Hatch Chile and Bacon Melt with Chipotle Lime Mayo

Give your sandwich a southwestern twist with this delicious chile variety.

In case you bought a giant bag of hatch chiles and need something to do with them like me, do I have a sandwich for you! I love hatch chiles and their mild flavor; they are delectable, and they add the perfect southwestern twist to any meal. Want to transform your mac and cheese? Add some hatch chiles. Need to change things up with your usual fajita mix-ins? Add some hatch chiles. Want to spice up your sandwich? Add some hatch chiles.

You get what I’m saying. When it doubt, go the hatch chile route (should I coin that saying?).

And since the summertime is perfect for enjoying some southwestern fare, there is no better time to get some hatch chiles for yourself and try out this tasty treat of a meal. The sandwich is delightful enough on its own, but it is also great served with a side of chips, pickles, or your favorite crunchy snack. I have been enjoying these Acapulco lime plantain chips (you can find them at Whole Foods, or if you are obsessed enough, you can order a pack off of Amazon), which were a prime choice for my side.

In my recipe, the directions have you follow a method to press the sandwich or make it a melt. I highly recommend doing this – who doesn’t love some melty cheese? But if you are short on time, or if you just don’t want to eat it hot, you by no means need to do this (although you may lose some brownie points in my book).

Extra bonus points? The chipotle lime mayo can be made Whole30, if you use Primal Kitchen’s avocado oil mayo. Or, they have a pre-made chili lime mayo that is also delicious, if you want to go the easier route!


RECIPE

Makes 1 sandwich

INGREDIENTS:

  • For the sandwich:
    • 2 pieces sliced sourdough bread
    • 2 slices Monterey jack cheese
    • 3 pieces bacon, cooked
    • 1 large hatch chili
    • Chipotle lime mayo (see ingredients for homemade below)
    • 2 tsp ghee (separated into 1 tsp + 1 tsp)
  • For the chipotle lime mayo:
    • 3 tbsp avocado oil mayo
    • 2 tsp lime juice (fresh is best, but from a container is just as good, too!)
    • 2 tsp chili powder
    • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 paprika

DIRECTIONS:

  • For the sandwich:
    • Turn on a stove burner, and place your hatch chili directly over the heat until starting to blister (about 30s-1min)
    • Flip and do the same on the other side
    • After taking your chili off of the heat, remove the stem, slice in half, and remove the seeds
    • Pre-heat a small pan over medium high heat
    • Lay out your two sliced of bread and assemble them on each side as follows
    • On the first side, spread half of the chipotle lime mayo, and layer 2 pieces of cheese then 3 pieces of bacon
    • On the second side, spread the other half of the chipotle lime mayo, and layer the two chili halves on top
    • Add 1 tsp of ghee to your pan, let it melt, and swirl your pan so it evenly coats the bottom
    • Put your two sandwich halves together, and put it in the pan
    • Place another small pot or pan on the sandwich to press
    • Let it cook this way until the break is golden brown, about 3 mins
    • Remove the pot/pan and the sandwich from the pan, set aside, and add the remaining 1 tsp of ghee
    • Flip the sandwich and place back on the pan, and place the pot/pan back on the sandwich for another 3ish minutes
    • Remove, slice in half, and enjoy!
  • For the chipotle lime mayo:
    • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, and stir until evenly mixed and smooth

Whole 30 Thai Venison Satay Salad

So I thought I did a good thing with some venison satay (I adapted Hank Shaw’s recipe from his “Buck, Buck, Moose” cookbook, my bible and go-to inspiration for cooking big game, to be W30 compliant), but it turns out I did an even better thing by turning it into a salad. ⁠

For those who may be new to venison, this is a great way to get introduced and enjoy, as the marinade packs it with flavor and ensures it won’t blast you with a gamey taste.⁠ ⁠

We always have a plethora of venison in our freezer because #huntingwife, but if you do not, NOT TO WORRY – you can enjoy with some skirt steak, chicken, or salmon instead.⁠ ⁠

BONUS: I ate this 3 hours ago for lunch and I’m still not hungry (and I’m #26weekspregnant so that’s saying a lot), so you KNOW it’s both delicious and filling.⁠ ⁠

IMG_8254.small.jpg

One thing to note — If you are using chicken for this recipe, you can still slice into strips if you are using a large enough chicken breast, or you can cube it. You will also need to adjust the cook time on the grill (likely a little longer) to ensure that the chicken cooks all the way through. If you can, use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

If you choose to use salmon, I definitely recommend that you cube it. Depending on the size of your cubes (I recommend that you try to go on the thin side), you may need to adjust the cook times to ensure the salmon is cooked through.


