This month for Cookbook Countdown 15, I have chosen to use the cookbook The Whole30 by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig. Margaret at Tea and Scones and I have been cooking buddies for 9 years, almost 10, we first met in the original Tuesdays with Dorie group. Through the years we have cooked in many groups together and have become great friends on the side. When Margaret is trying something new, it is fairly usual for me to tag along. Such was the case with her recent decision (February 22) to give The Whole30 program a go. Based on whole foods and making good nutritional choices, I figured 30 days of eating on that plan sounded like a fine idea (it also coincided with Lent and giving up sugar and such for Lent also seemed like a fine idea), and so it has been just that. Another cooking buddy from our TWD early days, Leslie, jumped onboard as she had done Whole30 and was more than happy to give it another go...Leslie had all kinds of advice and tips so we now think of her as our Whole30 guru, experience, as always, is invaluable. The book detailing the Whole30 comes with a large section of recipes to see you through the 30 days and since February 22, we have been cooking from it and enjoying the many delicious recipes. I have cooked far more than the ones I will give time to post here today. Each one has been a success and a revelation at how good food can be without added sugar and preservatives. We are now in the 10-12 day re-introduction phase of the program and for my book next month, I will use The Whole30 Cookbook to continue exploring recipes in this style of cooking and eating.
The first recipe I am sharing is Spaghetti Squash with Ground Beef Tomato Sauce (pages 152, 294, and 324).
Ingredient list: ground beef, spaghetti squash, olive oil, salt, pepper, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, crushed tomatoes, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf.
This version of spaghetti and meat sauce is excellent. The spaghetti squash bakes up and can be shredded with two forks to form spaghetti-like strands. The topping is a typical meat sauce, minus any sugar or preservatives. I learned a lot reading labels, i.e. there is sugar in almost everything, trying to find products without it can be tricky...and they use any number of words for sugar. This is so good that I have made it more than once this past month, we both really liked it. Definitely worthy of a repeat.
The second recipe I am sharing is Perfect Roast Barbecue Chicken with Steamed Broccoli and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Herb Mayonnaise (pages 157, 296, 322, 179, 312).
Ingredient list: chicken, coconut oil, clarified butter, onion, garlic, sweet potato, apple cider, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, paprika, chipotle powder, broccoli, sweet potato, salt, pepper, and coconut butter. (The homemade mayonnaise is light olive oil, egg, mustard powder, salt, and lemon with mixed herbs, garlic, cayenne pepper, and lemon.)
The chicken was roasted beautifully, the homemade barbecue sauce was interesting and delicious, just the right amount of tang and depth of flavor, and the broccoli and sweet potato rounded it all out nicely for a perfectly delightful meal. Definitely worthy of a repeat.
The third recipe I am sharing is Perfect Grilled Burgers with Lettuce, Sliced Tomatoes, and Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Yellow Squash with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (pages 153, 264, and 316).
Ingredient list: ground beef, salt, pepper, mustard powder, garlic powder, lettuce, tomato, broccoli, coconut oil, onion, mushrooms, yellow squash, garlic, jar of roasted red peppers, olive oil, onion, garlic, parsley, capers, lemon, salt, and pepper.
It was strange at first eating hamburgers without the cheese and bun, and I really missed those at the beginning, but by about the third week, I was thinking that the cheese and the bun were completely superfluous and I didn't really think in terms of needing those for hamburgers...which saves me from running to the store because I don't have any hamburger buns when I pull the ground beef out of the freezer of a morning. (And those who know me well know that the whole business of that bun getting soggy from the hamburger juice has never been my favorite thing.) The meat is perfectly delicious all on its own and the lettuce and tomato were there for freshness and a punch of extra vegetable goodness. The vegetable dish accompanying this was terrific. I have made it many time since. Margaret and Leslie will tell you that I make it just so I can eat the roasted red pepper sauce, and that is partially true as that roasted red pepper sauce is so good that I have been eating it on all kinds of things as well as using it as a vegetable dip. I routinely make it at the beginning of the week and by week's end, it's pretty much gone. This might be my most favorite thing ever. Definitely repeat worthy.
The fourth (and last) recipe I am sharing is Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (page 266 and 316).
Ingredient list: butternut squash, onion, coconut oil, garlic, ginger, chicken broth, salt, and pepper (and the ingredients for the roasted red pepper sauce: jar of roasted red peppers, olive oil, onion, garlic, parsley, capers, lemon, salt, and pepper).
Of course I was going to include a soup, I'm always all about the soup and this book has some nice soup recipes just bursting with flavor and freshness, this was one of my favorites so far. And, that Roasted Red Pepper Sauce was just sitting there begging to be used as an accompaniment to the soup...so good together. Definitely a repeat, I like soup in any weather, this will be a good one for my "go to list."
So the month has come to a close, but not my love of this program. I learned so much (and I thought I knew quite a bit actually) about eating whole foods and looking for ingredients without added sugar and preservatives, etc. I feel better than I have in ages, all those little aches and pains that creep into one's joints at my age are completely gone. I feel much better not having sugar, I think sugar is not my friend despite the lure of its tastiness. I've been branching out more on buying organic produce, grass-fed and pastured meat, etc. and the recipes have been delicious, easy, and interesting. The three of us have decided to keep it going with occasional "off-road" excursions when we feel the need to have that bite of cupcake or twirl of pasta or mini-bagel, etc.
To see what the others have cooked this month, click here. It is the policy on this blog not to publish recipes that are not mine, the people who publish recipes go to a lot of time, trouble, and expense to do so and I like to honor that by encouraging others to purchase the book or check it out from a lending library. Thank you for understanding. I do post the general ingredients for each recipe so perhaps you can have a go at it from that alone.