit to toss with the sweet potatoes. Transfer meat to a dutch oven, large heavy pot, or roasting pan. Nestle the sweet potatoes around the roast. Cover with a lid or foil. Bake in preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours. Allow roast to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Stir sour cream, horseradish, lemon juice, and salt together in a small bowl. Serve with roast.

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Sesame Beef with Broccoli and Peppers

Impossibly scrumptious.

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Sesame Beef with Broccoli and Peppers
Adapted from FitViews

Ingredients:
2 lbs beef stew meat
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs sesame oil
1/2 cup coconut aminos or soy sauce (I used half and half)
1 cup beef stock
4 cups broccoli florets
2 bell peppers, sliced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs black sesame seeds

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Instructions:
Add all ingredients except the broccoli and peppers to your slow cooker, mix well and cook on low for about 6 hours. Add the broccoli and peppers, stir well, and cook for an addition 1 to 2 hours on low. Ladle into bowls, getting plenty of sauce, and top with some sesame seeds before serving.

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Moroccan Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

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This is a great example of letting meals feed each other. The broth for this stew came from the bones of the chicken I made Coconut Lime Pulled Chicken from. I had made that recipe because I had left over coconut milk from making the Coconut Tres Leches Cake.  When you cook every day and shop for ingredients that will give you the most for your time, dollar, and effort, one meal can thread into many others. It makes me feel creative and the kitchen alive.

This stew really came together so quickly. The actual hands on time is ridiculously short and the end result will make you so happy and healthy to boot.

To make broth after you have roast chicken, just put the carcass, skin, and any clean vegetable scraps you have in a slow cooker, fill it with water, add a few tablespoons of vinegar, and let it cook on low overnight. In the morning, strain out the hot broth and discard everything else. You can cool and freeze the broth for later use or just put it back in the slow cooker, add a roast, and make this stew.

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Moroccan Beef and Sweet Potato Stew
Adapted from the Texas Beef Council

Ingredients:
2 pounds beef chuck roast
6 cups beef or chicken broth
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, miniced
1 onion, diced
1 Tbs coconut oil
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup raisins
1 Tbs dried parsley or 2 Tbs fresh parsley

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Instructions:
In a slow cooker, add the sweet potatoes, chuck roast, cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, paprika and salt. Pour the broth on top, cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Once cooked, carefully remove the roast to a lipped pan or large cutting board. The meat will be juicy, so you don’t want to lose all that liquid! Trim and discard any fat on the roast and shred the meat. Set aside for a minute. Back at the slow cooker, use a potato masher to roughly mash the super soft sweet potato in the broth. This will thicken it up and create a lovely base.

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and add the onion and garlic with a half teaspoon of salt. Stir well and cook until the onions are browning and translucent, about 8 minutes. I know this seems like a tedius extra step, but the flavor of merely boiled onions is nothing compared to what you can get when they start to caramelize on their own this way. So now add the gorgeous garlic and onions to the slow cooker as well as the shredded meat, tomatoes, raisins, and parsley. Mix it all up well. Let it cook for another 30 minutes to soften the raisins and bring the flavors together. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve hot in big bowls!

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Texas Chili

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Agh, people. This dish is so ugly. I’m sorry. But it was impossibly satisfying and I haven’t given you any meat since November 14th. That’s ridiculous. So, ugly or not, this is what you get. Make it and you’ll forgive the photo.

Also, I served this on a bed of spinach. Texans are throwing a fit, but I can’t help it. Eat your greens.

Texas Chili
Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:
3 pounds boneless beef chuck roast – cut into 1 inch cubes
2 Tbs coconut or olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs ground cumin
3 Tbs whole wheat flour
1 Tbs dried oregano
3 cups beef broth
1 tsp salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

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Instructions:
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute the beef cubes in the oil for 2 minutes until browned. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the garlic. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, oregano and flour. Sprinkle over the meat and stir until evenly coated. Transfer the meat to a slow cooker. Put the skillet back on the heat and pour in a cup of the broth to deglaze the pan. Pour the broth and all the deglazed delicious bits over the meat in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. This is definitely better the next day, so if you can plan ahead, cool the meat once it’s cooked through and falling apart. Refrigerate and reheat the next day to serve. On spinach if you’re rebellious. Excellent with guacamole, cilantro, and lime wedges. Again, sorry, Texas.

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Smokey Coffee Cocoa Roast

I’ve been reading a new book, The Flavor Bible, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. Total brilliance. It’s taking my self-guided culinary education to a new level, giving me ingredients, but not recipes, history, but no how-to. I really love it and it lends itself perfectly to cooking whole foods, simply, in the most delicious, creative ways.

As I try to eat more meat and vegetables, I rely on quality fat sources (coconut oil, olive oil, plain dairy, butter, nuts, olives, avocados) and spices to make my meals interesting and delicious. I am just getting into The Flavor Bible, but I know it will deliver lots of ideas as I branch away from recipes and into my own practice.

We recently got a half a cow, raised on grass locally, lean from exercise, and well raised. There are a lot of different cuts and it’s wonderful to be able to go to the freezer and have such a selection. This spice mixture would work beautifully on any beef roast or stew meat – anything that would let it cook long enough to really allow these bold flavors to come together and the meat to fall apart into it’s own smokey sauce.

I made three quick accompaniments to go with the beef. First, kale, sauteed quickly in olive oil with garlic and finished with a tiny bit of wine vinegar. Second, peas, cooked down in some of the roast juices and topped with a handful of Parmesan cheese. Finally, a simple romaine salad with pre-prepped broccoli slaw and a balsamic vinaigrette  So yummy and the meal was wonderfully filling while still being just vegetables, meat, spices, and good fats.

This spice mix doesn’t make very much, but was perfect for 1 pound of meat to feed 3 adults and 1 toddler. Scale up for a bigger roast.

Smokey Coffee Cocoa Roast
Adapted from Everyday Paleo

Ingredients:
1 Tbs ground coffee
1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cocoa
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
2 Tbs coconut or olive oil, divided
1 pound roast or stew meat
1 huge yellow onion, or two smaller onions, thinly sliced

Instructions:
Mix together all spices in a large bowl. Add the meat and turn to coat well on all sides. In a skillet over medium high, heat the oil and add the meat. Brown on all sides, searing to create a bit of a crust, but not cooking through. This should take only a couple minutes, tops. Put the browned meat into a slow cooker. Back to the skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and add the onion. Stir well and cook until the onions are translucent and starting to caramelize. Add them to the slow cooker, add the liquid smoke if using, stir and cover. Cook on low for 4-6 hours until the meat easily falls apart. Serve on a bed of sauteed kale or just as is in a bowl.