Keep it Simple
I love being in the kitchen. If I could I would make everything from scratch. My kids love to help me but I just don't have time to do as much as I would like. So I've cut down the prep time by buying some items that need little to no work.
Since veggies are a big part of PPW (Protein, Produce and Water) that is where I started because that is also where lots of pealing, slicing, dicing, cutting, cleaning etc…. Came in.
Here's my helpful food prep cheats list to buy at the grocery store.
Frozen chopped onion
Frozen chopped onion and pepper combination
Frozen stir fry veggies. (Don't buy the ones with the sauce already added to them)
Frozen blends of veggies (the California blend is very yummy with a little olive oil sprinkled on top, salt and pepper then roasted in the oven at 375 for 45 minutes)
Cherry tomatoes (no need to cut these up to throw on a salad, plus they make a great grab and go snack)
Pre cut celery
Spinach (I've made Spinach Honey Moon Salad many times. (LET- US Alone) But it can be thrown in with eggs for a delicious omelet, added to stir fries, rolled around a slice of chicken or turkey, or sauté with shrimp and garlic)
Coleslaw mixes can be bought. (Use these in stir fries not loaded with mayo.)
Canned or in a jar:
There are so many tomato products that are canned or in a jar for use in soups, sauces, stir fries, added to your favorite protein dish.
While there are days when I spend a long time fixing just the perfect dinner but more often than not, I’m making things happen, double time. I don’t have to miss out on good food I just have to make that good food as quickly as I can. Keeping things simple have helped cut down my time in the kitchen. If you have time, spend it on cooking even allowing your kids to help. Chicken Enchilada Soup is one of those meals you can make quickly and easily.
Go simple this week. Very simple.
Going out or ordering take out on Saturday has been a long time favorite of our family and many others. Dean and I have come to love this dish. While it is amazing, it is quick to make and very affordable. I did some comparisons of prices at the end of the recipe. Check it out.
Saturday Night Special
1 pound medium shrimp (I use frozen)
salt to taste
3-4 garlic cloves or 1 Tablespoon garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 cup spinach
Heat a pan to medium heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the garlic until you see the edges begin to brown. As soon as the garlic starts to brown, add the shrimp, tomatoes, and spinach to the pan. Spread the shrimp out evenly to cook. Cook until shrimp turns pink and the spinach is very wilted.
Total cost for this meal,
$5 for the shrimp, remember I used the frozen
$.25 garlic, probably even less.
$1.50 for the cherry tomatoes. The package cost $2.98 but I didn’t use it all.
$ .75 for the spinach. I’m just guessing here. The package was huge and I only used 2 cups. After this meal I’ll still have the tomatoes and spinach to make a salad at another time. I used olive oil and lemon juice that I had in my cupboard and fridge already.
$7.00 Total cost for this meal for two. It takes under 10 minutes to make too!
1 serving contains, 1 serving of protein, and 2 servings of vegetables.
Compare to a sub sandwich picked up at a convenient location
1 Large meatball sub $5
1 small bag of chips $1.19
That is $6.19 without tax for just one person. (potato chips are not a veggie)
We’ve always heard that “Fresh is Best”, and this is true when purchasing vegetables. Vegetables should be purchased in this order.
Always try to buy vegetables that are in season. Don’t be afraid to try some vegetables you’ve never heard of. Most people stick to their favorites and venturing out of the regular few scares them. There are over 150 different vegetables. Chose fresh from local farmer markets, farm stands, and co-ops whenever possible. Better yet grow your own.
Vitamins in frozen vegetables are diminished but mineral are still packed into them. When vegetables are out of season resort to home grown frozen and then store bought packages. Remember to buy brands that do not add salt or sugar.
Canned vegetables are good in a pinch or an emergency. Try to use these as a last resort. Most canned vegetables have way too much salt and sugar added.
Summer is prime time to take advantage of many different veggies. One of my favorite ways to enjoy veggies in soup. Below you will find and easy Vegetable Soup Recipe. Onr of my other favorites in Acorn Squash Soup. Share your favorite veggies recipe with the us and don't forget to take a picture.
2 Tablespoons avocado oil
1 onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves
2-3 large carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and cut up
6-8 cups vegetable and chicken broth
2 zucchini, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon chives
1 teaspoon marjoram
Salt to taste
4 cups kale, chopped
Sauté onion, garlic, carrots and celery in avocado oil until all vegetables are soft. Add tomatoes and vegetable and chicken broth. Simmer 15-20 minutes.
