Posts Tagged ‘ dinner ’

Plan, Plan, Plan…Did I mention, Plan?

If you don’t plan, your planning to fail …

Harsh, I know. I wish I could tell you that this was just some tough love, some kind of psychology intended to piss you off enough to prove me wrong, but it’s true people. If you do not plan you will not succeed. Paleo is hard. No, after the first week of withdrawals and the second week of cravings it is not hard to stick to. What is difficult about this lifestyle change stems from the universe’s inability to understand and therefore aid in your success.

The first time around doing the challenge this was the very first and most important thing that I learned. If your meals aren’t planned out, if you don’t have a contingency plan you will struggle. Paleo is hard to stick to after a 12 hour work day, getting kids to bed, walking the dog, whatever. When you are driving home you start to think about what you can grab for dinner and a flash hits your brain, you have nothing in the fridge but a cucumber and some grape seed oil. Panic ensues. You’re starving, the grocery store is 5 miles in the other direction and it is 10 pm at night. We tend to struggle because in times like these there is no easy fix, no fast food restaurant that you can order something and after some alterations still get a good paleo meal.

You must plan. Spend Sunday planning your meals and making them. If you prepare your food on Sunday then you have nothing to worry in the week when work keeps you late because “Dinner’s Already Ready!” Rejoice! No frantic nights of chomping on a cucumber, no skimping or skipping meals because there is nothing ready. Plan for success and you will find sticking to this lifestyle change is a breeze.

Ok, on to a quick and easy idea. One very frequent and easy meal I like to make for us is Stuffed Peppers! Unfortunately a lot of times beautiful bell peppers (like the red, orange, and yellow ones) are really expensive and I always need at least 4 because my fiance can eat a substantial amount of food. Plus, if you want to have some leftovers for lunch the next day, it’s always good to make a few extras (plan ahead). So luckily for me when I went to the grocery store this week the good peppers were on sale! Hooray! So I stocked up and made them for dinner.

Stuffed Peppers (makes about 4 peppers)

4 bell peppers

1 pound meat (I use ground turkey,    but lean grass-fed beef will work too)

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy)

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1 teaspoon oregano

Black Pepper to taste.

*NOTE- I have cooked this two ways, one browning the meat first and the second stuffing it raw and letting it cook in the pepper. Both ways are good and acceptable but produce two different results. Try both for yourself, my fiance likes when I stuff the meat in the peppers raw and let it cook in the oven that way the turkey cooks together. If you brown it first and cut into the cooked pepper the meat is usually in crumbles making it harder to eat. But it is up to you! Let me know which way you like better!

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut a circle around the stem of the pepper and pull out the core w/ seeds. Rinse each one with water to make sure all seeds are out.

Place the peppers into a baking dish

Mix all spices into the meat with your hands and make sure it is good and mixed.

If you want, brown the meat in a skillet and when it is finished put on a plate of paper towels and absorb the extra grease.

Take meat mixture (whether cooked or not) and stuff each pepper.

Place in the oven and cook for 35 minutes and enjoy!

I serve these with a little salsa verde and they are delish! Enjoy!

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Yum! Yum! Shrimp!

I had a delicious paleo meal last night and I must share. I spent the day searching for a good recipe that both my fiancée and I could enjoy. He definitely watches what he eats and works out every day but he isn’t strictly paleo. He still eats grains but ever since I started this paleo diet  back in June he has definitely become more conscientious about what he eats. Plus I do the cooking on most nights so he kinda has to eat what I cook 🙂 So, goal for the day, find a new recipe that wouldn’t be too difficult, would work for both of us, and would be different! I am so sick of eating chicken and turkey every single night.

And as I am sure all Paleo junkies do, I have a go to bookmark folder at the top of my browser where I have earmarked great Paleo websites that I have stumbled across in my search for new and exciting recipes. Jumping straight to that folder I began my search. I found a ton of things I could cook but they just didn’t seem right. And then, out of no where I found it, Shrimp! I haven’t cooked shrimp in a coon’s age (ha ha) and I conveniently has a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer. (No, frozen shrimp isn’t the most ideal choice, but sometimes you have to go with what you have). So, with a few changes and tweaks to the recipe below I had a very delicious paleo meal.

So here it is. Graciously grabbed from Everyday Paleo, hands down one of my favorite paleo websites!

Shrimp Tacos

1 bag of frozen already cooked tail removed shrimp – thawed and drained

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved

1 green bell pepper sliced

1 tbsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 handful of cilantro

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 a jar of salsa verde

1 head of iceberg lettuce leaves for taco shells

Cut the thawed shrimp in half and set aside.  In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the cilantro and bell peppers until tender, add the cherry tomatoes and saute for about 1 minute.  Add the shrimp, the spices, and the salsa, mix well and cook just until the shrimp are warm.  Serve in the lettuce leaves with sliced avocados and shredded purple cabbage.

There you have it! Enjoy!

Stay active, stay healthy, and smile!

 

Meet me in St. Louie!

So happily I was able to make it to St. Louis this weekend for an amazing visit with my family. It was great! I was able to see everyone and even went bowling! I was very happy to reach a personal high score of 175! Woo hoo. What a blast.

And now back to the grind. Paleo eating was a little touch and go this weekend I have to admit. But all I can say is that this fall off the wagon has just inspired me to get right back on with a renewed motivation. I was having some guilty feelings Sunday night, hey a 6 hour drive will do that to you. But when Monday morning hit, I was excited for the week ahead. Bring on the clean paleo eating. Besides a couple of weddings in the next few weeks  I am hoping to be obstacle free and able to keep to this eating style. I didn’t realize how much it really affected every day eating until you are in a place where very few paleo options exist. Ok, that was dramatic, of course there are paleo options in St. Louis, but my parents  in no way eat Paleo, so there wasn’t a lot of options in the fridge, or cooked for dinner. We are Italian, remember? What does that mean..oh yes, wine and pasta. So I had to compromise on quite a few things, but looking back, I think it was definitely worth it.

