Tag Archives: paleo

Meal Planning Made Simple: Healthy and Delicious Dinners for the Week

8 Feb
Yum! I love prep day!

Yum! I love prep day!

More often than not, I’m daydreaming about my next snack or meal. The thought of fresh guacamole on my taco salad makes me giddy with joy (insert lots of smiles and hip shaken’). The thought of someone NOT looking forward to their next meal or making a fast food choice instead, makes me tear a tad. So, in honor of all of you full-time busy bees, here’s a 1-week meal plan. If you put forth a little planning and set aside some time on Saturday or Sunday, you can still make fresh, healthy and delicious meals in 30 minutes or less. Cheers!

Saturday or Sunday Plan & Prep Day:

1. Plan meals for the week, make grocery list, buy groceries.

2. Clean and chop bell peppers, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. Clean and dry salad greens. Roast broccoli and half of carrots.

3. Shred rotisserie chicken; brown 1.5 lbs of beef and simmer with one jar salsa and chopped garlic.

4. Thaw frozen raw shrimp Wednesday night.

 

Mexican Monday: Taco Salad

Warm taco meat in the skillet or toaster oven. While heating, fill salad bowl with 2 cups greens, tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, black olives and sliced avocado or guacamole. Top with taco meat and more salsa if needed.

 

Curry Tuesday: Curry Chicken with Cauliflower

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, simmer rotisserie chicken, cauliflower, sweet potato (best to chop this fresh), bell peppers, tomato paste and sauce, curry spices of choice. Let simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables and potato are done. If you want a creamier sauce, mix in a little coconut milk or plain greek yogurt.

 

Breakfast for Dinner Wednesday: Scrambled Eggs and Pancakes

Scramble eggs (2-3 per person). Make pancakes using 1 banana, 2 eggs, 2 Tbsp almond butter and cinnamon to taste. Mix and cook on 300° griddle like a regular pancake (this makes 2 servings). Serve with a little almond or cashew butter on the pancake (the banana already adds a yummy sweetness). Also serve with roasted broccoli and carrots–Heavens, I would never forget vegetables!

 

Stir Fry Thursday: Shrimp, Snow Pea, Asparagus and Cashew Stir Fry

Clean asparagus, cherry tomatoes and snow peas. Chop asparagus. Place in wok with coconut oil, coconut aminos and seasoning of choice (garlic, ginger, orange zest, etc.). Stir fry vegetables and add in thawed raw shrimp. Cook on high heat until done (about 10-15 minutes). Top with cashews.

 

Fish Friday: Salmon with Roasted Vegetables

Broil or steam Salmon in butter or olive oil; season with lemon, salt and pepper. Serve with roasted broccoli and carrots; top with sliced almonds.

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The Cleanest Sloppiest Joe

19 Jan

IMG_1996I love eating comfort foods when temperatures begin to dip. This Sloppy Joe recipe is one of my favorites during the winter months. It includes immune supporting garlic and oregano, plus this dish is quick, easy, and free from MSG-laden canned whatchamacallits.

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb grass-fed ground beef, bison, or turkey

2 garlic clove, smashed and minced

1 small red onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

2 1/2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp cayenne

2 Tbsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground cloves

8 oz tomato paste

15 oz diced fire roasted tomatoes

Optional: Bubbies pickles

 

Directions:

1. In a large skillet or dutch oven, brown meat and saute onion, bell pepper and garlic until soft and onions are translucent. Drain grease.

2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10-15 minutes

3. Serve topped with Bubbies pickles and roasted or sautéed vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, asparagus or bell peppers.

Serves 4-6

Chicken Vegetable Marinara with Spaghetti Squash

22 Dec
Serve the sauce blended, partially blended or chunky (like mine) for a healthy and fresh dinner.

Serve the sauce blended, partially blended or chunky (like mine) for a healthy and fresh dinner.

I’ll be honest, this dish does include some time in the kitchen (60-80 minutes) for prepping and cooking, but your health and taste buds will be justly rewarded! It is also a great dish for hiding vegetables from picky eaters and boosting everyone’s’ health. Either blend part or all of the vegetables with an immersion blender to make a thick spaghetti sauce or leave the vegetables whole. No matter what you choose, you’ll create a nutritious, preservative-free homemade spaghetti sauce.