Add zucchini, spices, and kale and cook for 10 more minutes.
Fall is on its way. Soon you'll see many grocery stores, farmer markets, and CSA's with squash highlighting the shelves. This recipe is great as a side dish, as the main course, for breakfast, reheated at lunch, served to company, or at your family's table.
Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe
1 large acorn squash *
1 pound ground sausage
1 apple, any variety
6 slices bacon
1Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375ºF
Cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds out. Lay cut side down in a pan filled with ¼ inch of water. Cook until tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. **While the squash is baking, prepare the stuffing. Hint: You can always bake the squash or prepare the stuffing ahead of time. Then just combine and bake when you need it.
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Dice the apple and onion into medium-sized pieces. Slice the bacon into pieces.
In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the bacon. Add the onion and cook for 5-10 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the apples and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Remove the bacon, onion, and apple mixture to a large bowl.
In the same skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sausage. Add all spices and cook until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add into the same large bowl. Stir to combine.
When the squash is cool to the touch, use a spoon to scoop out some of the flesh and mix into the sausage. Use a spoon to fill the squash boats.
Return the squash to the oven and bake another 15 minutes at 375ºF until everything is heated through.
* I bake my squash whole in an oven at 350 for about an hour. Pierce the squash with a fork in several places first.
Many of us struggle with planning our meals. It can be that one thing that if done, will make your goal of eating healthy easier. A few of you have rocked this area.
Planning helps you to shop more efficiently and you don't end up buying stuff you don't need (or is unhealthy for you!)
Rebecca said, "This has helped me budget and eat better!"
According to Stephanie, "This helps me stay more true to my nutritional (fat loss) goals when I plan."
Now I'm much better prepared, feel less anxiety over "what's for dinner" and have started making a larger variety of healthy dinner choices."
Deb said, "It will definitely help me to stay on track the whole week.
The list goes on to include Mary, " It will help me to stay on track, and I won't be inclined to "just pick something up".
I could go on and on. My point is planning meals for the week will;
Save time at the store and at mealtime
Planning saves you money
Planning a menu means less stress
A menu plan equals a happier family. They know what the plan is and for some families they get to help with the planning.
A menu will provide you with healthier meals
Your plan will make life easier for you.
You will not have to think on the fly.
So saving time, saving money, saving your sanity, and making the whole family happy all with a little well spent time at the beginning of each week.
And you? Do you want any of these things to come to you? Ideas on taking the first steps to meal planning can be found right here.
Let’s make it happen,
It will keep me from running to the store and just grabbing something that probably wouldn't be good for me."
2 eggplant, pealed and sliced in 1/4 inch rounds
2 eggs, whipped in a bowl suitable to dip in
3 cups almond meal
2 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Coconut oil for pan
Mix almond meal, parsley, garlic and onion powder together in a bowl for dipping. Take an eggplant slice, dip both sides in egg then coat both sides with the almond meal mixture.
To Bake: Lay in a single layer in a 9x13 pan that is coated with coconut oil. Continue until all your eggplant is coated and in pan. Bake for an hour on 350.
To Fry: Heat 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil in a pan on medium high heat. Add in your slices of eggplant a few at a time in a single layer. Cook until golden brown about 4 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate until you can cook all the eggplant.
I cooked two pounds of hamburger, mixed that with a jar of commercial spaghetti sauce. (I make my own but I found a great deal on some organic no sugar added sauce) Heat this until hot and pour over the baked eggplant. Enjoy
To make this a side dish instead of a main meal omit the hamburger.
This recipe is really excellent. I love roasted beets. They are sweeter making them this way than any other way of cooking beets. Combining them with a crisp green beans and a tangy vinegar dressing is superb. As a kid I would have turned my nose up at this. I'm glad I've expanded my horizons to include these onto my plate. I'm grateful my mom didn't give up trying to find a way to get me to taste them.
Beets and Beans
1 thinly sliced red onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of fresh ground pepper
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 large beet
Scrub and quarter beet; wrap in foil and roast at 450 for about 30 minutes until tender. Place onion in a bowl, cover with boiling water, let stand 15 minutes.
Blanch green beans in boiling water for about 3-4 minutes.; plunge into cold water. Drain onions, toss with salt, pepper and vinegar; set aside. Skin and slice cooled beets.
