balsamic mushroom burgers

Paleo & AIP Balsamic Mushroom Burgers | How to Cook a Multi-Dish Meal

Welcome to Flawed yet Functional and to my dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free kitchen! When I have company over, sometimes I keep things plain and simple. For a play-date, my friends usually pack their own lunch so each mom only has to prepare for her kids. Easy-peasy! However, other times I like to pull out all the stops. I like to serve a nutritious, delicious meal to not only feed my friends but show them the delicious variety vegetables offer. Today, I’d like to share Balsamic Mushroom Burgers on Cauliflower Mash with Roasted Vegetables along with tips on how to make a multi-dish meal successfully.

balsamic mushroom burgers


Usually, I only show you a recipe for one dish at a time, but I thought it might be helpful to show how I prepare a multi-dish dinner along with the recipes for each part. Just like cooking is a learned skill, hosting and preparing food to be ready at the same time is a learned skill too. It takes practice, but you can do it!

Each part of this company-worthy meal is simple, they just use basic grilling, sauteing, and roasting techniques. However, there are 4 separate dishes to make which can be a lot for one person. I recommend asking your spouse help: one person man the grill while the other prepares the rest of the vegetables inside.

Cook Time

Before cook anything, I think through each dish and how long it takes to cook. For the grill, I include warm-up time so I can tell Dan when to start so all he has to do is start the grill and cook the meat which should end up ready at the same time as the rest of the meal.

Grilled Hamburgers | ~35 minutes total time – 25 minutes to get the coals ready using a chimney and 6-10 minutes to cook the burgers

Balsamic Mushrooms | ~20 minutes cook time – Might be less time but can stay warm in the pan for at least 10 minutes

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower | 70 minutes total time – About 35 minutes to roast the garlic, 15 minutes to boil the water, 10 minutes to cook the cauliflower and 10 minutes to finish the dish

Roasted Vegetables | 45 minutes total time – About 10 minutes to warm the oven and 35 minutes to cook the vegetables

Cook Order & Kitchen Surface

Now I mentally think which dish needs to be cooked first and make a list (a physical list only in the case of Thanksgiving dinner, but it might help you to actually write it out if you are new to this!).

  1. Counter | Complete all mise en place. Chop all the vegetables, onions, and garlic.
  2. Oven | Pre-heat oven and roast garlic
  3. Oven | When garlic is finished, increase temp on oven and put in vegetables to roast.
  4. Stove-Top | Turn on water to boil and boil cauliflower
  5. Grill | Tell Dan to begin burgers
  6. Stove-top | Once cauliflower is boiling, begin mushrooms
  7. Counter | Finish cauliflower mash
  8. Oven | Remove vegetables from oven
  9. Grill | Dan should be bringing the finished hamburgers in now!

Don’t forget to think through with kitchen surface it will be using. You don’t want to have two dishes that need the oven at the same time, and also you don’t want to have 4 pans that need to cook at the same time on the stove-top (yes, there are 4 burners, but I don’t have any pans small enough to actually fit 4 on the stove-top simultaneously). For my kitchen, I like 1 item in the oven with 2 max on the stove-top.

It’s an intense bit of kitchen work, but this meal should come together in less than 90 minutes including prep time. For a complete Paleo/AIP meal with 5 vegetables in it, that’s not too bad!

Plate the Food

On each plate, smear a large spoonful of the roasted garlic cauliflower mash and place the hamburger on the mash. Top the hamburger with balsamic mushrooms and place a serving of the roasted vegetables on the side. Not only with the food taste delicious, but it will look like you are eating at a fancy restaurant. There’s just something about a beautifully plated meal!


balsamic mushroom burgers

Balsamic Mushrooms

The perfect savory topping for hamburgers or steak! This savory mushrooms are Paleo and AIP-friendly and will jazz up any meal.

Course Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine AIP, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 10 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped fine
  • 8 oz. baby Portobello mushrooms chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar to taste


  1. Chop the mushrooms into small pieces, whatever size you like to eat. They will shrink when cooked. Chop the onion fine.

  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium-low heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 

  3. When oil is shimmering, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to sweat and release some moisture.

  4. Add the mushroom to the onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until soft and very brown, stirring occasional, about 10 minutes.

  5. Pour vinegar in the pan and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat and taste for seasoning. Add salt, pepper, or more vinegar as needed.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Not eating gluten or grains? No worries! Use this AIP/Paleo mashed cauliflower as a delicious base for your hamburgers, pork chops, meatloaf, steak, etc.!

Course Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine AIP, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 30 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


  • 1 bulb fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 head fresh cauliflower rough chop
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste


Roast the Garlic

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°.

  2. Keeping the garlic bulb whole, cut off the top 1/4" or so to expose the garlic cloves. Place in the middle of a sheet of aluminum foil, 10"x10", and drizzle olive oil over the cut end of the bulb.

