No joke, people. In honor of American Independence Day this weekend and the thousands of pies that will be consumed, here I sit, a chubby ball of sugar (and dare I say it, fat) almost always thinking about eating healthy. I really do love the idea of the Whole30 eating plan. I love everything about it, except following it rigidly for a designated period of time. I need to be adaptable, eat healthy the majority of the time, and have a treat every once in a while. I’ve talked before about the practicality (for mine and my family’s health) of eating “real” food, no preservatives, no sulfites, no colorings, etc…, no added sugars (especially refined), eliminating the gluten (which seems to cause my belly all kinds of trouble, including expansion!), plus choosing healthy, unprocessed, and sustainable protein options.
I have found a recipe the whole family loves that is healthy, gluten and dairy free, Whole30 compliant (in my interpretation), and, I think, Paleo. I admit I do not know much about paleo other than I have heard a lot of healthy success stories.
I’m sharing the recipe today, which I originally found on this site Zen Belly Catering. I have altered it a little and added a couple options.
(Please keep in mind I am not a food photographer. Photography is a hobby of mine… at best)
Plantain Tostados with Cilantro Lime Chicken, Ranchero Sauce, Guacamole & Pico de Gallo
I made this recipe for dinner for the three of us and we ate it all, so I guess that means the recipe makes three portions.
For the chicken:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 3 limes
4 garlic cloves
handful cilantro (unless you don’t like cilantro. I LOVE it)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
Put everything but the chicken in a blender, puree, and pour the sauce over the chicken. Marinate for an hour. Barbecue the chicken until done. Let rest before slicing. A similar version of this chicken recipe was included on the website. I found the chicken somewhat lacking in flavor when compared to the flavors of everything else on the plate. We decided we preferred our pork tenderloin recipe on the “tostada.”
Brined, Rubbed & BBQ’d Pork Tenderloin (using the 7-6-5 grilling method)
In its most basic form a brine is simply salty water. In order to balance out the saltiness it is common to add something sweet to the brine such as sugar, molasses or honey. A great brine that I love to use on pork tenderloins is as follows:
1 Pork Tenderloin
1 quart water
¼ cup Kosher salt
3 Tbs maple syrup (the real stuff), or molasses (cut out if you are in the first 30 of the Whole30 and want to stay true)
Stir well to make sure all of the salt dissolves then pour this into a gallon zip top plastic bag and add the tenderloin. Place the bag into a shallow dish (in case there is any leakage or condensation) and let the brine do its magic while it rests in the refrigerator. At a minimum the meat needs to brine for three hours to allow it to fully penetrate the tenderloin. I will typically brine overnight.
In a small bowl combine the following dry rub ingredients:
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground chili powder
1 t. smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
Give the brined pork tenderloin a quick rinse and then pat dry. Place a piece of plastic wrap that is large enough to completely cover the pork tenderloin on a flat surface. Spread out the spice rub mix onto the plastic wrap. Roll the tenderloin thoroughly in the spices and wrap tight with the plastic wrap. Make sure tenderloin is evenly covered with the spices before wrapping. Refrigerate for approximately 1-2 hours.
Preheat the grill to 450 degrees.
Place your seasoned tenderloin on the grill for 7 minutes (lid closed). Flip. Grill for 6 more minutes (lid closed).
Now turn the heat off, and leave the lid closed for 5 minutes.
Remove tenderloin from heat and let rest for 7-8 minutes before slicing.
We love the above pork tenderloin recipe and make it all the time. Here is a photo of a couple of beautiful grilled tenderloins I made last week:
For the Ranchero Sauce:
1 can (14 ounce-ish) fire roasted tomatoes
1 whole roasted pepper
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder (or cayenne if you don’t have chipotle)
coconut oil for sautéing
Saute the onion and garlic in coconut oil over medium heat until golden and soft, about 10 minutes. Add to the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Puree. Transfer to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. You can just let it simmer while the rest of the components are cooking, for about 30 minutes or so.
For the tostadas:
2 yellow plantains (differing ripenesses will give you different results, but all are tasty)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted, plus more for baking tostadas
1 teaspoon salt
Chop the plantains into 2 inch pieces and toss them in the food processor with the melted coconut oil and salt. Puree. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease with additional coconut oil. Divide the plantain mixture into 6 blobs on the baking sheet and flatten them out into pancakes as best you can. (Oiled hands help). Bake at 425 for 30 minutes or so, flipping half way.
I didn’t really make a fancy guacamole… just beautiful ripe avocado roughly mashed with a little salt and pepper:
For more texture, color, and flavor, I made a quick, fresh pico de gallo with diced cherry tomatoes, finely diced purple onion, chopped cilantro, and salt & pepper to taste:
And the finished product again (with chicken), plantain on bottom, then ranchero sauce, chicken, guacamole, and finally the pico to top it all off, was a big hit (but we prefer pork tenderloin):
And for those In America celebrating this weekend, sadly enough, fireworks have been banned in our area due to excessive heat. We’ll be traveling north to celebrate with my big huge family at a park somewhere with kayaking and barbecuing and good old family fun and games. Wherever you are, please enjoy the fireworks safely and I hope your feast is delicious!