RECIPE

Serves 4 adults

INGREDIENTS:

  • For the meat and marinade:
    • 1lb venison tenderloin or beef skirt steak cut into strips about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
    • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
    • 2 tablespoons minced ginger (or 2 tsp ground ginger)
    • 2 large garlic cloves, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
    • 3 tablespoons yellow curry powder (or Thai yellow curry paste) **note: if you don’t have either of these, I used this recipe from the Minimalist Baker to make my own curry powder
    • 1 to 3 thai hot chiles, stems removed (or 1 tsp cayenne)
    • Avocado oil (for coating the venison before it goes on the grill)
  • For the cashew sauce:
    • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
    • 1 tablespoons cashew butter (or any nut butter of choice, avoiding peanut to be Whole 30 compliant)
    • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
    • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (or red curry paste)
    • 1 garlic clove, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • To serve:
    • Cauliflower rice
    • Mini sweet peppers, sliced
    • Arugula (if serving as a salad)

DIRECTIONS:

  • For the meat:
    • Put all marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend
    • Coat and cover the venison strips in the marinade, and let it marinate in the fridge for 4-8 hours
    • Meanwhile, mix all ingredients for the cashew sauce in a bowl or food processor and set aside, at room temperature, while the venison marinates
    • When your venison is about ready, remove it from the fridge and thread each strip onto a skewer
    • Heat your grill (get it HOT) and scrape it down with a grill brush to make sure it is clean
    • Using a brush, coat your venison lightly with avocado oil and place on the grill
    • Grill on high heat for about 2-4 minutes per side, depending on how hot your grill is
  • To serve as dinner:
    • Serve over cauliflower rice with sliced sweet peppers and/or shredded carrots, and drizzle with sauce
  • To serve as a salad:
    • Place a bed of arugula (or greens of choice) in a bowl
    • Add 2 large spoonfuls of sauteed cauliflower rice and sliced sweet peppers
    • Chop the venison strips into 1-2 inch pieces, and top on the salad
    • Drizzle with sauce

Venison Italian Sausage Stuffed Delicata Squash

Get your fall cooking started off right with this classic squash recipe.

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Stuffed squash is one of the first things I make every fall. I LOVE squash season, and seriously get giddy when I start seeing the seasonal squash in the produce section. I inevitably buy ALL the squash, and my husband wonders when he’ll ever eat a meal without squash again 😉

But even better, squash season also lines up pretty nicely with the timing of when we start to get meat back from the butcher from the year’s deer season harvest. I’m a SUCKER for venison grind, so I am always so excited to start using it, and a stuffed squash recipe is always in order.

Unfortunately, with the Napa fires this year, my husband wasn’t able to harvest any deer (he hunts in Napa county, and the fires started right after the season opener and ran through all of the land that they hunt on, pretty much wiping the season out), so our venison grind stash won’t get replenished. Luckily, we still have some from a good harvest last year, so I was able to whip up my favorite version of stuffed squash, using venison Italian sausage and delicata squash.

The real beauty of this recipe is that you can virtually substitute any ground meat and/or squash (although you may have to play around with the number of squash you buy to ensure you have enough filling. Use a ground sausage style meat, or use with plain ground meat. My favorite squash to stuff is delicata, but I also love kabocha and acorn (very seasonal if you are cooking for an occasion!).

One thing to note — if you decide to make this with plain ground meat (e.g., ground beef), but still want the Italian sausage style seasonings, consider adding some extra spices in like red chili flakes, onion powder, and oregano. One (1) teaspoon of each should do the trick!

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. venison Italian sausage (regular Italian sausage works here, too!)⁠
  • 2 delicata squash⁠
  • 1/2 bunch kale (I like lacinato), chopped⁠
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced⁠
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced⁠
  • Salt & pepper⁠
  • Avocado oil⁠

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 400. Slice your squash in half, and remove the pulp. Brush with avocado oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until fork tender, about 25 mins, and remove from oven.⁠

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat about 1 tbsp. avocado oil. Add in onions and garlic, quickly cook until fragrant (15-30 seconds), and then add in the venison sausage. Once almost browned, add in your choppe kale, Stir and cook until wilted and the venison sausage is fully browned.⁠

Spoon the desired amount of filling into each squash half, and serve!⁠


Shredded Pork Enchiladas Verdes

A clean, yet hearty version of my favorite way to enjoy enchiladas.

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There’s really nothing like a good enchilada, amirite? While I will never turn down an enchilada of any form, enchiladas verdes are my go-to order at any Mexican restaurant and it is my favorite way to eat them.⁠ And, in my honest opinion, if you are going to make pork enchiladas, green sauce is the ONLY way to go.

