I’ve said time and time again that I’m trying to adopt a more paleo-friendly way of eating, and it never seems to stick. Our eating habits really get ingrained in us, don’t they!!!?
Moving to more of a real food diet wasn’t a big stretch for me. Even though I’d gotten into some bad eating habits, I was raised on the old meat-starch-veggie sorta dinners, and that is what I tend to revert to when I’m in a rush and don’t take the time to refer to my meal plans and make a grocery list.
Eating paleo, on the other hand, is a stretch for me. I don’t know how to make a meal without rice or pasta or potatoes. And there is usually some type of cheese or dairy product involved. Even being gluten-free, I manage to live a pretty carb-heavy existence.
For those of you living under a rock, paleo is short for paleolithic, and it describes an eating style that is supposed to mimic our early ancestors, before the introduction of industrial and processed foods. But they go so far as to eschew all grains, legumes (beans), refined sugar, and pasteurized dairy products.
It’s trendy right now, but as with most fads, there is a good reason so many are hopping on the bandwagon. You generally do feel better eating this way.
I don’t really care to eliminate dairy, but I know I need to cut back on the sugar and grains, because lately I’ve been feeling the bloat.
Gosh, I’m really digressing.
My point is, I tried a new recipe for dinner last night, and I want to share it with you!!!
I had a package of organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts from Costco, a bunch of spinach, two yams and a few bell peppers sitting in my fridge. I knew I could make some type of paleo-ish dinner with all that but I wasn’t sure what. So I googled “chicken sweet potato paleo” and came up with a few versions of chicken stuffed sweet potatoes.
The recipe that inspired me was called Grilled Chipotle Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, but I made few modifications based on what I had in the house. She used chicken thighs, but I figured chicken breasts would work just as well. I didn’t have chipotle pepper or smoked paprika so I just threw Lawry’s Seasoned Salt on my chicken. She grilled hers, and I flattened mine and baked them in the oven because my grill is buried under about a foot of snow at the moment.
The original recipe called for kale and bell peppers. I didn’t have kale, but I had spinach. I figured that would do. She didn’t cook her veggies; she just let them soak in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and then added them to the cooked chicken. Knowing my crew, I figured I better sauté the veggies so while the potatoes baked and the chicken roasted, I tossed the spinach and peppers in some olive oil over low heat to soften them up. I didn’t have pepitas either, and we don’t do nuts because of allergies (another reason cooking paleo is difficult for me) so I just eliminated them, although they do add a nice garnish.
Suffice it to say, my concoction was barely a nod to the original, and I honestly didn’t expect much to come of it. When I put it on the table, every member of my family looked at it dubiously. Then they dug in. And that’s when they all went cuckoo for
coco puffs paleo chicken and spinach stuffed sweet potatoes!!!!!
My husband declared it a once-a-week-meal (his rating system is based on how often he would be willing to eat it), and he doesn’t even like sweet potatoes. Even my middle child, my most picky eater (unless it involves a medium-rare steak or a pizza) gobbled it up and asked for more.
I rather liked it myself. The Lawry’s on the chicken made it really tasty. I don’t know that I’d have enjoyed it as much with chipotle and smoked paprika. And somehow the combination of chicken and sweet potato really works, even for those of us who are not so fond of sweet potatoes. The spinach and peppers added color. The only issue is my 14-year-old son was still hungry and went scrounging in the pantry for carbs once he cleared his plate. I should have doubled the recipe.
One other funny thing. Notice my plate in the top picture. I didn’t realize I had the same plate as Angela’s until I went back to reference the original recipe this morning. Too funny!!!!
Here’s the recipe.
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1.5 lbs boneless chicken breasts
- 3 T olive oil, divided
- Lawry’s Seasoned Salt to taste
- 1 bunch spinach
- 1/2 bell pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and dry sweet potatoes and pierce with fork; bake at 425 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until soft to touch. It will depend on the size, but you want them thoroughly baked and easy to mash when you split them open.
- Meanwhile, pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness, but not too thin. Lay them on a baking sheet and rub olive oil into both sides and sprinkle both sides with Lawry’s. Bake in 425 degree oven along with the sweet potatoes for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
- While the chicken is baking, wash and drain the spinach and discard the stems. Wash and seed the bell pepper and cut into thin slices.
- Heat remaining olive oil (about a tablespoon) in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the bell peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes or until they’re soft. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as they cook.
- Add the spinach and sauté another minute or two until it is wilted, stirring it around a couple times to mix it into the peppers. You can add another sprinkle of salt, but be careful. A little goes a long way.
- Remove the spinach and peppers to a bowl until you’re ready to assemble the potatoes.
- When the chicken is done, shred it with two forks and mix it into the peppers and spinach.
- When the potatoes are fully cooked, remove them from the oven and slice in half. Place each half on a dinner plate. Mash it up a bit and top with spinach and chicken mixture. Serve immediately.