Pork Belly Meatballs

These babies are a riff on Lions Head meatballs and use up a chunk of the bounty pork belly my wonderful DH brought home last week. One can only have so many days of pork belly slices in a row.

gluten-free, paleo

Pork Belly Meatballs

Meatballs:

500 – 600g pork belly, skin off

1 Tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp oyster sauce (check your labels!)

2 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp sichuan pepper (I mashed 6 – 10 peppercorns with the butt of my knife to crush)

To form the meatballs, chuck all the ingredients in a food processor and work into a paste. Form into ping pong sized balls and set aside.

Simmer Sauce:

1.5 Tbsp oil

1 cube sugar

2 Tbsp ginger, minced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp sichuan pepper

2 tsp 5-spice powder

2.5 c water

2.5 Tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos

1/4 c mirin

2 tsp sweet soy (check your labels!)

1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp water

Bring all simmer sauce ingredients but the cornstarch to a hard simmer in a large pan. Let simmer 5 minutes to reduce a bit and get the flavors to start working together.

Add the cornstarch slurry and let cook, stirring, a minute or so until you think it’s beginning to thicken.

Nestle the meatballs in the pan and cook, covered, 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 a package snow peas, halved, and a couple bok choy, chopped.

Pop the lid back on and let go 3 minutes. Take the lid off and continue cooking another 2 – 3 minutes.

Serves 3 – 4 for dinner as a stand-alone, if fleshed out with a carb could stretch another serving

Air Fryer Pork Belly

This is a decadent dinner and can stretch – we found the fattiness of the pork meant we didn’t need a huge hunk for dinner. I expect this piece we did to last 4-5 servings, depending on what else we do with it.

gluten-free, paleo, keto

The back half looks a little brown – this was after the first smoking incident, caused by the oven. With a little more smoke. Still damn good though.

Air Fryer Pork Belly

500-600g pork belly

2 Tbsp rice vinegar, divided

1 tsp Chinese 5-spice (or any 5-spice kind of situation, really – I think mine isn’t strictly Chinese, but that is what I was going for)

Salt & pepper

Score the skin of your pork belly about every half inch or so.

Add to a shallow dish (I used one of my largest Tupperware). Sprinkle with half the rice vinegar and dust with the 5-spice. Add some pepper.

Flip, pat the skin dry and let sit uncovered in the fridge 4 hours to overnight.

Preheat your air fryer to 180C.

Flip the pork belly again, sprinkle with the rest of the vinegar and add a healthy amount of chunky salt.

Put on tinfoil, and fold/tuck the sides up to make a little tray.

Add to your air fryer and cook :45 – 1 hour.

Note: This may cause life to become smoky. I smoked the house out and have no idea why; the fat didn’t leak and nothing was burned.

Either way, brush the salt off the top.

If your life is smoky, finish off in the oven at 400 until the skin cracks.

If you managed to avoid such drama, crank the air fryer up to 400 and do the same. This should take 5 – 10 mins.

Enjoy! We have eaten this as-is alongside some parsnips one night and drizzled with a little sweet soy the next. I’m scheming a jammy wine sauce for a third night.

Serves 4 – 5

Spiced Meatballs

These baby meatballs are inspired by a Moroccan meatball dish I heard about somewhere on YouTube and are delicious. I’ve eaten them as-is, with chunky potato, topped with a fried egg, and alongside parsnips. All versions were great.

gluten-free, paleo

Spiced Meatballs

1 lb ground beef

2 Tbsp grated onion

2 Tbsp minced onion

3 Tbsp parsley, minced

3 Tbsp cilantro, minced

1.5 tsp sweet paprika

1.5 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp turmeric

Mix together and roll into tiny big marble sized balls. Ish. Try to go for smaller than a ping pong ball if possible. Set aside while you make the sauce.

