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It seems the only thing I can get together to post on the blog these days are recipes, but that's just where we are right now. The kids are busy with school and all manner of extracurricular activities. I am busy schlepping them to all of that and a have fair amount of freelance work myself too. But everyone needs to eat, so recipes to share I have. Everyone in our house loves pork chops and this is such a fast but super flavorful meal for weeknights. I often toss some potatoes in a hot oven to roast while I make a salad or veg to have with these chops. Easy peasy.

The first 30 days is Whole30 compliant (we did it!) and the second 30 days are not Whole30, but still super clean. Also, I just got an Instant Pot. I really resisted it given that I already have a slow cooker and am trying to Marie Kondo our house. But, so far, pretty happy with it!

One-Skillet Pork Chops with Apples 
(slightly adapted from Paleo Running Momma)

Ingredients:
- 4-5 bone-in pork chops
- sea salt and black pepper to sprinkle on chops
- 3/4 tsp onion powder
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp ghee divided in half
- 1 large crisp-sweet apple, cored and sliced to 1/4" thickness
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 cup chicken bone broth
- 2 tsp spicy brown mustard
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh sage, minced

    Directions:
    1. Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper, onion powder, and cinnamon, rubbing spices in to coat.

    2. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat and add 1 1/2 tbsp ghee.

    3. Add pork chops to hot skillet and brown on each side 3 minutes (they won't be fully cooked yet). Then remove to a plate and set aside.

    4. Lower heat to medium and add remaning ghee to melt. Add apples and onions to skillet and cook, stir occasionally, about 2 minutes, until beginning to soften.

    5. Sprinkle apples lightly with sea salt and pepper, then add broth and mustard, plus fresh herbs, stir to combine, scraping up any bits that stuck to your skillet.

    6. Return pork chops to skillet, making room for them by pushing apples and onions aside/around them. Continue to simmer over medium heat until pork chops are cooked through -- about 2 minutes or so, depending on how thick they were to start. Serve chops topped with sauce and apples + onions.

    *          *          *

    Day 1 (T) -- Chicken Pesto Stuffed Sweet Potatoes; green beans
    Day 2 (W) -- Beef Ragu (skip the gnocchi for Whole30); Whole30 Mashed Potatoes; salad
    Day 3 (Th) -- Easy Apple Cider Pork Chops; roasted cauliflower; roasted sweet potatoes
    Day 4 (F) -- Stifatho (skip cheese); cauliflower rice; salad
    Day 5 (Sat) -- Crockpot Italian Pork RoastWhole30 Mashed Potatoes; salad
    Day 6 (Sun) -- Loaded Sweet Potato Fries; Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken; roasted cauliflower

    Day 7 (M) -- Whole30 Chili (I used ground beef and pork sausage); salad
    Day 8 (T) -- Tender Beef Stew with Potatoes and Carrots
    Day 9 (W) -- Brinner: pesto egg scramble; sausage; fries; roasted tomatoes
    Day 10 (Th) -- grilled filet mignon; baked potato; roasted broccoli
    Day 11 (F) -- Slow Cooker Chipotle Beef Barbacoa
    Day 12 (Sat) -- leftovers
    Day 13 (Sun) -- leftovers

    Day 14 (M) -- Beef Enchilada Bake with Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce
    Day 15 (T) -- Chicken Tinga Tacos on salad
    Day 16 (W) -- All American Chili (no beans, used extra ground beef); brussels sprouts
    Day 17 (Th) -- Grilled Balsamic Marinated Chicken; sweet potato fries; green beans
    Day 18 (F) -- leftovers
    Day 19 (Sat) -- had "taco bar" for dinner party -- Carne AsadaChicken Tinga; a platter of Whole30-compliant salad fixings
    Day 20 (Sun) -- Spicy Beef and Lamb Kofta; zucchini noodles

    Day 21 (M) -- dinner out
    Day 22 (T) -- leftovers
    Day 23 (W) -- dinner out
    Day 24 (Th) -- Slow Cooker Greek Beef Stew with Gremolata
    Day 25 (F) -- Balsamic Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Apples 
    Day 26 (Sat) -- grilled filet mignon; roasted potatoes; salad
    Day 27 (Sun) -- dinner out

    Day 28 (M) -- leftovers
    Day 29 (T) -- Slow Cooker Piri-Piri Chicken; roasted green beans
    Day 30 (W) -- Crock Pot Turkey Bolognese over Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi
    Day 31 (Th) -- Nurturing Paleo Chicken Soup
    Day 32 (F) -- Carne Asada; roasted broccoli; sweet potato fries
    Day 33 (Sat) -- dinner out
    Day 34 (Sun) -- SUPERBOWL! Paleo Bacon Garlic Avocado Burger; baked french fries

    Day 35 (M) -- Nurturing Paleo Chicken Soup
    Day 36 (T) -- leftover Bolognese with cauliflower gnocchi; salad
    Day 37 (W) -- Instant Pot Italian Beef; cauliflower rice; roasted broccoli
    Day 38 (Th) -- Chicken Pesto Stuffed Sweet Potatoes; roasted cauliflower
    Day 39 (F) -- grilled Filet Mignon; baked potatoes; sautéed green beans
    Day 40 (Sat) -- dinner out
    Day 41 (Sun) -- leftovers

