Vegetable Pork Skillet Dinner

Serve over rice, baked sweet or white potatoes, or use as a burrito filling. Yum! -- The Nourishing Gourmet

Why cook up plain pork when you can add so much rich flavor with onions, garlic, mushrooms, and dried herbs? If desired, you can serve this over rice, quinoa, or sweet or white potatoes. I also think this would make a delicious burrito stuffing – just add salsa, avocado, or whatever you desire for toppings! Or eat it as is for a simple skillet dinner.

While I have to say I didn’t give this recipe a very snazzy name, the combinations of flavor are just lovely! I’ve been working on increasing my intake of vegetables, and it’s been a delicious choice as well as a healthy one.

Yes, delicious!

This simple skillet dinner is an example of how you can make a flavorful dish simply by combining a variety of vegetables and your choice of meat with a few spices and some garlic. The meat flavors the vegetables and vice versa for a more rounded flavor.

The other thing I love about skillet dinners is that they are very easy and fast to make, so they make perfect dinners for busy nights. Right now we have three evenings with soccer practice! Yup, it’s a busy time! To see why I am making vegetables a priority right now, read my post. Why We Should Eat More Vegetables. While you are there, sign up for the 10 Day Vegetable Challenge! I’m super excited about it! It will start on the 12th.

I’ve been trying to get in more sulfur containing vegetables. In The Wahls Protocol, Dr. Wahls has you eat 3 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables every day. She says, “Finally, I want you to eat 3 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables, which in addition to antioxidants, also have health-promoting sulfur compounds in them. Sulfur may not get the media attention that antioxidants do, but it is an incredibly important compound for health.” She goes on in her book to explain why sulfur is important for your connective tissue, joints, skin, hair, nails, skin disorders, arthritis, and blood vessel health, as well as being important for anyone with an autoimmune disease.

Sulfur containing vegetables include the cabbage family (such as broccoli and cauliflower), the onion family and the mushroom family. This dish has two of the three. But if you wanted all three, why not slice some cabbage to add to the dish!

Notes on the Recipe:

  • If desired, add a diced sweet bell pepper
  • The bacon is optional. We make it without just as often.
  • This is also delicious with a couple of thinly sliced zucchini cooked into the mixture. Yum!
  • This is the type of recipe that makes me LOVE owning a large saucepan. I personally favor my large cast iron.
  • AIP note: Leave out the pepper, and don’t use the bacon unless it’s AIP safe.

Vegetable Pork Skillet Dinner

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Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bacon, or 2 tablespoons of fat/oil of choice (avocado oil, coconut oil, etc).
  • 1 large onion, peeled, cut in half, and thinly sliced
  • ½ to 1 pound of mushroom, ends trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound of ground pork (pastured, organic is best, if possible)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and put through a garlic press
  • A generous pinch of dried oregano and dried thyme
  • Unrefined Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper.

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan or cast iron over medium heat cook the bacon, if using, until crisp and done. Flip to cook evenly. Remove from pan and set aside. There should be about 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan. If you had leaner bacon, you can add fat of choice to the pan to make up two tablespoons.
  2. 2. Add the onion and mushrooms to the pan and cook over medium heat if using cast iron, or medium-high, if using stainless steel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir as needed to cook evenly and prevent sticking. After five to seven minutes, when the vegetables are soft, add the pork, garlic, and oregano and thyme. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the pork is thoroughly cooked through and the vegetables soft.
  3. Crumble the bacon on top, season to taste, and serve as desired.

Stove Top Goat Cheddar Mac and Cheese (Gluten Free)

Gluten-Free Goat Cheddar Mac and Cheese - Kid friendly, and NO cow dairy! -Creamy and delicious. - The Nourishing Gourmet

Gluten-free noodles topped with an ultra creamy and mild cheese sauce that is free of any cow dairy, but rich and creamy with goat cheddar and chicken broth. Yum! This dish is gluten-free and cow dairy-free, but still has that lovely creamy flavor and perfect noodles that I loved as a child.

I’m glad that my children eat a variety of nourishing foods, including ones that I wouldn’t have ever eaten as a child ¬– foods like caviar and seaweed and dark greens. But sometimes it’s also fun to share nourishing versions of my favorite childhood dishes. And my favorite by far was mac and cheese. Growing up my mom would make big dishes of oven-baked mac and cheese. Yum!

The problem is that some of us don’t do well with cow dairy, and half the family is gluten-free. I had been tossing around the idea of making a goat cheddar mac and cheese recipe, but I was a little worried about how it would turn out. I finally took the plunge, and it came out wonderful!

Did you know that macaroni and cheese was a popular penny-pinching dish for a long time? I’ve read several references to it as such in old cookbooks – one of which was one that helped the poorest city folks know how to cook frugally for their families.