  3. Wrap the foil up around the bulb, pinching it closed at the top. Bake for about 30 minutes or until garlic is soft, brown, and fragrant.

Make Cauliflower Mash

  1. While the garlic is baking, bring water to a boil in a dutch oven (enough to cover the cauliflower, about 3-4 quarts).

  2. Cut off the stem and any green leaves from the base of the cauliflower. Cut the head in half then cut each half into four pieces.

  3. When the water is boiling, add the cauliflower pieces and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

  4. In a blender or food processor, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper, whole bulb of garlic (garlic removed from paper), and soft cauliflower. Blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Basic Grilled Hamburgers

Everybody should know how to make a good hamburger! Salt, pepper and heat are all you need to make a great hamburger!

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine AIP, Paleo
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Pre-heat Grill 25 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 380 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


  • 2 lb. ground beef high quality, 80/20
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat grill to 600° or there about. A good burger needs HEAT.

  2. While grill is heating, break hamburger into small pieces then portion into 6 burgers, 1/3lb. each. Handle the burger gently. Do not press firmly together. Just push until the patty holds together and no more. A loose pack will allow for a more juicy burger. 

  3. Sprinkle both sides of the burger generously with salt and pepper. Place on a plate in the fridge until the grill is ready.

  4. When the grill is hot, place burgers on grill and shut lid. Cook for 3 minutes. Flip burgers then cook, covered for 2 more minutes. Check the temperature of the meat with an instant read themometer, pull off at 125°. The meat will continue to cook as it rests on the plate. It will rise to 135° to be medium rare when you eat it. 

  5. If you'd like your burger more done, continue cooking but test temperature every 30-45 seconds. It will cook fast. Pull the burger off the grill 10° before your desired doneness (so for well-done, pull at 145°.


Basic Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are so easy and versatile. Consider this recipe a basic recipe and adjust to whatever vegetables you have access to.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine AIP, Paleo
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 102 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


  • 2 whole golden beets peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli florets bite size
  • 2-4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Peel and chop all the vegetables and place into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Continue to add olive oil until all the vegetables look coated and shiny but oil is not pooling at the bottom of the bowl.

  4. Pour onto baking sheet and arrange in a single layer (use two pans if necessary). Roast for 20 minutes, stir then continue cooking for 15 minutes or until all vegetables are soft.


wilted bacon summer salad

Wilted Bacon Summer Salad | AIP and Paleo Recipe

Easy side dishes that don’t heat up my kitchen too much are my go-to’s in the summer. My favorite summer meal is meat on the grill (cooked by my hubby!) and two vegetable sides that do not take too long to cook. If my oven is on for longer than 30 minutes, my kitchen gets boiling hot. Yours too? Wilted bacon summer salad comes together in under 20 minutes, making it perfect for my summer dinner prep! Also, this is a one pan side dish! Fewer dirty dishes is always a win!

wilted bacon summer salad

**Disclaimer: This recipe is not mine originally. I simply tweaked it to make it fit into my AIP/Paleo diet. Zach and Anne Gembis get all the credit for introducing me to this tasty salad!**

Let’s take a look at how to make this super easy summer salad!

First, cook the bacon in a large skillet to your desired crispiness. I like mine quite crispy, borderline burnt some would say, in fact, I see nothing wrong with burnt bacon. The black parts taste great!

Cooking Tip: Use a larger pan than you need for these few slices of bacon and green onions. That way when you add the lettuce to wilt, there will be plenty of room!

wilted bacon summer salad

Remove the bacon when it is to your desired doneness, but leave the rendered fat in the pan! This is the foundation of the dressing for the salad! Toss in the green onions to wilt for about 30 seconds then stir in the coconut sugar until melted and onions are kind of caramelized.

wilted bacon summer salad

When the onions and sugar have cooked for a couple minutes, pour in the apple cider vinegar and water. Stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up any wonderful bacon or onion bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

wilted bacon summer salad

Finally, add the chopped lettuce and crumbled bacon to the pan. Stir to coat the greens and allow them to wilt. I usually leave the heat on if I’m using a more sturdy lettuce, like romaine, but turn the heat off if using a more fragile lettuce. Taste and add more apple cider vinegar if necessary then serve warm!

wilted bacon summer salad

This is a super simple side dish that comes together in a flash. And if you are looking to eat more leafy greens, look to wilted salads! A wilted salad cuts the volume way down allowing you to eat more without even noticing!

Cooking Tip: The original recipe, as given to me by my friends, would use a leafy, fragile green like butterhead or royal red lettuce. I like it that way too, but lately, I’ve been using a mix of red and green romaine with a small amount of butterhead. The ratios are about 3 parts romaine to 1 part butterhead. What I like about using romaine is it is more sturdy and holds up better as leftovers.

