Fall flavors and seasonal produce are my go-to's lately.
I love butternut squash, in particular, and I'm always trying to find different but simple ways to cook it, adding some of the other seasonal staples. Cranberries are sweet and tart at the same time and are the perfect pair for the sweet and buttery taste of the butternut squash. Adding some sage leaves just gives it the perfect final touch and makes these bowls a super comforting meal on a cold day when you just feel like having something special for lunch or dinner.
I also added some walnuts that gave this whole dish a nutty and warm flavor. I love nuts and I always try to incorporate them into my daily meals as a source of healthy fats. They are a great complement for our daily diet, as long as we do some portion control not to have too much calories just from nut intake.
Nuts are high in natural antioxidants, like polyphenols which may protect cells and LDL cholesterol from damage. They can also help reduce inflammation and and are high in fiber which are all great benefits for such mighty tiny little things! I love all kinds of nuts but I'm particularly fond of walnuts, pecans and almonds.
When I make a smoothie bowl for breakfast, for example, I always make sure to top it with seeds and nuts and also some freshly cut fruit and a drizzle of honey - it's a perfect way to start the day and I have a nice serving of healthy fats and nutrients from the fruit too. I use almond or coconut milk since I gave up dairy after realizing how inflammatory it was to me. When I have something else for breakfast I always find a way to incorporate nuts in, at least, one of my daily meals and I must say that I can't even imagine my daily diet without them!
As for my kids, my oldest also loves nuts and usually adds them to his oatmeal with honey, in the morning. My youngest is still not on the nut wagon but she'll get there, eventually! I always like my kids to try everything I cook so they can experience a wide range of flavors and textures and sometimes what they don't like one week becomes their favorite thing the next one!
Talk about ever changing tastes!
One of my goals as a mom of two young children is to teach them how to eat healthy and to make healthy choices. As long as they have the basic notions I believe they'll grow up with the right mindset and, hopefully, will become responsible adults who care about what they feed their bodies.
As for this recipe, the kids are not too fond of butternut squash so mom and dad had these amazing little lunch treats all for themselves! And what a treat that was!
1 small butternut squash
1/2 cup dried cranberries (look for the natural ones, with no added ingredients/sugar)
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup halves walnuts
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp all spice (all natural)
1 - Start by preheating the oven to 450 F.
2 - Peel the butternut squash, cutting it in half and then, after removing the seeds, dice it in small size chunks.
3 - Add the squash pieces to a large bowl where you'll be mixing all the other ingredients.
4 - Add all the other ingredients to the bowl: the cranberries, walnuts and the sage leaves roughly chopped. Season with the salt, pepper, garlic powder and all spice.
5 - Mix everything together and lastly add the olive oil, giving a very good mix after that to incorporate all the ingredients.
6 - Fill a greased baking tray with the butternut squash mix - I used two medium sized souffle bowls which also work perfectly if you're going to make this as single serve meals. I just brushed the inside of the bowls with a bit of olive oil and added the butternut squash mix.
7 - Take the butternut squash filled bowls to the oven to bake for about 30 minutes. Check every 5 minutes after the first 20 so you can adjust the baking time to your own oven - times can vary a bit depending on the oven you have.
8 - After the cooking time has finished and the butternut squash has a beautiful brown color on top , turn the oven off and remove the bowls from the oven.
I had one of these amazing Fall festive cups for lunch, with a perfectly fried organic pasture raised egg on top - the creaminess of the egg yolk was the scrumptious final touch over the brown and toasted butternut squash! Just forgot to take a picture of the said amazing egg!
These squash bowls can also be made with other roasted vegetables. Just play with your favorites and add some different spices to make different combinations for the whole family.
This is a dish that reheats very well so you can easily fit in into your Sunday meal prep and use it during the week to build your weekly menu: add some of your favorite proteins or have it has a breakfast bowl just by adding one or two fried eggs! Just check the post I tagged above, about meal prep, to get an idea about how simple your week meals can get if you start meal prepping over the weekend!
As for me, this is a perfect side dish that allows me to make a whole meal out of it too and that is one of the advantages of thinking about versatile meals - being able to switch the menu with a few staples is what allows me to keep my sanity on busy weeknights!