Whenever we get a pork shoulder from my in-laws, I almost always use it to make my Basic Pulled Pork recipe, which is amazing for preparing meals for the week AND freezer meals for the days when meal planning is just *beyond* me. Plus, between the pandemic, flu season, and a new baby on the horizon, we’ll be going out to eat even less than we already do, so I made a few batches of these Shredded Pork Enchiladas Verdes and stashed the extras in the freezer. And honestly, when this baby comes I can guarantee you these will be one of the first meals to go!

Now, let me caveat this by also saying I am a sucker for convenience, so I used Siete Foods grain-free tortillas and green enchilada sauce. I haven’t perfected a homemade enchilada sauce yet, but you KNOW I’m working on one, and will share when I do! And while we enjoyed with some shredded Monterey Jack cheese on top, you can omit to make these bad boys paleo friendly.

One thing to note — Now, while I used my Basic Pulled Pork recipe, you can absolutely make these using store-bought pulled pork, but just know that you might not be able to find paleo friendly or Whole30 compliant pulled pork in the grocery store. If you are going to go the store-bought route, I like Del Real Foods Pork Carnitas.

Additionally, this recipe made 3 batches of about 6 enchiladas. I prepare and bake in batches of 6, because that seems to be the best amount for dinner for a family of 4. The other two batches went into the freezer, but if you DON’T want extras to go in the freezer, I recommend cutting the recipe quantities in half.

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5lbs pulled pork (see my recipe here)
  • 3 packages Siete tortillas (I like the cassava flour ones best)
  • 2 jars Siete enchilada verde sauce
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 4oz. cans diced hatch chiles
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 package shredded jack cheese, for topping (omit for dairy-free)
  • Cilantro, for topping
  • Radishes, for topping

DIRECTIONS:

If you plan on cooking enchiladas after preparing, pre-heat your oven to 375.

Heat a large pot on medium high heat. Add avocado oil. Once oil is heated, add pork to the pan, along with the chopped onion, chiles, spices, and 1 jar of sauce. Stir to combine, and cook until everything is heated through and the onions are starting to look transparent, about 3-5 mins, and turn off the heat. One at a time, spoon some of the filling mixture (roughly 1/4 cup) into a tortilla, roll, and place in an 8×8 pan seam side down. Continue until the pan is full, or after about 5 or 6 enchiladas. Repeat for each batch. Evenly divide the remaining jar of sauce by 3, and use to pour over each batch of enchiladas, covering them completely.

If eating immediately, add your cheese topping (omit if you want to be paleo friendly/dairy free), and cook for 15 mins, or until the cheese bubbles and starts to brown on the edges.

If freezing, cover with foil, and pop into the freezer. To cook from frozen, pre-heat your oven to 375, and cook covered for 25 mins. Remove from oven and remove cover, add cheese, and cook for an additional 10-15mins until the cheese bubbles and starts to brown on the edges.


Baby Sanson #2: Second Trimester Recap

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Ohh, you guys.

Is the second trimester not the longest trimester of all time? Okay, maybe the third timester is once you just get OVER it, but with a toddler it seems like this is when shit hit the fan and just took forever. I know ‘ve said it before, but I still don’t know if this pregnancy is harder than my first because I have a toddler, got laid off, and by the looks of it the entire pregnancy will be during a pandemic, or because it just is, but it is shaking up to be drastically different than my first and I think I just haven’t really come to terms with that yet.

14 weeks
21 weeks
28 weeks

So, see how my second trimester really went via FAQs!

Q: What are you buying for baby #2?

Well, not much besides clothes and diapers. There are some smaller things that need to be replaced from when Bruce was a baby, like we need a new bottle warmer, and I need to replace pump parts and storage bottles (you just don’t reuse those kinds of things, ya know?), but we’re not buying any new gear or big items.

I’ve been debating back and forth on a double stroller, and even bought one used off of Facebook Marketplace and tried it out for a bit, but I just didn’t feel like it was the right set up for us for a few reasons:

  1. What I want for when the baby can be in a stroller without the car seat or bassinet attachment is so different than what I want for when she is still too little to be in the regular stroller seat.
  2. She is going to be born in November when it’s colder out and we aren’t really going to be getting out on walks or anything (let’s be real we aren’t very consistent ‘walking’ type people even when it is nice out haha).
  3. When Bruce was a baby I preferred to wear him in a carrier into stores instead of bringing the car seat/stroller, so I’m assuming I’ll do this again with #2.
  4. Bruce is NOT a stay-in-the-stroller type of kid, so we can’t really count on having two kids in a stroller all the time.
  5. They are PRICEY and take up a TON of space, so it’s hard to justify spending $700+ on a stroller before even knowing how it’s going to go.

