For Three Thing Thursday, I wanted to highlight some quick ideas that are very easy but extremely versatile. I used all 3 for dinner tonight and had it ready in about 40 minutes. These 3 things are easy to adjust for a variety of meal ideas and they meet the guidelines for those following a Whole 30 plan.
1. Vegetable “Stuffing”
I use this often when I want a lot of texture and flavor. Using butter or oil (coconut or olive), just saute’ on medium until they are done, about 15 minutes. It is helpful to cut the more dense veggies like carrots smaller so they all cook evenly in the same amount of time. For this dish, I used carrots, celery, apple, bacon, red onion, and mushrooms. The secret to this is SEASONING! Use whatever you have on hand. I was pairing this with pork, so I used Herbes de Provence – a combo of savory, fennel, basil, thyme.
2. Pork loin chops
These are thin slices of pork loin. The good news is that it is very lean. The bad news is that it is very easy to dry out to the consistency of a rubber bath mat, with about the same taste. The best way I know to prepare these, is to get a pan hot, season liberally, and cook 2-3 minutes per side. Do not leave them! For thicker chops, add more time. Pork can handle any seasoning or flavor you throw at it. You can also put these in a slow cooker with vegetables and broth.
**For the gravy in the picture below: Add 1/2 cup of broth and 1/4 cup coconut milk to same pan with the pork drippings. Scrape up the bits with whisk and let it reduce to desired consistency. I like medium-high heat for this because the coconut milk will scald.
3. Mashed Cauliflower
I’m not going to sit here and tell you they taste just like potatoes. They don’t. What they do taste like is a fine backdrop for the gravy instructions Three keys to this dish:
- thoroughly steamed cauliflower to almost too mushy point.
- completely drained and dry cooked cauliflower
- butter, garlic, and coconut milk. In that order.
I’ve made this several times, but this was the best attempt. I let my cooked cauliflower sit on the counter in a colander until it was bone dry, about 10 minutes while I was doing the stuffing. Then I pulverized it in the food processor with butter, garlic, and coconut milk (unsweetened…less coconut flavor).