    Day 42 (M) -- Slow Cooker BBQ Brisket; baked potatoes; sautéed green beans
    Day 43 (T) -- Sheet Pan Orange Glazed Salmon and Broccolini 
    Day 44 (W) -- One-Skillet Pork Chops with Apples; roasted sweet potatoes; salad
    Day 45 (Th) -- leftover brisket; salad
    Day 46 (F) -- Beef Tacos; rice; roasted carrots
    Day 47 (Sat) -- dinner out
    Day 48 (Sun) -- Grilled Balsamic Marinated Chicken; roasted sweet potatoes; roasted broccoli

    Day 49 (M) -- Taco Dinner with Friends! Slow Cooker Carnitas; Flank Steak Tacos; Mexican Crema; rice; Fruit Plate with Chili Lime Salt; Skinny Margaritas
    Day 50 (T) -- leftovers
    Day 51 (W) -- grilled Filet Mignon; roasted potatoes; salad
    Day 52 (Th) -- All American Chili
    Day 53 (F) -- Chicken Shawarma Naan Salad with Sweet Potato Fries 
    Day 54 (Sat) -- dinner out
    Day 55 (Sun) -- dinner out

    Day 56 (M) -- Slow Cooker Brisket and Onions (although I prefer to follow the oven cooking directions); gnocchi; green beans
    Day 57 (T) -- One Pan Garlic Lovers' Shrimp and Veggies; rice 
    Day 58 (W) -- Instant Pot Salmon with Garlic Potatoes and Greens 
    Day 59 (Th) -- One-Skillet Pork Chops with Apples; roasted carrots; polenta
    Day 60 (F) -- grilled Filet Mignon; Instant Pot Baked Potatoes; salad
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      80 Days!? Apparently it's been quite a bit of time since I pulled a blog post together. I've continued trying to figure out a good plan for dinnertime as the kids have become busier and busier in the evenings. I've got a better handle on it now, and it includes a lot of soup, chili, and other slow cooker meals like this stew. Plus, leftovers are life. We're also nearing the end of our January Whole30, so I'll have a whole new slate of compliant meals up shortly. But this stew is one of them! I like to double this recipe (it still fits in my slow cooker when doubled) and freeze half of it. Don't skimp on the gremolata -- it adds a nice bright note and is a refreshing touch of citrus to the middle of winter meals. Everyone loves it and it gets better and better as you let it, well, stew.

      Slow Cooker Greek Beef Stew with Gremolata
      (merged + adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen and Melissa Joulwan)

      Stew
      Ingredients
      - 1-2 tbsp olive oil 
      - 1 onion, diced 
      - 2 lbs trimmed beef stew meat, cut roughly into bite-sized pieces 
      - 1 cup beef stock
      - 2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes with juice 
      - 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
       - 1 jar kalamata olives, roughly chopped 
      - 1/2 cup garlic cloves, roughly chopped 
      - 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
      - 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley 
      - 1 small jar capers, drained 
      - fresh ground salt and black pepper to taste
      - walnuts for serving (optional)

      Directions
      1. Heat small amount of olive oil in a skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook diced onions about 5 minutes, until starting to brown. Add onions to the slow cooker.

      2. Add a little more oil, then add beef in batches, cooking until browned on all sides -- about 10-15 minutes. Don't overcrowd the pan -- you want the beef to brown nicely on all sides. Add the beef to the slow cooker. 

      3. Add 1 cup of beef stock to the pan and simmer a few minutes until slightly reduced, scraping up brown bits. Then add that stock to the slow cooker. 

      4. Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker (except walnuts) and stir to combine well. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Season to taste and serve with walnuts and gremolata (below). 

      Gremolata
      - 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely minced (about 2 tbsp)
      - zest from 1 orange (about 2 tbsp)
      - 2 cloves garlic, minced 

      Mix all in a small bowl and sprinkle over stew before serving. 

      *          *          *

      Day 1 (W) - Beef Enchilada Bake with Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce
      Day 2 (Th) - leftovers
      Day 3 (F) - dinner out
      Day 4 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 5 (Sun) - Paleo BBQ Chicken Casserole; roasted cauliflower

      Day 6 (M) - Za'atar Lamb Chops (although I used pork chops); Feta Chopped Salad; breakfast potatoes
      Day 7 (T) - Healthy Turkey Chili 
      Day 8 (W) - Plated Miso Salmon and Quinoa Bowls with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Cucumber Salad, and Sriracha Mayo
      Day 9 (Th) - leftovers
      Day 10 (F) - Thyme Roasted Chicken with Grapes and Burrata
      Day 11 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 12 (Sun) - dinner out

      Day 13 (M) - Basil Pomodoro Shrimp with Polenta; roasted broccoli
      Day 14 (T) - Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor
      Day 15 (W) - brinner
      Day 16 (Th) - Kane's birthday dinner: filet mignon; baked potatoes; Caesar salad
      Day 17 (F) - leftovers
      Day 18 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 19 (Sun) - Chicken Pesto Stuffed Sweet Potatoes; salad