I was also very excited to visit what I call my “home away from home” crossfit, Crossfit Kirkwood. St. Louis, surprisingly has a ton of Crossfit Affiliates and I feel like Crossfit Kirkwood fits me the best. It is run by a husband and wife, Meg and Rich Mottl. They are always so welcoming and nice to me. I love working out there. This weekend we tackled Cindy, and it was actually my very first time. I have danced with Chelsea before, but Cindy was new for me. So after the warm up we worked on squat cleans and then dove right in. End result: mediocre. I wasn’t feeling too bad about my performance until I came home and obsessively clicked on the Crossfit Games site and compared myself to some of the athlete profiles of the elite women athletes competing at various regionals this year. All I can say is I have my work cut out for me.

And now, on to some good food. I thought I would post my own Turkey Chili Recipe. I know a lot of people don’t like to eat chili in the summer, but I can eat chili all year long. It is so filling and has such a great taste. Plus, the recipe makes a ton so I always freeze it and have some ready on a night I don’t feel like cooking. I have made this recipe quite a few times and it even won first in a chili cook off! So here it is. Enjoy!

Paleo Turkey Chili

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup chopped onions

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 yellow & red bell pepper

2 lbs ground turkey

1 (28oz) can diced organic tomatoes (undrained)

2 cans organic tomato paste

3 Tbsp chili powder (or to taste, I always add more later on)

1 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 tbsp garlic powder

Couple shakes of Louisiana (to taste)

1 tbsp dried basil       

1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

Directions

In a large skillet, sauté onions, garlic and bell peppers in olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add ground turkey and cook until browned.

Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Taste test the chili frequently and add ingredients or heat as needed. (I always end up adding more spices as it cooks)

 (sorry the recipe is so long. I can’t figure out how to take those extra spaces out. Help!)

Good Lordy, Indian Glory

Ok, so I was a little late on the Indian Food train. I don’t think I even had my first taste of glorious Tikka Masala until I was out of college. Honestly, 23 years to discover it…really? Well I certainly made up for the lack of Indian food in my diet by consuming it any time I could convince my boyfriend to go with me. After a good three months of eating is religiously, he won’t even go near it. I guess you can say he is a bit burnt out. I, however, am still in love and still crave it constantly.

Now, fast forward to today. I can’t quite say that Indian food is Paleo, ok, let’s be realistic, Indian food would make any Paleo die-hard shutter. Most dishes containing horrid things like, cream, butter, gasp…rice! So that was one sacrifice that really depressed me and my other Paleo Challenge buddy Allison. To commemorate our Challenge commencing we even went out for a huge, and delicious might I add, Indian meal.

And then, one magnificent day I ran into this Paleo blog and read about a Paleo Gathering they had. The theme was ethnic food and someone had brought over Paleo Indian No-Butter Chicken as a main course. My eyes lit up and of course I clicked to continue reading. The minute she said the dish tastes more like Tikka Masala I was hooked. Immediately I emailed my Paleo Buddy Allison and we planned a night to make it together. Thank you Primal Girl for linking the recipe.   

The Results.

Allison ended up marinating the chicken before I arrived which was a great help, considering the marinade took about four hours. So if you want to make this meal, plan ahead. ( I know right? Baby steps for me!) Once I got there we popped the chicken into the oven and started prepping the other ingredients. Can I just tell you that about 15 minutes into the chicken cooking the most amazing and mouth-watering smell began to waft out of the oven. I literally had to restrain myself from opening up the oven and diving face first into it. Deep breath. Instead, I occupied my time mincing up the onions, while Allison mixed the long list of spices. (Many of which I hadn’t ever heard of… so pretty glad I have a friend that lives next door and can cook, while sharing my love for all things Crossfit and now Paleo) I am definitely not a cook. I am working on this skill, but it is coming slowly. Which was pretty evident by the worried look on Allison’s face as I was “mincing” the onions…she kept reminding me to be careful and not cut myself…subliminal messages about my skills…probably.

Once the chicken was done, we took it out of the oven and after it cooled, diced it up into bite sized pieces. At this point we realized we were supposed to somehow make Cauliflower look and taste like rice. Neither of us had any idea so we went back to the computer to figure out how to do this. (Click here if you want to learn how). We used a grater and then sautéed it up. Note: it flies everywhere so be prepared for a cauliflower mess. Or you could just use it as confetti. Whichever.

Once that was done we put the onions, spices, chicken and chicken broth together and let simmer for 20 minutes. It is starting to look more and more like Indian food at this point, and I was just crossing my fingers that it would taste at least a little like the real thing.  Finally we were nearing the finish line and got out the plates and served up a good helping each and went outside to enjoy the beautiful weather.

I know we were both timid at first to try it, worrying that it would taste wrong. Picking up that first fork full we looked at each other and both tried it at the same time. GOOD LORDY. It was good really really good! I was shocked and so surprised. It tastes just like Indian Tikka Masala and the cauliflower was just as good too. The consistency and taste was just like rice…I didn’t miss the rice one bit! Here is a beautiful picture of the finished product:

 Seriously, so good. Allison thought it was a little spicy, and although my spice threshold is pretty low, I didn’t think it was too bad.

If any of you Paleo-ers are having Indian withdrawals I highly suggest this dish. It will definitely curb your craving and help you stay on track.

And as an amazing bonus, Allison had made Paleo Pecan Pie for desert. A perfect end to a great meal. And definitely great motivation to stay on this crazy train a while longer. Knowing I don’t have to go without all of the things I love is definitely a great help. Buon apetito!