By Fitness Editor Paula Jager, CSCS Owner of Crossfit Jaguar
Winters in Florida may be milder than the rest of the country but that’s not to say our culinary habits don’t go through seasonal changes. On cold days—especially busy weekends at home nothing takes the chill off better than smelling something delightful that’s been simmering in the oven all day.
Our winter is definitely winding down but I’d like to share some of my favorite dishes I’ve been enjoying the past few months.
Mighty Meat Loaf (Offal good)
You’re going to have to experiment with this one. While upstairs getting dressed one day my husband comes bellowing up the stairs. “I saw it and I’ll tell you right now I’m not going to eat it.” Having no idea what he was talking about I put down my hairbrush and calmly asked what Dear? “That big old heart, I saw it in the freezer and I’m not eating it.” Ok dear, I replied.
Getting your family to eat the things they should and enjoy them can be quite a challenge at times. That heart along with the kidneys that he didn’t see sat in my freezer for awhile before I figured out how to get them in.
Well, the end sometimes justifies the means. What man doesn’t love a good old fashioned meatloaf? Not many. It took some experimenting with the right amounts before he became suspicious but he now looks forward to a usually once a week meatloaf and asks for it when I don’t make one. Sometimes what you don’t know can help you.
1 lb grass fed ground beef
1 lb pastured ground pork or sausage – soy free (or can use 2 lbs ground beef)
¼ – ½ lb ground liver, heart, kidneys or combo
2 tbs bacon grease, tallow or other healthy fat
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1/3 cup chopped bell peppers
1/3 cup chopped celery
2 eggs, slightly beaten
¼ tsp gelatin (optional)
½ cup raw cheddar cheese
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp thyme
Bacon (nitrate & nitrite free)
Sauté onions, garlic, carrots, bell pepper and celery in bacon grease over med low heat until tender, about 6 to 8 min. Take off the stove and allow to cool. Beat eggs slightly and sprinkle gelatin over the top (if using) allowing to set for 5 min. Place meat and offal in a large mixing bowl and add in the cooled vegetables, salt, pepper, cheese and spices.
Add the egg mixture and mix gently with your hands until combined being careful not to over mix.
Line a 9” x 13” glass pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Take the meat mixture and form into a 10” x 4” loaf. Wrap the bacon in a diagonal fashion covering as much of the meat as possible. Trim the ends of the bacon, leaving ½” of overlap and gently tucking under. Use additional strips trimming as necessary to patch any areas not covered.
Bake at 375F for 45 to 55 min or until an instant read thermometer registers 160. Broil the meatloaf 6” from broiler element until brown and crisp, about 5 min. Let cool 10 minutes; transfer to a serving plate, cut into ¾- to 1-inch slices and enjoy!
What Southerner does not love barbecue? This is one of my “redone” favorites although it is oven baked it is just perfect for a crowd or weekend at home. The delightful smell wafting through the house all day is sure to get your mouth watering. In days gone by my rub included brown sugar and the butt was simmered in a bath of apple cider. I ditched the sugar and switched to homemade chicken stock and not a beat was missed.
For the rub:
Sprinkle to taste with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne and ground mustard. Cover with saran wrap and let sit for 2 to 6 hours.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Heat the lard over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet. Brown the pork on all sides. Remove and place in large dutch oven or roaster. Sauté onions until soft and place on top of the pork roast. Pour the chicken stock into the roaster, cover and bake until falling apart tender. 5 – 7 hours.
Let meat set for at least 10-15 min after coming out of the oven, then shred w/ large fork discarding bone and surplus fat. Serve with the juices from the pan or homemade barbecue sauce. I serve this with sautéed purple cabbage and apples in the fall and winter and coleslaw in the summer.
Beef Brisket & Root Vegetables
1 grass fed beef brisket (about 4-6 lbs)
dry ground mustard
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs lard, butter, coconut oil or tallow
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
6 carrots, halved
8-10 small red new potatoes
2 turnips quartered*
1 rutabaga cut into similar size pieces
1-2 sweet or white potatoes
2-3 garlic cloves
1 tbs arrowroot
2 tbs butter
1 cup dry red wine (can replace with 1 cup broth)
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Season brisket on all sides to taste with the sage, thyme, mustard, sea salt and pepper. Heat your fat in a roasting pan or skillet large enough to hold the meat and vegetables over medium-high heat. Brown on all sides, remove meat and cook onions until tender. Return brisket to pan fat side up and add the wine and broth. Cover and bake for about 2 hours. Add the vegetables to the pan and sprinkle with a little of the seasonings used on the meat. Cover and roast for an additional 2 to 4 hours or until fork tender.** Remove the brisket to a platter and keep warm. Place the vegetables in a bowl and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small bowl, knead the arrowroot and butter together with your fingers until well combined. Place the roasting pan with juices over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the arrowroot-butter mixture and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until very smooth and slightly thiabout 1 minute. Slice the brisket thinly against the grain and serve with the vegetables, drizzling some sauce over all.
*Go with whatever combination of root vegetables suits your fancy
** Total cooking time for the brisket may range from 4 to 6 hours, depending on the particular piece of meat and size.
Enjoy these southern foods of comfort that will not only delight your family but keep you fit and healthy as well!
About the Author
Paula Jager CSCS and Level 1 CrossFit and CF Nutrition Certified is the owner of CrossFit Jaguar.
Her exercise and nutrition programs yield life changing results