I think you’ll find that this week’s recipes are easy peasy. It looks like the sun might be coming out for a bit…not trying to jinx us poor slobs on the EC. So, if you’re lucky enough to feel that beautiful Vitamin D, take some extra time outside and spend less time in the kitchen. This week’s recipes are half DIY recipes, and half “real” recipes.

Monday: BLT salad- You’ve had a BLT before, yes? Take the B, L, and T, and put them in a bowl. Spruce it up by adding more “salad” ingredients like avocado, carrots, hard boiled eggs, onion. You can skip the bacon and use turkey or chicken instead (or a combo for added protein). Lightly dress the salad with olive oil and your preferred seasonings.

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday- Oldest trick in the book. There are so many possibilities, all of which will taste great if topped with homemade guacamole. If you’re looking for inspiration, search on Pinterest. You can be specific with your keywords (Whole 30 Mexican, Paleo Mexican, Gluten free Mexican, etc.).

Wednesday: Asian bowls- Another meal that can be thrown together with finesse.

-Begin with a base (rice, quinoa, or cauliflower “rice”- whatever you choose, make enough to last for tomorrow and Saturday).

-Pick a lean protein (chicken, tofu, shrimp, tempeh) and marinate it in soy sauce/coconut or liquid aminos/tamari (all will lend the same flavor, but some are NOT gluten free).

– Grab a bunch of vegetables and stir fry in a small amount of sesame oil

-Put it all in a bowl. You can top this with peanut sauce, sriracha, or anything else that makes you happy.

Thursday: Vegan Dal with Spinach– Read the directions….I’m going to go with the red lentil version, because it will cook so much faster. This is a dish that can stand up to your freezer. If you don’t have mustard seeds…don’t worry- I never do. You can use fennel seeds, fenugreek (seeds or ground), cumin seeds, or just skip it completely.

Friday: 5 Spice Paleo Chicken Tenders–  This is an easy recipe, that (I think) will not require you to buy much. If you have a well stocked spice cabinet, you’ll be set. To save time, buy raw chicken tenders. When I bake chicken like this, I like to take a metal cooling rack and put it on top of my baking tray, before laying the chicken on it. This way, the chicken cooks all over and gets crisper.

Saturday: Seared Scallops with Quinoa and Apple Salad over Butternut Squash Puree– Fear not. I’mma break this down for you:

  1. Buy organic butternut squash puree (mine is in a can). This will save all the time of peeling, chopping, cooking, and pureeing the squash.
  2. You were supposed to have made a grain earlier in the week! If not, jokes on you, my friend.
  3. You can use another protein if you don’t like/want/have scallops. Although, once you know how to properly cook scallops, you’ll feel like a baller and will want to do it all the time. I get my scallops from Costco. No shame. The key is to thaw them (you can transfer them to the fridge the night before, and then THOROUGHLY dry them. I take a plate, cover with a couple layers of paper towels, put the scallops on the plate, more layers of paper towels. Don’t press down…you don’t need to. Just let them set that way for 10-15 minutes. Then season. Then cook in a hot, greased skillet. Depending on the size, only 2-3 minutes per side is all that’s needed. Don’t flip them around a lot…you won’t get that beautiful, tasty carmelization that you want. Also, I don’t cook enough for leftovers….re-heated scallops? Vom.

Sunday: Mini Paleo Burger Bowls– What can I say? I like the whole, “bowl” scenario. These bowls can have whatever kind of toppings you like on a burger. If you don’t like/want/have plantains, substitute roasted potatoes.

Monday: Hearty Vegan Spanish Potatoes– This dish is seriously good. It comes together easily, but takes a little while to bake. Potatoes, am I right? If you don’t have saffron, substitute paprika. To me, this is more of a side dish. Serve with eggs to keep this vegetarian/breakfasty, or with roasted chicken and a side salad.

Tuesday:  Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Bowls– This recipe makes a lot of food. You could follow the recipe, and set yourself up for lunch leftovers, or halve it if you get bored easily.