      Day 20 (M) - Greek Fish Tacos
      Day 21 (T) - brinner
      Day 22 (W) - Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri; sweet potato fries
      Day 23 (Th) - Salmon; roasted cauliflower; salad
      Day 24 (F) - dinner out
      Day 25 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 26 (Sun) - dinner out

      Day 27 (M) - Easy Italian Chicken Skillet; spaghetti squash
      Day 28 (T) - Grilled Steak and Onion Salad; mashed sweet potatoes; salad
      Day 29 (W) - dinner out
      Day 30 (Th) - Healing Paleo Chicken Soup; roasted broccoli
      Day 31 (F) - Cider Apple and Sage Roasted Pork Chops; polenta; broccoli
      Day 32 (Sat) - All American Chili
      Day 33 (Sun) - 10-Minute Lemon Thyme Scallops; mashed sweet potatoes; green beans

      Day 34 (M) - Greek Lamb Meatballs with Avocado Goddess Sauce
      Day 35 (T) - Slow Cooker Maple and Dijon Pot Roast; baked potatoes; salad
      Day 36 (W) - brinner
      Day 37 (Th) - leftovers
      Day 38 (F) - Plated Smoked Salmon Pizza with Whipped Goat Cheese, Capers, and Tomato; salad
      Day 39 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 40 (Sun) - dinner out

      Day 41 (M) - dinner out
      Day 42 (T) - Smoky Paleo Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken; sweet potatoes; green beans
      Day 43 (W) - Slow Cooker Greek Beef Stew with Gremolata
      Day 44 (Th)All American Chili
      Day 45 (F) - Spicy Lamb and Beef Kofta with Greek Yogurt Sauce; roasted cauliflower
      Day 46 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 47 (Sun) - Honey Garlic Pork Chops; cauliflower gnocchi; green beans

      Day 48 (M) - leftovers
      Day 49 (T)Healing Paleo Chicken Soup; salad
      Day 50 (W) - dinner out
      Day 51 (Th) - Thanksgiving!! For apps we had shrimp cocktail, charcuterie plate, and Caviar Waffle Bites. For din we had Maple Bourbon Glazed Turkey Breast, Caramelized Onion + Bacon Gravy, Grapefruit-Apricot Cranberry Relish with Rosemary, Sausage + Fennel Stuffing, Boxed Stuffing (for Joel!), Creamy Spinach Bake, Roasted Beets + Charred Green Beans, Cinnamon-Spiced Candied Sweet Potatoes, Ultra Creamy Mashed Potatoes, and rolls. And my in-laws brought a bunch of pies for dessert!
      Day 52 (F) - leftovers
      Day 53 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 54 (Sun) - leftovers

      Day 55 (M) - dinner out
      Day 56 (T) - One Pot Cheesy Taco Skillet; cauliflower
      Day 57 (W) - Blue Apron One-Pan Chicken and "Dumplings" with Carrots + Thyme
      Day 58 (Th) - dinner out
      Day 59 (F) - Blue Apron Seared Chicken and Sour Cherry Sauce
      Day 60 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 61 (Sun) - dinner out

      Day 62 (M) - Spicy Lamb and Beef Kofta with Greek Yogurt Sauce; Easy Greek Pasta Salad
      Day 63 (T)Healing Paleo Chicken Soup
      Day 64 (W) - Blue Apron Seared Steaks with Loaded Mashed Potatoes
      Day 65 (Th) - dinner out
      Day 66 (F) - dinner out
      Day 67 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 68 (Sun)Healing Paleo Chicken Soup and latkes

      Day 69 (M) - Blue Apron Za'atar-Spiced Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki & Pickled Peppers
      Day 70 (T)All American Chili
      Day 71 (W) - Garlic-Basil Shrimp and Grits with Cherry Tomato Sauce
      Day 72 (Th)Beef Enchilada Bake with Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce
      Day 73 (F) - dinner out
      Day 74 (Sat) - Plated Sesame Beef Bowls with Snap Peas and Spinach
      Day 75 (Sun) - dinner out

      Day 76 (M) - dinner out
      Day 77 (T) - Cool Ranch Shredded Chicken Tacos
      Day 78 (W) - Plated Blue Cheese Burgers with Caramelized Onions, Cranberries, and Brussels Sprouts
      Day 79 (Th) - Paleo Jalapeño Popper Chicken Chili
      Day 80 (F) - Spicy Lamb and Beef Kofta with Greek Yogurt Sauce
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      DC has been a hot mess of a pressure cooker over the last several months. In addition to the general grumpiness of summer ending, it rained for what felt like eternity, and the simmering rage of most women surrounding the Supreme Court nomination insanity came to a full boil. I have been relentlessly pissed off and sad.

      All of that is a lead in to a recipe post to say that our eating has been all over the place. I know that eating super clean, getting 8 hours of sleep a night, and sticking to a strict work out schedule would make me so much more capable to cope with the pile of s*it raining down right now. Instead I've been snacking on sourdough bread, drinking lots of wine, topping it off with a sweet treat, and then repeatedly cursing myself for it all as I exercise the following day (at least I've been consistently exercising -- I need to channel that rage somewhere!).