But I was very amused by the references to mac and cheese in the book, Below Stairsby Margaret Powell (Amazon links are affiliate).  Have you heard of it before? Margaret was born in 1907, and worked as a kitchen maid and later as a cook, and this book is her autobiography. Her book is supposed to have inspired both Upstairs, Downstairs, as well as Downton Abbey. I read it recently and enjoyed it. It must have been eye opening at the time for the upper class to see themselves through the perspective of one of the maids. Plus, Margaret has a witty and insightful writing style that makes this book so much fun!

For example, when talking about trying to find a husband, “Men are very susceptible to flattery. Even a man with a face like the back of a bus, if you tell him he doesn’t look too bad, believes you. You can stuff men up with any old yarn. They believe anything. You’ve only got to gaze into their eyes, and sound as though you mean what you say. I’ve tried it so I know it’s true.”

Or on cooking, “It’s a funny thing, but the less cooking you know how to do, the more competent you feel. It’s only when you know how to cook that it worries you when it goes wrong, because when you don’t know, you don’t know it’s gone wrong. The more experienced I got the more I worried. I soon realized when a dish wasn’t perfection. Not that I could have hoped to have a dish that was perfection at Lady Gibbons’ because even the best cook in the world can’t make a dish out of poor ingredients.”

The book is full of rich little nuggets like above that make this book a riot to read (but also full of human insight). And while reading the book, I noticed that my favorite dish was treated rather poorly. In pre-war times in the wealthy households that she worked in, mac and cheese was not held in high regard at all. Margaret describes how some of the households went through vast amounts of cream and meat and all sorts of good ingredients to make elaborate 12-course meals for their every dinner upstairs, while downstairs, the servants were fed far less scrumptious meals.

She says, “What we had at night were the left- overs of the day before or a macaroni cheese or welsh rarebit. It wasn’t Mrs. McIlroy’s fault [the cook], she wasn’t allowed to give us more. Some of the maids used to moan like mad and say they never got enough to eat. I didn’t moan, but I used to feel it wasn’t fair.“

What! My beloved mac and cheese snubbed by even the servants? But on second thought, considering we do all of our housework ourselves, I guess we are the servants of our household, and so it is fitting that we eat creamy and delicious poor man mac and cheese. 😉

If you, like me, accept humble fare instead of 12-course meals, I hope you’ll enjoy this lovely little dish. (And if you love books, check out Below Stairs ).

Goat Cheddar Cheese Sauce - Pour over noodles for mac and cheese OR over steamed vegetables. Yum! -- The Nourishing Gourmet

This creamy cheddar sauce is perfect not only noodles but also over steamed vegetables for a low-carb option (or just a very yummy vegetable side!). Try it with cauliflower!

Notes on the recipe:

  • I used the this gluten free pasta (they hold together well and taste great), but you can use whatever brand/kind you like. You can get them here on Amazon.
  • I didn’t use goat milk in this recipe to replace cow milk. Why? Goat milk tends to get more “goaty” in flavor when heated. I was nervous about using chicken broth as I was concerned it would be too thin, but it turned out great. I used store bought, and not homemade, but homemade would be even better.
  • You can make this into baked mac and cheese by putting the finished mac and cheese in a pan, and sprinkling with cheese and putting in a 350F oven for 20-25 minutes.
  • Make sure you use a mild cheese (not “goaty” cheddar) for this recipe.

Gluten-Free Goat Cheddar Mac and Cheese - Kid friendly, and NO cow dairy! -Creamy and delicious. - The Nourishing Gourmet

Other Recipes Based on Books:

Stove Top Goat Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Serves 4

Ingredients: 

  • 8 ounces of gluten free elbow noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter of choice (Goat, sheep, or cow, if you can tolerate it) OR oil or fat of choice (you can try bacon grease too!)
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour (Or try arrowroot or organic corn starch)
  • 1 cup of chicken broth, homemade or store bought (made with real food ingredients)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ pound of mild goat cheddar, grated
  • Unrefined salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional flavor addition: dried or fresh thyme, paprika, cayenne, fresh chives, diced cooked bacon

Directions:

1. Cook the noodles according to the packages instructions until JUST cooked (don’t overcook). Make sure you boil in salted water. Drain and rinse.

2. For the cheese sauce: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, and whisk in the tapioca flour. Whisk for one to two minutes (don’t allow it to burn) and then slowly whisk in the broth. It should thicken almost immediately. Once it has thickened, add the goat cheddar, and stir until the goat cheddar has melted (about five minutes or so). Salt and pepper to taste. Add any flavor additions. The sauce should be on the verge of being too salty, as it will be diluted on the noodles.

3. Pour the noodles into the sauce, and gently fold into the cheese sauce. Serve right away and enjoy!

(To bake: Pour into a casserole dish, sprinkle with more cheddar cheese. Bake in a 350F oven for 20-25 minutes.)

