Whole30 meal planning

whole30_mealplanning_recipes

The only way that I have made a regimented plan like this work for Christopher and I so far is with diligent planning. Being on a schedule like this can seem like a lot of upfront work but! It saves you from doing the back-and-forth ‘I don’t know, what do you want to eat?’ banter, which I can very much appreciate.

The cycle starts on Friday where I sit down and plan all of the meals for the following week, from dinner on Sunday to the following Friday or Saturday night. To make the Whole30 work the best, it is important to use a wide range of proteins, fruits and vegetables. I try to keep this in mind when I’m making the meal plan for the following week.

Once I have the menu set, I select the items I will need to purchase and add them to my grocery lists. This task has been made a million times easier using the app AnyList. On Saturday I do the shopping. During this time I’ve been going to up to 4 different stores to get all that I need so it takes more time that I’m use to.

Sunday is reserved for cooking. I usually make a large batch of breakfast that lasts from Monday morning until Friday morning. This makes our lives easier because it takes next to no effort in the morning to prepare something to eat before work. When I make dinners for the two of us I always try to make enough for our lunches the next day. This is also for the sake of simplicity and to ensure what we have for lunch is nutritious and filling.

Dinner time is when I get to cook more creatively or try a new recipe. Christopher and I have had a lot of ‘hell yeah!’ moments during this time and a few ‘meh’ moments too. Here are a few of my favorite items that we’ve made so far:

1. OVEN-ROASTED CAULIFLOWER RICE
This recipe comes from Melissa Joulwan from The Clothes Make The Girl, but I did make some modifications for the version I am sharing today!

This recipe is a perfect side dish to accompany asian inspired recipes and fish or roasted chicken. Though it doesn’t taste like rice, I think the texture is similar and it has all the nutritional benefits that come from cauliflower. I recommend making a big batch and using the leftovers through out the week for nights when you-just-can’t-even with cooking dinner.

Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower
1 tbs clarified butter/ghee
3/4 tsp salt
garlic powder, to taste

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 425º
2. Break florets and remove stem from cauliflower
3. Place in a food processor (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your processor)
4. Pulse between 10 and 15 times
5. In a large bowl, place the cauliflower rice and stir in the melted ghee, salt and garlic powder
6. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet
7. Place in oven for around 25 minutes or until you notice some brown toastyness on the top

2. MOCHA RUB STEAK
This recipe came from the book It Starts With Food and Christopher and I used it for our Valentine’s Day dinner. He loves coffee and I love chocolate so this seemed like the perfect combo for our tastebuds.

The rub recipe yielded a little more than we needed for dinner so we bagged up the excess and will be using it in some culinary adventure in the future.

Ingredients:
2 steaks of your choosing, we had rib-eye but next time we’d like to try sirloin
1 tbs clarified butter/ghee
1 tbs black pepper
1 tbs coriander
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp ground coffee

Steps:
1. Crush spices in a spice grinder or morter and pestle
2. Massage rub generously on to steaks
3. Wrap steaks in plastic wrap
4. Allow steaks to rest between 30 and 60 minutes before cooking
5. Heat cast iron skillet for 10 minutes on medium heat
6. Add clarified butter/ghee to pan and coat bottom evenly
7. Add steaks to pan and cook until browned (about 5 mins)
8. Turn steaks with tongs and allow to cook until desired doneness
9. Remove from pan and allow steaks to rest for 5 mins before serving

3. BREAKFAST CASSEROLE
Weekday breakfasts with this recipe have been perfect! It is basically a frittata with all of the ‘must haves’, veggies, protein and fats. I bake it in a 9″ x 13″ pan and it is enough to make 10 squares and each square is packed with energy and comfort. I can easily see us using this recipe well after our Whole30 is over.

Ingredients:
1 package of shredded potatoes
1/2 lb prosciutto
2 handfuls of spinach
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
12 eggs
1 clove minced garlic
1 tbs clarified butter/ghee
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 350º
2. In a skillet, add cooking fat and heat until shimmering
3. Place garlic and prosciutto in the pan and allow to cook down
4. Add potatoes, red pepper and spinach and allow to cook through
5. Allow this mixture to cool and add to the baking pan
6. Whisk eggs with a few shakes of salt and pepper
7. Grease baking pan and add the protein and vegetable combination
8. Pour the eggs on top of this mixture
9. Bake for 20 minutes or until the middle is cooked through
10. Once cooled, cut into squares
11. Enjoy with avocado (my fave) or fruit on the side

4. SPICY THAI BASIL CHICKEN
Our first foray in cooking Whole30 recipes was with this lovely recipe from Alanna of Planks, Love and Guacamole. Christopher made it the first time we had it and it gave me hope that I would really enjoy eating this way for 30 days. It has a nice spicy flavor an herbatiousness and an almost creamy quality that I loved. The garnishes are great too, maybe even my favorite part of this dish.

We’ve made this recipe twice and I look forward to making it again and again!

Ingredients:
1 lb boneless chicken breast
salt to taste
pepper to taste
oil to coat chicken

sauce –
1 cup fresh basil
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs vinegar
1 tbs coconut aminos
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
a few shakes of compliant hot sauce, I like
2 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeño, take seeds out if you want to tone down the heat

garnish-
1/2 cup crushed cashews
1/3 cup chopped pineapple

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 350º
2. Cut chicken into pieces
3. Toss with oil, salt and pepper
4. Wrap chicken into aluminum foil packets
5. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes
6. While chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce
7. Combine the sauce ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it is a pesto-like consistency
8. Toss chicken with sauce
9. Top with the cashews and pineapple
10. Serve in lettuce wraps or over oven-roasted cauliflower rice

the photo shown of this dish is from the original source here because apparently I didn’t get a good photograph of it while eating it.



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