We’ve had a touch of the time crunch in our world lately. It’s times like these that only further drive home the importance of planning ahead and equipping yourself with healthy food so that you can maintain high energy levels and solid mood when life challenges you. At present, we’re gearing up for the release of our second book later this month (Quick and Easy Paleo Comfort Foods), running our gym full-time, preparing to head to the Save Your Bacon Weekend in Swoope, VA, all while having a climbing, growing, teething 8 ½ month old at home. Needless to say, having healthy food choices on hand is tantamount to our eating well at home. With just a little planning and not too much time in the kitchen, we can do just that.
In the many demos and seminars I do with military families around the country, one statement I seem to always bring up is that cooking is an art. I don’t mean this to imply that I’m any type of Picasso or Monet, simply that each dish is up to interpretation by the cook. There are certain foods we like, but that’s not to say that everyone else will agree (though if you have not yet tried our Brussels sprouts slaw, and you think you hate Brussels sprouts, this might change your mind!) If you have read the recipes from our first book, you know that we try to give alternatives for some ingredients and substitutions wherever possible. As you go through these meal suggestions, please remember that they are only suggestions. Not only are the meals themselves suggestions, but when to cook them is a suggestion as well. If you have more time on your hands and wish to spread out your cooking throughout the week, do so. Feel free to let your creative juices flow and by all means, make these meals your own. If you’re tired of beef (bless your heart), then get some lamb. Eggs got you down? Then maybe it is time to make barbeque your breakfast of champions.
One of the greater challenges for me in putting meals together for the week is that I’ll eat the same thing time and time again and it doesn’t get old. Outside of special occasions, food is more simple nourishment for me at this stage in the game. But that’s just me. If you are the sort who simply cannot eat the same meal twice in the same week, this infographic we put together might give you some meal ideas (click on the small image to view larger)!
Feel free to reference our last post to get Julie’s advice on how to interpret our format.
6 pork chops (thick cut) – about 2 pounds if boneless, 2.5-3 pounds if bone-in.
4 pounds chicken wings
2 ½ pounds shrimp (buy them already peeled and deveined to save time)
1 ½ dozen (that’s 18!) large preferably eggs (from pasture-raised chickens!)
2 pounds ground beef
2 pounds pheasant meat (this is several pheasants!) or chicken (from whole birds if possible)
4 bell peppers
1 pound plums
1 pound figs
1 bag baby arugula
2 pounds yuca (aka cassava/manioc)
1 head romaine lettuce
1 pound tomatoes (beefsteak or other larger maters)
1 pound button mushrooms
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 pounds carrots
1 head garlic
1 bunch cilantro
2 jalapeno peppers
1 ripe plantain
2 poblano peppers
seasoning to your taste: try the rub recipe from our first book!
bacon grease (by now I hope you are ALL saving your bacon grease!)
1- 28 ounce can fire-roasted or regular tomatoes
fajita or taco seasoning
spice rub of your choice (for chicken wings)
A grill: charcoal or gas…either is fine
Stainless steel or cast iron skillet
Dutch oven or large soup pot
Bamboo or metal skewers
Large casserole dish
Sheet pan or two
*Presumably, the way this first day unfolds will be as if you’re having a lazy Sunday (like we occasionally do) and you’ve got a little extra time in the morning to prepare a lot of your meals for the week at once.
Breakfast – scrambled eggs with some of the mushrooms/onions/peppers
Lunch – Burgers on romaine lettuce and grilled carrots
Dinner – Pork chops with plum sauce and grilled figs
Cooking on the first day suggestions:
- Preheat your grill (you can cram a bunch of grilling into a short period of time. Once the grill is hot, the cooking actually takes very little time).
Don’t have a grill? If you have an indoor grill pan, it’s a great alternative. If not, you can always pan sauté these items
- While the grill is heating:
PROTEIN – form your burgers, assemble your shrimp skewers, and pat dry your pork chops.
VEGETABLES – chop up your onions, mushrooms and peppers. Peel your carrots and cut lengthwise into long pieces (you’ll be grilling those)
EXTRA – go ahead and make your plum sauce, as per the above recipe
- Grill your burgers, pork chops and shrimp skewers. Clearly everything probably won’t fit on the grate at one time, so work in batches, being sure to clean your grate between foods. Grill your carrots and figs as well.
- While things are grilling, you can go ahead and sauté your vegetables at this point.
As it does not take much time to throw together the frittata (use some of the sautéed vegetables, 1 pound of the cooked shrimp, and a dozen eggs) we suggest popping that in the oven while you sit down to enjoy your dinner! Yep, we make a frittata (or egg bake or whatever you want to call it) pretty much weekly. It’s a super easy way to make sure you have a solid breakfast choice on hand most days of the week. If you see other things for the week you’d like to make today (chicken wings, soup, etc.) go right on ahead!
Breakfast – Burger served on tomato slices and avocado, or if you made the frittata yesterday, have that!
Lunch – Leftover pork chop and grilled carrots
Dinner – Leftover shrimp over a bed of romaine, tomatoes and avocado
Day 2 suggestions: If you did not make the frittata yesterday, toss it in the oven tonight (combine 1 pound of the cooked shrimp with the sautéed vegetables and a dozen eggs). This is also the perfect time to throw your pheasant or chicken into a slow cooker, along with some onions and celery and water. Set it on low for overnight cooking, as this will not only cook the meat but will essentially make your own stock that you can use for soup tomorrow.
Breakfast – Leftover frittata with avocado
Lunch – Leftover burger with arugula salad
Dinner – Soup
Day 3 suggestions: Cook your soup for dinner! Here’s a recipe for a Chicken Tortilla-less Soup that we made with pheasant the other day. Knowing that many people don’t have a freezer full of pheasant (we do), go ahead and substitute chicken or really any other meat of your choice. As you already have the meat cooked, it won’t take long for you to cook the rest of the ingredients together. Since you have your cutting board out, we also suggest to chop your yuca and go ahead and cook your chicken wings and yuca fries tonight. Or you can do that on Day 4 or 5.
Breakfast – Leftover shrimp sautéed with any leftover vegetables and avocado
Lunch – Dining Out
Dinner- Pork chop and sautéed plantains
Lunch- Dining out
Dinner- Burger on tomatoes with Brussels sprouts (quick sauté Brussels sprouts in that leftover bacon grease!)
Breakfast – Frittata & yuca hash browns (just coarsely chop some leftover yuca fries and sauté to reheat)
Lunch – Chicken wings with Brussels sprouts
Dinner – Soup
Breakfast – Chicken (pulled off the wings) with yuca fries and grilled carrots OR scrambled eggs
Lunch – Soup
Dinner – Out with friends
How do you tackle your meals for the week?