      In an effort to try and make at least dinner easier, I've been making more casseroles and one-pan meals than usual -- not always Paleo, but still healthy. Most of our evenings have been jam-packed with homework and extracurricular activities, so dinners like this BBQ Chicken Casserole have been my go-to to keep everyone fed and happy. It's sort of like a BBQ chicken pizza in a dish and it is super kid-friendly while also still healthy.

      I'm hoping to do a Whole30'ish stint between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Until then, I'm just trying to keep it together, people.

      Paleo BBQ Chicken Casserole 
      (slightly adapted from Jay's Baking Me Crazy

      Ingredients:
      - 1 large spaghetti squash, cooked + shredded
      - 1 lb bacon, divided (sugar free)
      - 1 red onion, diced
      - 2 lbs chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
      - 1 1/2 - 2 cups Paleo BBQ sauce
      - 1/4 tsp pepper
      - salt to taste
      - 1/2 tsp garlic powder
      - 3 large eggs
      - cilantro and avocado for garnish

      Directions:
      1. Preheat oven to 400° and spray a 13 X 9 baking dish with olive oil.
      2. Placed cooked spaghetti squash in a large bowl and pat dry with paper towel.
      3. Cut bacon into thin strips and place in a large skillet.
      4. Cook on medium/high until crispy. Remove half of bacon onto a plate and add onion and chicken to remaining bacon. Cook until onion is tender and chicken is cooked through.
      5. Add chicken mixture to the spaghetti squash and then add the barbecue sauce -- start with 1 1/2 cups and add more if needed. Add the pepper, salt to taste, and garlic powder. Stir until everything is mixed well.
      6. Add the eggs and stir completely.
      7. Place mixture into prepared pan, top with remaining bacon and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool for a few minutes, garnish with cilantro and avocado.

      *          *          *


      Day 2 (M) -- brinner 
      Day 3 (T) -- Greek Lamb Kabobs; green beans
      Day 4 (W) -- Greek Lemon Chicken Kebabs; salad; sweet potato fries 
      Day 5 (Th) -- grilled salmon packets with fresh dill; oven potatoes; carrot + zucchini "noodles"
      Day 6 (F) -- Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef; cauliflower rice; salad 
      Day 7 (Sat) -- grilled strip steak; oven baked fries; sautéed green beans 
      Day 8 (Sun) -- dinner out 

      Day 9 (M) -- Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema
      Day 10 (T) -- brinner
      Day 11 (W) -- Moroccan Meatballs; cauliflower gnocchi; roasted broccoli
      Day 12 (Th) -- Healing Paleo Chicken Soup
      Day 13 (F) -- Braised Pork Chops over Cauliflower Cream; sautéed grean beans + tomatoes
      Day 14 (Sat) -- dinner out
      Day 15 (Sun) -- Paleo Taco Skillet (I used ground turkey breast)

      Day 16 (M) -- All American Chili; salad
      Day 17 (T) -- leftovers
      Day 18 (W) -- brinner
      Day 19 (Th) -- Chicken Tinga Tacos; green beans
      Day 20 (F) -- Grilled Flank Steak with Rosemary; salad; sweet potato fries
      Day 21 (Sat) -- brinner: Skillet Brussels Sprouts with Turkey Bacon + Honey Balsamic Glaze; egg and smoked salmon scramble; fruit salad; breakfast potatoes
      Day 22 (Sun) -- dinner out

      Day 23 (M) -- BTS meal: Filet Mignon Oscar Style; old bay french fries; asparagus
      Day 24 (T) -- leftovers
      Day 25 (W) -- leftovers
      Day 26 (Th) -- Grilled Chicken with Spice Rub; sweet potato fries; broccoli
      Day 27 (F) -- Trader Joe's Carnitas; carrot + zucchini "noodles"
      Day 28 (Sat) -- dinner out
      Day 29 (Sun) -- Spicy Honey Salmon in Foil; sweet potato fries; sautéed kale

      Day 30 (M) -- Beef + Broccoli Stir Fry; cauliflower rice
      Day 31 (T) -- brinner
      Day 32 (W) -- Simple Cod Piccata; baked potato; roasted carrots
      Day 33 (Th) -- dinner out
      Day 34 (F) -- Paleo Taco Skillet; sweet potato fries
      Day 35 (Sat) -- dinner out
      Day 36 (Sun) -- dinner out

      Day 37 (M) -- Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef; sweet potato fries; green beans
      Day 38 (T) -- brinner
      Day 39 (W) -- leftovers
      Day 40 (Th) -- Healthy Baked Pesto Rigatoni; kale caesar salad
      Day 41 (F) -- dinner out
      Day 42 (Sat) -- dinner out
      Day 43 (Sun) -- Healing Paleo Chicken Soup; salad

      Day 44 (M) -- honey dijon grilled salmon, mashed potatoes; roasted green beans
      Day 45 (T) -- Joel's requested birthday dinner: Oven Baked Chicken Parm; cauliflower gnocchi; salad; FROZEN PEANUT BUTTER CUP PIE (GAAAAHHH, so good).
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      Oh hey! That's two posts in one week! We've been down and out with some yucky summer virus, which has meant lots of hanging around and a little extra time to blog this week! So I decided it was time to bring back the Friday Five. Besides pushing fluids and binge watching survival reality shows, here's what else we got after this week ....