So, I sold the double stroller and decided to keep the original set up we had when Bruce was a baby, and if we go out to walk and need a stroller, then B will go in the stroller and one of us will wear baby, and then invest in something when it doesn’t require a car seat or bassinet to be attached!

Q: How has the pandemic impacted your pregnancy?

Where do I even start? I’ll just list them out for you, haha.

  1. Prenatal care is vastly different, as at least 50% of what I needed to go in for with Bruce is either now done virtually, combined with another service so it’s all done at once, or they just cut it out altogether.
  2. I was laid off a few months into the pandemic, and we decided that I would ‘stay home’ (aka not work) for a little while given the timing with how pregnant I was. Because of this, we’ve also changed Bruce’s preschool schedule so he’s now at home more. So – when I was pregnant with Bruce, I was working full-time and commuting every day. Now, I’m a SAHM.
  3. Speaking of being a SAHM, as much as I truly am enjoying the extra time with B, it’s not at all what I envisioned SAHM life to be, because we can’t. go. anywhere. Even the parks are still closed! Without getting too deep into it, it has just really made the experience a lot different than what I had previously hoped for if I ever became a SAHM.
  4. Because of the above, I can feel the impact it has had on my mental health. I’m so much more anxious because I don’t feel great about the prenatal care I’m getting, and I don’t have the same things that I enjoyed doing and that gave me a sense of self. I’m having to figure out what that means for me now, and it just weighs on a girl sometimes, ya know?

Q: Have you picked out a name?

Yes! But we’re keeping it a secret until she is born. It’s the one thing we like to keep a surprise for people, and just something we aren’t interested in opinions on before she comes 🙂

Q: How has this pregnancy been different than your first?

Well, you can refer back to the question on how the pandemic has impacted my pregnancy, because I think that covers the majority of it, but there is also a physical aspect that has been much different as well.

I wasn’t in nearly as good of shape when I got pregnant this time as I was when I got pregnant with Bruce, which has resulted in a lot more aches and pains. I unknowingly had Diastasis Recti after B, which of course I didn’t heal, and that has resulted in a lot of pelvic pain. Plus, I just get winded a lot more easily and certainly don’t have the physical capacity to do things like I did when I was pregnant with B.

Q: How has your diet changed with this pregnancy?

I found out I have iron-deficient anemia, so I’ve added an iron supplement to my diet, and I am actively trying to eat more meat and cooked greens (think spinach and kale) to get my iron levels up.

Iron supplements really do a number on your GI system, so I’ve also had to navigate how to best time the supplements and add in other things to my diet to help keep things moving.

So far, what seems to work best is to take my supplement in the middle of the day so my morning cup of coffee has time to work it’s magic, and then I take a magnesium supplement in the afternoon/evenings that originally was for helping me sleep, but also helps with the digestive component as well.

Q: What were your second trimester cravings?

Drinks. Maybe it was because of the summer, but I wanted an ice cold beer or a cold glass of wine SO BADLY. I was the mocktail QUEEN during the second trimester, and needed to drink things other than water.

And I’m counting that as a craving vs. denial and grumpiness about not drinking, because being a couple weeks into my third trimester as I write this up, I truly do not have that same longing for a drink as I did a couple months ago. So, craving it is haha.

Q: Are there any “things” that you couldn’t live without during your second trimester?

Two things: facial wipes and maternity joggers.

Seriously. I never felt like I got that spike of energy back, and was just so pooped at the end of the day that I was neglecting my skincare routine, so I started purchasing these Ursa Major facial wipes to make sure I at least just cleaned my face every night, and I looooove them. They do the best job at removing makeup and dirt than any other brand I’ve tried, and they haven’t irritated or dried out my sensitive skin.

And joggers. So comfy. Perfect for SAHM and prego life. These ones from Amazon are like butter and I wear them almost every day. I really don’t have much else to say about them except I regret is not buying them sooner.

Q: Is there anything you want to do differently this time?

Well, things will already be a lot different because I won’t truly have a ‘maternity leave’, and will have two kiddos at home instead of getting to spend a few months solo with one. So I can’t say it’s something I necessarily wanted to do differently, but it will be different.

But, I will say I have a very different philosophy around feeding this time around. With Bruce, I was adamant that if I was home, I HAD to breastfeed him – aka my husband couldn’t bottle feed him (which he tried to do to help me out and now I cringe thinking about how I didn’t let him). And you bet your butt that is going to be different. I feel so much more educated around pumping and I care less about exclusively breastfeeding that I’m SO DOWN for bottles to be used more so my husband has an extra opportunity to bond with baby, and if for whatever reason we need to supplement with formula (because I am gone, or whatever I am doing), then have at it, my friend. IT IS ALL FINE AND WILL BE FINE. Your baby won’t be any less healthy for it.

