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Meal Round Up, Week of June 3rd

Today I’m bringing you a new kind of post today. I love to share what kind of dishes and treats I am cooking up in the kitchen, so I figured I would share it right here on the blog. How does that sound? I thought so! Let’s get to it.

MealRoundUp

 

Let me preface this first Meal Round Up. In case you missed my last post, I am back at home after spending 10 days travelling and camping across Utah and southern Idaho. I had an amazing time and it always feels good to take a step back from the everyday to get a fresh perspective. I look forward to sharing my tips for camp meals and eating healthy on the road!

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Admittedly, spending a week and a half living out a van (more on that later) allowed me to truly appreciate my kitchen upon my return home. I was ready to cook my socks off! Needless to say, I had to do a bunch of restocking because the only two items in the pantry were sweet potatoes and a bag of lemons in the fridge. To save some time planning out a week of meals, I stuck with tried and true recipes and easy to make dishes. Here’s a peak into what I ate this week.
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Breakfast: Two-Ways Open-Faced Breakfast Sandwich, made with Paleo Cashew Bread, Venison bacon and Eggs, or Egg salad
My version of the ultimate open-faced breakfast sandwich. I made a loaf of paleo cashew bread, baked up some venison bacon and hardboiled a half-dozen eggs. For the “bread” I usually use a recipe I found on IG a couple years ago, and since it’s not my recipe (nor do I know who it belongs to) I don’t feel right sharing it. I recommend you google “paleo cashew bread” and something similar should come up! I ended up making my sandwich lightly toasted with eggs-over-easy on the mornings I was home and with my infamous egg salad on mornings I reported to the office. Trust me, everyone in the office just loves the smell of egg salad first thing in the morning. Usually  serve with a side of sautéed kale and mushrooms and steamed asparagus. Oh and my favorite toppings, pickled jalapenos and marinated onions (from the 21 DSD Daily Guide). So good!

 

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Dinner: PaleOMG’s Almost 5-Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie


This casserole has quickly become a favorite in my home. The recipe sets the base for a meal that can be customized using whatever your favorite “pizza” toppings are, or more simply, what vegetables and meats you have in the fridge! Because it requires some amount of prep (cooking and shredding the squash) and baking for about one hour, I usually double the recipe. The base is spaghetti squash, eggs, pizza sauce, and ground meat and veggies of choice – I like to add nutritional yeast, ground sausage, mushrooms, bell peppers and top with Applegate nitrate-free pepperonis. This dish is so frigging delicious and 100% paleo, which I love. I like to indulge and eat great tasting food but not at the risk of feeling crummy the next day, you feel me?

 

GF 3 Meat Pizza

Dinner: Gluten Free 3 Meat Pizza


We love live for gluten free pizza night! It is my go-to on night’s when the fridge is looking a little bleh, like the night we whipped this delicious slice of yummyness up for dinner. Prepared mixes make it super easy to throw a homemade and health conscious meal together in under an hour. I used a box of Chebe gluten free pizza crust mix that calls for an egg, oil and an optional cup of sharp cheese, for which I mainly substituted nutritional yeast. For the toppings: leftover shredded chicken, venison bacon, parmesan cheese, diced green peppers, mushrooms and pepperonis. The crust turns out a big on the chewy side and with a really great taste because of the nutritional yeast. While I love my Bob’s Red Mill gluten free pizza mix I do recommend trying this if you like chewy crust! You can purchase the mix on Amazon or Vitacost (like I did).

 

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Snacks: The Balanced Blonde’s SOS Choco-Tahini Brownies
TBB is not lying when she says these are the healthiest and fudgiest brownies you’ll ever find. Better yet, these *brownies* are to die for. If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried what seems like hundreds of “healthy” dessert recipes and one of two things are usually the outcome. It either calls for some crazy ingredients you can’t find, or it tastes like crap and you still end up wanting to dive headfirst into a plate of Hershey’s chocolate fudge cake. But these brownies, Healthy √ Delicious √ . And, I’m not going to lie… I have been snacking on these for breakfast and after-dinner dessert. That’s right, a two-a-day kick. Why? Because the recipe is super clean and I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen. The best part? They’re just the right amount of *sweet* for me to be satisfying but not send me on a craze to eat the rest of the pan. If you can’t tell, I HIGHLY recommend checking out this recipe and modifying for your dietary needs!

 

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Drink: Morning ACV Mocktail
This drink has became my new morning routine! Cinnamon, cayenne pepper, Celtic sea salt, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. I like to combine everything in a big mason jar, squeeze my fresh lemon and top with cold, filtered water. Not only does it start the day on a healthy note but it tastes so refreshing, like sunshine. Too cheesy? Sorry, I only speak the truth!

 

Thanks for reading this week’s version of Meal Round Up! Have any comments to share or requests for more information/specific recipes? Drop me a line below!!

 

Disclosure: By making purchases through any of the links provided on this page I may receive a small kickback. Never worry, all thoughts, recommendations and opinions shared with you are my own and I will never recommend a product I don’t stand behind.