Wednesday: Paleo Butternut Apple Chicken Salad w/ Creamy Maple Dressing– This salad is easily tailored for your dietary needs. I recommend buying frozen, or pre-cut butternut squash to save time. If you don’t want to use coconut milk for the dressing, try subbing olive oil. Use half the amount, taste, and adjust the seasoning.

Thursday: Mediterranean Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos with Lime Tahini– To save time, skip the lentil portion and just use canned black beans. Be sure to chop the cauliflower relatively small, to be sure that all parts get spiced and roasted. Fresh out of sumac? No worries. You can substitute lemon pepper seasoning. And if you don’t have/want to use pomegranate, try raisins or chopped dates. You just want to add a pop of sweetness and texture.

Friday: Treat Yo Self. Kitchen’s closed tonight.

Saturday: Summer Cobb Salad– Summer….wishful thinking. Essentially, this is a “clean out the produce” salad. Use whatever fruits and vegetables that you have, on top of whatever kind of greens you like. I love big salads. You can not eat too many fruits and vegetables. Load up, and then you have room left over for dessert.

Sunday: Magic Mushroom Sauce– This stuff is seriously easy and seriously delicious. You will not taste the cashews, but if you’re not a mushroom fan- I’m sorry. This recipe post gives many examples for how to use this sauce. It’s a perfect vegan replacement for alfredo sauce, is delicious on chicken, or mixed with quinoa and vegetables and baked as a casserole.

Monday: Sweet Potato Coconut Curry– This is a perfect, quick, vegan meal. I plan to use white potatoes instead of sweet, because I already have some…and I’ve been reminded by my husband that, “We eat sweet potatoes a lot.” Which in his language means, “Stop fixing sweet potatoes.”

Tuesday: Shrimp and Avocado Salad with Miso Dressing– Don’t have shrimp, and don’t want to buy any? That’s ok. This will be great with any kind of protein (including beans to make this vegetarian).

Wednesday: Leftovers- It’s that time again. Clean out the fridge and freezer! You can try and play this off by putting each meal in a separate serving dish, and call it a buffet. I don’t know how that would make anything better, but at least you have the night off!

Thursday: BBQ and Coleslaw- You can make any kind of bbq you and your family enjoy. I’m going to go the jackfruit route, but use the recipe for this BBQ sauce. Jackfruit has a meaty texture and the look of pulled pork. I ordered a large bag from Vegan Essentials. Much easier than tracking down a store that carries fresh jackfruit, and then attempting to break it down myself.

As for coleslaw, I really don’t use a recipe. I buy pre-shredded coleslaw, and add some green onion. Then, I mix a good dollop (or more, depending on how many I’m trying to feed) of mayo (classic, homemade, or vegan) with about 1 TBSP lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, a squirt of mustard, salt, pepper, and a few drops of liquid stevia (sounds strange, but you really need a tiny bit of sweetness to balance out the fat and acid).

Friday: Spicy Ramen with Tofu– I’m going to begin by cutting the miso paste recipe in half. You only use half for this recipe anyway, and what happens if you’re not in love with it, and then you’re stuck with a buttload? I’m also going to use shiritaki noodles instead of ramen. If you don’t have either, linguini or spaghetti will also work here. If you/yours aren’t pumped about tofu- don’t use it! Try out a different protein.

Saturday: Pizza- Pizza is needed for normalcy and happiness in life. It’s also my husband’s lifeblood, and he can’t go more than a few days without a hit.

Sunday: It’s the Super Bowl, so let’s face it…there will be snacks. But, you can make a healthy dinner to fill up on before kickoff, so you’re not starving.

Monday: Spring Rolls: Fast, easy, and healthy. Chop up a whole mess of vegetables (and use what’s leftover for the rest of the week), wrap the veggies in rice paper, dip in peanut sauce. Add any protein you like, or skip it.