For the sauce:

350g jar plain tomato sauce or marinara

1/2 onion, chopped pretty fine

1 bell pepper, chopped pretty fine

4 cloves garlic, chopped pretty fine

1 chili pepper, chopped pretty fine

2 Tbsp cilantro, minced

2 Tbsp parsley, minced

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp pepper

2 tsp salt

2 tsp sweet paprika

2 tsp cumin

1 Tbsp oil

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the peppers, onion, chili and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent.

Add the cilantro, parsley, oregano, pepper, salt, paprika and cumin and let meld until the spices bloom and become fragrant.

Add the tomato sauce and half a can of water if the mix looks like it may be too dry.

Let simmer 10 – 15 minutes or until the volume reduces back down to half.

Add your meatballs in a single layer and sauté 10 – 15 minutes, covered.

Serve with olives, eggs, whatever tubers you have lying around, polenta or cous cous.

Serves 4

Flank Steak with Salsa

This is a fantastic – and quick – weeknight main.

gluten-free, paleo

Flank Steak with Salsa

1 lb. flank or flap steak

1 large tomato

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced and salted

1 green chili, minced

1/4 c parsley, chopped

1-2 tsp fresh thyme, picked and chopped

1/4 c smoked almonds, chopped

4 Tbsp flavored vinegar (I used ume plum but sherry would be good here)

2 anchovies

Salt, pepper & oil

First, make your salsa & sauce by adding half of the following to a blender & half to a bowl: chopped tomatoes, parsley, thyme and almonds; sliced and salted garlic, and vinegar. Add the sardines to the blender only.

Blend half the mix and toss the other. Set aside.

Heat a pan over high heat, and add a bit of high smoke point oil. Salt & pepper the steak and brush some of the blended sauce over. Sear on one side, flip, re-sauce and let cook a couple minutes (about halfway done). Flip again and sauce. Continue cooking until your desired doneness is reached. Re-sauce and let rest.

To serve, layer slices of steak over a bit of the blended sauce and top with the chunky salsa.

Serves 3-4

Tandoori Pan

This is a quick weeknight flavor Bomb that makes a great meal prep.

gluten-free, paleo

Tandoori Pan

1 lb chicken breasts or tenders

2-4 sweet potatoes, about 4 cups chopped

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp sweet paprika

1 Tbsp garlic powder

2.5 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground turmeric

3/4 tsp ground cardamom

1.5 Tbsp oil (I used mustard oil)

2 cups cilantro

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp lime juice

1 tsp sweetener (I used maple syrup)

1/2 avocado

Pinch red pepper flakes

Salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C. Prep a baking sheet.

Chop the sweet potato and add to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the spices.

Add 2/3 of the spice mix to the sweet potatoes and toss with 3/4 of the oil + good cracks of salt and pepper. Bake 20 minutes.

While the potatoes are working, toss the chicken and peas with the rest of the oil and spice mix.

Scooch the potatoes to the sides of the pan and add the chicken + peas in the center. Bake another 10-20 minutes or until the potatoes are nice and browned and the chicken is cooked through.

While that is going, blend the cilantro, garlic, lime, sweetener, avocado and red pepper with enough water to loosen. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4

Butternut Bacon Stew

This is a light and healthy yet deeply satisfying stew perfect for a weeknight in Fall.

gluten-free, paleo

Butternut Bacon Stew

1 medium butternut squash, about 3 cups peeled & cubed

2 smallish zucchini, about 1 cup cubed

1 lb ground chicken

1 yellow onion, sliced thin

2 medium potatoes, about 3 cups cubed

3 pieces smoked streaky bacon, diced fine

1 liter your favorite stock

14 oz can diced tomatoes

1 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp ground cumin

2 Tbsp onion powder

2 Tbsp garlic powder

2 tsp smoked paprika

Prep all ingredients and dump into your slow cooker. Hit stew – or your cooker’s equivalent – and go on with your life. Soup is on in a couple hours.

