I went running with my friend on Sunday and we were discussing the various diets we’ve tried or eating patterns we had over the years. When I met her in 2001, she ate Myoplex shakes for breakfast and cans of tuna for lunch/dinner. Truth be told, I met her in my quest to make it to the Olympics (or something just short of that), and she was bad-ass. She was ranked 6th nationally amongst women in our sport and I looked up to her for her dedication and motivation. I could never bring myself to eat so regimented like she did.
So fast-forward 16 years later. We live in another state and our bodies are … well … they are in another “state” as well. I have this theory that everyone’s body is different and that each person processes food in a unique way. One person may do well on low-carb while another person may do well on a balanced diet with whole grains. And that most people (save for the few lucky who can eat whateverthehell they want) need to figure out the foods to eat that make them feel best.
I haven’t figured that out yet, apparently. So recently I’ve been gravitating toward more Paleo-friendly recipes. My hair stylist eats Paleo and she has a rockin’ body. (Yes she’s like a decade younger than me but whatever.) She also works out. So she works hard for her rockin’ body. At any rate, I figured I’d try different types of foods and food combinations and see if I can figure out which foods make me feel best.
So I’ve been eating lots of fruits and veggies, which is a departure for me, a good amount of protein and fat and limited amounts of nuts. And I found a recipe that inspired me to make some breakfast hash at Paleo Running Mama. My recipe (below) is based off Michele’s.
I am obsessed with bell peppers recently. I love them all, except for green. Yuck. Can’t stand them. So I discovered that I love peppers in just about every dish. I actually doubled the amount of peppers called for and added a third (hot) pepper to make it spicy.
I actually have sweet potato sitting on my counter but I found some organic pre-cut butternut squash at Trader Joe’s so I decided to use that instead. I actually like sweet potato better so either would be a great option in this dish.
With the crushed red pepper and diced serrano pepper this dish is a bit on the spicy side but not too bad. I don’t have a great tolerance for spiciness. If you don’t like spice at all, omit both.
- 3 T. avocado oil, divided
- 12 oz butternut squash chopped into small pieces about 1/2 inch (I used store bought/store cut)
- 1 med onion chopped
- 2 medium bell pepper red, orange, yellow, chopped
- 1 to 2 serrano peppers, diced
- 1 lb fresh bulk sausage
- ¼ to ½ tsp paprika or smoked paprika
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Pinch red pepper flakes Optional, for the sausage
- 4 to 5 eggs
Heat a large skillet, over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp of the avocado oil, if not using a non-stick skillet. Sausage is oily enough to cook alone if you’re using nonstick. Decrease your avocado oil amount or eliminate completely. Crumble the sausage into the pan, and stir while cooking to evenly brown. Sprinkle with a pinch of red pepper flakes.
When sausage is about halfway done, add the onions and peppers and continue to cook and stir until the sausage is browned and the onions and peppers are soft and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside until the potatoes are done.
Meanwhile in a separate skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of avocado oil. Add the chopped butternut squash and stir to coat. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper to taste.
Cook and stir, uncovered, until the outside begins to brown, then cover the skillet and continue to cook to soften the inside of the squash, stir occasionally. Adjust the heat if necessary to prevent burning, and add a bit more avocado oil if necessary. This step should take about 7 to 10 minutes, give or take.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Once the squash is softened and browned, transfer it to the sausage mixture and stir to combine. Taste the mixture and add salt and/or pepper to taste. I added quite a bit of salt.
Create 4 indents where you will crack each egg and then carefully crack the eggs into the spaces. Alternatively, divide the mixture between four or five individual dishes and crack an egg into each dish after you’ve made an indentation in the sausage mixture.
Put the entire skillet in the oven to bake the eggs to preference, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on how you like your eggs done. I like runny yolk so I cooked mine for 10 minutes. However, the whites were still pretty runny at this point. If you are doing individual servings and not making the dish immediately you’ll need to extend your cooking time. I actually stuck my dish into the oven while I was waiting for it to preheat, removed, made my indent, cracked my egg into the dish and then baked for an additional 10 minutes.
- Serve immediately.