So there you have it, a recap of my second trimester the second time around. How did your second (or third, or fourth, etc.!) pregnancy differ from your first pregnancy? I’d love to know in the comments!


Spiralized Spanish Tortilla

Use your spiralizer to create this Spanish-style omlette.

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First, I want to note YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY MAKE THIS WITHOUT A SPIRALIZER! Having one just makes things a little more fun when it comes to prepping your veggies for this classic Spanish dish.

When I was 14, my family took a 2-week trip to Europe to visit family friends who had moved to Spain. As such, the majority of that trip was spent in Spain, where we were quickly introduced to Tortilla, a.k.a. a Spanish-style omelet with potatoes and onions. It sounds basic, but MAN does it melt in your mouth.

And seriously, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. And I’m 29. It occurred to me the other day…it’s so simple, why haven’t I just tried to make it myself yet? I had no good answer, so here we are.

The first one I made got stuck to the pan and made a giant burnt mess, and I almost cried because I really did a number on my nice, new ceramic pan. I sautéed the potatoes and onions with a tiny spray of olive oil, and then just added the egg mixture in. It obviously just turned into a giant mess.

So with attempt #2, I cooked the potatoes and onions ahead of time in a different pan (so there would be no residue and I’d be starting with a clean pan), then generously sprayed the pan I used with avocado oil, PUT THE EGG MIXTURE IN FIRST, and then added the potatoes and onion. Nailed it, and let me just say – lesson learned. I’m still scraping burnt bits off that first pan!

Now, the only part about this recipe that can get a little tricky is when you need to flip the tortilla. Yes, you need to flip what is basically a giant omelet in your pan. Since I used a ceramic pan and plenty of olive oil, my tortilla slid out of the pan and onto a sheet pan quite nicely. I then just gave it my best aim and a swift flip and got it right back into the pan. If it is a little off, that is okay – it will be cooked enough that you should be able to nudge it back into place with your spatula. Honestly, it’s like sports – hesitation will hold you back, you just gotta go for it and you’ll be alright!

Once you’re ready, cut it in slices like a pie to serve. Eat as is, or if you need to eat everything with hot sauce like me, might I recommend my absolute fave, Yellowbird Hot Sauce.

One thing to note — if you don’t have a spiralizer, but are interested in purchasing one, this spiralizer by Inspiralized is hands down the best one I have found. It attaches well to your counter and doesn’t slip when you use it, and it is super sturdy – I’ve had mine for a coupel years and it has held up like a champ!

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • Eggs, 8
  • 2 tbsp. milk (any type of milk is fine)
  • 2 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, peeled
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil

DIRECTIONS:

Spiralize your veggies. For the potato, cut lengthwise about halfway through, and put your spiralizer on the “ribbon” cut setting, so it will essentially make chips, or rounds. Then, put your spiralizer back onto the noodle setting (choose whatever width you’d like), and spiralize your onion. You will only need about 1/4 to 1/2 of the onion in the tortilla, but I find that I like to have the pre-sliced onions for other recipes throughout the week.

After your veggies are spiralized, whisk 8 eggs, and add your milk and salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature while you cook your veggies.

Heat a pan to medium-high, and sauté potatoes and onions to your liking (about 3-5 mins should be enough). Heat a separate pan on low, spray avocado oil (or add, if you don’t have the spray kind — but I very much prefer this avocado spray to get things coated more evenly and prevent over pouring). Add the egg mixture to the pan, and then add in the potatoes and onions. Let cook for about 10-15 mins, while separating the omlet from the sides of the pan with a spatula while cooking.

When it is time, use the spatula to help slide the omelet onto a sheet pan. Flip the omelet back into the pan, and cook an additional 5 mins. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. When you are ready, slice pie style and serve!


How to Make Basic Pulled Pork

The perfect base recipe to create meals for the whole week!

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Pulled pork is an amazing thing to make if you want to set yourself up with easy meals for a while. It is a bit of a labor of love, I will admit, but the results can seriously feed you for days upon days, so it is worth it in my mind.

Plus, in the grand scheme of things, it is easy! Sear your pork, cook your pork in the crock pot for 10-12 hours, shred your pork. BAM!

And while you can season for something specific, say barbecue seasoning for BBQ pulled pork, or more of a taco seasoning/Mexican seasoning for carnitas or enchiladas, I like to use very basic seasoning up front so I can use this pulled pork for ALL the things.

Pulled pork is best made using pork butt or pork shoulder. I typically use pork that we get from my in-laws (they raise pigs on their ranch), so the size is a bit unpredictable; they usually end up being somewhere around 5lbs I would bet. But, the beauty of this recipe is that the size of your butt/shoulder doesn’t affect it at all!