      Reading -- the first book in The Penderwicks series is proving to be such a great family read!

      Playing -- Scattergories has long been a favorite of the adults in our family but the kids are finally old enough to get in on the action. We split into kid/adult combo teams and spend most of our time making the case for whatever ridiculous answer we've come up with -- the kids caught on right away.

      Making -- Cam's been into sculpting lately and this basic air dry clay is a great starter clay. It dries fairly quickly and you can leave it white and simple or paint it too.

      Cooking -- thank goodness I made an extra batch of this Healing Paleo Chicken Soup this week! I'm most PO'd because this virus struck towards the end of my Whole30 and I had to abandon it for need of real carbs. But this soup kept everyone going!

      Wanting -- I need some new every day gym shoes and I LOVE this metallic knit pair from Lululemon / APL. I've repeatedly shown the kids in an effort to get them on whatever "gift list" may exist.
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      I truly don't know how other parents pack lunches for their kids all school-year long. Our kids get lunch at school and I feel like I get totally stumped at the start of every summer—it's like I have no idea what to feed them for a mid-day meal! But this summer I decided to try a bento box approach and I LOVED it! The kids did too. I thought it was super easy to come up with colorful, varied, mostly healthy lunches. With school starting in just a few weeks (and having already started in some places!), I thought it would be fun to share the 25 bento boxes I packed for them.

      I got lots of Instagram questions about the various tools and goodies I used so I'll link to items throughout. To start, I used the Brigenius bento boxes for our lunches. I wanted a bento box that was big enough to hold enough food for my kids but because I was using them just for the summer, I didn't want to shell out a ton of cash for the stainless steel bentos I originally wanted.
      I was pretty happy with the Brigenius for the price, but there was some leaking between compartments (none outside the box though). So if I was going to purchase new ones, I'd go for the YUMbox, which I hear is actually really leakproof.

      I also bought a pack of travel salad dressing containers to use and I liked them, but they didn't fit very easily into the bento box. And I used silicone muffin cups to hold items that might leak and simply wrapped a piece of plastic wrap over the top.

      All right ... on to the lunches! The kids seemed to like themed lunches and would ask for Mediterranean one day, charcuterie another, and brunch once a week. It was a little hokey, but also easy to pack like this, so I went with it. I used plenty of prepared foods from Trader Joe's (TJ's) and Whole Foods, but added in fresh as well. In addition to what you see inside each bento box, I included a frozen organic yogurt squeeze stick in the kids' lunch boxes along with an ice pack. I knew they'd always eat it and it helped keep everything cold. And even though I wouldn't normally let them have dessert every day, I included a small sweet in each lunch to encourage them to eat everything else.


      TJ's brown rice sushi / TJ's pork buns / edamame / watermelon / TJ's chocolate-covered sunflower seeds (naturally colored!)

      prosciutto, fresh basil, and mini mozzarella balls / crackers / pineapple / caesar salad / dark cacao coconut cookies

      TJ's orzo salad with spinach, red peppers, and olives / sliced chicken sausage / pita and hummus / carrots / raspberry shortbread cookie

      whole wheat pancakes / maple chicken sausage / hardboiled eggs / frozen blueberries and strawberries / TJ's chocolate covered candies (naturally colored!)

      salami and cheddar / crackers / strawberries / caesar salad / TJ's chocolate covered dried fruits (naturally colored!) 



      gnocchi with tomato and mozzarella sauce / turkey meatballs / homemade garlic bread / celery / watermelon / organic gummy bears

      chicken quesadillas with a to-go guac packet / cuban black beans / pineapple / tortilla chips / TJ's chocolate-covered sunflower seeds (naturally colored!)

      pepperoni pan pizza / caesar salad / carrots / strawberries / dark cacao coconut cookies

      quiche lorraine / chicken sausage / sugar snap peas / strawberries / yogurt / TJ's chocolate covered candies (naturally colored!)

      spaghetti with arrabbiata sauce / turkey meatballs / yellow peppers / snap peas / watermelon / organic gummy bears



      taco-stuffed baked potato / corn and black bean salad / pineapple / carrots / figgy pops choco crunch super snacks

      deconstructed chef salad / strawberries / pretzels and pimento cheese dip / organic chocolate covered coconut bar

      chicken and waffles / strawberries / hardboiled eggs / carrots / celery with cream cheese / fig cookies

      turkey sandwiches on a stick / pretzels and pimento cheese dip / grapes / carrots / organic chocolate covered coconut bar

      everything bagel with goat cheese cream cheese / ham / hardboiled eggs / pineapple and pomegranate arils / chocolate bunny crackers


      ramen with grilled chicken / rice cracker mix / watermelon / edamame / dark cacao coconut cookies

      deconstructed mini meatball subs with roll on the side / caesar salad / red peppers and mini mozzarella pearls / organic gummy bears

      couscous with feta / chicken spinach sausage / carrots / lemon hummus / pita / watermelon / dark cacao coconut cookies

      california rolls / edamame / cantaloupe / rice cracker mix / 2-bite brownie

      roast beef sandwich with cheddar and avocado on sourdough / tortilla chips and black bean dip / carrots / watermelon / saltwater taffy



      linguine with pesto and tomatoes / turkey meatballs / sliced cucumber / strawberries / sourdough cheese twists / organic dark chocolate coconut pieces

      banana bread muffins with cream cheese / ham / strawberries / hardboiled eggs / salad / mini chocolate chip cookie creme sandwich

      barbacoa quesadillas / rice and black beans / shredded carrots and red pepper / chips and salsa / TJ's chocolate covered candies (naturally colored!)