The perfect summer meal for me is pork chops on the grill with a side of wilted bacon summer salad and green beans. This combination is an AIP/Paleo 30 minute meal! They do exist! (However, you do need 2 cooks to accomplish this in 30 minutes: 1 on the grill and 1 in the kitchen)

Wilted bacon summer salad is a quick summer side dish that complements any meat you toss on the grill. Pair it with hamburgers, pork chops, steak, or chicken. It is delicious with any meat. The best part is you will eat tons of greens without noticing! Enjoy this yummy, warm side salad today!


wilted bacon summer salad

Wilted Bacon Summer Salad

A warm, wilted salad perfect for those fragile (and not so fragile) lettuces that pop up in late spring and summer. Serve this delicious salad alongside any grilled meat for a quick summer meal!

Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine AIP, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Low-Carb, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 80 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


  • 4-5 slices bacon
  • 6-8 cups lettuce, romaine or fragile chopped
  • 5 green onions rough chop
  • 1.5 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 Tbsp water


  1. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook bacon until desired crispiness. Remove bacon from pan to cool on paper towel lined plate.

  2. In the same skillet with bacon drippings, add roughly chopped green onions to cook for 30 seconds.

  3. Add the coconut sugar to the green onions and cook stirring occasionally until sugar is melted and onions wilted, about 1-2 minutes.

  4. Add apple cider vinegar and water to the skillet and stir to deglaze the pan.

  5. Stir in lettuce to wilt, 1-2 minutes. While lettuce is wilting, crumble the bacon and add to the skillet. Taste for more vinegar.

  6. When lettuce is wilted to your liking, remove from heat and serve immediately. 


Top 5 Autoimmune Protocol Dinners | Tried & True Recipes

First time at Flawed yet Functional? Welcome! Start here to get a feel for what my heath challenges are and why I’m managing them the way I am! If you haven’t followed along, this week I’m sharing my top 5 breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes that I’ve made and love (and the whole family loves!). Today, I’ll finish up this mini-series with a review of my Top 5 Autoimmune Protocol Dinners!

top 5 autoimmune protocol dinners

Dinner is my one meal of the day that I love variety. I make a fresh dinner almost every night, unless the leftovers are piling up. Oddly, I am one of those people who can eat the same breakfast and possibly lunch day in and day out but the same dinner No Way. I need variety!

As I review my AIP board on Pinterest, there are SO many recipes that I love. I’ll keep today’s post to 5, but I think I’ll need to expand this series in the future. I could easily break the dinner category into soups, one pan dinners, Asian fusion, etc.  (Want more inspiration? Follow me on Pinterest!)

Bacon Ranch Chicken Poppers

Who doesn’t like handheld food? I originally selected this meal as a fun chicken nugget-like meal for my kids’ sake, but the flavors in these poppers are definitely adult-friendly too! The whole family gobbled these up. Add a couple vegetables on the side, and you’ve got a complete meal!


Pan-fried Sage Pork Chops

A fond flavor memory from growing up are my mom’s sage pork chops. I spent some time last winter perfecting my Autoimmune Protocol compliant version of this comfort food. It is now on regular rotation in our diet. To round out the meal, I serve this with a couple roasted vegetable or on a garden salad.

pan-fried sage pork chops

Adobo Chicken Burgers

Burgers of any sort are regulars at our dinner table. I found this recipe to be versatile, easy, and tasty. I’ve made it using ground turkey and ground chicken, and honestly, couldn’t tell the difference. I love that it is packed with spinach that is not easily noticed when eaten. For serving, I like to make this avocado dip to put on top the burgers then I just eat them with a fork. A lettuce wrap would do too, but I find them a bit cumbersome, so I usually just use utensils!

Adobo Chicken Burgers (AIP, Paleo, GF)


Sweet Potato and Beef Stew

This hearty stew is a favorite of mine once the weather turns cold. I do not have an insta-pot so I just make the soup on the stove. It turns out lovely every time! A soup that uses ground beef versus more expensive cuts is something I look out for. Try this one once it gets cold again! You’ll love it!

Easy Instant Pot Sweet Potato & Beef Stew (AIP, Paleo) - [low allergen and anti-inflammatory gluten free recipes from rally pure] autoimmune protocol compliant, dairy free, grain free, top 8 free, egg free


Slow Cooker AIP Pork Carnitas

For ease of getting dinner on the table, I plan in 1-2 slow cooker meals into my two week menu plan. Pork carnitas are tender and delicious and, bonus, makes enough for several meals! I make these even in the summer because the slow cooker doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and pulled pork doesn’t sit heavy on a warm day. Serve it with lettuce wraps, on a bed of salad greens, plain with vegetables on the side, or mix it in with your breakfast hash the next day. It’s a very versatile dish!