How we enjoy these? Here are a few of my favorite ways!

  • Mixed with BBQ sauce for BBQ Pulled Pork over Sweet Potatoes (recipe coming soon!)
  • Used in enchiladas for Pork Enchiladas Verdes (recipe coming soon!)
  • Crisped in a pan with taco seasoning for Pork Lettuce Carnitas Cups (recipe coming soon!)

One thing to note — Shredding the pork takes a while. I typically make a huge batch when we get a pork shoulder directly from my in-laws’ ranch, so perhaps the cuts I use have a bit more connective tissue and fat in them than a store bought cut would, but it usually ends up taking me an hour or so after it is done cooking to shred and remove all of the fat and connective tissue.

I really like these Cuisinart Meat Shredders to help get a lot of the meat separated, but there is really no substitute for just getting in there and using your hands.

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

  • Pork butt or pork shoulder
  • 2-3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, cut into large chunks
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Season your cut of pork on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a pan on high (a cast iron pan is perfect if you have one), and sear the pork on all sides until crispy golden (about 2-3 mins per side, depending on the size of the cut). Once seared, place your pork in a crock pot, along with the broth and the onion chunks. Cook on low for about 10-12 hours.

Once done cooking, shred the pork, discarding the excess fat, connective tissue, and any bones.

Use immediately for a meal, or store in the fridge for future meals. The pork will store well for at least 7 days!


Lemony Garlic Parsnip Fries

A lighter version of the classic favorite, perfect for fall.

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If you haven’t tried parsnip fries yet, I gotta tell you…YOU MUST. They are a lot like carrots — naturally sweet when roasted — but they have more of a warm-spiced flavor that is to die for.

I feel like I always forget about parsnips and then re-discover them when I’m trying to get out of a veggie rut, and I’m always so happy about it. Plus, that spiced flavor heading into fall…they are the perfect veggie to try out to switch up your game!

For all intents and purposes, you can prepare them and use them the same as you would carrots. Just don’t expect the same carrot taste!

Since it is the end of summer and the beginning of fall, I used these to make some garlic fries because WE MISS SPORTS here in this house. But, these would also go great with a burger or grilled salmon, or cut them into rounds and serve with roasted lamb or beef.

One thing to note – if you don’t want to cook these in the oven, I bet they’d be awesome cooked in an air fryer. I haven’t tried it, so can’t recommend any settings/times, so let me know if you do!

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-5 large parsnips
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1tsp. + 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. + 1 tsp. pepper
  • Juice of 1 small lemon (about 1 tbsp.)
  • 1 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel your parsnips, and cut into fries. Coat with avocado oil, and season with half of your salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Bake for about 25 minuttes.

While the fries are baking, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and remaining salt and pepper in a small bowl.

When the fries are done, pour the lemon garlic mixture over the fries. Toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top of the fries, and serve!


Dairy-Free Fall Kabocha Potato Soup

It’s fall, which officially means one thing – it’s squash season!

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The transition from Summer into Fall this year is a little crazy because of all of the smoke in the Bay Area from the California fires. While it LOOKS like it is cloudy and fall-like outside, it is just the smoke and it is really 90+ degrees! I want it to be Fall so bad that I just crank up the air and turn on the fireplace to give me all the fall vibes and just pretend. And this soup is the perfect meal to top off a Fall day, even if it is a wannabe Fall day.

I chose to use Kabocha squash because it is one of my all-time favorites. It is sweet, yet warm, and everyone in the family likes it. While Butternut is oh-so-popular, my husband isn’t a big fan of it because he says it reminds him of the smell of skinning a deer (aka, gross), so I don’t use it often. Bruce is also a huge fan of Kabocha – it was one of his first foods, since he started eating solids in the Fall!

The one bummer about Kabocha is that it IS a little more difficult to dice if you are using a whole squash. The rind is tough to cut through, but once you get through it and get the ‘guts’ scraped out, it’s not too bad to skin, slice, and dice. That being said, if any of you have any hacks for dicing a Kabocha squash, help a sister out and send them my way!

You’ll notice that in addition to the squash, there are also two yellow potatoes in this soup. Now this is because I like my soups creamy and hearty y’all. I wanted the soup to have a creamy texture, but without the actual cream. And with no coconut cream or dairy-free creamer on hand, I decided to throw in a couple potatoes instead and they completely did the trick. The soup still has great texture and taste, seems light, but it fills you up for sure. Who needs creamer when you have potatoes?

While I used coriander and thyme to spice, you can switch these out with your favorite fall spices if you would like to make the soup more savory or sweet. I went savory, but if you want sweeter, you can consider cloves and cinnamon.

