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