65 degrees

It’s getting cold here in Texas. Not ten-feet-of-snow-my-hands-are-going-to-fall-off kind of cold, but cold enough to make some apple cider and put on fluffy socks and stay inside for hours watching Netflix. And definitely, absolutely, most certainly, cold enough to make Autumn crock pot meals.
chickenchili2 copyOur crock pot has definitely gotten some use this year. The temperatures on it aren’t even visible anymore, but it still does its job. I love just a very simple roast with vegetables that has cooked all day, but sometimes I like to mix it up. What’s fun about these two crock pot recipes is that they are super affordable, healthy, Whole 30, Keto, and absolutely delicious.
Green Chili Chicken Chili
This chili is spicy, full of vegetables, filling, and super budget friendly. You can make it more Keto friendly by putting shredded cheese and sour cream on top, but it really doesn’t need any extra fluff; it’s delicious and comforting on its own.
chickenchili16All that is required for this chili is some chopping prep and everything cooks all day until you are ready to eat it. Start by dicing one onion finely. The onion will become caramelized and sweet inside the chili.
chickenchili16One chopped bell pepper provides the perfect crunch element inside the chili. It doesn’t completely soften like the other vegetables, which adds a perfect texture.
chickenchili15If you find jalapeños too spicy, omit them. The green chilis will add a spicy edge to the chili that’s not too spicy but adds a great smokiness.
chickenchili10chickenchili9Flame roasted green chilis really are the star. They are a medium spice and when cooked with the chicken, add a smokey edge. I found this jar at Costco.
Isn’t it great when you can get your husband to do all your chili prep? It’s the best.
chickenchili13Two diced and cubed boneless, skinless chicken breasts get added and will become soft and shredded when cooked for hours in the crock pot. Yum.
chickenchili11Canned tomatoes add the moisture needed for the chili and an extra sweet note. If you are making this Keto friendly, you can use flame roasted canned tomatoes (they have less sugar) or fire roasted red peppers and chicken stock instead. It’s all perfectly delicious.
chickenchili8chickenchili3Everything gets stirred in the crock pot, with garlic powder, garlic salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and chipotle powder. Yum.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced and cubed
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, fresh or pickled, diced
1 cup flame roasted green chilis
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp garlic salt

1. Dice yellow onion, bell pepper and jalapeño finely and add to crock pot
2. Dice and chop two boneless, skinless chicken breasts and put in crock pot
3. Add can of tomatoes and green chilis
4. Add cumin, chili powder, chipotle powder, garlic powder, and garlic salt
5. Stir and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 5 hours
6. To make it Keto-friendly: top with favorite shredded cheese and/or sour cream

Rouladen Beef Stew
Beef stew is delicious, don’t get me wrong. But when something different sounds good, a Rouladen-style stew is just the thing. Rouladen is thinly sliced beef, rolled up with bacon, pickles, mustard, and onions, and slowly braised for hours. It’s insanely delicious. I mimicked the flavors, but created a beef stew with all the ingredients.
rouladensoup9Cubed chuck roast with lots of marbling is perfect for this recipe. It cooks down and becomes tender. Chuck roast is incredibly cost effective and has perfect flavor for a stew.
rouladensoup8rouladensoup7The cubed roast is braised in chicken stock and pickle juice. It adds a slight vinegar-y flavor that is in Rouladen, but infuses into the meat and makes it rich and cuts through some of the fat from the chuck roast.
rouladensoup4rouladensoup3One cup of coffee is also added, which enhances the beef-y flavor within the stew. You will not taste coffee; just a stronger rich, beef flavor.
MAP_3212To mimick the flavor of bacon, smoked paprika provides the flavor without the guilt of added sugar from bacon.
MAP_3228A spoonful of mustard rounds out the flavors in the stew and also cuts through the fat from the roast, while adding a slight vinegar flavor.
rouladensoup2When you are ready to eat the stew, top with additional diced dill pickle and diced onion. It tastes EXACTLY like Rouladen without the labor of rolling every piece of meat with the pickle, mustard, onion and bacon. This stew can be complemented by braised purple cabbage and it would taste delicious.