      turkey cobb salad wraps / cucumbers and yellow peppers / pita chips and hummus / strawberries / figgy pops choco crunch super snacks

      veggie spring rolls with sunflower butter dipping sauce / chicken / watermelon / rice cracker mix / 2-bite brownie 

      Hope that helps spur some new ideas ... HAPPY BENTO BOX MAKING!! 
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      I've made a lot of different versions of slow cooker taco proteins, but lately I've been making this Barbacoa almost once a week. It's SO flavorful and the entire family loves it. And you can make it far ahead of time in an old school crock pot and it comes out delicious. It's perfect for anyone doing a Whole30 and we're smack in the middle of another round, so ....

      Slow Cooker Barbacoa 
      (slightly adapted from Gimme Some Oven's Instant Pot recipe)

      Ingredients
      - 2/3 cup beer, water, or beef broth (for Whole30, make sure you're using water or compliant broth)
      - 4 cloves garlic
      - 2-4 chipotles in adobo sauce (depending on level of spice desired)
      - 1 small white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
      - 1, 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
      - 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
      - 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
      - 1 tbsp ground cumin
      - 1 tbsp oregano
      - 2 tsp salt
      - 1 tsp black pepper
      - 1/4 tsp ground cloves
      - 1 tbsp olive oil
      - 3 lb beef chuck roast, fat trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
      - 3 bay leaves

      Directions 
      1. Combine ingredients from broth through cloves into a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth.

      2. Heat oil in a cast iron pan and sear pieces of chuck roast in batches, until beef is seared on all sides.

      3. Add beef, pureed sauce, and bay leaves to slow cooker. Cook on slow for 8 hours. You can make this work on high for 4-6 hours, but it won't be as tender. When finished cooking, shred with two forks.

      I like to serve this over cauliflower rice or Siete grain-free tortillas and with Whole30-compliant toppings. My kiddos like them in flour tortillas.

      *               *               *

      Day 1 (W) -- Spicy Honey Salmon in Foil, oven-baked french fries, salad
      Day 2 (Th) -- Burgers, green beans, sweet potato fries
      Day 3 (F) -- dinner out
      Day 4 (Sat) -- dinner out
      Day 5 (Sun) -- dinner out

      Day 6 (M) -- Seared Scallops with Caper Salsa Verde, salad
      Day 7 (T) -- Grilled Chicken Tacos, sweet potato fries
      Day 8 (W) -- Whole30 Grilled Lamb Loin Chops + Fingerling Potatoes with Arugula Pesto, sautéed greens beans and tomatoes
      Day 9 (Th) -- Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa, cauliflower rice
      Day 10 (F) --  Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri, fries, salad
      Day 1 (Sat) -- dinner out
      Day 11 (Sun) -- dinner out

      Day 12 (M) -- Moroccan Meatballs, green beans
      Day 13 (T) -- Grilled Honey Lime Cilantro Chicken, salad, smashed garlic and herb potatoes
      Day 14 (W) -- Sheet Pan Sausage with Veggies
      Day 15 (Th) -- Honey Dijon Grilled Salmon, sweet potatoes fries, roasted cauliflower + broccoli
      Day 16 (F) -- dinner out
      Day 17 (Sat) -- dinner out
      Day 18 (Sun) -- Grilled Tuscan Chicken, sautéed green beans, TJ's cauliflower gnocchi

      Day 19 (M) -- Brinner: crab + egg scrambles, sausage, oven fries, salad
      Day 20 (T) -- dinner out
      Day 21 (W) -- Chicken Pesto Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, green beans
      Day 22 (Th) -- leftovers
      Day 23 (F) -- Slow Cooker Barbacoa, cauliflower rice
      Day 24 (Sat) -- Balsamic-Marinated Grilled Chicken (basically followed this but left strawberries out), salad
      Day 25 (Sun) -- Seared scallops, roasted cauliflower + broccoli

      Day 26 (M) -- Cilantro Lime Flank Steak, green beans with red onions and golden beets
      Day 27 (T) -- Slow Cooker Barbacoa, cauliflower rice, salad
      Day 28 (W) -- Grilled Salmon with Chimichurri Sauce, roasted vegetables
      Day 29 (Th) -- Brinner: sweet potato fries, poached eggs, sausage, salad
      Day 30 (F) -- One-Skillet Porch Chops with Apples, baked potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts
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      Honestly, I miss the summers before the kids were entrenched in all day camps. I know I dreamed of those longingly when they toddled about the house as I came up with all manner of field trips and art projects. But now I hardly get to see them! We fit things in where we can, but all I've got to really share this month is more of what we've been eating. Because they are definitely EATING. 