Tuesday: Avocado Salmon Rice Bowls:  This is a very simple recipe, and the link is no longer working! So, rub salmon filets with salt, pepper, lime juice, and a little honey (really, any seasonings that you like). Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Make some rice, and  while you’re at it, make extra rice or quinoa for the week. Smash up some avocados with some cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper…and toss a little of everything into a bowl.

Wednesday: Anything-Goes Kale Salad: There’s a plan here! Using leftovers from Monday and Tuesday, you have dinner for Wednesday!

Thursday: Whole 30 Mango Chicken with Coconut Cauliflower “Rice”: Sounds good to me. I  keep frozen organic mango on hand, so I plan to thaw some and puree it, as opposed to buying mango or orange juice (which we won’t drink). To save time, buy pre-riced cauliflower. It’s everywhere now.

Friday:Gluten free Butternut Squash Falafel Salad Bowls : Bear with me on this one….I’m using this more as an idea, than a recipe. There are a lot of steps and a lot of elements to this..and I plan to skip most of them.

1) Not making the falafels. Instead, I’m using pre-made organic veggie tots      that I got from Costco.  Veggie burgers would also work here.

2) Not frying the shallots. Stomach can’t handle them, and it’s just another step.

3) Using the grain that I made earlier in the week.

Boom. That just saved at least an hour.

Saturday: Crock Pot Fajitas: Again, an idea. Use any kind of protein you like, or sub portobello mushrooms for the meat.

Sunday: Chicken Shawarma : This chicken rub is so delicious. Try and get the chicken (or tofu or jackfruit) marinating as early as you can in the day. If you’re not into pitas, serve atop any grain, cauliflower rice, or make into a big a$$ salad.

Happy short week!

Monday: Look around and put something together. This is how people have been fixing dinner since day one! No one wants to venture out on a cold day off. I know you have food in your house, and there’s an easy formula for putting it all together to make a whole, nutritious meal: Vegetables+Carb+Protein= Meal. So many possibilities. I have rice, quinoa, and gluten free pasta (made from brown rice) on hand. You could also use potatoes, or cauliflower “rice” as your base. I also have a bunch of roasted vegetables that I made this weekend, as well as some frozen shrimp. Those things will all be lovingly tossed together, and served to a husband, who will probably sneer at it’s lack of beef and potatoes.

Tuesday: Indian Chicken Coconut Korma: I’m 99% sure this would be successful in a crock pot. You could even put chicken and some broth in the crock pot, cook that and use it all week, and add the cooked chicken to the end of this recipe. If you serve this with rice or naan, you’ll take away it’s Paleo-ness. That’s fine with me, but, I’ll choose one or the other to keep this lower carb.

Wednesday: Mustard Roasted Potatoes and Apples with lean protein of your choice: This is an easy one-pan meal. If you plan to serve this with fish or chicken, you could add the protein to the pan when you add the apples (you may need to cut the chicken into smaller pieces to ensure everything is cooked at the same time).

Thursday: Vegan Bowls with Parsley Cashew Pesto: The pesto is the only part of the recipe that “needs” to be followed. So, make the pesto, and serve with a healthy grain and whatever vegetables you have on-hand. Tofu or meat can easily be added to increase your protein.

Friday: Butternut Squash Chicken Skillet: This recipe is Paleo and Whole 30…so, it has the potential to be a little bland. To ensure that this is flavorful, try marinating the chicken in the spices and letting that stay in the fridge all day (you could even take all of the ingredients, put in a bag, and let it all marinate all day). This could be made on the stovetop if you don’t have a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one- get one! You can buy them from Amazon (very inexpensive, and so easy to take care of).

Saturday: Polenta Stacks with Squash and Cashew Cream with a protein, if you’d like: Don’t be discouraged when you look at this recipe. Personally, I will use the brand of polenta that I already have in my cabinet. You can also purchase pre-made polenta (in tubes), and that will cut off a lot of time. This does take a little planning, though. The polenta will need to set up, so make it earlier in the day. To save time and money, I’m going to skip the delicata squash, and use the organic frozen butternut squash I already have.