Stove Top Goat Cheddar Mac and Cheese (Gluten Free)
 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces of gluten free elbow noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter of choice (Goat, sheep, or cow, if you can tolerate it) OR oil or fat of choice (you can try bacon grease too!)
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour (Or try arrowroot or organic corn starch)
  • 1 cup of chicken broth, homemade or store bought (made with real food ingredients)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ pound of mild goat cheddar, grated
  • Unrefined salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional flavor addition: dried or fresh thyme, paprika, cayenne, fresh chives, diced cooked bacon
Instructions
  1. Cook the noodles according to the packages instructions until JUST cooked (don’t overcook). Make sure you boil in salted water. Drain and rinse.
  2. For the cheese sauce: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, and whisk in the tapioca flour. Whisk for one to two minutes (don’t allow it to burn) and then slowly whisk in the broth. It should thicken almost immediately. Once it has thickened, add the goat cheddar, and stir until the goat cheddar has melted (about five minutes or so). Salt and pepper to taste. Add any flavor additions. The sauce should be on the verge of being too salty, as it will be diluted on the noodles.
  3. Pour the noodles into the sauce, and gently fold into the cheese sauce. Serve right away and enjoy!
  4. (To bake: Pour into a casserole dish, sprinkle with more cheddar cheese. Bake in a 350F oven for 20-25 minutes.)

 

Cauliflower Fried Rice with Bacon and Chicken (Grain–free. AIP)

This grain free fried rice is full of flavor from ginger, garlic and green onions, and is filling enough to serve as a main dish with the bacon and chicken. Yum! -- The Nourishing Gourmet

This fun dish is full of flavor from ginger, garlic, green onions. And, because it’s made with cauliflower “rice”, it’s also Grain Free and AIP-friendly! The bacon adds depth of flavor that can’t be beaten. Plus, with the addition of the chicken, this is a main dish!

As I mentioned in this post about saving bacon grease, my husband taught me his family’s method of making fried rice, and the secret was using bacon grease. So much flavor! I’ve used it in this dish, and it adds a lovely depth of flavor. You can use avocado oil, pastured lard, or whatever nourishing heat-safe fat you have on hand if you don’t consume pork products or just don’t have any bacon in the house. I’d start with about 2 tablespoons.

Since my post on the bacon grease, I’ve gotten a few requests to talk more about how to find the best bacon/pork products. I think that topic deserves its own post detailing the “best, better, and worst” options. Meanwhile, I suggest that you buy the best quality that you can afford, with pastured organic bacon being the top choice. I also give very simple directions for making your own bacon in my soup cookbook, Ladled! If you are on the AIP diet, my understanding is that you should be using nitrate-free (something I choose to do normally).

Other AIP Recipes:

This dish comes together quickly. Prep ingredients before starting, or if you are comfortable doing two things at once, dice the chicken while the bacon cooks and prep the ginger, garlic, and carrots while the chicken cooks. This is another dish that cooks best in my beloved 12-inch cast iron pan. (affiliate link).

Cauliflower Fried Rice with Bacon and Chicken (AIP, Grain-free)

Serves 2 main dish servings (4 small sides)

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 2 chicken thighs (or breasts), diced
  • 2 celery sticks, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 16-ounce package of cauliflower rice (about 3 ½ cups)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon fresh, grated ginger
  • 1-2 large garlic cloves, peeled, and finely minced or put through a garlic press
  • 3 green onions, roots trimmed and top couple of inches cut off, then thinly sliced
  • ½ cup of grated carrots (peeled before grated)

1. In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat, turning to brown evenly. Once the bacon is done, remove to a plate, and add the diced chicken and celery sticks to the hot grease. Cook, stirring as needed to cook evenly. Cook until the chicken is done (no pink in the middle).

2, Add the cauliflower rice, ginger, garlic and carrots, and green onions. Cook, stirring as needed to prevent sticking. If at anytime the pan seems dry, you can add more saved bacon grease, or other fat/oil. Cook for about 7 minutes or until the cauliflower and carrots are tender. Crumble bacon over the dish and salt to taste and enjoy.

 

Cauliflower Fried Rice with Bacon and Chicken (Grain–free. AIP)
 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 2 chicken thighs (or breasts), diced
  • 2 celery sticks, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 16-ounce package of cauliflower rice (about 3 ½ cups)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon fresh, grated ginger
  • 1-2 large garlic cloves, peeled, and finely minced or put through a garlic press
  • 3 green onions, roots trimmed and top couple of inches cut off, then thinly sliced
  • ½ cup of grated carrots (peeled before grated)
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat, turning to brown evenly. Once the bacon is done, remove to a plate, and add the diced chicken and celery sticks to the hot grease. Cook, stirring as needed to cook evenly. Cook until the chicken is done (no pink in the middle).
  2. Add the cauliflower rice, ginger, garlic and carrots, and green onions. Cook, stirring as needed to prevent sticking. If at anytime the pan seems dry, you can add more saved bacon grease, or other fat/oil. Cook for about 7 minutes or until the cauliflower and carrots are tender. Crumble bacon over the dish and salt to taste and enjoy.

