‘mamaleno’s mountain girl’ pizza bowl

(There’s a recipe involved below, but don’t skip out on the intro and linked videos!)

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I was raised in the small town of Berea, Kentucky which houses Berea College, a private, tuition-free college that was the first in the South to offer a non-segregated coeducational institution for higher education. Berea is the crafts capital of the state and is home to many festivals throughout the year. If you’re ever in Eastern Kentucky and driving on I-75, make a stop on exit 76 and head into Old Towne Berea. Tour the streets around Berea College square and North Broadway by the old train station. Marvel at the antiquities lining the windows and booths of the many collectables stores and purchase a craftsman piece for the thrill of it! Enjoy small town USA at its finest and make plans to raise your babies or retire here, as it’s been noted twice (first here and then here) that it will be the best place to live should earthly doom befall. (I personally wouldn’t wait that long to take in the beauty of this town. *wink*)

If you head out of town towards the college forest, you can hike the beautiful pinnacles and see the quiet, intersecting community roads leading to the place my parents made our homestead.

And when that’s all done, you have to had back into town and grab some grub at the college square’s finest eating establishment, Papaleno’s. Specifically, you need to sink your teeth into their Mountaineer pizza. It will make you fall in love even more with my hometown. I promise.

I love pizza and I used to love pizza on an all too often basis. Hence, I am metabolically broken. Ugh. So, I have had to create ways to enjoy my favorites and keep the carbs, and specifically ingredients like gluten, far far away. I’m not offering claims that this is a perfect recipe for a low-carb, high protein, gluten-free meal. By definition, that is different for every individual. I can just tell you that I don’t feel bloated, sick, or reflux-y after eating this compared to eating pizza with flour crust.

This is a quick work-up, one skillet meal. It has all the flavor of my favorite pizza and less guilt or food-inducing inflammation. I hope you enjoy…responsibly!

Mamaleno’s Mountain Girl Pizza Bowl

Serves 8, 1 cup portions

1 lb ground beef *grass fed optional

1/2 lb ground pork

15 slices sandwich style pepperoni, sliced into 1/4″ strips

1 cup onions, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced

2 1/2 cup chopped kale (or spinach)

1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes

4 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 cup beef broth

1 tbsp Italian herbs

*optional: make your own blend of sausage seasoning (no sugar!) and mix in with pork before cooking

Toppings: sliced banana pepper rings, sliced green and black olives, 1 tbsp/serving grated parmesan cheese

Brown and crumble the beef and ground pork in a skillet on medium-high heat. Drain if there is more than a tbsp or so of rendered fat. Add the onions, pepper, garlic and mushrooms and cook for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring twice.

Add the pepperoni strips, chopped kale, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, and Italian herbs and mix well. Cook on medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes stirring twice.

While cooking, prepare the toppings for the pizza bowls: sliced banana rings, black and green olives, and grated parmesan cheese. (Omit the cheese and you’re practically paleo grubbin’ y’all!)

Serve up the pizza bowl in one-cup portions with the toppings. Should serve around 8. This would be awesome with a crisp romaine salad with a sprinkling of feta cheese, pepperocinis, and olives!

Papaleno’s Mountaineer doesn’t come with kale, but I LOVE food color and this dish needed some strong greens in there. I love kale because it goes into just about anything and doesn’t overwhelm you in flavor, but picks up the flavor of the dish and provides a boost of nutrients in whatever you’re cooking. Try spinach if you have that on hand!

(Optional: stretch the ingredients further by adding several cups of beef or chicken broth and another can of diced tomatoes and you have a warm pizza soup for those cold, windy days.)

Roughly, the recipe yields per serving: 319 calories, 11 carbs, 21g fat, 22g protein, 4g sugar, and 2g fiber. One slice of medium supreme pizza (based on information online for Pizza Hut) results in double the carbs and reduces the protein by half. So, give crustless pizza bowls a try and have a taste of my hometown’s best!

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