Sunday: Freebie!

Happy Monday! This week’s recipes are pretty quick and easy. There are a lot of vegetables involved, so nothing to feel bad about here. Just be sure you’re buying the highest quality ingredients you can afford. As a reminder, here is 2016’s  Dirty Dozen list (not sure when the 2017 list comes out). This list is more extensive, with the top 50, and lists the produce with the most to least pesticide residue (testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration). In a nutshell: Organic avocados= not necessary. Organic Strawberries= Absolute must!

Monday: Spicy Brazilian Bowls– I make this all the time. My husband requests it weekly. I make this with “plain” brown rice and one can of beans. The stars of this dish are the plantains. If you haven’t tried them yet…come on. I suppose you could try potatoes instead. But then you’d be missing out on the subtle sweetness and mind-boggling inexpensiveness of the plantains.

Tuesday: Avocado Cream Penne with Herbs–  Pasta in a pot+sauce ingredients in a blender= dinner in 15 minutes. Probably not going to serve this with the tomatoes on top….a side salad sounds better to me.

Wednesday: Whole 30 Sloppy Joe Bowls– Pretty self explanatory. To save time, just soak the dates in water and don’t bother boiling them (another pot). You can also make this vegan by subbing the beef for vegetarian crumbles (typically contain wheat), textured soy protein, or crumbled tofu. Also, you can bake the potatoes, or cook the whole potatoes in a crock pot or instant pot for those who are microwave weary.

Thursday: Chopped Thai Salad with Coconut Curry Dressing– Light and easy salad (if you buy pre-shredded cabbage and bagged, pre-washed kale). Add shrimp or chicken to make this a full meal.

Friday: Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders with Mango Mustard sauce–  This recipe makes a lot! There’s a widget for reducing the amount of servings at the top of the recipe. Be sure you’re using unsweetened coconut.  For the sauce, you can use frozen mango (thaw in the fridge). It’s so much easier than waiting for mangoes to ripen, and then cutting yourself.

Saturday: Freebie!

Sunday: Brinner- Honestly, I’m never awake and aware enough to make a proper breakfast. Don’t allow yourself to become a short order cook for this one! Pick a few dishes (scrambled or fried eggs, bacon or sausage, pancakes or waffles), and everyone else can deal! Also, make sure this meal is balanced. You don’t need to make pancakes, biscuits, and toast. One carb heavy item is enough. Add some vegetables to your eggs, and pick a meat that is free of sugar and nitrates. I’m liking Pederson’s No Sugar Hickory Smoked Bacon. I was nervous the first time I made it, but it actually does have the sweet and salty taste that you want from bacon. AND, it’s paleo and Whole 30 approved. Stalk your grocery, and stock up when this goes on sale!

That month off was much needed. Now I’m back, focused, and ready to help you plan healthy and delicious meals. January can be daunting for many….resolutions can cloud your judgement as to what is feasible to attain and maintain. Suggestion: Start small and be specific. What are you actually seeking? Instead of saying, “I’ll eat healthier,” try: Vegetables with every meal/No packaged foods 5 days a week/ I won’t drink my calories/8 glasses of water a day. Instead of, “I’ll get fit,” try: I will do 30 minutes of exercise 3 days a week/I will walk 20 miles a week/ I will try a new fitness class twice a month.

Write down your goals. They don’t have to be on a banner or plastered on Facebook, but keep them somewhere  you can see them…mainly because, let’s face it, memories do not get better with age. I bought the 2017 Blogilates Fit Planner and I love it. The price is right, it’s beautiful, it’s very user friendly, and it runs January-January….I hate planners that start in June; it’s wrong.

Sometimes an accountability coach can be helpful. This is someone you tell your goals to, and then they can help hound you to keep you focused! Ok, maybe not hound you, but they can help remind your of your goals and why you set them. Need one? Hit me up, and we can talk about ways to improve your health indefinitely.

