Every week, usually Thursday or Friday, my husband and I plan our meals for the following week. We choose three meals, without a specific day in mind when we’ll make them, which gives us room for leftovers or unexpected events. We are pretty flexible, loosely scheduled people – so this works for us.
While the meals vary because I can’t have the same thing every week for dinner, there are some items on our list that don’t change. Since I like to leave wiggle room for the unexpected, there are pantry and fridge stocking items that I always try to include – just in case.
What follows are the items I make sure to have present as much as possible. They’re in no particular order, but I may have saved the best for last. 🙂
Thanksgiving was last week and I think many may be suffering from “kitchen fatigue.” Whether it’s the limitless sides and casseroles and baking, or unending prep and clean up, I know there are many of you out there who just don’t want to think about food after a holiday.
So let’s get back to basics. Let’s keep it simple! Step inside my kitchen for a second, and I will share my favorite ways for simplifying cooking in a way that packs in the nutrients.
The first thing I do after a time of celebrating or a big holiday is consider how I can up my veggie load again. Veggies make me feel good and my brain clear, and even though I turned just about every vegetable I know of into some kind of casserole for Thanksgiving dinner, I missed the simplicity of roasting them or throwing them into a quick salad.
This is where my favorite tried and true principle of “cook once, eat a few times” comes in.
Sometimes I play a game with myself to see how many veggies I can get into one dish. It’s a perfect game to play with this delicious and easy baked cod recipe. I got the original recipe from a friend, tweaked it a bit for my family’s tastes, and the result is melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness!
Who’s sick of cooking the same old, same old and is ready for something new and EASY? You can’t tell, but I’m raising my hand. I am currently in training for a new whole food nutritional program I will be launching soon, so I’ve been playing with some recipes, changing things up, and throwing together new things to incorporate (as usual) as many colorful veggies as I can in one meal.
The original version of this recipe I received courtesy of my friend Megan, from a detox program I ran a few years ago. It’s versatile, because it works for people who have issues with gluten or dairy, and it’s so easy and fast – who doesn’t love that?
Even my picky three-year-old loves this recipe! He likes it with jasmine rice, which is a pantry staple in our house!
1.5 lb boneless chicken thighs
1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought (dairy or nut free? Use basil paste or fresh basil)
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a Dutch oven, season chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
Layer chicken, seasoning, garlic, basil pesto, tomato, and bacon.
Place lid on top and cook in oven for 1-1 1/2 hours until chicken is cooked through.
Serve with rice, pasta, or my favorite – cauliflower rice!
*For crock pot option, follow directions above and cook 4-6 hours.
That’s IT. Now, if you are like me, it will need more seasonings than the recommended amount above. So play with it; add what you like. And as always – let me know what you think!
Want to hear something crazy? I only started eating vegetables regularly about 9 years ago. Before that, it seemed so daunting to chop and season, and I relied on packaged meals allll the time due to lack of knowledge and insecurity around cooking. If that’s you – you’re in good company and it’s not too late to start!
I thought I’d share how I do it! It’s fast, easy, delicious – and a great way to make in bulk and have on hand throughout the next few days!
It may not look all that picture perfect, as it’s kind of a brown blob, but trust me when I say – this grain-free version of goulash/hamburger helper is LEGIT.
I really hate the word goulash. Say it out loud. GOO-LAWSH. Gross. But hamburger helper makes me think of the cute little hand with a face – anyone remember that? My mom says when she made goulash I disliked it, but I don’t remember that. When I made this, the scent took my mind to a happy place in my childhood.
It took about 15 minutes to make and it is such a tasty, whole-food-packed version of the original. Cauliflower goes in place of the pasta. If you think that’s disgusting, or you fear your people won’t eat it like this, you could probably do a bit of undetectable riced cauliflower to keep the veggie content up, and then stir in cooked pasta instead of cauli florets. It will still be delicious! Continue reading “Grain-Free Goulash (AKA Upgraded Hamburger Helper)”→
Don’t let the name scare you away. I’ve never been a fan of egg rolls. But this dish – major fan. In fact, I’ve tried just about every variety out there on the interwebs, and this is my favorite. My kids love it. The adults love it. It’s a win.
(Just to be clear, my kids also like sushi and dislike pasta with red sauce. So take their feedback with a grain of pink Himalayan sea salt, okay?)
My FAVORITE things about this meal: it takes about 15 minutes to make (start to finish) clean up is simple, and it’s extremely filling and satisfying.
I don’t like to use pork too much because I don’t trust the sourcing/toxicity, so sometimes I’ll use grass fed beef and that’s good, too. The most flavorful meat to use in this is ground breakfast sausage. Again – toxin alert for you purists. But it’s soooooo delicious.
As far as cabbage goes, I prefer a head of green cabbage because it’s so cheap and cabbage is one of the “Clean 15,” so you don’t have to freak about buying unorganic. Pre-shredded bagged cabbage works too, but as long as you have a good knife, save your money!
I’ve used a blend of purple and green cabbage with shredded carrots, and that’s good too. You really can’t go wrong. You could add mushrooms or broccoli or any other vegetable you’re in the mood for.
I spent about 36 years of my life hiding from beef, specifically steak. I am 37. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered how much I love grass fed beef and even some types of steak. My body feels SO GOOD on beef. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but for me, I’ve found brain food I was missing for a long time.
(Side note – benefits of grass fed beef include higher omega 3s for brain health and higher conjugated linoleic acid, which means reduced cancer risk, decreased “bad” cholesterol, improved blood sugar, and increase in muscle! It’s also high in B12, which is super important for those of us with the MTHFR mutation.)
These philly cheesesteak stuffed peppers are soooo easy to make and can be finished in under 30 minutes. They are keto-friendly for my keto-loving friends. If you don’t do cheese, no worries. They are delicious without, as my dairy-free 2 year old can tell you.