I have quite a variety of meals for you this week so let’s dig in!
Meal #1: Italian Roast Beef in the Instant Pot (recipe coming) smashed potatoes (yellow potatoes, ghee, salt and pepper) and sautéed mushrooms and peppers.
My husband ate his Italian Roast Beef dinner as you see below:
I wanted all that yummy broth that came from cooking the beef so I ate the same food (with fewer potatoes) in the form of a soup. Very hearty and warming on a cold and dreary day.
I must say that, despite the popularity of my Pot Roast You Tube Video, this Italian version is much tastier – in my opinion. I just loved the flavors of all those Italian herbs and spices.
If you can actually eat some form of bread, this would be delicious served Philly Cheesesteak style. And with cheese on top? It would be even better.
Meal #2: Quick Tacos with a side of salad and my homemade ranch, smashed avocado and baked sweet potato. Nothing fancy, but good and filling. My family had tortilla chips baked in the oven with some cheese melted on top. I would have made my own nachos with plantain chips, but 1. I didn’t have any plantains and 2. I’m feeling pretty great without dairy and just didn’t feel it was worth it on this occasion.
Which leads me to my tip for you this week: Following a strict diet of any sort can be tiring, mentally and physically, so indulgences here and there as you are able are an important part of finding balance. But be judicious. With a meal that is otherwise packed with flavor, cheese would not add much. Would I enjoy some delicious grass-fed cheddar on my taco meat? YES! But did I really need it to enhance this meal? No. Keep reading and you’ll see where I deemed the indulgences most totally worth it. Part of this realization came from my new favorite book, Food Freedom Forever, by Whole30’s Melissa Hartwig. This book is packed with tons of real, practical advice about how to have a healthy relationship with food. I HIGHLY recommend it. I picked this up at my local library, but I have my own copy on order from Amazon. I think it will come in handy in my future health coaching business.
As I went to link up my quick taco recipe, I realized I never wrote it up! I made it in one of my Whole30 YouTube videos, but never wrote up the recipe. Here is it:
1 lb. ground beef + 1 link sugar free chorizo sausage browned in skillet until good and caramelized. Add 1 – 1 1/2 cups salsa of your choice (just check ingredients). Simmer until thickened and ready to eat. Really, that’s it. The seasoning all comes from the chorizo and the salsa. If I know I have longer to allow it to simmer, I’ll add some broth to up the health factor, but it isn’t necessary.
Meal #3: I’m realizing we ate a lot of beef last week! This particular meal was Valentine’s Day with my family: NY Strip Steaks, baked sweet potatoes and pan-sautéed asparagus wrapped in bacon. Simple, but delicious.
Meal #4: My hearty Paleo Spaghetti Sauce served over Oven-Fried Squash with a big pile of mixed greens and ranch dressing on the side. I had something else planned for dinner this particular night, but I couldn’t get excited about cooking it or eating it so I scrounged around in the freezer and found a container of spaghetti sauce. This meal totally hit the spot.
Meals #5 and #6: My husband and I were able to escape for a day to the beach and we ate some pretty delicious meals. First up was a visit to the Boiler Room, the sister restaurant to the famous Chef and the Farmer. If you don’t know about Chef and the Farmer, you must check your PBS listings for the show featuring it’s owners called A Chef’s Life. My whole family loves watching this program set in our beloved North Carolina. Vivian seems like such an amazing person, so genuine and kind. And her food all looks delicious. We couldn’t swing dinner at Chef and the Farmer due to budget, but we did save up for lunch at the Boiler Room. It’s a casual place with burgers, raw oysters and such, but I can tell you this: the food and the service were top notch. We would gladly go back again and again.
We started lunch with the baked pimento cheese and sausage dip. This would normally be served with their homemade saltines, but the waitress gladly subbed fresh veggies for us instead.
For our main course, we both chose burgers. I had one with caramelized onions, ranch and cheddar blue cheese on the best gluten free bun ever. It did not fall apart one bit.
My husband’s burger was much bigger than mine (no fair!) and had cheddar, grilled pineapple, jalapeño relish and some other yummy toppings I can’t remember. He gave me one bite.
Off in the corner of his burger picture, you can see our Beef Fat Fries. Yes, fries cooked in beef fat. Y-U-M!
And for dessert – because – why not? Creme Brûlée topped with Pomegranate arils. We almost licked the dish.
We were at the beach to find a place to stay this summer since we had never actually visited this particular beach before, so between two pretty decadent meals, we did a lot of walking around, up and down lots of steps, and did a little fishing. That fish was T–H–I–S BIG! Hee hee.
For dinner, we found a place that reportedly served gluten free fried seafood (The Ruddy Duck – if you’re ever in Morehead City, NC). This is such a rare treat for us, we had to give it a try. Knowing we’d be coming back later in the year with our kids, we felt it our duty to check it out for their sakes alone. 😃
We started with fried calamari. Delicious, huge portion. We ate it all.
For our main course, we shared their seafood sampler, which included flounder, shrimp, scallops, clams, french fries and cole slaw.
The flounder, shrimp and scallops were great. The clams were pretty small and felt more like eating fried batter rather than clams. I ate one fry, which was good, but it was not worth the calories with all that delicious seafood. The slaw was good too. And at the end of the meal, we were satisfyingly stuffed. If they had a gluten free dessert available, you can be sure we would have tried it, but they didn’t. Much to my dismay, all the ice cream shops were closed as well, so our indulging ended there.
Bonus tip: When we eat out, we often share an appetizer, entree and dessert. That way, we get to enjoy all three courses, but don’t leave uncomfortably stuffed – and it saves money. Portions are typically so large these days, that sharing still gives us plenty of food. And if not, we can always order more, but in the years of doing this, we’ve never needed to order more.
One final healthy meal for the week: An Instant Pot experiment: Chicken and rice burrito bowls. This was a super simple and fast meal to throw together. I’m getting the recipe and video ready for you, but you could totally do this without a recipe. Brown an onion, toss in some garlic, season up your boneless, skinless chicken breasts with taco seasoning (I have a recipe coming for that as well), brown the chicken a bit then pour in 2 cups of liquid: either two cups of salsa or one cup of salsa and one cup of chicken broth. Add rice of your choice. I used 2 cups cauliflower rice. You could use one cup of white rice. Then either slow cook this for about 6 hours on low or pressure cook it for 12 minutes on high. Top with mixed greens and guacamole.
For those of you into the Keto diet right now, add in some coconut cream to up the fat content and keep it paleo (even AIP) or load it up with cheese and sour cream if you can handle dairy.
That’s it for this week. I have quite a few recipes I’m working on writing up for you. I’m also busy trying to get my Beautycounter business off the ground and making sure I keep up with my school work, so the recipes are just a little slower coming. But they are coming…I promise…so thanks for your patience. I hope you have a great week!