 

Ingredients:

2 lbs chicken breast

1 spaghetti squash

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 acorn squash, peeled and chopped

2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets

6 carrots, chopped

2 red bell peppers, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced

1 24 oz jar of tomato sauce, low sodium

3 Tbsp dried oregano

3 Tbsp dried basil

1 bay leaf

1/2-3/4 tsp sea salt

20 turns black pepper

 

Directions:

1. In a dutch oven or glass baking dish, add a 1/4 cup of water and chicken breasts with a pinch of sea salt. Cover with the lid (or foil) and slow roast on 325° for 45-60 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 20 minutes before cutting it into chunks. Set aside.

2. While chicken is roasting, chop the spaghetti squash in half, remove the seeds and place cut side up on a baking sheet with a little olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes or until finished. Allow to cool before using a fork to remove the spaghetti squash from the skin.

3. While chicken and spaghetti squash are cooking, chop the vegetables (acorn squash, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, garlic). When the chicken is finished baking, remove it from the dutch oven, pour out the water and add the olive oil. Then add the vegetables and garlic and saute for 15 minutes. (If you do not have a dutch oven, a large stock pot will work too).

4. Next add the tomato sauce, herbs and chicken and simmer for 15 minutes. If you want to blend the sauce, simmer first without the chicken, then blend it and add the chicken at the end.

5. Serve chicken marinara over the spaghetti squash and enjoy!

Options: additional vegetables (onion, zucchini, eggplant) or top with chopped green onions, olives and/or goat cheese–just have fun with it!

Serves 4-5

Bakers Gonna Bake: 5 Tips for Healthier Holiday Sweets

8 Dec
My own stash of liquid gold for special occasions aka blueberry muffins.

My own stash of liquid gold for special occasions aka blueberry muffins.

…as if you aren’t already sweet enough.

Cookies will be baked and brittle will be broken this holiday season. So, why not make your holiday treats as amazing as possible with a lot of love and a little less blood sugar imbalance.

1. Liquid Gold. Practice swapping processed refined sugar for the real deal. Try using local honey, pure maple syrup or low glycemic coconut nectar and coconut palm sugar. Conversion: 1 cup refined sugar = 3/4 cup liquid sweetener. If you are using the coconut palm sugar, which is a fab replacement for brown sugar, the conversion is 1:1.

2. Go Herbal. You can really lower calories and the glycemic load by replacing your processed refined sugar with stevia. This natural herb is low glycemic and just 1 tsp of powered or liquid stevia equals 1 cup of sugar (1 Tbsp of sugar = 1/4 tsp powered stevia or 6-9 drops liquid). The Sweet Leaf Stevia brand is a great choice. NOTE: using too much will leave a bit of a bitter aftertaste.

3. Go Nutty. Since most recipes call for processed refined flours which jack-up your blood sugar levels, try using lower glycemic almond or coconut flour. For incredibly yummy recipes utilizing these flours, please visit Danielle Walker’s and Elena Amsterdam’s websites.

4. Cut the Crust. Channel your inner 4-year-old and skip the crust. Bake individual ramekins filled with your favorite custard or pie. Not only does it control portion size, but it adds a sense of fancy-pantsness to your meal. Yes, that is a real word… to me.

5. Chocolate Black Out. Melting dark chocolate (70% cacao or more) and dipping fruit, almonds, cashews or hazelnuts in it is the Bee’s Knees! Not only is it lower in sugar, but it is super easy too.

Wishing you and your family a tasty and healthy holiday season! Steph

French Green Beans with Shallot Red Pepper Vinaigrette

24 Nov
IMG_1979

Served with seasoned grass-fed beef (minced shallot, oregano, thyme, basil, fennel seeds, bay leaf, sea salt) and kalamata black olives.

Side dishes do not need to be complicated, especially during the busy holiday months, but life is too short for them NOT to be delicious and healthy. Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

Ingredients:

2 lb French green beans

1 Tbsp Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium shallot, finely minced

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

sea salt to taste

black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1. Place clean green beans in a steamer basket (set in a large stock pot with boiling water) and steam for 8 minutes or until tender, but not mush. Remove and place in an ice bath or run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Pat dry. Set in large bowl.

2. In a bowl (or dressing shaker), whisk the remaining ingredients. Pour desired amount on green beans, toss and serve.

3. Serve them as a side or mixed in as one dish (as shown in photo). Toasted walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds are also a nice option.