1 pound cubed chuck roast
1 can chicken stock
1/2 cup pickle juice
1 cup brewed coffee
2 dill pickles, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp smoked paprika

1. Dice and cube chuck roast, add to crock pot
2. Add chicken stock, pickle juice, coffee into crock pot
3. Add mustard and smoked paprika
4. Cook in slow cooker on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours
5. Serve with diced pickles and chopped onion

Texas ——–> California

santamonica2-3My husband and I are still recovering from our spontaneous 22-hour road trip to California last week. Can you believe that it takes longer to get across the state of Texas than it does to cross New Mexico, Arizona, and California? Crazy. I honestly thought that I have been tired before, but I have never been THIS tired. Because we are us, we didn’t stick to Whole 30 while on the trip. Shocker.
santamonica1We were so delirious and happy the entire time we were in California. We found an amazing apartment to live in, spent time with my family and their dog, discovered that the apartment we are moving into is 2 blocks from where my best friend works, and ate this delicious bread+butter pudding with cognac sabayon (among lots of other things). Complete perfection.
I’m trying to get back into the swing of normal things with Whole 30 again. It’s tough because my husband can only eat soft foods for a few days (so basically mashed potatoes and smoothies) while he recovers from dental surgery. But before his surgery I made pecan crusted chicken tenders that taste just like Fall. I loved dipping them in mustard and served them with garlic mashed potatoes. They reminded me of soft pretzels dipped in mustard. Bonus: they are baked. I’ll definitely be making them again when my husband recovers, hopefully soon!
Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
pecanchicken9These chicken tenders start with a boneless, skinless chicken breast. If the chicken is thick in the middle, use a meat mallet to make it a consistent thickness throughout so that every piece bakes evenly. Cut the chicken breast into bite-size tenders.
pecanchicken6The spice mixture that I used to bread the chicken is ground pecans with paprika, egg, and lightly ground pecans (for texture). It creates the perfect coating on the outside of the chicken to keep it moist but also adds flavor.
pecanchicken1pecanchicken2In a blender, I finely ground pecans and paprika. Don’t blend it too long or it will turn to pecan butter :). Which sounds delicious, but not for this. I put those into a glass bowl and added more pecans to the blender to make a coarser ground pecan mixture.
pecanchicken3 copyIn three separate bowls, place the finely ground pecan+paprika mixture, coarse ground pecans, and two eggs seasoned with salt and pepper (lightly beaten). First bread the chicken tenders in the finely ground pecans, then in the lightly beaten egg mixture, then in the coarsely chopped pecans. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. pecanchicken8The chicken will bake for approximately 20 minutes and will be crispy on the outside and moist and flavorlful on the inside.
pecanchicken4pecanchicken10I really love red potatoes. Boil them with garlic, salt, and pepper, and they have so much flavor. I think when I make this chicken again I will pair it with spicy braised cabbage. It’s hearty enough of a dish to be a perfect weeknight supper without weighing you down with any processed ingredients.
santamonica3I can’t wait to move back to LA and be by the ocean again. I think Whole 30 will be so much easier when I have the beautiful beach to go to everyday.

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 cups raw pecans
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 pound red potatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp ghee
Mustard, to taste (as dipping sauce)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a blender, place 1/2 cup pecans and finely grind. Combine with paprika and place in small bowl
3. Place 1/2 cup pecans in blender and coarsely grind. Place in separate small bowl
4. Crack two eggs in separate small bowl and lightly beat, add salt and pepper
5. Cut chicken into bite-size tenders
6. Place chicken into finely ground pecans, then in egg, then in coarsely ground pecans, and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes
7. Fill a large pot with water and place potatoes in with garlic and salt
8. Boil for 20 minutes on medium heat and drain. Mash with ghee
9. Serve chicken with mustard dipping sauce and mashed potatoes with ghee on top