Hi friends! I’m back with two weeks worth of What We Ate. My excuse for skipping last week is that my kids were at camp all week – even nights – and I hardly cooked. I missed them like crazy, but it was nice to not have to prepare so much food. It was a glimpse into the future when they’re grown and gone and I will be cooking for two most of the time. It seems like a lot of work to make a full meal just for two of us. Thankfully, I have a few years to adjust to this. Actually, I better not think about this anymore or I’ll cry all over my keyboard!
Fair warning: some of these meals are pretty random. I’m making a concerted effort to clean out the freezer, so that coupled with the kids being gone made for some unusual meals. But in reality, as I think more about it, we do eat like this pretty regularly. I pick the meat or main entree and fill in with whatever vegetables I have on hand, or as is the case right now, what is coming out of the garden. You will see A LOT of squash and zucchini in these meals. And if I showed you lunches as well, you’d see a lot of tomatoes and cucumbers. But NO fresh okra. Because of deer. I am not happy with them, no matter how cute they are.
Let’s get started:
Meal #1: This is my son’s special request: Nut-Crusted Fish – in this case, cod – cauliflower rice (real rice for them), cole slaw and broccoli Meal #2: I’m not sure why, but I was just cooking for my daughter and myself this particular night so I sautéed up a bunch of vegetables and added a piece of kielbasa. Throw some leftover cole slaw on the side and you have a complete meal with a lot of vegetables! Bonus meal – Breakfast! People seem shocked and somewhat dismayed when I tell them that I try to always eat vegetables at breakfast. I find that if I start my day with a really hearty and balanced meal, the rest of the day falls into place in the food department. When I do eat veggies for breakfast, they are almost always leftover. In this case, I had some roasted sweet potatoes with onion, cole slaw and some eggs. I love the contrast of flavor and texture that vegetables bring to my eggs. I eat eggs almost every day and it gets pretty boring so adding in the various vegetables really makes that boring breakfast staple more enjoyable. Meal #3: Beef stroganoff, mashed cauliflower, “fried” squash, and side salad (not pictured) Meal #4: This was our Father’s Day menu. My husband is very easy to cook for. Sure, he has his favorites, but he happily eats (and usually enjoys!) everything I prepare. So for Father’s Day, I tend to fix something that I think my dad will really enjoy. In this case, a local magazine had just published the recipe to Seafood and Grits, dad’s favorite dish from a local restaurant. I will say that the recipe was pretty scant. If you had no idea how to make something like shrimp and grits, you could not have followed that recipe very easily. All that to say, there was a lot of improvising here. I was mid-Whole30 on this day, so I made my own serving with cauliflower instead of corn grits and did not include all the diary in my portion. They all said it was delicious. Here’s my gang on Father’s Day. The kids left for camp that afternoon. Aren’t they precious? And so big! I don’t know where the babies went. I love them all so much! Meal #5: Grilled Cod (we have a grill basked specifically for fish and it works really well.) If this is something you think you’d enjoy, I highly recommend a grill basket. Mine is similar to this one. On the side, we had grilled squash, salad and fried plantains. The plantain was pretty random, but it was at the perfect ripeness so I went ahead and cooked it. I love these when the plantain is still pretty green, but once it gets totally ripe, the resulting chip is not very crisp and way too sweet. Meal #6: Squash two ways! Grilled squash and a zucchini fritter. I’m still working on perfecting that recipe. We also had chicken fingers and roasted sweet potatoes. Treat #1: zucchini bread/muffins – look for this recipe to come in the next couple of weeks. I apparently only know how to grow giant zucchini! Unlike yellow squash, when zucchini get overgrown, they’re still good all the way through, not too seedy. So I take advantage of it and make zucchini bread! LOTS of zucchini bread.
Meal #7: Hotdogs (grass-fed, but still not the most ideal choice), salad and cauliflower rice that I made like fried rice. Treat #2: Chocolate Chip Cookies – while the kids were gone, I started baking for an upcoming camping trip later this summer. Be sure to check out this recipe. I even did a video tutorial which my editor will have up for you in a couple weeks. If you’re missing an honest to goodness cookie on your paleo diet, you have to try these. They really are way better than those Tollhouse classics. Treat #3: N’oatmeal Cookies – just like the oatmeal raisin cookies you remember, but without the grains! I created this recipe because my husband was going on and on about those Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies. I haven’t perfected the dairy free cream filling, so for now, you’ll just get the cookie recipe. Don’t despair though because they are great on their own. For us, these serve as portable energy for long hikes. Meal #8: I actually went to the effort to cook a real meal this night! We had steak tacos, AIP tortillas, grilled squash (of course) and the first tomato of the season! If you’ve never tried yellow tomatoes, they’re amazing! So sweet and less acidic than red ones. Meal #9: The kids and husband had gone to a VBS kickoff dinner at church and because I get sick every single time I eat at a potluck, I opted to just stay home. I was in the mood for fried okra (even though the evil deer are eating ALL of my garden okra – I just used frozen). So I cooked up some okra and then a pice of salmon and had that with a little buffalo dipping sauce (just mayo + Frank’s Red Hot Sauce).
** Public Service Announcement – unhealthy oils are a real, sneaky killer to other-wise healthy diets. That’s why using the right oils is a key part of the Paleo diet. See my “what is paleo” article for more details. If you use bottled salad dressing, mayonnaise or sauces, you are likely eating lots of very inflammatory oils. Trust me, it is super simple to make your own mayonnaise out of a healthy oil (avocado or extra light olive are my favorites). Then once you have your mayonnaise, you have a good base to endless sauces and dressings. Please try it if you haven’t already. Here’s a video tutorial to help. And here’s the recipe. Meal #10: Beef stroganoff, mashed cauliflower and green beans and okra
As I write this post, I realize we’ve been eating the Ground Beef Stroganoff a lot lately. My meals are pretty well dictated by what I receive in my Butcher Box these days. We love burgers, but I try to mix it up. The Stroganoff is just so easy, fast and delicious and something a little special to do with all that ground beef. It’s definitely one of our go-tos. Meal #11: A new Instant Pot experiment: Swiss Steak and more mashed cauliflower. And a side of zucchini. What else?
That’s it for this week. As always, I hope these posts provide you with lots of meal ideas for your own family.