Slow Cooker AIP Pork Carnitas Recipe #aip


I hope you see what variety of meat, vegetables, textures, and flavors are possible on the Autoimmune Protocol diet. These recipes are tried and true in my house, and I’m sure they will be in yours too. If you need inspiration on what to put on your menu plan when beginning the Autoimmune Protocol, start with these Top 5 Autoimmune Protocol Dinners!

Do you like variety at dinner time too? Or are you more comfortable rotating between a few tried and true dishes?

Check out the rest of this mini-series!





Top 5 Autoimmune Protocol Lunches | Tried & True Recipes

Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! My diet is currently the Autoimmune Protocol plus a few reintroductions. I’ve been working to heal my gut (and manage my Type 1 Diabetes) through this diet for almost 150 days, so I know a thing or two about AIP friendly recipes! Continuing on with my top 5 Autoimmune Protocol recipes mini-series, today I’m sharing my top 5 Autoimmune Protocol lunches. (To see my top 5 breakfasts click here!) If you want to dip your toes into a diet change, start with these tried and true recipes!

top 5 autoimmune protocol lunches

Truthfully, most of our lunches are leftovers from the night before, but I always have ingredients on hand for a quick, easy, freshly-made lunch just in case the leftovers run out. Most of the meats used in these meals are ones that have a long shelf life: kielbasa (kept in the freezer), salami (kept in the pantry or fridge), canned salmon (kept in the pantry). Since these are my second-string lunch options, I don’t buy the meat often. They are more of a “just-in-case” lunch option hence the need for a long shelf-life. Let’s check out these quick, easy, and healthy recipes!

Broccoli “Cheese” Soup

Who doesn’t love broccoli cheese soup? This soup is dairy-free, believe it or not. The cheese-y flavor comes from nutritional yeast. Likely, you will need to plan ahead for this meal as nutritional yeast is probably not in your regular pantry stocking! I love the rich flavor the soup contains while not coming off heavy. Pair it with fresh fruit and a side salad or just eat it by itself!

This Broccoli Cheese Soup is so delicious and creamy, you won’t even miss the cheese! You will find it hard to believe that it is AIP, Paleo and dairy-free.


Kielbasa and Roasted Veggies

Take note that the recipe I linked to is made with Bratwurst which is not AIP compliant (contains ground mustard and mace). If you’d like to make this recipe, change the meat to Kielbasa which contains only spices that are AIP approved (black pepper, marjoram, and garlic). However, if purchasing from the store, always read the labels! I recently found hot dogs and brats with dairy in them!

What I love about this recipe is it tastes like you put a lot of effort into the meal, but really, you just chopped a couple veggies and tossed them in the oven. Roasting brings out the best in vegetables, I recommend you roast veggies any time you can!

brat veggie bake

Mediterranean Snack Lunch

While I don’t want to push eating lunch meat all the time, there is a time and a place for quick protein. Salami (original, not spicy as that has nightshades) is my first choice when I’m putting together a “snack-y” lunch either at home or on the go. My favorite flavor combination is salami, Kalamatta olives, pickles, and dates. I serve these with a fresh fruit and something crunchy like pork rinds.

on-the-go meal meat veggie

Salmon Patties

Canned salmon or tuna is a pantry item I always have on hand for a quick lunch or dinner. These salmon patties are unique in that they don’t use eggs. Eggless salmon or tuna patties are hard to come by! They are more fragile than usual salmon patties, but the flavor is good so I can handle a bit of crumbliness.


AIP Chicken Salad

Chicken salad that is creamy and dairy-free?!? Does it exist?? It sure does, and this version rocks! The coconut milk is a great creamy base and the flavor is jazzed up by the addition of lemon zest and lemon juice. The citrus helps cut the coconut flavor and give the dish the tang you would expect from traditional yogurt or sour cream based chicken salad. This recipe is excellent! Try it today!

Eating nutritious, easy lunches while on the Autoimmune Protocol IS possible. Plan on leftovers from dinners as much as you can then use these simple top 5 autoimmune protocol lunches to help round out your lunch menu plan!

What is your ideal lunch? Do you like to cook at lunch time or is the microwave your best friend for this meal?

Check out the rest of this mini-series!



Top 5 Autoimmune Protocol Breakfasts | Tried & True AIP Recipes

Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! I am a Type 1 Diabetic managing my blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and habits WITHOUT insulin. Sound amazing? Read more here. I hope to inspire you to do amazing things with your health too. Even if you don’t have a life-long disease like I do, you can take steps to improve your long-term body and brain health and that of your family. Thanks for joining me!

top 5 autoimmune protocol breakfasts

I am approaching 150 days on the Autoimmune Protocol. I have only made it this far by discovering truly delicious food that both my family and I love to eat. This week I’d like to do a mini-series on my top 5 Autoimmune Protocol breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. If you’d like to give this diet a try but don’t know where to start, try these 5 recipes first! They are tried and true for my family!

