Now that I have discovered the foods that best support my health, it is much easier for me to plan meals that I enjoy... and that nourish my body.
I have found that planning a menu for 3 days at a time and going shopping twice per week helps to keep weekly meals manageable.
I usually plan to cook 5 nights per week unless we have a special event or get-together. When I know I won't have time to make a meal, my backup plan is takeout from the organic restaurant a few blocks away or from the fish market across the street. We usually do this once each week. Also, I know I can plan on my husband and I going out for date-night on Friday or Saturday. <3
Having a plan and a menu takes the stress out of what to make. The following are two of our favorite recipes...
Sunday Night Chicken Over Pasta
This was one of my first successful recipes with chicken and I've been making it every week for a few years. It comes out tender and delicious every time!
I use Quinoa/Corn pasta or bust out my handy spiralizer to make zucchini or daikon radish noodles. The sauce over green beans or sautéed spinach is yummy too.
I have included directions on how to make a simple sauce to go on top, but you can also just make the chicken on its own.
1. If using chicken breasts, pound to an even thickness with a meat mallet (or can of soup). Chicken thighs should be pretty even in size the way they are.
2. Sprinkle (in this order for best results): pepper, salt, garlic powder
3. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, then add the butter or coconut oil. Let it melt and swirl around the pan.
4. Add the chicken and cook for about 2 minutes to get a golden color on one side. Then flip each one over.
5. Immediately turn the heat to low and put the lid on the pan. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Do not lift the lid.
6. During this time, begin your pasta and/or veggie. You can also sauté some onion and garlic for added flavor in the sauce later, or toast some pine nuts for on top - once completed, set aside.
7. After 10 minutes have elapsed, turn off the heat. DO NOT lift the lid. Reset the timer for 10 minutes and leave the chicken in the pan with the lid on.
8. Finally, after the time is up, you can take the lid off. Double check to make sure there is no pink in the middle. Remove the chicken and slice for serving.
9. Put the pan with the left over liquid back on the stove over high heat. You may need to add a little broth.
10. Deglaze the pan (and add the optional onion and garlic). Slowly sprinkle in the arrowroot flour to thicken while stirring - sometimes I skip the arrowroot if the sauce seems thick enough.
11. Assemble your pasta/veggie, top with sliced chicken and pour sauce over everything. Enjoy!
Time: 5 min prep, 25 min cooking
Servings: Approximately 2, plus leftovers for lunch (one thing I do a lot to save time and energy). The chicken is great over a salad the next day!
Tuesday Crockpot Recipes
Most Tuesday evenings I attend Toastmasters. (If you haven't been, it is a great opportunity to improve your public speaking skills, present new material you're working on, develop leadership skills, and network with likeminded individuals! There are clubs all over the world).
I don't have time to cook a meal before I leave (or when I get home at 8:30pm), so I make a crockpot recipe that morning. I don't have one set recipe, but I'll share what I put together - it comes out delicious every time!
Special tools: Crockpot, fat separator, rice cooker (can improvise though if you don't have these... big soup pan with lid, bowl and ladle to scoop fat, pan with lid)
1. 7-8 hours before dinnertime, dry off the meat and cover in salt and pepper.
2. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, then add the butter or coconut oil.
3. Add meat to pan and sear all sides to a dark brown (this will add extra flavor).
4. Transfer meat to the crockpot. Sauté onion if using.
5. Add desired spices, tomato sauce/salsa, sautéed onion (and extra wine/broth if you choose).
6. Set on low for about 7 hours (for food safety, make sure meat is cooked well based on size).
8. (Right before I leave for Toastmasters) Prepare veggies and start rice in rice cooker (rice cooker takes about 30 minutes). Remove meat from slow cooker and separate with a fork, removing any extra fatty pieces.
9. Pour the liquid into a fat separator and pour just the sauce into a sauce pan, discarding the fat.
10. Reduce the sauce (if desired)... can add arrowroot or tapioca flour to thicken.
11. (I then rush out the door and my husband enjoys the meat over rice with a yummy rich sauce on top. My portion is waiting for when I get home, usually with veggies too).
Time: 10 min prep, 7 hours cooking, 10 min finishing
Servings: At least 4... I always plan for both of us to have a full lunch of these left overs the next day!
Also, just a note here, I'm not at all fat-phobic. I just don't like noshing on the large pieces that will fall away from the meat in the cooking process... nor do I like my sauce to separate. More on the benefits of good quality fats in another post!
I have suffered from numerous health challenges conventional medicine couldn't fix. This blog is a place for me to share my experiences and information with others who want to feel better again too. Please share your thoughts in the comments. I always look forward to supporting you to improve your health!