So, if you are looking to celebrate the beginning of Fall with a cozy squash soup like me, give this one a try!

A couple things to note – to save your hand from some serious cramping, you can also use pre-cubed kabocha squash if you can find it; I can find it sometimes at Whole Foods! Using frozen kabocha squash isn’t the best idea, as it will add moisture from being frozen that will thin out your soup.

Also, when blending your soup, I 1000% recommend an immersion blender, as it is SO much easier than transferring to a blender. A cheap one works just fine – I have this one and love it.

Have you made this? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium kabocha squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 yellow onion, cut into slivers
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Heat a pot over medium-high heat, and add olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add onion slices and saute until the onions are translucent (about 3-5 mins). Add the cubed squash, potatoes, broth, and salt and pepper. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil. Once there, cover, and turn your heat down to low to simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until both the squash and potato cubes are fork-tender. Add your coriander and thyme. Now, you will blend the soup either in batches using a blender, or in the pot using an immersion blender. Blend until smooth. Let cool, and enjoy!


Dairy-Free Creamy Heirloom Tomato Soup

A dairy-free version of this comfort food favorite.

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The end of summer is here, and that usually means garden tomatoes will soon be fleeting. It also means if you grow tomatoes in a garden yourself, you probably have a HUGE bounty right about now!

My mom has been growing heirloom tomatoes, and when she said she had a ton of extras, and would I like any, it was a very quick yes from me. I knew we wouldn’t eat them all by the time they went bad, so I decided to whip up a batch of tomato soup.

I wanted to make my soup dairy-free, as all of my family’s tummies just feel that much better without dairy. I used soy creamer, which makes this recipe dairy-free, but not Whole30 compliant. If you want to make this recipe Whole30, I would recommend you use a nut milk-based creamer, like Nutpods. The flavor may change slightly (soy tends to have a bit more of a vanilla taste to it), the creaminess will not.

I also used heirloom tomatoes in this recipe, and I prefer to use heirloom, as they are naturally a bit sweeter than other varieties. You can ABSOLUTELY use whatever variety of tomato you have (or want), just note that you may need to add a bit more balsamic vinegar if you want to sweeten it up a bit more.

Now, with a toddler around, you know we served this with a grilled cheese. But if you want to forego that staple, serve with some roasted or steamed broccoli, and/or some sliced sausages of your choosing.

One thing to note — In this recipe, I do not peel my tomatoes. I like my soup a little chunky, so don’t mind any peel remnants that add some texture to the soup. That being said, if you DO want to peel your tomatoes, this how-to from Mean Green Chef is a great recipe to follow for that.

Have you made this? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • About 2 lbs heirloom tomatoes, cored
  • 1/2 yellow onion, roughly diced
  • 3/4 cup soy creamer
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • Oregano to top

DIRECTIONS:

Heat your oven to 500, or the highest temperature it will go, and move your rack to the top rung. Place parchment paper (a Silpat works just as well!) on a sheet pan, and put your tomatoes on the pan. Roast for about 10-15 minutes. Some char is okay on the tomatoes, but you don’t want them to be black.

Once the tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven, and place them in a stockpot on medium-high heat. Add in the onion, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and turn the heat down to a simmer. Continue to simmer for about 20 minutes.

After the tomatoes are simmered, add the balsamic vinegar and hot sauce, and stir. Then, blend the tomatoes until smooth, or your desired consistency. Once blended, add your soy creamer and stir. Taste test your soup – if it needs more sweetness, add more vinegar. If it needs more of a kick, add more hot sauce. If it needs a little “more”, add some more salt and pepper. Tailor to what you like best!

Lastly, SERVE!


Healthified Fried Green Tomatoes

Use this Whole30 version to clean up your favorite southern indulgences.

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I really have a thing for fried green tomatoes, and I can’t explain it. I just love them? My mom’s family is from Texas, so maybe it’s the Southern roots in my genes.

I love them on their own, on a slider, or my personal favorite—on a southern-style eggs benedict (cue the drool).

When I saw green tomatoes at the store, I knew I wanted to try my hand at my own version of fried green tomatoes, but I hesitated because I wasn’t sure I wanted to indulge in something so…fried and indulgent. I recently found out that I’m anemic and have been trying to make changes in my diet to cut out foods that inhibit iron uptake, so the traditional way of making these wasn’t going to cut it.

So when I had the idea to clean them up a bit and create this Whole30 compliant and paleo friendly version, I was like YES PLEASE. Also, I may never fry things in anything except cassava flour ever again because it seriously gives your food the perfect light-yet-seriously-satisfying coat.

A couple things to note — When you are buying tomatoes, the firmer the better! Ripe tomatoes that are squishy will be HARD to grasp with tongs when you are trying to flip and remove them from the pan.