I began the Autoimmune Protocol in February of 2017 with the full knowledge that breakfast would be the hardest meal of the day. No eggs. No grains. That basically summed up my breakfasts prior to my diabetes diagnosis! We had oatmeal or eggs every single day. I loved oatmeal because it was hearty and quick. Quick breakfasts were out the window for a while, a fact I had to come to grips with very quickly.

While this all-important meal of the day did intimidate me at first, I stuck to the AIP diet and found my rhythm. Breakfast IS possible without sweets, grains, and eggs. I know you might not believe me, but it’s true! These are recipes I’ve made over and over again with great success for my family and me.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Kale Chips and Sausage Patties

I developed this recipe in a hurry one morning, and it quickly became a go-to. The juxtaposition of textures is perfection: crunchy kale and soft sweet potatoes both filled with roasty flavor. I make our own breakfast sausage, and my current favorite recipe is sage heavy. I love sage. Most breakfast are just these two dishes, but if I have avocados, I eat half of one to get more fat in my diet. This breakfast is a winner!

Sausage and Mushroom Hash

Hash is a regular at our table. I make it all kinds of ways, but the mushroom and roasted butternut squash in this one is killer. This is a complete meal all on its own: meat, vegetables, fat, and aromatics. I don’t usually add anything else to the plate, just the hash.

Sausage Mushroom Hash

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, Ham Steak, and Fresh Berries

Don’t overthink an Autoimmune Protocol breakfast! Roast two vegetables: one light on carbs and one heavier then add meat and fruit. Done! Roasting sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper is easy and delicious. I usually toss some garlic powder on the broccoli, but it is just as delicious with only olive oil, salt, and pepper. The ham I sliced then briefly warmed in a skillet on the stove (Very briefly! It dries out quickly!). Fresh berries are a bonus if you have some in season. Nothing crazy here, just good, nutritious food.

Chicken Apple Sweet Potato Skillet

Truth: this one is prep-heavy. It isn’t in our regular rotation because of the amount of chopping involved. HOWEVER, it rocks. It’s so good with a great variety of vegetables in it. I recommend making it on the weekend or a morning you aren’t pressed for time. It’s delicious!

Pumpkin Spice Coconut Breakfast Porridge

So remember I loved oatmeal, right? I have spent far too much time on Pinterest looking for oatmeal alternatives. I’ve made several kinds and not all were winners with the family. This one was though! However, it’s higher in carbs. I reduced the amount of banana, and if you are a diabetic, I recommend you do the same. Delicious though and fills the void of warm bowl of mush in the morning. 🙂

Pumpkin Coconut Breakfast Porridge


Honestly, once you take the dive to improve your diet, you will find so much good flavored and good for you food. You will not be missing your old breakfasts! Well, you might miss the ease of them, but that will be made up for in how good you feel after eating these recipes! That wraps up my top 5 Autoimmune Protocol breakfasts. Enjoy!

Have you tried any AIP recipes? Do you have any favorites to share? What are your go-to breakfasts?

Check out the rest of this mini-series!


quick skillet chicken thighs

Quick Skillet Chicken Thighs | AIP Paleo Recipe

I don’t talk about my home life much on the blog so let me give you a little background. I am a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom to two boys ages 3 and 4. I’ve been married to Dan for almost 12 years, and we love food. However, life is busy just like any family, so as much as I love to cook and cook complex meals, I need easy meals too! Quick skillet chicken thighs were born out of a desperate rush for dinner time one night. Change up the spices to your liking to create your own simple entree for dinner. Add a couple vegetable sides, and you’ll have a complete meal, full of nutrients, in under 30 minutes flat.

quick skillet chicken thighs

To begin, you must have thawed, bone-in chicken thighs. If you freeze your meat, take it out of the freezer the day before and let it thaw in the refrigerator. Rushed on time? Take the meat out of the freezer several hours before dinner and submerge in a bowl of room temperature water until thawed. This works best if the package stays completely under water. Place a bowl filled with water on top of the package of chicken to hold it down.

Rinse the chicken thighs under cold water then pat dry and lay on a clean plate. Here’s a time saver: skip mixing a spice blend in a separate bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over all the thighs then sprinkle each spice somewhat evenly over the thighs. Remember, we’re saving time here, no need to be too perfect!

quick skillet chicken thighs

Then pick up each thigh and rub the oil and seasoning on all sides of the skin and meat. Pick up as much seasoning that has fallen to the plate as you can. Don’t want to lose any of that delicious flavor!quick skillet chicken thighs

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering but not smoking, place the chicken thighs in the pan, skin down. Cook uncovered for about 7 minutes or until skin is very brown and crispy.quick skillet chicken thighs

Turn the thighs over and cook uncovered until the internal temperature reaches 165°. (Don’t have a meat thermometer? I love and use this one on a daily basis. Yes, it’s an investment, but I’ve had this one for over 5 years. Worth it!)quick skillet chicken thighs

For my dinners, I try to serve two vegetables and a meat dish. While the chicken was cooking, I roasted some asparagus and sauteed Chayote squash on the stove top. What is a Chayote squash, you ask? I had no idea either! It’s one of my son’s findings/requests on a recent shopping trip. I loosely followed this recipe using lime juice instead of red wine vinegar and omitting the crushed red pepper. Plate up your crispy thighs and vegetables and enjoy!

