Cooking Challenge: Organ Meat

Mushroom and Liver Meat Sauce Spaghetti

Recently, my husband gave me one of the best compliments I might have ever heard: “You’ve made a believer out of me that healthy food can be delicious.” Mission accomplished! This healthy diet has been a challenge at times, especially for my husband. I am so grateful for his willingness to try new things, but there are some items that are just off the table for him, literally. A couple of weeks ago, I (secretly) incorporated a particular item into one of his favorite dishes just to see if he would notice. Guess what? He didn’t  🙂

Comparing recipes of the generations before us to what we eat today, there’s one big difference that stands out to me: organ meat. Just look at the old cookbook your grandma still has on her bookshelf and you’ll find a recipes for liver and onions, fish head soup and gizzard gravy. Native Americans always made sure to use and eat the entire buffalo. Some of the most exquisite restaurants are known for their unique use of organ meats as Anthony Bourdain explores in his tv show No Reservations. And liver pate is a staple to many European diets, but a rarity here. While the thought of eating tongue or brains might disgust you (it does me!!), there’s a lot to be said for the nutrition they provide.

As Dr. Cate points out in Deep Nutrition, “offal meats are rich in vitamins, especially the fat-soluble vitamins, which can be stored in our fat reserves for months.” It’s why she names it as one of the four pillars. Our livers keep the excess vitamins and minerals on store for when they are needed in the future. Eating a healthy liver helps your liver be healthy. Liver is dense in nutrients, providing one of the best food sources of Vitamin A, B and C, beating out or matching the levels that a same size serving of dark leafy vegetables can provide (a regular chicken breast sure won’t do that). Eating the eyes in fish head soup will provide lutein for your eye health. And the fatty acids in brain and nervous tissues help build your brain. And many of these contain high amounts of omega-3’s, which are good for your heart. Dr. Cate recommends eating organ meat at least once a week, so although I was highly skeptical, I figured I could try it, at least once. I bought some calf liver at the store – good news, it’s pretty cheap… I guess because no one wants it – and brought it home to try and work some magic. It turned out delicious, so if I’ve convinced you too to try organ meat, here’s an easy way to start: Mushroom & Liver Meat Sauce Spaghetti.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound organic, pasture raised ground beef
  • 1/2 cup organic, pasture raised calf liver
  • 1 container sliced baby bella mushrooms (optional)
  • homemade or store-bought organic marinara
  • organic quinoa pasta (or spaghetti squash for carb free)

Liver & Beef

I put the liver in a food processor and ground it up, then mixed it in with the ground beef and browned in a saute pan on medium heat.  I seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper, as always.  Meanwhile, I sauteed the mushrooms in another pan in butter and boiled the pasta. 

Saute mushrooms and meat

Once everything was cooked, I put the meat, mushrooms and sauce together in a pan to mix and warm the sauce.  To serve, I put some pasta in each bowl and covered with the sauce.  This was so hearty and delicious! I promise that if you like spaghetti, you will love it.  

 Do you think this is a recipe you could try?

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It’s That Time of Year…

Cold and flu season. Up until a couple of years ago, I generally spent December – March being sick all the time.  No matter how many times I washed my hands or tried to stay away from people, I always caught something.  And when I got a cold, it would be weeks, if not months before I got over it; plus, it usually developed into bronchitis or a sinus infection, and even pneumonia once, at some point too.

Well, I joined the club and caught a cold over the weekend.  But, I’m already much better.  Coincidence?  I think not!  Eating healthy gives you the nutrients your body needs to keep your immune system in good shape so that it can do it’s job.  I focus on a few key items in my diet, especially when I’m sick, to aid the healing process:

  • Kombucha tea – contains lots of probiotics that fight off the bad bacteria attacking your system
  • Bone broth – soups with broth made from chicken/beef bones and full of veggies pack lots of nutrients (I’ll be sharing an easy recipe later this week!)
  • Water – drink lots of it… not only does it help move toxins through your body, but it moisturizes mucous and helps move it through the sinuses

I also want to share a few great articles to expand upon some of the supplements I take daily (and more of when I’m sick) as well as a few other natural ways to help prevent or fight off a cold or the flu fast:

Supplements cannot replace a good diet, but since many of our foods are now lacking the nutrients they had just a hundred years ago, they can definitely help boost your system. When buying supplements, make sure you look for those made from whole foods.  Taking fake vitamins that are manufactured from chemicals won’t help… you need real vitamins from real foods.  I find the best selection at People’s Pharmacy and Natural Grocer here in Austin.

Stay healthy!

– Christine