Also, you’ll want to prep 3 or 4 tomatoes to put in the pan and cook at a time (aka you want to batch cook these if you can). This helps the pan and the oil not to get too hot but still allows the tomatoes to cook quickly.

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 2 adults)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-6 green tomatoes, sliced 1/4” thick
  • 3/4 cup cassava flour + 1/3 cup cassava flour
  • 2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2-4 tbsp. Avocado oil

DIRECTIONS:

Set up a station for your tomatoes. On one plate, put the 1/3 cup cassava flour. In a small glass bowl, combine your egg and almond milk, and whisk to mix. On a second plate, add the 3/4 cup of cassava flour with the remaining spices and mix together.

Next, heat up your avocado oil in a pan over high heat. Use as much as it takes to cover the bottom of the pan, about 2-4 tbsp.

You’ll take your green tomato slices and dip them in each station in the following order: coat both sides in plain cassava flour, dip in the egg wash, then coat in both sides of the cassava flour spice mix.

Once your tomato is coated, place in your heated pan and cook until golden, about 2-3 mins each side.

After cooking, let cool on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.

Enjoy as a side with your favorite southern meal, or by themselves with a tasty dip (I love a spicy mayo or chipotle sauce with these).


Dairy-Free Garlic and ‘Butter’ Pork Chops

Get out your cast iron, fire up your grill, and enjoy the warm summer evenings with this delectable dish!

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I’ve never been a huge fan of pork chops (not a great way to start a post with a recipe for pork chops, huh?). I think it was because I just didn’t have a lot of well-cooked pork chops growing up – sorry, mom – because I just think of them as dry and plain.

So, OF COURSE, it is karma that my husband harvested 2 wild boar and we inherited some pork from my in-laws’ ranch and I now have more pork chops, pork steaks, and other pork cuts I’ve never heard of and have no idea what to do with.

In an effort to get through our freezer stash, I thawed out some pork chops and decided to try my hand at them. Plus, it was one of the first days in the last week or so that it wasn’t too smokey from all of the fires happening in California so it was a perfect excuse to get outside and fire up the grill.

I knew I wanted to use butter to make sure the pork chops kept a nice, rich flavor, but we’re eating mostly dairy-free right now (a personal choice as we notice our digestion is so much better without it; plus, it can inhibit your iron uptake, which is something this anemic mama likes to avoid!).

And you guys – I did a GOOD thing. For someone who doesn’t care for pork chops, I had to go back for seconds! The mix of the herbs, plus the richness of the vegan butter kept them nice and juicy and added the right mix of spice to give them a nice, bright taste. Even my toddler, who is getting pickier by the day, asked for seconds!!

So fire up that grill and enjoy, y’all – this is the perfect way to get outside while you still can and revel in the last days of summer!

One thing to note — You don’t have to make these on the grill. You can simply use your cast iron on the stove! To be honest, I struggle to not set the smoke alarm off whenever I’m using the cast iron inside because I need the pan to get HOT, which generates too much smoke for the house.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a cast iron, you could use a regular frying pan, and make sure you have the heat as hot as it can get when initially searing the pork. Note that it may take a little longer to cook the pork chops.

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 2 adults)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large pork chops
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 stick vegan butter (I like the Mykonos brand)

DIRECTIONS:
Combine your dry spices (oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper) and divide them into two small bowl. Put your pork chops in a glass bowl or container, and add in the olive oil, making sure both sides of both pork chops are coated evenly. Divide one of the spice bowls between the two pork chops and rub them in. Add half of the minced garlic to the top of the chops, and rub it in so everything is evenly distributed across each pork chop. Flip the chops over, and do the same with the remainder of the spices and garlic. Cover, and let marinate for 30-60 minutes before you cook them.

About 10 minutes before you are ready to cook, turn on your grill and let it get HOT. Once it is heated, put your cast iron pan on the grill to let it pre-heat.

When your cast iron pan is piping hot, put your pork chops into the pan and sear on each side for about 1-2 minutes. You want them to get that golden crust on them!

Once you have seared each side, turn your grill down to medium heat. After turning the heat down, add your 1/2 stick of butter to the cast iron, and baste the tops of the pork chops with the melted butter (I use a large metal serving spoon or soup spoon to do this).

Let your pork chops cook through while frequently basting, about 10 minutes or so. Use a meat thermometer to make sure they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees (and cook for longer if needed until it gets there!). It is okay if they are still a little pink inside as long as they have hit at least 145 degrees!

Once cooked through, remove your chops from the pan, and enjoy! We like to eat these with a crisp green veggie side like steamed asparagus or a summer salad, and a whole grain carb like wild rice.