Monday: Clean out the Fridge Veggie Bowl-  It’s nice to have a no-recipe recipe. All you need to do is grab some vegetables…any and all will do. I plan to roast mine (tossed with a little olive oil, pure maple syrup, mustard, salt, and pepper) and serve on top of brown rice. I might throw in a dollop of hummus for a little protein, too. If you don’t roast your vegetables, I suggest drizzling (definitely not dousing) this dish with a healthy fat (olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee). The fat helps your body absorb the vitamins and minerals from the vegetables. ***If you’re feeling up to it, make extra rice or quinoa today, and you can use it for almost every other meal this week!***

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday! Another no-recipe recipe…I’m not quite sure why tacos have gotten a reputation for being unhealthy….maybe the excess dairy, processed shells/tortillas, and fatty meat? Ok, don’t use those things! I’m going to be lazy and make taco bowls because I have shredded chicken that I made on Sunday, and the vat of rice I made Monday. If you want actual tacos, I suggest using corn tortillas (These are finicky! Buy 100% corn, and make sure that they’re HOT or they will break on you….re-heating may be needed). Or, if you really feel ambitious, make these Paleo Tortillas. I make these all the time. Otto’s brand really does make a difference. These tortillas are easy to make, pliable, and remind me of the flour tortillas of my past.

Wednesday: Kung Pao Cauliflower–  Vegan; follow directions for gluten free. I’ll admit: I’ve never made a cauliflower replacement recipe like this…but, the picture looks too good to not try!

Thursday: Peanut Tofu Buddha Bowl: Vegan and gluten free, but shrimp or chicken could easily be added to, or replace the tofu. Make sure your peanut butter only contains peanuts!

Friday: Beer Battered Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas: Gluten free; paleo if you skip the peas. Healthiest food ever? No. Healthier than ordering at a restaurant? Yes. For the fries, cut your potatoes and soak them…you can even begin soaking them Thursday, if you feel like it. Then, dry them thoroughly before you lightly spray them with olive oil and roast them at 425°F for 40-45 min, turning halfway through. As for the mushy peas…I’ll cook the same way, but skip the cream and use ghee instead of butter.

Saturday: Vegan Winter Vegetable Pasta with Pumpkin Seed Pesto– Use gluten free pasta, if needed.

Sunday: Paleo Chicken Tikka Masala– This recipe has a lot of spice ingredients- don’t let that scare you- you have measuring spoons. I use breasts instead of thighs, fyi, a few scoops of cashew butter can replace the cashew cream, and I don’t bother blotting off the marinade…more mess. Serve this with cauliflower rice, rice, and/or naan. Definitely worth the work.

 

Consider us, “On a break,” until January. Please feel free to contact me for any questions you may have, &/or for any recipes you may be in need of. And, you can always scroll through the recipe archives and check out my Pinterest page for recipes too.

Enjoy December…see you next year!

So, I’m really not inspired to write anything informative today. I’m just going to cut to the menu plan and insert this video that you can view at your leisure.

 

Monday: Kale Salad Bowl– Gluten free and vegetarian. Skip the cheese to make this vegan.

Tuesday: Vegan Pad Thai-Vegan; use g-free soy sauce if you need to. The shirataki noodles can be replaced with spaghetti squash, zoodles, or rice noodles. This would also be great with chicken or shrimp added.

Wednesday: Spicy Brazilian Bowls– Vegetarian and gluten free. Can be made vegan by using dairy free sour cream or yogurt. I always serve this with plain rice…its saves time, and I don’t think the extra flavors are needed.

Thursday: Oven Roasted Teriyaki Glazed Sweet Potatoes– This is a very simple recipe, that needs more to go along with it. Definitely serve with rice or quinoa. You can also double the marinade, and add other vegetables and/or a protein to make more substantial.

Friday: Paleo Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos– Tacos…who doesn’t like tacos?

Saturday: Kebobs and Creamy Tahini Greek Pasta Salad– For the kebabs, do whatever you want! All meat, all veggie, a combo…marinate the night before, or do a dry rub the day of. Try and get the pasta salad made early in the day to let the flavors get all in it. If using gluten free pasta (and you make this early in the day), you may need to sprinkle on a little olive oil and stir before serving. Taste and see.

Sunday: Creamy Vegetable Pot Pie– Vegan; use another biscuit topping such as this one (Paleo Pot Pie) to make gluten free. I always add more vegetables, and sometimes shredded chicken.

What an exciting day! Normally Monday is not the coolest of the days, but I’m going to Target AND grocery shopping, and for me that is the epitome of fun. It doesn’t take much these days. The reason I love grocery shopping, is that I love to eat. I get to go buy all of my fuel for the week. I love seeing my produce drawers jammed packed at the beginning of the week, and then by Sunday evening there’s just a rogue lemon and a few carrots left. I am 100% onboard with paying more for quality produce and ingredients now, because I feel that it will prevent me from having to eat a handful of pills every day.

Also, VOTE tomorrow if you haven’t already! Why? Because you’re an adult, it’s your right, and you get a free sticker. Remember, if you’re not thrilled by any of you choices, you can always write me in. I’m fair, but firm. And if you don’t like any of these choices for meals this week, scroll the archives.

Monday: No Fry Vegan Vegetable Manchurian– Take note: the first ingredient is 2 cups finely chopped vegetables, and then a bunch of veggies are listed as examples. You don’t need the 2 cups plus the listed examples…make sense? I don’t have the special pan this recipe uses, so I’ll make balls and put them on a pan and bake flipping halfway through…I’m thinking 425° for 15-20, to get them nice and crispy. I plan to serve this atop of spaghetti squash to keep this low carb.

Tuesday: Smashed Plantain Pulled Pork Sliders– Paleo- I hope you remembered to save your leftover pork from Sunday! If not, this is not going to be the 10 minute meal I intended. If you can’t find plantains, I bet this would work with potatoes…you’d had to slice them pretty thick for the same effect…maybe 1/2 inch? Also, the fry time will probably be different; probably 1-2 additional minutes per side.

Wednesday: Low Carb “Sweet Potato” Casserole with Your Choice of Protein- To save a lot of time, use 2 cans of butternut squash puree and a bag of pre-riced cauliflower. I don’t think I’ll use the full 2 cups of pecans this recipe calls for….it’s just too much for my liking. Also, I suggest not adding all of the sweetener called for in the topping…maybe just use half, taste, and re-attack.

Thursday: Moroccan Spiced Sweet Potato and Carrots with Your Choice of Protein-  This is one of my favorite recipes. I always skip the end of the recipe with the olives, parsley, and lemon juice. Just my preference. I think this will pair very well with white fish or scallops as your protein choice.

Friday: Bibimbap– My absolute favorite Korean food. This link is for the bibimbap sauce…scroll about halfway down the page and you’ll see it. Essentially, this meal is rice topped with sautéed vegetables, meat, and a fried egg. You can make yours vegan by only using vegetables and skipping the fried egg; vegetarian by skipping the meat; or cater to omnivores with vegetables, meat, and the fried egg. As a base you can use rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice. And you’re probably going to want to double the sauce recipe, because it’s just so good. ***Be sure to check the ingredients on your Korean chili paste, as many have wheat in them. I was able to find a gluten free brand on Amazon.

Saturday: Honey Chipotle Portobello Burgers with Mustard Slaw– This one is pretty self explanatory. You could use the marinade/rub and add it to ground beef if you’re so inclined.

Sunday: White Chicken Chili– Gluten and dairy free. I plan to use chicken breasts, but besides that, this seems like a pretty sound recipe! If you eat dairy, feel free to use heavy cream or whole milk in place of the coconut milk.