Roasting vegetables takes time. Here are a couple easy vegetable sides that are quick to make:

  • Frozen green beans – Costco sells a giant bag of organic green beans for about $6. Place in a sauce pan with 1/4″ of water in the bottom. Boil and stir occasionally for a couple minutes until heated through. Drain and season with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Bagged salad mix – Grab a bag of pre-mixed greens from the grocery store, pour in a bowl and top with oil and vinegar. If you have extra time, chop any fresh veggies you have on hand and toss on top.
  • Raw carrots – Wash thoroughly then slice into sticks.
  • Pickles and olives – This is our go-to combination at lunch time. Quick as opening a jar and scooping out!
    quick skillet chicken thighs

A quick dinner doesn’t mean sacrificing nutrition and quality! With very little planning (just thawing the chicken!), you can get a couple vegetables and these quick skillet chicken thighs on the table in less than 30 minutes. Enjoy!

What are your go-to quick meals? Have you tried any unusual vegetables lately?

Quick Skillet Chicken Thighs

An AIP, Paleo, low-carb entrée that will please the whole family. Crispy chicken skin, does it get any better than that?

Course Dinner
Cuisine AIP, Gluten-free, Low-Carb, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 239 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs with skin on
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for cooking


  1. Rinse chicken thighs under cold water. Pat dry with paper towel. Set on plate.

  2. Sprinkle with seasoning and olive oil. Rub spices on all sides of the chicken.

  3. Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in pan.

  4. When pan is hot and oil is shimmering, lay chicken in pan, skin side down. Cook for 7 minutes or so. Turn over when skin is very brown and crispy. Cook on other side for 6-8 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°.

quick skillet chicken thighs

pan-fried sage pork chops

Pan-Fried Sage Pork Chops | AIP Paleo Recipe

You know those flavors that just stick with you from your childhood? There are certain dishes that just hit me as the ultimate in flavor and comfort food. My mom’s broiled pork chops are one of them, and it’s the sage in the dredge that just gets me. I haven’t attempted this recipe in a LONG time because it calls for cornmeal and flour. Well, I put my big girl pants on and figured out how to make this breaded pork chop AIP and Paleo friendly. These revamped pan-fried sage pork chops turned out fantastic!

pan-fried sage pork chops

The original recipe called for a dredge mixture of spices, cornmeal, and flour. I couldn’t think of an ingredient that would create the texture of cornmeal, but using coconut flour in place of wheat flour worked just fine.

pan-fried sage pork chops

Fry the pork chops in a hot pan with melted coconut oil. The meat does not need to be submerged in oil. This is not deep frying. I put about 1/2 cup of coconut oil in the pan, and it worked just fine. Only turn the pork chops once so that beautiful crust has time to form.

pan-fried sage pork chops

To complete this meal, add a starchy and low-starch vegetable. I chose roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes (my go to). Enjoy your delicious, healthy meal!

pan-fried sage pork chops

What is your favorite recipe from your childhood? Do you have certain flavors that you just love to this day?

Pan-Fried Sage Pork Chops

AIP, Paleo comfort food at its best! Quick to cook and delicious, the whole family will enjoy this entrée!

Course Dinner
Cuisine AIP, Low-Carb, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 185 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


  • 4 center cut pork chops
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk full fat
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil for frying, maybe more


  1. Pour the coconut milk in a shallow bowl. Be sure to shake/stir it first to incorporate the fat back in.

  2. In another shallow bowl, mix the coconut flour, sea salt, sage, onion powder, and black pepper to make the dredge.

  3. Heat the coconut oil in a cast iron or heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat.

  4. Dip the pork chop in the coconut milk, on both sides. Then dip in dredge, covering all sides. Place in hot pan. Repeat for the rest of the pork chops.

  5. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes then flip over when bottom is browned nicely. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°. Do not flip multiple times so that the crust has time to form on the pork chop.

Recipe Notes

This recipe has 3g of carbohydrates per serving.

pan-fried sage pork chops


Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Kale Chips | AIP Paleo Breakfast Recipe

The biggest hurdle to get over when starting the Autoimmune Protocol diet is wrapping your mind around what to eat for breakfast. With all grains, eggs, nuts, and dairy off limits, panic might start to set in. What exactly can I eat for breakfast??? This is sort of a “well, duh!” statement, but it took me a while to come around to it: Breakfast is just another meal of the day. This means you can eat anything for breakfast that you would any other meal of the day! One of my favorite AIP compliant breakfast dishes is roasted sweet potatoes and kale chips.

roasted sweet potato kale chip

Are you ready for a breakfast dish full of complimenting opposites? Salty and sweet! Crunchy and soft! Hearty and light! The sweet potatoes and kale are opposites in many ways, but roasting them together with a good amount of fat and seasoning turns these two into a delicious pair.