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Orange-Roasted Cornish Hens with Veggies

Today, I’m bringing you a wonderful recipe for roasted chicken in the oven that will warm your whole house. This recipe also happens to make some of the best parsnips I’ve ever tasted. The secret is in the caramelized orange 😉 Aside from tasting amazing, this is a one pan meal which means there’s minimal cleanup and everything cooks at the same time so less work! Following the recipe quantities as shown below will yield two full dinners and extra veggies to have another night

RECIPE:

  • 2 pasture-raised Cornish hens  *
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, whole
  • Handful of fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • 4-5 carrots, whole or halved
  • 3 parsnips, quartered
  • 3/4 pound petite medley potatoes, each pierced with fork or cut in half
  • Ghee and olive oil (optional)
  • Bird Spices: onion powder, dried rosemary, dried parsley, sea S&P (Amount of spices will vary depending on how large your hens are and whether you use the same recipe for a full-size chicken.)
  • Veggie spice:  1 TB garlic powder and Sea S&P to taste
  • Meat thermometer

Preheat oven to 375. Pan hens dry with paper towel and remove any innards if they came inside the cavity. Stuff each hen with half the amount of garlic, rosemary and thyme listed above. “Seal” each bird cavity shut with an orange quarter like shown before tying off the legs with kitchen twine. Use the back of a spoon or your hands to cover birds liberally with room temperate ghee and add bird spices listed above. Place hens in the tray breast-side down and roast for about 10 minutes while you get the parsnips, carrots and potatoes ready to add to the same pan.

Prep your veggies while the birds are in the oven getting a jump start on cooking. The vegetables will only take about 20-25 minutes to roast so we only want to add them at the end of the cooking process. Toss in olive oil or melted ghee and add to the pan before seasoning with the spices. Place the 2 remaining orange quarters in the corners of the your pan.

Cook for about 25-/+ minutes until birds reach an internal of 160 degrees when meat thermometer is placed in breast. If the veggies start to look done before the chicken then cover with foil or remove them from the pan. Once all is cooked, use tongs to squeeze your caramelized orange quarters over all the veggies and the birds to get the orange flavor. You can also do the same with the orange in the hens when they’re served. Enjoy!

*You can also try this recipe on a full-sized bird by bumping the temp up to 425, doubling the bird spices and giving it longer to cook through. I would estimate an 1 to 1.5 hours but using a meat thermometer is the best way to gauge when your meat is fully cooked.

Cook Your Way to a Less-Stressed Week

Hello readers.

This post is all about how I make my life easier while ensuring that my week is full of solid, energy-sustaining meals from AM to PM. This approach to cooking has dramatically altered my ability to sustain healthier eating habits while still having a life. I’m so into making Meal Prep part of my weekly routine that I thought I could elaborate a little more (or a lot) to share the benefits and answers to questions I commonly get from people when they ask me how I always have so many meals on-hand. This post is a resource for anyone that is thinking of trying this cooking approach but doesn’t know where to start, has tried and failed, or doesn’t think that this is a system that will work for them but is still interested in knowing a little more.

There are a lot of misconceptions there that meal prep is a time-consuming, one-size-fits-all approach to eating boring, tasteless meals that last all week long. I’m hear to tell you that is wrong! Meal prepping is not a prison sentence, it is a gift to yourself. I will agree that this approach to cooking requires shifting priorities and spending a block a time on 1-2 days each week (we will call this Prep Day) to be in the kitchen. However, I find the return on this time investment to be priceless. Having a fridge full of prepared meals that are now grab-and-go makes it so easy to stay on track eating a well-rounded meal 3x/day and frees up time during the week to be spent elsewhere than in the kitchen.

Not ready to dive-in head first? You can adjust your approach week to accommodate the level of time involvement and prep work to which you are willing to commit. Consider Meal Planning or somewhere between the two as highlighted below:

Meal planning – low time investment; high level of flexibility; more time spent cooking each day

Meal planning and some prepping – moderate time investment; a mix of cooking each day and grab-and-go meals throughout the week

Meal prepping: high time investment on 1-2 days each week; prepares 3 meals/day for each day of the week

 

Benefits of Meal Planning, Prepping and the in-between

Time management: More time spent during Prep Day means time better spent during the week for my other hobbies, unanticipated events that pop-up, or last-minute urges to order pizza because I’m too tired to cook. And, because most of my meals are prepped for my work days, I spend less time thinking about what’s for dinner and more time going straight into the meal.

Saves Money: I buy only the grocery items that I need. Ever walk into the grocery knowing you need eggs and milk, only to walk out with a cart full of food?? Here is my solution: I plan my base meals for the week (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with a couple snack options time allots) and compile the grocery items necessary to make these meals happen. I go into the grocery store with a categorized list of items and stick to it. No more getting sidelined by the chips that are on-sale or the candy calling your name while you’ve got that sweet tooth.

