Chopped! Creative Cooking with items from a meat CSA

By January 17, 2012 3 Comments
Avocado Dip with Fresh Veggies

Awesome and yummy avocado dip with veggies!

Hey there! This is Crystal, Dustin’s personal chef [☺ I still chuckle a bit when I say/write that!]

Have you ever heard of that show, Chopped! on the Food Network? If you haven’t, it’s a food competition show where the contestants are given a picnic basket full of random ingredients for each course: appetizer, main course, and dessert. Based on what they are given, they have to develop creative recipes within specific time frames. Sometimes they are given items as random as duck eggs, arrowroot powder, and peanut butter in the same basket! Their task is to wow the judges so that they can progress to the next course! Well, this week’s share of the Jordandal Farms CSA had me feeling like I was on a episode of Chopped! We received so many random items in the CSA—I put my best foot forward and hopefully the judge (Dustin) won’t chop me from the game! LOL Just kidding!

Below is what we received in our meat CSA this week! I will share some of the entrees I cooked with what we received as well as an awesome snack idea! All of the recipes I am sharing are gluten/grain/dairy/sugar free.

First, to start, here was what we received in our first share of the meat CSA:

  • Ground beef
  • Bacon
  • Ham slices
  • Pork bratwurst
  • Butterflied Pork Chop
  • Ground beef
  • Whole chicken
  • Swedish style pork sausage (basically pork sausage seasoned with pepper, coriander, nutmeg, bay leaves, thyme, and savory–think swedish meatballs)

The meals I will share feature the last three items: ground beef, whole chicken, and Swedish style pork sausage. Because the goal of incorporating the items from the CSA, as well as my cooking for Dustin, is healthy, wholesome, yet flavorful, I kept my recipes simple! Also, the recipes I will share all are under an hour to prepare—some no more than 30 minutes! Bon Appetit!

The menu:


  • Italian meat sauce with spaghetti squash
  • Spice Rub Roasted Chicken with Sauteed Spinach


  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Avocado Dip with Fresh Veggies

The Recipes!

Italian Meat Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash
Cut spaghetti squash in half and scoop out seeds and innards. Use a baking pan large enough to hold both halves of the squash and fill with out 1 ½ inches of water. Place squash in pan, face down. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your squash. Squash is done when outer skin is soft. Alternatively, if your pan is microwavable, instead of baking in the over, you can microwave the squash for about 10-12 minutes, depending on its size. When squash is done, use a fork and scrap out the “meat” from the inside, which should resemble spaghetti.

 Italian Meat Sauce

  • 2 lbs grass fed ground beef
  • 1 red pepper diced into small pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced into small pieces
  • 1 32 oz jar of your favorite Italian pasta sauce (the brand I use is all-natural, SUGAR free, and local) I used Di Salvo’s Sicilian Spicy Red Pepper Pasta Sauce .
Meat Sauce

Meat Sauce

While squash is cooking, in large skillet sauté red peppers and onions in coconut oil. Once onions are translucent, add ground beef and sauté until it is brown. Once done, drain fat from ground beef/pepper/onion mixture. Transfer meat mixture to large pot and add Italian sauce. Let simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Once meat sauce is finished, serve about 1 cup of the sauce with ¾ cup of spaghetti squash. Serves 6.

Spice Rubbed Roasted Chicken

This is a simple roasted chicken recipe but I am sharing it because I wanted to share two methods that I am using that yield wonderful, moist, and evenly cooked roasted chicken. Really, you can use any of your favorite herbs and spices as a rub. Also, because this chicken is hormone, antibiotic free, and better than the commercial, mass produced poultry sold at the local grocery store, I decided to leave the skin on to cook it.

Roast Chicken

Chicken, split down middle, laid flat.

This also helps retain moisture. When it is eaten, the skin can easily be removed.

  • 1 tablespoon of the following: chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Large skillet
  •  Preheat over to 400 degrees

Wash, rinse, and dry chicken. Cut chicken in half down the middle of the back. Season chicken with spice mixture. Rub coconut oil onto the bottom of the cast iron skillet and place the cast iron skillet on top of the seasoned chicken. With cast iron skillet on top of chicken, bake in oven for 1 hour. When the chicken is done, the skin will be crispy.

Sauteed Spinach

Sauteed Spinach

Sauteed Spinach

  • 3 lbs of organic baby spinach
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

On medium heat, sauté minced garlic in coconut oil. Add spinach and sauté until spinach is wilted. Add crushed rep pepper flakes. Serve hot.

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs

  • 1 lb Swedish style pork sausage
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix pork sausage with egg. Form mixture into 1 ½ inch balls. Bake for about 30 minutes in 400 degree oven.

Avocado Dip with veggies (see photo above!)

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup sugar free salsa
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Raw veggies: broccoli, carrots, cucumber, peppers

In a food processor, mix all ingredients until dip is smooth and creamy. Serve with your favorite raw veggies.