Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Paleo Comfort Food: Sweet Potato Fries and Chicken Nuggets

It's been three weeks and a few days that our family has been eating a paleo diet. I would be remiss if I wasn't completely honest with you and didn't mention that there was an instance involving pizza. And beer. And maybe some really good brownies, no not those kind of really good brownies, the kind that you could eat at church. We were riding along in the family "wagon", down the Paleo Trail and then we hit a pothole in the road, a pothole called Pizza and everyone fell off the wagon. And I'm not gonna lie when I say it was a dee-lish-us tumble, transcendent even. But then...the next THREE DAYS my stomach was in knots and for almost an entire day I was in bed feeling quite sick. So. Not. Worth. It. But hey, I have always been one to learn things the hard way. And, Lesson learned!

So here we are back at it and I have to tell you, outside of that little bump in the road, we all feel amazing. My skin has gotten super clear, so much so that I barely even have to use any concealer anymore when I put on my makeup. The kids are eating and sleeping better. It was hard at first, for everyone, but I think after a week or so we all adjusted to it.

I am not normally one to try and duplicate all of my favorite non-paleo foods in a paleo friendly manner. I just don't go there. Our usual dinner involves some form of lean meat, usually grilled or baked. If I am cooking seafood, I may saute it in a little olive oil. Then there is a vegetable or two and for the other three I make some form of sweet potato. It's pretty simple really. But tonight I really wanted chicken nuggets. Which is weird because I normally don't crave chicken nuggets. But I knew the rest of my family would eat them well so I decided to try and make a paleo friendly version. Drumroll please...

Here is what you will need:
3-4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (I used organic so I believe they are smaller, if you use conventional, you may need less)
2 large eggs
1 cup of Almond Flour
1/2 cup of Flax Meal
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I used Bob's Red Mill for both the almond flour and the flax meal because, well, that was the only kind I could find here in Guam. I mixed them together well with a fork (next time I think I may pulse it in the Vitamix to get a finer consistency) At this point I whisked the two eggs in a separate bowl and set up my "dredging line". Chicken, then eggs, then almond and flax mix.

Mmmmmm, slimy chicken boobs. Tasty.
So after I mixed the eggs and the almond mix, I cut the chicken into pieces big enough for a couple bites each. I heated the oil in a cast iron skillet and began the dredging process. When dredging it's easier and less messy if you use one hand for the egg bowl and the other for the crumb mixture. Otherwise you just have two handfuls of really gooey fingers. With the almond flax mixture I kind of gently pressed the chicken into in to make sure I got a good coating on both sides.

Before you put the chicken into the oil it is very important that your oil is hot enough or the coating will stick to the pan and you'll be left with naked chicken and crummy oil. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, place the chicken pieces in, a few at a time, turning after a couple of minutes on each side. Side note: My oil was REALLY bubbly so it looks like there's more in there than there is, you really only need enough to keep them from sticking but it is essential to fry these otherwise they just taste mushy. Believe me, I tried baking them. Not good. Also, because the flax meal is a dark brown, these will look a bit darker than normal fried chicken pieces. DO NOT BE ALARMED, their awesome healthiness and crunch-tastic flavor will reassure you despite their slightly burnt looking appearance.

I served the chicken with home made sweet potato fries. If you have never made these, stop what you are doing and do it. Now. I like them better than regular fries and they're better for you so hey, everyone's happy! These are simple: Cut, spray with olive oil, salt and pep, bake at 400 for a long time, maybe turn them once, and: voila, you're a chef! Some people prefer to draw out the sweetness of the potato by adding cinnamon or sugar. To that I say: WHAT IS THIS? THANKSGIVING?!?! And since sugar is the devil and I prefer savory flavors anyway, I like to contrast the sweetness and do a garlicky or spicy seasoning.

And just because we like condiments, I whipped up some honey mustard. Why yes, it IS possible! I used raw honey and Grey Poupon. Why Grey Poupon? Because it makes me feel fancy and because it's fun to say and because that's about the cleanest mustard I could find on this island. You simply mix three parts mustard with one part honey, and BOOM, Bob's your uncle. Or if you're not British, there you have it!

Here is the final product. I ate the baked version (which you will not see because not only was it not as tasty, it wasn't very pretty either.) and I did not have the sweet potato fries or the honey mustard (Pardon me...do you have any GREY POUPON...YOUR SHIRT?!?!?!) because I am still participating in the Shakeology challenge and because The Happy Drill Sergeant would yell at me...happily. But I tried a piece of the fried chicken and Oh. Em. Gee. Super good! Everyone loved it and it is a definite keeper for future healthy comfort recipes.


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Ashlynn said...

Where do you get the Almond Flour on Guam? I've been looking...


Jillian said...

Ashlynn, you can find it at the commissary on NBG or Simply Foods may have it. Good luck!

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If you would like to try my family recipe for pancakes here it is: 1 cup rice flour, 1/2 tablespoon baking powder, 1 cup applesauce, 1 cup eggs (5 or 6 depending on the size of he eggs)mix together and cook on griddle. makes 6 to 12 pancakes depending on the size of pancakes you make. Makes decent waffles also.

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