Less Waste: This also goes along with saving money but, more importantly, I am a huge proponent of little-to-no waste. This is different than the “clean your plate” speech that you got as a child at the dinner table. This is specifically aimed at minimizing the amount of rotting fruits and vegetables on your counter or in the fridge each week. Did you know that food waste contributes to an estimated 21 percent of solid waste in landfills? Food is a precious resource. Produce takes a long time to get from a seed in the ground to a fruit-bearing plant (not to mention the time spent producing nutrient-rich soil) and wasting it is a selfish act, one that could easily be reduced (if not avoided). In short: Have a plan for the food, get the food and then eat the food.

Customizable: Prep Day can be customized to accommodate the level of time commitment available for that day. If you know that you don’t have time to spend prepping all of your meals, go ahead and prep your breakfasts and lunches. I find that breakfast and lunch are often the quickest meals to get together. Or vice versa. This isn’t rocket science, do what works for you. Once you start getting in the habit of doing this week to week, you can get the notion of what does and does not work for your weekly routine.

Adequate Intake of Nutrient-Dense Foods: What better way to ensure that you get adequate intake of your fats, proteins, greens and micronutrients than to plan it out at the beginning of the week? This is simple. At the end of a busy work day, you’re probably looking for the quickest way to get a healthy meal on you (and your family’s) plate. If you put time in at the beginning of the week and have gone the extra mile of prepping an array of solid meals, that nutrient-packed dinner is waiting for you in the fridge when you get home.

Common Obstacles & How to Tackle Them:

Cooking Skills, a.k.a. I’m not a wiz in the kitchen, or I don’t even know the proper way to slice an onion: There is no easy way to get around this one. Truthfully, investing in yourself via learning how to properly prepare food and cook a meal is worth it. Do you plan to (or already have) children? Do you have a spouse? If the thought of spending time in the kitchen suddenly has you feeling overwhelmed then it may be best to get help from a pro. Searching YouTube will get you a long way with this, but if you need hands-on teaching then look to Groupon for Cooking Classes in your area. Third option, invite a friend/family member over to cook dinner together. When they arrive, pour a glass of wine, take a seat and observe her technique. Keep her busy with some good conversation and before she realizes it, dinner will be ready and you just got yourself a free, live-in-person cooking show. Learning how to navigate the kitchen is an invaluable skill that you will only improve upon over the course of your lifetime. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Boredom, a.k.a. I don’t like leftovers, or I get bored eating the same thing everyday: Meal prepping doesn’t have to be boring! It can be as exciting as you make it and you do not have to eat the same thing everyday. Grilled chicken and veggies for dinner can become eggs with veggies for breakfast and grilled chicken on a salad for lunch the next day. I like to use my Meal Plan Matrix to get a good visual on how this will play out during the week (coming to the blog soon). Bonus: More cookbooks are starting to come out with this cooking approach in mind like Whole30 Quick & Easy, Ready or Not! By Nom Nom Paleo and 21 Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide that show you how to prepare food that can be repurposed in other recipes.

Creativity, a.k.a. I like to come up with my own kitchen creations: If this is you, I applaud you. While I can cook up a tasty meal from my imagination every now and then, I gravitate towards tried and true recipes to save time and streamline my process of food-to-table. Just as some of you like expressing creativity with your meals, some of us like the structure of a recipe. Those that claim meal prepping hinders creativity are likely the people that enjoy the act of cooking and being in the kitchen each night. Or, maybe you have little ones at home you want to get involved in the cooking process so the act of cooking a meal together is teaching time. My recommendation is to go with the Meal Planning option. Better yet – Recall one of those food reality shows where you are given a box of ingredients from which you have to make a meal. Treat meal planning in a similar manner. When you’re making your grocery list on Sunday, choose what ingredients you are going to put into your Tuesday’s box. And then Wednesday’s and Thursday’s.

Commitment, a.k.a. What if Tuesday night rolls around and I don’t like what I put on my meal plan?: Some people don’t like the commitment of having written something down, knowing they are going to have to stick to this day-to-day for the next seven days. I would refer to these people as Rebels and the best recommendation I have for self-identified Rebels who want to find a middle-road for this whole meal-prepping approach is this: Have a variety of prepared meals and know that you can mix them up during and throughout the days of the week. Put the kabosh on the “eggs are only for breakfast” thinking and consider any of your meals as breakfast, lunch and dinner options.

Have I covered it all? I hope I have given you some tips and ways to overcome any fears you may have of the thought of meal prepping. If not, leave a comment on the page below. I plan to elaborate more on each step of the process in later posts.

For my week, I have compiled my meal plan and kept my prepping to a minimum. I have meal prepped my breakfasts for the week (egg casserole loaded with veggies, hashed potatoes and chicken sausage) and prepared a crockpot for a Roast I will be letting cook tomorrow. In addition, I’m going to be experimenting with some recipes from Wired to Eat and cleaning out the freezer with last year’s meat, which will alternate between lunch and dinner meal options.

Have a great week and best of luck on your future meal prepping endeavors!

 

I may earn commission for any products recommended in this post, but I assure you that all opinions are mine! I will never recommend a product or service that I would not personally use or refer to a friend.