5 Healthy Family Weeknight Dinner

Figuring out what to make for dinner can prove to be quite a task. A very loooooong time ago, I only had to cook for myself so I rarely cooked. I remember coming home from classes in college and eating a bowl of captain crunch for dinner, boy have we come a long way. Now I have seven people depending on me to prepare dinner for them. I enjoy experimenting and trying new things in the kitchen. Well, most of the time I do, and on those nights that I just can’t get it together, we just crab some frozen Home Run Pizza and pop it in the oven.
As often as I am able, I will try to post meal ideas from what we ate throughout the week. Click on the video below for this week’s meal ideas. I hope you find this helpful. Leave me a comment below, what was your favorite dish you cooked this past week?

Be Blessed
Anika

Healthy Meal Preparation Tips

I know that preparing healthy meals can be a challenge because of all the prep work.  However, there are many things we can do beforehand to cut down on some of the time.  Please watch the attached video for some great meal preparation tips. I would love to hear your tips for meal prepping.  Please leave a comment and let me know.

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Recipes for the Week (AIP, PALEO, GLUTEN FREE)

After much deliberation, I took the plunge and began a round of the Autoimmune Paleo  diet (AIP).  Keep on reading to find out what I cooked to keep my taste buds singing and keep my mind off of what I could not have.

 

Sauces

In my humble opinion, sauce makes everything B.E.T.T.E.R.

Nomato Sauce– Nightshades are eliminated on this diet, so no tomatoes for me.  This sauce proved to be a good alternative.  I made a big patch and froze some of it.  I plan to use it as an alternative for tomato paste and tomato sauce.

AIP Barbecue Sauce.  This sauce was excellent!  I made it JUST FOR ME.  My intentions were to have it all week but my family had a sample and loved it too…so much for the all week idea.  Instead of molasses I used 5 dates.

Sides

I made most of my sides at the beginning of the week, put them in mason jars and mixed and matched them with different protein throughout the week for breakfast lunch and dinner.  I liked having a variety to choose from at each meal.

Yucca Fries (Cassava) These were so easy to make and absolutely delicious.  I ate them with my barbecue sauce.

Butternut squash.  I simply peeled and cubed the butternut squash, tossed them with avocado oil and sprinkled a little salt and popped them in the oven at 375 for 50 minutes.  This method gives the butternut squash a really sweet taste and who doesn’t like sweet?

Oriental yams. I peeled and cubed and tossed with coconut oil and put it in the oven at 400 for 45 minutes.  Keep watch as cooking time may vary. These were SOOOO GOOD!  I typically roast them whole but decided to do something different.  They are delicious both ways.

Cabbage.  I steamed my cabbage with a little bit of olive oil with onions and garlic.

Roasted chayote squash

Protein

I was beyond thrilled when I made Jamaican style red snapper.   To make it AIP friendly, I just seasoned with salt, vinegar, and onions and it still turned out flavorful!

I made pork tenderloins and orange roughy using this method.  However to make it AIP friendly, I used tigernut flour instead of almond flour.  I seasoned the flour with salt and a few dried herbs.  Instead of dipping the pork and fish in the eggs, I dipped it in a little bit of olive oil and then coated it with the tigernut flour.  Both were delicious with a hint of sweetness.

I baked 3 chickens using my fall off the bone method.  I put some of the nomato sauce, along with some mushrooms, sautéed onions and garlic in the pan with the chicken.  After the chicken was done, I blended most of the liquid in my vitamix blender to make one seriously delicious gravy!

Chicken liver.  They stress consuming more offal on the AIP.

 

Snacks

While coconut is permitted on the AIP and I happen to LOOOVE the taste, I realize that I have a slight sensitivity and can only consume a little at a time.  Of course I was super disappointed about this and was in denial for quite some time.  I got to googling and discovered that there is an alternative that fits the AIP diet, this alternative is tigernuts.  Tigernuts? Yeah that was my initial response as well. Read this article and be prepared to be enlightened. I bought some tigernut flour and raw tigernuts.  I made tigernut milk with the raw nuts and sweetened it with a few dates (DELICIOUS).

 Plantain chips-these are definitely my default snacks.

Fruit– I limited my fruit intake to one a day, I am realizing that my body doesn’t respond well to too much sugar, even if it is from fruit.  I know…tell me about it!

Hope you give some of these recipes a try even if you are not doing the AIP.  Happy cooking!

