Monday, January 11, 2016

Paleo-ish on a time crunch

So let's take a break from talking about my exercise regimen, shall we?  Let's get back to food.  I know you're all thinking that after all, this blog is called COOKING in Kenzo.  It's supposed to be a metaphor, ok?

I've been pretty upfront about the fact that focusing on eating whole foods (what some would call "real food" or the dreaded "clean eating") has been a game-changer for me.  I grew up eating meals where most of the components came from a can and/or box, but I know a lot of us did in the 80s.  While canned green beans (shiver) have thankfully become a thing of my past, I've definitely been treading on the edge of what is whole and what is not, lately.  Most of that can be chalked up to laziness but a good chunk of it is because I'm just plain busy.  I have a demanding job, we're building a new house, and oh yeah, I'm running after a 4 year old and 2 year old when I'm not sitting on planes or trains.  (PS I'm totally on a plane to Los Angeles as I type this.)  I've been wracking my brain to come up with ways to make fast meals that stick within my paleo-ish guidelines.  I'm besties with my crockpot but I needed a way to do something besides roasts and stews.

Luckily, I was standing in line at the grocery store when the latest issue of Real Simple called out to me.

"Oh Laaaaaura.  Buyyyyy meeee!," it said.

Inside that always-beautiful and tempting cover was a whole piece, entitled "Master Make-Ahead Meals," dedicated to prepping a week's worth of meal components on a Sunday and then combining them throughout the week.  Yeah, I know, there are plenty of paleo chefs out there who have suggested this, but I just wasn't ready to listen.  Of course, I had to adjust the plan a bit to accommodate what I eat, but I was able to do it in a way where I could make stuff that the whole family might enjoy.  Here's what I did in a Sunday Kitchen WOD:

  • snow peas
  • two pineapples chunked
  • head of lettuce washed and broken down
  • head of kale washed and taken off the stalks
  • brussell sprouts halved
  • asparagus trimmed
  • acorn squash sliced and roasted
Proteins cooked:
  • Bacon
  • Shrimp broiled with ghee and lemon
  • Beef and pork sausage meatballs
Starches cooked
  • Brown rice macaroni
  • Brown rice
  • Herb/garlic yogurt dressing
  • White bean dip (Real Simple recipe)
Basically I just built warm bowls or cold salads out of the ingredients I had on hand.  The most amount of work I had to do was warming up the starches and proteins, and maybe broiling a veggie like asparagus.  The yogurt dressing was a hit.  The white bean dip was eh but the kids at least tried (and liked!) the snow peas as a result of trying the dip. 

A salad (kale, lettus, almonds, asparagus, shrimp, squash, and simple lemon juice/olive oil dressing) on the left and a warm rice bowl (rice, meatballs, kale) with yogurt dressing on the right.
The brown rice macaroni went into a modification of the mac and cheese recipe in the Real Simple piece.   I ended up eating most of it even though it was really for the kids.  It was too much dairy for me so I'll nix it next week.  And I made too many shrimp, which didn't last more than a couple days in the fridge, so I will probably make less or use a different protein next week.  Other than that, this system was a huge success.  I think I will add in a batch of Nom Nom Paleo's cracklin chicken to next week's cook.  And maybe do a different kind of meatball.  Might also whip up a big bowl of my Colorful Kale Salad.  Finally, I am not against buying some of the pre-sliced veggies at the grocery story during weekends that are especially hectic.

More on this as things progress!  What do you do to get ready for the week?

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