Spaghetti 2.0

13 Oct

IMG_1969Sometimes traditional recipes just need a little nutritional upgrade that doesn’t downgrade the flavor. Mangia!

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash

5 cloves garlic, skin on

4 heads of broccoli

1 lb ground bison (can also use grass-fed beef or turkey)

1 small yellow onion, diced

24 oz jar tomato sauce (I like Bionaturae brand)

1 Tbsp dried oregano

1 Tbsp dried basil

1/2 tsp sea salt

20 turns cracked black pepper

optional garnish: toasted squash seeds, fresh basil

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°. Cut the top stem and bottom off of the spaghetti squash, then cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds (rinse and pat dry for later if you want to toast them), coat the skin with olive oil and lay each half cut side up on a baking pan. Also, coat the garlic cloves (skin on) in olive oil and place them on the sheet too. Roast for 20 minutes.

2. While the squash is roasting, chop the broccoli into florets and steam in a steam basket for 15 minutes. Remove and rinse with cold water to cool.

3. About now the timer will go off on the squash and garlic. Remove the roasted garlic and place the squash back in the oven for an additional 20-25 minutes or until done.

4. Then, brown bison (or meat of choice) in a large skillet pan. Drain grease. Peel the cooled garlic, mince it and add it to the skillet along with the diced onion, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Allow the squash to cool while the meat sauce is still simmering. Once cooled, use a fork to remove the spaghetti-like strands. Plate the spaghetti, then broccoli and top with the meat sauce. Add additional toppings such as the toasted squash seeds (the toasting method is described in this recipe) or fresh basil.

Serves 4-6

Fats Won’t Make You Fat and Carbs Aren’t the Devil

22 Sep

IMG_1197The Diet World is confusing. A quick Internet search lists so many fad diets, you don’t know which one is right for you. Should you do high carb or low carb, Atkins or Vegetarian, Slow or FAST?

 

Before you decide how you want to eat, let me throw in my two cents. How about not dieting at all? What about just eating food—real food that tastes amazing and works with your body type and needs (such as diabetes, thyroid disease, food allergies, weight loss, etc.)?

 

While I’m not going to give general recommendations in this blog as to how many vegetables, starches, fruit, fat and protein grams you should eat (because I believe that is highly individualized and who the heck knows what a gram of anything looks like, let alone want to measure it), I do want to talk about what real food is made of (macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat) and how it builds and sustains our health. While I think knowing examples of what a carb, fat and protein are is important, I also think it is crucial to remember that we eat food—not macronutrients—and that each food almost always contains all three macronutrients.

 

Carbohydrates. A lot of people villainize carbs, but here’s the catch—vegetables and fruits are carbs too, so eliminating carbs is certainly not the answer to vitality. Carbohydrates are compounds composed of sugars (not to be confused with processed sugars that truly hinder your health) and come from plants. They are a primary source of energy, fiber and a structural component of cell walls and plasma membranes because they contain all sorts of stellar vitamins, minerals, water and secondary nutrients like antioxidants. Carbohydrates include vegetables, fruits and starches (grains, beans and potatoes).

 

Protein. Protein consumption is essential for building and repairing all tissues in the body such as muscle, bones, organs, hair and skin, not to mention neurotransmitters, enzymes, hormones and a source of energy. There are 21 amino acids (for the chemistry aficionados, these are the individual compound strands of protein) and our bodies can make most of these all on our own. However, there are 8 essential amino acids that can only be obtained through direct consumption of fish, fowl, meat, eggs and dairy. These amino acid building blocks are necessary for our bodies to function optimally.

 

Fat. Before you run for the hills, please understand that you need to eat fat. Fat is composed of glycerol and fatty acids and their asso­ciated organic groups. Fat is a source of energy, a building block for cell membranes and hormones, aids in nerve conduction and helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. It also helps with maintaining healthy weight due to its satiating nature. It is essential to consume high quality saturated and unsaturated fats to maintain optimal health, especially the essential fatty acid omega-3. Fabulous fat examples include olives, coconut, avocados, nuts and seeds.

 

For an individualized nutrition program and to create body and food freedom, please contact me at 402-819-8970 or stephsbell@yahoo.com.