My goal is for my family to eat a high -starch and low-starch vegetable at breakfast, but I don’t want to cook two separate vegetable dishes. That’s too much work so early in the morning! So one Sunday morning when I was running late, I threw some kale in with my sweet potatoes and it turned out delicious! Don’t you just love happy accidents? This recipe is now in my regular breakfast rotation.

Before I jump into the recipe, first a couple cooking tips:

Prep the Vegetables the Night Before

To save on prep time in the morning, chop the kale and sweet potatoes the night before. Place them in separate, air tight containers and store in the fridge. I take out the meat I plan to serve with the sweet potatoes and kale chips at this time too. Mise en place is done, and I’m ready to cook when I enter the kitchen in the morning!

Dice the Sweet Potatoes Small

To fully cook the sweet potatoes without burning the kale, dice the sweet potatoes fairly small, less than 1/2″ dice. If we’re being precise, I’d say about a 3/8″ dice, 1/4″ is too small. Full disclosure: I had to look at a measuring tape to see how small I dice the potatoes. Eyeballing measurements is not my forte. 

Cooked kale chips

Thoroughly Coat Vegetables

Using bacon fat to coat the vegetables is the best fat to use, but if you don’t have any around, olive oil works just fine too. Any other oil/fat that is liquid or soft at room temperature will work. Coconut oil is not recommended as it will firm up quickly as it is mixed with the cold greens and sweet potatoes even when melted first.

Once you have your fat of choice, make sure to use enough of it. The vegetables should glisten and the seasoning stick to all sides easily. However, don’t use so much fat that it pools in the bottom of the bowl. Just keep adding fat until it looks like below, add a small amount at a time to avoid overdoing it.

Stir Halfway Through Baking

I’m sure I’m not the only lazy cook/rule-breaker out there. You DO need to stir the vegetables halfway through the cook time. This will allow all the kale to dry out adequately and cook the sweet potatoes evenly. Don’t skip this step!

With those few tips, your sweet potatoes and kale chips should turn out fantastic! Serve this dish alongside your meat of choice, usually sausage patties or bacon for me, and enjoy this nutrient dense breakfast! Roasted sweet potato and kale chips, a part of this complete breakfast!
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Kale Chips

Roasted Sweet Potato & Kale Chips

AIP, Paleo breakfast dish that is egg-free, dairy-free, grain-free, hearty and satisfying! Serve with a side of your favorite breakfast meat for a complete breakfast.

Course Breakfast
Cuisine AIP, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 266 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes peeled and diced small
  • 6 whole kale leaves stemmed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, add all ingredients and stir to evenly coat. Add more bacon fat as necessary.

  3. Pour onto lined baking sheet. Spread so sweet potatoes are in single layer. Kale may rest on top of the sweet potatoes. If potatoes overlap, use two pans.

  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir again. If potatoes are not soft yet, continue baking for 5-10 more minutes until soft when poked with a fork.

Recipe Notes

One serving has 34g of carbohydrates and 5g of fiber which results in a net carb count of 29g.


What are your favorite hot breakfast dishes? Does anyone out there take the time for hot breakfast?

on-the-go meal options

Autoimmune Protocol | On-The-Go Meal

How do the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol and sack lunches get along? I have two young kids, so I am regularly packing lunches for us whether going to the zoo, seeing daddy at work, or just a having play-date at the playground. It can be tricky to think of what to pack for an on-the-go meal when your diet is all fresh food. My go-to for an on-the-go, AIP-approved lunch is what my kids call a “snack-y” lunch. Kid translation: a lunch comprised of all finger foods. One of our favorite combinations is on the Mediterranean side: Kalamata olives, salami, pickles, dates, fresh fruit, and a crunchy side.

On-the-go meals have three parts for us which usually means three separate containers. There’s the main meat and vegetables which go in one container for each person. A sliced fresh fruit in its own container, enough for all who are eating. The last part is a crunchy, salty snack which I also pack in one container with enough for the whole family to eat.

Main Meat and Vegetable

Ease of serving and eating an on-the-go lunch is top priority for me. I take the time to make individual containers for myself and each kid so that serving lunch is just a matter of taking the lid off and handing it to the child.

on-the-go meal meat veggie

Fresh Fruit

The only exception is our fresh fruit. Since fresh fruit is likely to be juicy, I usually slice it up and put it in a separate dish. As you may know, I am one of THOSE parents, so this serves two purposes:

  1. The juices of the fruit not to mix or taint the meat/pickled vegetables and vice versa.
  2. It allows my kids to finish their meat and vegetables BEFORE they get fruit.