      We all love these meatballs and I always double the recipe when I make them. In case you've missed my Instagram posts of our new bento boxes (which have garnered more comments than any other posts so I'm seriously considering starting a packed bento box business), I'm making lunches this summer and the ol' turkey sandwich every day trick doesn't work now that they are older. So I make sure to use leftovers when I can. These take a bit of time to mix up, but then basically cook themselves while you can do other things. Try them! 

      Moroccan Meatballs
      (slightly adapted from Skinnytaste)

      Ingredients
      Sauce 
      - 1 onion, chopped
      - 2 (14-ounce) cans no salt added diced tomatoes 
      - 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 
      - 1 1/2 tsp cumin 
      - 1 tsp kosher salt 
      - 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
      - 1/2 cup green olives, chopped 

      Meatballs 
      - 1 lb lean ground beef 
      - 1/2 cup finely diced onion 
      - 2 tsp paprika
      - 1 1/2 tsp cumin
      - 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
      - 1 tsp kosher salt 
      - 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
      - 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley 
      - 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided 
      - feta cheese (optional)

      Directions
      1. In a large dutch onion, sauté chopped onions for sauce with a little olive oil until just starting to brown. 
      2. Add remaining sauce ingredients and stir to combine. 
      3. In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients—leaving 2 tbsp of cilantro for garnish.
      4. Gently form mixture into 20 meatballs (don't overhandle them or they'll be tough!).
      5. Place the meatballs on top of the sauce. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 35-40 minutes. 
      6. Top with feta cheese and reserved cilantro to serve. 

      *          *          *

      Day 1 (M) - Grilled Chicken (Whole30 BBQ sauce); sweet potato fries; green beans 
      Day 2 (T) - Scallops seared in ghee + olive oil with a spicy mayo sauce (Whole30 compliant hot sauce, paleo mayo, little water); cauliflower rice 
      Day 3 - (W) - Paleo Jalapeño Popper Chicken Chili 
      Day 4 (Th) - dinner out 
      Day 5 (F) - grilled burgers and salad in NJ
      Day 6 (Sat) - grilled steak and salad in NJ 
      Day 7 (Sun) - Juicy Balsamic Grilled Chicken and salad in NJ 

      Day 8 (M) - brinner (eggs, potatoes, salad)
      Day 9 (T) - Easy Shredded Harissa Chicken over cauliflower rice 
      Day 10 (W) - dinner out 
      Day 11 (Th) - Paleo Cauliflower Rice Bowls with Shrimp 
      Day 12 (F) - Flank Steak with Chimichurri SauceLoaded Potato Skins with Bacon; green beans
      Day 13 (Sat) - leftovers 
      Day 14 (Sun) - dinner out 

      Day 15 (M) - Grilled Salmon Kebabs (but left filet whole and skin on); leftover potatoes; salad
      Day 16 (T) - Whole30 Easy Steak Fajitas 
      Day 17 (W) - dinner out 
      Day 18 (Th) - Moroccan Meatballs over cauliflower rice 
      Day 19 (F) - brinner 
      Day 20 (Sat) - dinner out 
      Day 21 (Sun) - chicken fajitas (made up as I made them)
       
      Day 22 (M) - brinner 
      Day 23 (T) -  dinner out 
      Day 24 (W) - dinner out 
      Day 25 (Th) - my birthday dinner! Delmonico steaks with chimchurri; baked potatoes; watermelon, mint + feta salad.
      Day 26 (F) - Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas (sans peach salsa); cauliflower rice; salad 
      Day 27 (Sat) - dinner out 
      Day 28 (Sun) - brinner 

      Day 29 (M) - leftovers 
      Day 30 (T) - Greek Marinated Flank Steak + Hummus Plate
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      I could bore you with all the mundane details of why I haven't had any time to post here in almost three months, but how about I just skip all that and share some of what we've been eating during that time. Plus, meal prepping, cooking, and eating is a lot of what we've done the last three months anyway, so ....

      I am smack in the middle of a new round of Whole30, but a lot of what we ate for this 60 Days of Dinner was at least Paleo-compliant. I feel way better when I just eat clean, so I'm really trying to stick with it.

      This is definitely the longest stretch of eating clean I've accomplished and the best I've done at getting back to it when I stray for an event or two. There are plenty of nights in here where we dined out too, but I've generally been doing a good job of keeping it clean when we eat out. And easy one pan meals like the fajitas I'm sharing below have really helped me cook dinner at home even on busy nights. They are so quick to whip up and packed with a lot of flavor (even the veggies!).