 

Gingery Broccoli and Mushroom Beef Stir Fry

This easy dish makes a wonderful and flavorful frugal main dish that is paleo and AIP friendly too!  Serve it over desired carbohydrate (AIP - think cauli-rice or sweet potato). -- The Nourishing GourmetThis easy main dish is a stand by for our family. Ginger and garlic brightly flavor broccoli, mushrooms, and ground beef. It’s wonderful served over rice, cauliflower rice, or even eaten on its own. It’s very frugal, and fast to make – all of which makes this dish reappear on our menu frequently.

This is also the type of meal that works so well for us to be both an AIP-friendly main for me, and a dish that everyone else can enjoy too. I can serve this with rice or quinoa for my family to enjoy, and for me, I can enjoy it with cauliflower rice, or top a sweet potato with it.

I’ve mentioned many times that we typically eat a very simple diet, and this is an example of that. It just takes a couple of vegetables (and really, you can also make this with just broccoli), a meat, some fresh ginger and garlic, and a carb to serve it with. I should also note that this isn’t a “stir fry” made the traditional Chinese method. This is our easy no-fail method where the vegetables get well cooked along with the meat.

A couple of notes on the recipe:

  • For those on the AIP diet, you may like to pick up a bottle of coconut aminos. I like this recipe just as it is, but having the option of the sweet and salty coconut aminos is nice too.
  • To grate the fresh ginger, I love using my microplane (it has many uses in the kitchen!).
  • I use my largest beloved cast iron pan for dishes like this. I bought my largest pan at Goodwill (and practically had to fight off other shoppers for it). This 12-inch cast iron is very similar to what I used.

 

Gingery Broccoli and Mushroom Beef Stir Fry

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of fat of choice (I like saving leftover bacon grease for dishes like this. Yum!)
  • Two cups of broccoli (cut into smallish stalks/florets )*
  • ½ pound of mushrooms, gently washed, and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound of ground meat of choice (I used grassfed beef, but pork would be nice too)
  • 1 to 2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (you want about 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced or put through a garlic press
  • Unrefined salt to taste
  • To serve: soy sauce, tamari (for gluten-free), or coconut aminos (for AIP option), optional

Directions: 

1. In a large pan, heat fat of choice over medium to medium-high heat (stay with medium if using a cast iron pan) until hot. Add the broccoli and mushrooms and sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.

2. Add the beef, ginger and garlic cloves, and sprinkle again with salt. Stir, breaking the beef into small pieces as it cooks, until the beef it completely cooked.

3. If you have excess fat (depending on the grade of ground beef you used), push the meat and vegetables to one side, and tip the pan slightly to pool the grease on one side of the pan. Remove with a spoon.

4. Salt to taste. Serve with desired carbohydrate (such as rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, sweet potatoes), and soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos.

*After I cut off the bunch of florets at the top of the broccoli stalk, I cut off the very end of the broccoli stem. I then peel the stem of the broccoli to remove the hard exterior, and thinly slice it. I add it back to the florets, and it will cook in the same time as the florets (plus, it’s very delicious, and reduces waste!).

Gingery Broccoli and Mushroom Beef Stir Fry
 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons of fat of choice (I like saving leftover bacon grease for dishes like this. Yum!)
  • Two cups of broccoli (cut into smallish stalks/florets )*
  • ½ pound of mushrooms, gently washed, and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound of ground meat of choice (I used grassfed beef, but pork would be nice too)
  • 1- 2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (you want about 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced or put through a garlic press
  • Unrefined salt to taste
  • To serve: soy sauce, tamari (for gluten-free), or coconut aminos (for AIP option), optional
Instructions
  1. In a large pan, heat fat of choice over medium to medium-high heat (stay with medium if using a cast iron pan) until hot. Add the broccoli and mushrooms and sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.
  2. Add the beef, ginger and garlic cloves, and sprinkle again with salt. Stir, breaking the beef into small pieces as it cooks, until the beef it completely cooked.
  3. If you have excess fat (depending on the grade of ground beef you used), push the meat and vegetables to one side, and tip the pan slightly to pool the grease on one side of the pan. Remove with a spoon.
  4. Salt to taste. Serve with desired carbohydrate (such as rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, sweet potatoes), and soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos.
Notes
*After I cut off the bunch of florets at the top of the broccoli stalk, I cut off the very end of the broccoli stem. I then peel the stem of the broccoli to remove the hard exterior, and thinly slice it. I add it back to the florets, and it will cook in the same time as the florets (plus, it’s very delicious, and reduces waste!).