 

 

Simple Whole 30 Recipes

As mentioned in this video, I have started my third round of the Whole30.   The older kids were on board, but all abandoned ship except for one.   I have pulled most of the children in the kitchen to help with preparing the meals, especially the sauces.  Our family  love sauce on EVERYTHING! We try to make at least three Whole30 approved sauces at the beginning of each week.

Most of our sauces use mayo as a base.  You can view this video  or  visit this site for how to make homemade mayo.  This is a great ranch dressing recipe .  You can also visit this site for other creative ideas on what to add to the mayo to make your mouth sing. We made this Whole30 Ketchup.   I added 4 medjool dates to the recipe along with more water to make it smoother. While it doesn’t taste like conventional ketchup, it was super easy to make and everyone enjoyed it.  

Below are some simple breakfast recipes (some can also be packed in lunch boxes).

Ham and egg cups (we have done these with bacon and it is absolutely delicious).

Baked eggs in avocado

Twice  Baked Breakfast Sweet Potatoes

Homemade Breakfast sausage 

Finally, I found this great site that has 40 simple Whole30 recipes.  You can also visit this post for additional dinner ideas.  Please let me know if you try any of these recipes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Whole30 Day 1

Today is THE big day, another round of WHOLE30!  I am excited for all those that are joining especially because I was told by three individuals that their husbands are on board.  How awesome is that?  Things are so much easier when you receive support from the home front, but that’s another post all by itself.  On to tips and recipes, shall we?  You may not be able to implement all of the suggested strategies  but find what works for you.

  • Try batch cooking once a week.  One of the quickest way to guarantee failure on the Whole30 is to not have ANY approved food readily available when you are hungry.  Do not set yourself up for failure, cook in advance.  I tend to do most of my cooking on Monday, and I am normally cooking again by Wednesday.  WHY?  Because my family of 8 LOVES to eat!
  •  If you are not able to cook all your meats in one day, try seasoning the meat and freezing it.  This way the meat can go from freezer to oven. Most vegetables and meats can be frozen.  Check out this site for a week’s worth of freeze ahead Whole30 approved crock pot meals.
  • Chop veggies (onions, peppers, carrots, etc) ahead of time and store in fridge.  When you are ready to cook, you don’t have to worry about spending too much time on the prep work.
  • Grill once a week.  In the warmer months I TRY to grill at least once every two weeks and store all the meat in a big roaster pan in the fridge.  Grilled meats also freeze very well, so if you don’t get to all of the meat, no worries just freeze it for another time.
  • Keep it simple.  Try a few new recipes a week, not everyday.  When I first started the Paelo diet,  I was a bit extreme and was trying a new recipe like EVERYDAY!  After awhile this got to be very tiring.  These days I am a bit more realistic and stick to my oldies but goodies and try a new recipe a few times a week.
  • Think outside the box…breakfast for dinner, dinner for breakfast.  For breakfast tomorrow,  I plan to have some left over zucchini noodles with my curry chicken and some avocado.  Why not?
  •  I try when possible to be one step ahead of the game and have some extra cooked protein on hand (chicken wings, chicken breast, frittatas )  or at least some canned fish in the cupboard.  Homemade mayo on canned fish with some avocado and sweet plantains on the side always makes for  a great emergency/backup  meal.
  • Try to make at least one frittata a week and keep in fridge for backup.
  • Use your crock pot and Roaster.  Visit this site for 30 Whole30 crock pot meals.  YUMMY!
  • Learn ways to make multiple dishes from one meat.  For example you can cook multiple pounds of ground meat of choice  using basic seasonings.  Then throughout the week you can use that same ground meat  for different dishes like  chili or lettuce wraps topped with avocado, sauteed onions and pepper and whole30 approved salsa.  Or I typically bake two whole chicken each week and store in fridge.  One night we may have baked chicken with sauteed greens and butternut squash.  Throughout the week I may shred the remaining chicken and use it for a creamy tomato soup  served with a big salad and why not toss some shredded chicken on the salad while I am it.

Perhaps you have some tips and recipe you would like to share, please leave a comment below.  Remember you can do this!

 

Round 2 of Whole30

I had the opportunity to present on the Whole30 program at the Purposely Created Advance last weekend.   I was so blessed by the many women who were willing to give the Whole 30 a try.  To those that were at the conference, welcome to my blog!   As mentioned in my session, I am willing to join you on this journey starting October 1st.   You can read my previous posts concerning the Whole 30  here  and here. If you are in need of some kitchen tips and recipes you can also visit this previous post and my Whole 30 pinterest board to get more ideas.  I also plan to upload some videos to my youtube channel by tomorrow.  Please leave a comment to let me know if you have already started the Whole 30 or plan to join the party on October 1st.