For the Dressing.
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Now: drain onions and squeeze dry. Toss half with beets, other half with beans. Arrange the beets and beans on a serving platter--very lovely, the contrast!--Pour dressing over veggies, let stand 15 minutes before serving.
To make this a complete meal, I like to make Perfectly Simple Salmon.
To turn this into a salad: lay the beets and beans on top of a bed of baby spinach. Top with the rest of the dressing.
Simple and Easy are two ingredients that aren't listed in a recipe but should be. How many of us look through recipes, find the one that looks the best, has ingredients we like, only to find out we have to keep on looking because it is too complicated. Worse yet, you don't have the specific tool or not sure how to make the cuts needed. Salmon tastes great any time of year. But I love it even more because it taste great with just a few seasonings.
2 ½ pounds of salmon. Preferably skinless
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the salmon on parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast salmon until just cooked. (It will be opaque). Probably 8-10 minutes.
Need a side dish that will go with just about anything? Need one that you can whip together quickly without a whole lot of prep time? I use the chopped cabbage mix sold in stores for coleslaw for this recipe to save me even more time.
This recipe is great with salmon or pork, steak or chicken. It really is the perfect side dish.
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1.5 pounds cabbage (a mix of red and green is ideal);
1 large apple;
1 thinly sliced onion;
1 red chili, finely chopped;
1 Tablespoon chopped thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar;
2/3 cup chopped almonds;
Chop the cabbage finely and dry with a towel. Core and slice the apple. Stir-fry the apple for a minute in coconut oil until it just barely starts to soften. Remove the apple from the wok and set aside. Reheat the wok and stir-fry the onion for another minute with a little bit more cooking fat. Add the cabbage and stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Return the apple slices, add the thyme and cider vinegar and cover to steam for a minute. Add the almonds and stir well. Serve and enjoy!
Mix and match these recipes to different meals. Reheat a main dish but make "The Perfect Side Dish" to spruce it up. Try it with Golden Crusted Pork Loin.
There’s no doubt that planning your meals is not only crucial to achieving your best body, but also extremely challenging! Today’s hectic lifestyles make “grab and go” a lot more likely than “sit and relax”.
Who’s got the time to make it all happen?
You can achieve your best health and enjoy great food- the key lies in your ability to plan.
Planning your first week of meals is easier than you think.
Knowing is only half the battle. Even if you know what’s good and expect to eat supportively, if the foods aren’t around when it’s time to eat, it’s hard to succeed.
Planning is half of the battle. Speaking of planning, make a grocery list. Using your meal plan as a guide to what you need to pick up list out the foods to buy.
You can make this happen! It takes a little planning and dedication once a week to get your plan on track.
Here's a peek into a week I planned. Nothing fancy but it gets the job done.
To your Best Health,
This is one of my favorite meals to load up on veggies all in one dish. Its yummy piping hot or just warm which makes it great in the middle of winter or the heat of summer. I've also substituted green beans for the snap peas. I think I will try a version with broccoli too. Watch this recipe being made: click here.
Paleo Pad Thai
Grilled chicken thigh or breast, diced (serving size for 2)
2 cups cooked spaghetti squash
1 cup snap peas, slivered
½ onion, sliced thin
1 Tbsp coconut aminos
Cooking fat of your choice
2 batches sunshine sauce
Heat about 1 tablespoon of cooking fat in a pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and snap peas until crispy-tender. Not too long! Then set aside.
Heat a little more cooking fat in the pan. Pour in one egg and let it spread out into pancake. Mix the raw eggs with the coconut aminos. Cook the eggs in a flat sheet until they are set and beginning to brown, then flip to slightly brown the other side. Cut the eggs into strips then set aside.
Heat a little more cooking fat in the pan. Add the spaghetti squash, peas and onions, eggs and chicken. Stir fry until heated through. Add the sunshine sauce and stir fry until everything is mixed well and heated through.
Top with any or all of these:
Chopped cashews, almonds or sunflower seeds
A squeeze of lime juice
2 Tablespoons Sunbutter
2 Tablespoons lime juice
½ clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon chili-garlic paste
1 teaspoon coconut aminos
Dried or fresh grate ginger to taste
2 Tablespoons water, if needed
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender, except water. If desired, slowly add water until the sauce reaches your desired thickness.