Serves 6 – 8

Macros for 7 servings: 266.71 calories, 34.26g carbs, 7.11g fat, 18.08g protein

Sofrito Meatballs

Popular in Mediterranean, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American cuisines, Sofrito is one of the world’s mother seasonings. This salsa-like insta bomb has a little of everything – perfect for building flavor layers quickly. Like these meatballs, which need pretty much nothing else to taste amazing.

gluten-free, paleo, Whole30

Sofrito Meatballs

1/2 c cilantro

2 small tomatoes

5 cloves garlic

1 small white onion

2 medium Cubanelle peppers

2 Tbsp citrus juice (lime or lemon)

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/3 c olive or avocado oil

Salt & pepper

1 lb ground meat (I used beef)

1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp water

To make the sauce, whiz together the cilantro, tomato, garlic, onion and pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil to make a nice chunky salsa. Season with the citrus juice, apple cider vinegar, salt & pepper. Set aside.

To make the meatballs, combine the beef with about a quarter cup of the sofrito and some additional salt & pepper. Cook as usual.

Serves 3 – 4 as part of a meal

Peachy Chicken

This dish surprised me. I had envisioned a kind of rice salad, but as it turns out, this dish lends itself much better to a warm but light almost stew.

Sounds weird, but it totally works.

gluten-free

Peachy Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

1 smallish yellow onion, sliced

1.5 c green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 c balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp honey

3 peaches, sliced (about 2 cups)

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1/4 c basil leaves, thinly sliced

Hand full slivered almonds

1 Tbsp butter

Red pepper flakes

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

A base (I served with black rice cooked in vegetable stock)

Put a large pan that has a lid over medium-high heat. Add a turn or two of olive oil and bring up to temp.

Slice the onion into thin half moons and sauté until they are beginning to soften.

When the onions are ready, push to the sides of the pan. Add the chicken to the pan, season with salt and pepper and sauté until golden. Remove the chicken.

Add the garlic and balsamic and cook, stirring frequently, until the vinegar is reduced by half.

Add the peaches, honey, tomatoes and green beans. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the chicken back into the pan, stir, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low.

Simmer 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

If your mix is a bit too wet, remove the chicken again so it doesn’t get rubbery and sauté the mix over medium-high with no lid until some of the excess liquid evaporates.

Add the butter while this is going on and stir to combine.

Top with the basil, almonds and red pepper flakes. Serve with the base of your choice.

Serves 4 for dinner

Umami Meatballs

These are great – and versatile – meatballs. I served mine with a quick red pepper sauce, crisped potato rounds and cukes one day, a simple veggie pasta the next, and tucked into a pita with tzatziki sauce the third. Delicious any way you slice it.

gluten-free, paleo

Umami Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, minced

4 ounces mushrooms, minced

Salt & pepper

2 tsp. mushroom powder (optional)

Another good meat spice – I used a red Georgian blend, but your favorite would be fantastic here

Combine ingredients and roll into ping pong sized balls. Cook as you like to cook meatballs – I did mine a touch small and air fried them for 10 minutes.

Red Pepper Sauce

2 roasted red peppers (jarred)

3 sundried tomatoes (jarred)

3 Tbsp. peanut or other nut butter (or sunflower!)

2 tsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. garlic powder

Salt & pepper

Blend to combine.

Serves 3 – 4.

Tunisian Spiced Salad

This is a nice little salad that can be bulked up for a good dinner or served light for a refreshing lunch.

gluten-free, paleo

Tunisian Spiced Salad

Dressing:

1 shallot, minced

2 Tbsp fruity vinegar (I used plum)

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp Ras el Hanout

2 tsp honey

1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses

4 Tbsp oil (olive or neutral)

Large pinches Salt & pepper

Salad:

1 large carrot, ribboned

1 package baby spinach

1/4 c slivered almonds

1 large mango, skinned and cut into bite sized cubes

Protein of choice (I used rotisserie chicken)

Whisk all dressing ingredients in the bottom of a large bowl. Toss the salad ingredients into the bowl as you prep and mix well.

Serve with protein of your choice, or to bulk out – add your favorite grain (Cous cous, bulgur or farro would be great).

Serves 4