      Whole30 Easy Steak Fajitas
      (slightly adapted from The Movement Menu)

      Ingredients
      Marinade + Steak
      - 1 1/2 lbs flank steak
      - 3/4 tsp garlic powder
      - 3/4 tsp onion powder
      - 1 1/2 tsp cumin
      - zest of 1 lime
      - juice of 2 limes
      - 1/4 cup avocado oil
      - 1/3 cup coconut aminos
      - 1 1/2 tsp salt
      - 1 tsp red pepper flakes
      - salt and pepper, to taste

      Veggies

      - 1/4 cup beef broth
      - 4 bell peppers, thinly sliced
      - 1 yellow onion, sliced
      - 4 medium zucchinis, sliced

      Directions 
      1. In a small bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients together. Add flank steak to a gallon ziplock bag and then add marinade. Press out any excess air and close the bag. Give the steak a little massage to incorporate the marinade. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

      2. Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium-hight heat. Spray skillet lightly with olive oil. Remove steak from bag and discard marinade. Season steak with salt and pepper.

      3. Gently place the steak into the pan and let cook for 4 1/2 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 4 1/2 minutes. Remove the steak from a pan and let rest for 10 minutes with foil tented over it.

      4. While the steak is resting, cook the vegetables. First, add the broth to the pan. Scrape up brown bits and remove from pan. Spray pan with a little more olive oil. Add vegetables and cook for 8-10 minutes until soft and cooked through.

      5. Slice steak against the grain and layer on top of the vegetables. Top with sliced avocado, green onions, and fresh cilantro.

      *          *          *

      Day 1 (M) - grilled burgers, sweet potato fries, salad
      Day 2 (T) - brinner
      Day 3 (W) - Grilled Chicken Tacos
      Day 4 (Th) - Healing Paleo Chicken Soup -- everyone loved this. I added some noodles to the kids' portions when I served it.
      Day 5 (F) - dinner out
      Day 6 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 7 (Sun) - leftovers

      Day 8 (M) - Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower Rice
      Day 9 (T) - Pan Seared Scallops, skillet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts
      Day 10 (W) - brinner
      Day 11 (Th) - Instant Pot Shredded Chicken (I just used my slow cooker and cooked on slow for 8 hours)
      Day 12 (F) - Steak Fajitas with Chimichurri and Cucumber Salsa
      Day 13 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 14 (Sun) - Oven Braised Corn Beef and Cabbage, roasted potatoes and carrots, Sautéed Cabbage and Bacon

      Day 15 (M) - Tavuk Sis (this was from a cooking class we took, but this recipe is similar), Turkish Shepherd's Salad, cauliflower rice
      Day 16 (T) - Shrimp + Roasted Carrot Tostadas (Plated), green beans
      Day 17 (W) - brinner
      Day 18 (Th) - Instant Pot Carnitas (I made these in my regular slow cooker on slow for 8 hours), cauliflower rice
      Day 19 (F) - leftovers
      Day 20 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 21 (Sun) - Sheet Pan Cuban Chicken with Citrus Avocado Salsa

      Day 22 (M) - Easy Paleo Green Chicken Skillet, Apple + Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Creamy Balsamic 
      Day 23 (T) - Smoked Salmon Pizza with Whipped Goat Cheese, Capers, and Tomato (Plated recipe but I used gluten free dough), fruit salad
      Day 24 (W) - brinner
      Day 25 (Th) - dinner out
      Day 26 (F) - Steak Fajitas with Chimichurri and Cucumber Salsa
      Day 27 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 28 (Sun) - dinner out

      Day 29 (M) - Whole30 In N Out Burgers: Double Double Animal Style (OMG! This were bananas good!), sweet potato fries
      Day 30 (T) - Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Salmon, sweet potato fries
      Day 31 (W) - brinner
      Day 32 (Th) - dinner out
      Day 33 (F) - Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles
      Day 34 (Sat) - Garlic Lovers Salmon in Foil
      Day 35 (Sun) - dinner out

      Day 36 (M) - dinner out
      Day 37 (T) - All-American Chili (left out beans)
      Day 38 (W) - brinner
      Day 39 (Th) - Slow Cooked Carnitas with Peach and Tomato Salsa
      Day 40 (F) - leftovers
      Day 41 (Sat) - Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema
      Day 42 (Sun) - Chimichurri Whole30 Meatballs with Swiss Chard

      Day 43 (M) - leftovers
      Day 44 (T) - brinner
      Day 45 (W) - Citrus Broiled Salmon
      Day 46 (Th) - All-American Chili (left out beans)
      Day 47 (F) - The Best Chicken Tinga Tacos, corn
      Day 48 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 49 (Sun) - Grilled Chilean Beef Skewers with Smoky Chimichurri, sweet potato fries, salad

      Day 50 (M) - leftovers
      Day 51 (T) - Mediterranean Chicken and Cauliflower Rice
      Day 52 (W) - Greek Marinated Flank Steak and Hummus Plate
      Day 53 (Th) - dinner out
      Day 54 (F) - Slow Cooker Crispy Chicken Carnitas
      Day 55 (Sat) - dinner out
      Day 56 (Sun) - dinner out

      Day 57 (M) - Grilled Salmon (I cook this as a whole fillet with the skin on the grill -- let it cooks 8-10 minutes with skin side down and don't flip!)
      Day 58 (T) - dinner out
      Day 59 (W) - Sheet Pan BBQ Pork Chops and Potatoes (Whole30 Fast & Easy Cookbook), salad
      Day 60 (Th) - leftovers
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