I know. I know. What a mean mom, right? Fruit is filled with sugar, and who wouldn’t rather eat sweet fruit than vegetables and meat? I know my kids’ tendencies, so I have them finish the rest of the meal before having fruit.

on-the-go meal fruit

Crunchy, Salty Side

The last part to this lunch is crackers or chicharrones, as diet allows. I have not removed nuts from my kid’s diet, so they have a small handful of almond crackers with their “snacky lunch.” Sometimes they pile the meat on the cracker, but mostly they eat them plain. Chicharrones, or pork rinds, are my snack/treat. They are zero carb as they are only pig skin fried in lard and sprinkled with salt. It is the only snack food I know of that will not raise my blood sugar.

**Note: I only eat the plain chicharrones that are only pig skin and salt. The flavored chicharrones have gluten in the seasoning.**

I love chicharrones far too much. 🙂 Brutal honesty here, I can down an entire bag in one sitting, no problem. According to the nutrition facts, I am consuming 7 servings and 560 calories when I do that. Ha!

Want your mind blown? Calories don’t matter if you are eating the right food. 560 calories in fat will not make you fat at all. Fat is fuel to your body, brain, cells, everything. Eat more fat!

on-the-go meal crunchy

So there you have my favorite on-the-go meal that still sticks to the Autoimmune Protocol, fills me up, and fuels me for the rest of the day. It’s a simple as filling a container with salami, pickles, olives, and dates. Serve it with a side of freshly sliced fruit and maybe a crunchy snack like chicharrones. It’s the perfect lunch!

What is your go-to meal when you need to eat away from home? Any other “snacky” lunch combinations you enjoy?

finger food lunch

brush on glaze

Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash | Paleo AIP Side Dish Recipe

As I’m going through the Autoimmune Protocol, eating a large variety of fruits and vegetables is a priority. I love starchy vegetables and sweet fruit, but as a Type 1 Diabetic, I have to watch my carbohydrate intake as I work to heal my gut. Squash, in general, graces our plates often as it is starchy (read “filling and satisfying”) but not as high in carbohydrates as other starchy veggies like sweet potatoes. One of my favorites is acorn squash. The whole family agrees this slightly sweet Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash is delicious!

Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash

Today I’d like to show you a sweet way to eat acorn squash as a side dish as opposed to savory. Acorn squash works wonderfully as a savory dish too, (Pair it with sausage and sage; it’s delightful!) but this one is likely to please any palate that isn’t put off by soft textures.

The prep is very easy. Cut the acorn squash in half then use a spoon to scoop/scrape out the seeds. Next, slice each half into four wedges. Place on an aluminum foil lined pan, flesh side up.  

Cooking tip: Use a very sharp, large knife to cut any squash! With a properly sharpened utensil, squash should be relatively easy to cut into. If you are struggling, please be VERY careful as the knife may slip or cut crooked.

acorn squash halved seeded

Now mix up the magic! The maple cinnamon glaze is what takes the acorn squash up a notch. Mix the melted coconut oil, cinnamon, and maple syrup in a glass bowl.

maple cinnamon glaze

Use a pastry brush to apply a generous coat to all sides of the flesh of each slice. No need to put any on the skin. There will be extra glaze. Set it aside, to use later in the cooking process.

brush on glaze

Bake for 30 minutes at 400° then remove from the oven to apply another coat of the maple cinnamon glaze. Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until soft when stabbing with a fork.

Cooking tip: I have a tendency to under-cook acorn squash. So if you are in doubt as to whether or not the squash is done, cook it longer. My last iteration of this recipe was dubbed “al dente” by my husband. Oops. That’s not what I was going for!

After taking the squash out of the oven, put on another coat of the maple cinnamon glaze. This third coat is usually pretty light, but I don’t want to waste any of the delicious glaze! Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve warm. Enjoy!

What is your favorite squash? Is acorn squash outside your comfort zone? How do you season your acorn squash?

Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash

Sweet, but not overly, and soft acorn squash is the perfect side dish to your Paleo or Autoimmune Protocol dinner!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 117 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


  • 2 whole acorn squash halved, seeded
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  2. Using a very sharp knife, cut the acorn squash in half then scrape out the pulp and seeds.

  3. Slice each half into four equal sections and place on lined baking sheet, flesh side up.

  4. Melt coconut oil in a glass dish in microwave, about 30 seconds. Stir in maple syrup and cinnamon until well combined.

  5. Brush all sides of the flesh of the acorn squash with the maple cinnamon glaze.

  6. Bake for 30 minutes then remove from oven and brush on another coat of glaze. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until very soft when stabbed with a fork. When fully cooked, remove from oven and brush remaining glaze over the squash. Lightly sprinkle with salt and serve!

Recipe Notes

One serving of Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash has 15 carbs.

Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash