I’ve been reunited with my Vitamix and Keurig. I have a kitchen full of groceries, and I can finally get back to cooking with you!

Monday: Honey Mustard Lentil Vegetable Salad: This is a really simple, and healthy recipe that can be made earlier in the day, as it gets better with time. To make this a bit heartier, serve on top of quinoa or another grain, and /or serve with a protein like roasted chicken or white fish.

Tuesday: Mango Curry with Chickpeas: Really looking forward to this one! There are a few steps that might seem unnecessary (like toasting the spices), but they can all be done in the same pan. I think shrimp, chicken, or tofu would be great additions for added protein.

Wednesday: Korean style Tofu Bulgogi: If tofu isn’t your thing, just follow this recipe using thinly sliced chicken or beef.

Thursday: Honey Mustard Chicken Salad: This recipe is satisfying, and quite tasty. The dressing comes together very quickly, and is so much healthier than a purchased option. The meat can be replaced with vegetarian/vegan options such as tempeh, seitan, beans, or meat free “meat.”

Friday: Paleo Buffalo Chicken Casserole: Easy, easy, and paleo/Whole 30/gluten free. Spaghetti squash is so easy to cook. I like to put the entire squash in the oven at 400° for an hour, let it cool to the touch, and then cut it. Cutting a raw squash can be a bit of a production…at least for me. And since you’re saving your carbs with this meal, you can enjoy this with some cornbread.

Saturday: Taco Salad with Creamy Cilantro Dressing: Whole 30, gluten free, and dairy free (if you want it to be). Who doesn’t like the flavors in tacos? Making tacos into a salad bumps up the amount of veggies you eat, and (hopefully) means you can reduce the amount of chips and tortillas…and have a few margaritas. You can skip the dressing and use guacamole and salsa as your dressing, which is what I typically do.

Sunday: Easy Lean Curry Burgers: This recipe is for 2 lbs of meat, btw. The flavors in these burgers are so good, and you can increase the spice to make them hot. These can be eaten on buns, on top of a salad, or with rice.

Heal your gut. Make it a better place.

***I apologize in advance for the usage of the words: raw, bones, leach, fat plug, and gelatinous.***

When you purchase most broths from the grocery, you are buying salt water with flavoring. There is really no nutritional value. You can purchase pre-made bone broths now, but making it yourself is a more inexpensive option. If you feel like it, you can Google the health benefits of drinking/eating bone broth. Personally, I can not sit down for a warm mug of broth. *Insert heaving noise.* But, I do like to have this on hand to cook with. ****Vegetarian/vegan option below!****

Here’s a recipe for homemade bone broth (aka chicken stock) from Against All Grain. I make mine (almost) the same way. I typically save my chicken bones in a bag (from about 3 chickens) in the freezer, so I can make one big batch of broth. I have done this using a raw chicken, and it works out just as well (I don’t know how the chicken doesn’t dry out…but it doesn’t and it’s actually quite good). I don’t measure the water…just pour (filtered) water to cover the bones. I leave out the salt, because I don’t drink this on it’s own, and I figure I’ll just add salt to the recipe I’m using with the broth. Most of the time, I don’t even add vegetables. Lastly, I start making this around 8pm, and let it go (on low) overnight. Why apple cider vinegar? Well, the vinegar helps to leach the calcium and minerals out of the bones. By the time your broth is finished, the bones will literally crumble.

I let this cool a little before straining. Then pour into glass containers, let cool completely and refrigerate. If you’ve used quality chicken/bones, you will notice a fat plug on top when your broth is cold. This protects the broth, “sealing” and preserving it. You’ll also notice, that your broth is very gelatinous when it’s cold. Again, that’s not a problem. That’s the healthy fat and nutrients that help heal your body. You can drink this daily if you’d like, use in recipes, and give it to your baby dog like I used to…she couldn’t get enough of it.

The quality to chicken you use is important! For one, you can not use boneless skinless breasts for this….you need the bones and fat. Though not inexpensive, you need to look for non caged, organic, raised without antibiotics…I could go on, chicken. If you see, “chicken with rib meat,” or, ” XYZ% water, ” walk away.

For VEGETARIANS/VEGANS, you can make broth too. The same general rules apply. Save your vegetable peelings, and use any vegetables you have on hand. Load up the crock pot, add whatever herbs and spices you like (adding organic miso &/or Nutritional Yeast will add depth of flavor and some nutrients), and let it cook on low overnight. If you’re into Superfoods, add some Reishi, coconut oil, ginger, &/or umami.

 

Monday: Curry Apple Salad with Spiced Chickpeas– Vegan, gluten free. I am well aware that this salad is probably not going to be enough food for many of you. That’s ok. This will pair well with a grilled/roasted/pan cooked salmon fillet. Or Big Mac.

Tuesday: Paleo Eggroll in a Bowl– Paleo, gluten free, dairy free- You could definitely buy bagged coleslaw mix to use for the cabbage and carrots…and save yourself lots of time. If you do that, this recipe will come together crazy fast. If you’re feeling Martha Stewart-ish, try making this Paleo Sweet and Sour Sauce. “Normal” condiments are loaded with sugar and preservatives, and many of them sneak some wheat in there to make them thick. Even if you’re not Paleo you should try this! You probably have everything you need. Sub cornstarch for the arrowroot, soy sauce for the coconut animos, and whatever ketchup you have in the fridge.

Wednesday: Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad– Take out the chicken and honey (sub maple syrup) to make this vegan,  use g-free soy sauce to make g-free, and use whatever noodles you like. You can substitute almond butter for peanut butter to make this more paleo-ish.

****If you have time, cut and soak 2 sweet potatoes for dinner tomorrow****

Thursday: Cajun Sweet Potato Fries with Blue Cheese Yogurt Sauce–  Gluten free and can be dairy free if you use non-dairy yogurt and cheese. Or, skip the sauce, and drip your fries in whatever you fancy. Pair your fries with grilled chicken, pork, or  lean cut of beef. And, you can add a side salad to get your green on. Sidenote: Any kind of potatoes *need* to be soaked if you plan to make oven fries out of them. This helps to pull out the starch, so your fries will be crispier. You can leave the cut potatoes on a bowl of water and put them in the fridge for a few days, if you need to/forget them. Just don’t forget to take them out of the water and dry them on a tea towel (thoroughly) before you bake them.

Friday: One Skillet Spicy Ranch Chicken– Ok…I’m just going to advise you not to use the pre-made ranch mix. There was a time in my life when ranch was my life. But, now I make my own mix. It’s cheaper, easy, has 93498283579% less sodium, I can read each ingredient, and I know exactly what’s in it. I would also take the time to make the rice instead of using instant. This would involve using another pot, cooking the rice, and then adding it to the skillet when it’s cooked. You could also use quinoa instead of rice.

Saturday: Sweet Potato, Beet, and Goat Cheese Galette– This recipe is so good, it bears repeating…even in August. You can use your favorite crust recipe, but this one is very good and very easy. You can substitute another soft cheese for the chèvre, but…I can handle goat and sheep’s milk cheeses, so that’s what I do. I think you really need the tanginess of the cheese to add a little complexity to this meal. Serve with a salad and you are healthy as all hell.

Sunday: Slow Cooker Everything Chicken– Easy. This chicken can be used for whatever you want….salads, sandwiches, as a main, in tacos, with BBQ sauce for BBQ. When you’re done (hear me out) save the bones. I know. Just do it. Put them in a Ziplock and freeze them. We’ll make bone broth from them- tutorial to follow later in the week.

We’re half way through August….and it’s still mega hot. Only one of these meals suggests using an oven. I know it’s more difficult to find the time to cook healthy meals with school and activities beginning again, but you and your family are worth it! It may require a little weekend prep, but these meals will not keep you in the kitchen. Unless that’s your thing; then just stay in there.

 

Monday: Simple Tofu Scramble– Gluten free and vegan. I understand that, “tofu scramble,” is not the most appetizing phrase…but they’re always delicious (to me). If you don’t like or want tofu, just use eggs. Use whatever vegetables and seasonings you like. This would be great with a side of potatoes or toast and avocado.

*The key to a good scramble (if using tofu) is to squeeze as much of the water out as you can. Open the container, take out the tofu, and set it on a plate with paper towels or a kitchen towel, then place more paper on top, followed by a heavy can to weigh it down. I leave mine for a while, and will sometimes change the towels after they’re soaked.

Tuesday: Chicken Parmasean Zucchini Boats–  Gluten free; to make vegan, use textured soy crumbles and non-dairy cheese. Pretty self explanatory. Serve with a salad to bump up the veggies.

Wednesday: Creamy Vegan Mushroom Fettuccine Alfred0– Vegan, use gluten free pasta if needed. Ok…this recipe might be a bit much for a normal Wednesday. So, you could just make the pasta, add the vegetables, and use butter or olive oil and some of the pasta water as your sauce. You can go for it and make the cashew sauce. You can make your favorite alfredo sauce. Or, you can say f*&k it, and buy a bottle of Ragu.

Thursday: Sandwiches…try baking these Gluten free Sandwich Rounds– This can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like. It could be a Wonder Bread PB&J; Grilled Cheese; or a baguette with slow roasted turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a Sriracha aioli. Options.

Friday: Lentil Taco Salad– Vegan and gluten free, but you can easily use ground beef/chicken/or turkey instead of the lentils. Load up your plate with salad toppings, and then add this and whatever else you like to eat with tacos.

Saturday: Liver Support Quinoa Bowl with Sweet Sesame Dressing– Do you need this today? I really like beets. If you don’t skip this recipe. If you haven’t cooked/eaten beets: try them. Warning: they turn everything they touch red, if you eat too many you could feel a lil sick (they are serious detoxers), and they might make your pee a lil orange/red….every time I eat beets I forget this and think I’m dying.

Sunday: Bourbon Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Watermelon Peach Salsa– Be sure to use tamari, coconut aminos, or liquid aminos to make this gluten free. To save a lot of time, skip making your own salsa. There are tons of “fruity” salsa options. The key to this recipe will be marinating the pork early enough (toss everything in a Ziplock the night before and forget about it until it’s time to cook), and letting the pork sit for 10 minutes (UNCUT!!!) after it cooks. If you slice right in….ciao ciao juiciness, and hello dry pork.

Again…sorry for bouncing on you. But, I knew you could figure things out for yourselves. So, wave “see ya later” to the pizza guy, forget the number to Szechuan Palace and try some of these:

Monday: Vegan Turmeric Quinoa Power Bowls: This is a great way to get back on track after the weekend. Naturally gluten free and vegan. Great to double or even triple the recipe so you have extra meals for leftovers and lunch. As always, meat can easily be added for those who “need” meat at every meal.

Tuesday: Easy Jalapeño Shrimp Veggie Bake: Low carb, grain free, gluten free…recipe includes modifications for dairy free. Can be made vegan if you leave out the shrimp, and follow the dairy free modifications. It’s still summer, so there is still beautiful squash and tomatoes available- buy them and make this! This dish will keep well, so you can warm it up for lunch leftovers. If you don’t want/like shrimp (shrimp is another ingredient that we HAVE to be careful with, load this up with more vegetables, or try chicken or white fish. For shrimp, try to purchase raw, wild-caught shrimp from Argentina or the US. It’s not difficult; just read the label or ask your fish monger. Be sure to thoroughly clean and cook your shrimp (and any meat, for that matter).

Wednesday: Baked Pasta with Creamy Spinach and Brussels Sprouts: Vegan; use gluten free pasta if that serves you. This can be easy…you don’t have to make the sunflower seed cream (if you’re interested in this step but don’t have sunflower seeds, try cashews or almonds). OR you can sub this cream for cashew butter. If you can consume dairy, try using Greek yogurt instead.

Thursday: Avocado Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps: Naturally gluten free, can be made dairy free if you sub non-dairy yogurt or “sour cream,” for the sour cream. This recipe is easily multiplied for a crowd, or for leftovers. For a heartier meal, serve with pitas, naan, or as a sandwich. To save time, use a rotisserie chicken. Did you know that you can buy all white meat rotisserie chicken (as in: the meat is taken off of the chicken for you and packaged up nicely) from Costco? Well, you can.

Friday: Pizza! Who doesn’t love a good pizza Friday? I told you to ditch the pizza guy…but you can still have pizza without the preservatives and junk. Here are a few recipes to peruse, or, you can use your favorite dough recipe.

  • This Wolfgang Puck recipe can not get any easier…it was my favorite back in the day when I could handle it. My husband still requests it, and I recently followed this recipe but subbed Cup4Cup to make it gluten free (Just follow the recipe, but skip the kneading steps. This will still look like a batter instead of a dough, so just make sure you oil your pan well before you spread it out and bake). This dough is amazing cooked on the grill, btw.
  • Hawaiian Pizza– Gluten and egg free crust…use whatever toppings you’d like.
  • Emeril Lagasse’s Gluten free Pizza
  • I’m pretty sure you can still buy raw dough from Trader Joe’s, and save yourself some time. I’ve also been introduced to Cappello’s , which sells gluten and grain free pizza. They sell just the crust, and versions with Mozzarella or Sheep’s milk cheese. Their products can be ordered, or bought from Whole Foods and other local organic markets (their website will tell you the store closest to you.)

Saturday: Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles: Yes, I’ve posted 2983498374 versions of this dish, but, it bears repeating. It has everything you need!

Sunday: Sweet Potato Salad with Bacon and your choice of protein: This can easily be made vegan by leaving out the bacon, or by substituting with a vegan/vegetarian “bacon.” This would pair well with grilled chicken/shrimp/salmon/steak and side salad, or with grilled portobellos, Gardein, or (my new favorite) Tempeh. Tempeh is made from soy, so be sure to make sure it’s organic. I found some with flax seed added at my local Whole Foods. Yes, world, I now have a local Whole Foods.

Apparently I took a break 😳 I really am so sorry! I guess I forgot how busy moving can be! The past couple of weeks have flown by, and Amazon Prime has already paid for itself. I promise there will be a new menu up on Monday morning! Until then, just don’t go to McDonald’s for every meal. Or do. How much damage can you do in 4 days?