What better way is there to welcome Fall then cooking up a hearty meal with pork chops and apples! It's a winning combination and with premium quality meat it just gets loads of extra points for flavor and tenderness of the meat!
I've recently got my first Butcher Box and I'm totally devoted to telling all about it to my friends and followers. Having a busy life is no longer an excuse for not getting high quality meat! With the Butcher Box subscription service you can get a box of 100% grass-fed, grass finished beef, heritage breed pork and free range organic chicken delivered to your doorstep every month or every other month, whatever option fits your family the best.
You can personalize your box and mix your favorite cuts of meat in order to fit it to your household and you can always choose some add on's like no-sugar bacon, which has been a staple at our house since I've done my first whole 30 program. I truly recommend this because with our busy schedule it can be hard to have the time to go to the butcher and buy great quality cuts of meat - with this service you are sure to get what you order and, if you're a meal planner like me, it just makes our life so much easier!
You know what cuts of meat you're getting so you can plan ahead and write down your meals for the week; apart from that you'll just need to make your produce list and make a run to the farmers market or your local supermarket to get the rest of your ingredients for the week's menu.
It'll come out at approximately $6/serving which is a great value for such high quality meat and, as you can see in my video that I'm sharing in the link below, the steaks are huge as are the pork chops, so you'll get a few meals out of those cuts! Also, the chicken breast comes in 3 pre-portioned packs so you can use them independently and cook them on your meal prep in different ways so you can have different options to choose from during the week. You can cook up some chicken soup with one of the packages and grill some strips for the week's lunches and lunchboxes and still be left with a package left!
On my first order, that I shared in this video, I got:
If you're interested in giving it a try and signing up to get to know a bit more about Butcher Box, just click here and, if you subscribe the service until the end of September, through my link, you'll get FREE ground beef for life!
How cool is that?
With this offer you'll get, with each box that gets delivered at your house, 2 lbs of 100% grass-fed and grass-finished ground beef for free! Just imagine the variety of meals you can cook up with ground beef, specially in the colder months: soups, chili, meatloaf, lasagna...so many options! So, don't waste a minute and click on the link above to get your offer but don't forget that you only have until September 30th to do it!
As soon as you get your first box you can try this recipe for yourself! Grab your Butcher Box now and start meal planning for the next month!
4 boneless pork chops (I used the "Butcher Box" heritage breed pork chops)
4 big white potatoes
1 small butternut squash (about 1+1/2 cup)
1 lbs Brussels sprouts
3 large Gala apples
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
a few sage leaves for the pork
1 - Preheat the oven at 400 F.
2 - Prepare the vegetables to use them cover the baking sheet. Wash the potatoes and cut them in chunks, peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds and cute it in small pieces. Wash the Brussels sprouts , remove any damaged leaves and cut them in half or in quarters if they're too large. Try to have all the vegetables in same size pieces so they'll cook evenly.
3 - Place all the vegetables in a big mixing bowl and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and fresh thyme. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and mix everything in order to get a bit of it in all the vegetables; if necessary add some more. Add half of the paprika and give everything a last toss before transferring the vegetables to the baking sheet, previously brushed with olive oil.
4 - Wash the apples and cut them in fourths. Take out the core and seeds and slice them, keeping them in a bowl of water with lemon juice until placing them on the baking sheet, so they won't oxidize and turn brown. When the vegetables are on the baking sheet place the apple slices around the tray and between the vegetables, after removing them from the lemon water.
5 - Place the pork chops in a glass container or bowl and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and thyme leaves. Add a bit of olive oil and the juice of 2 clementines and 1/2 lemon.
6 - Place the meat over the vegetables and cover it with any remaining juice. This will help the pork chops to cook without making them dry and keeping them juicy and with a lemon/orange hint flavor. Place some sage leaves on top of the pork chops and place the baking sheet in the oven. Cook for about 25 minutes or until the meat is cooked.
7 - For plating just take a bit of everything and slice the pork chops in medium slices. the ones I used were big, so 1 was enough for 2 people. Get the vegetables on the bottom of the plate, cover with the pork chop and sprinkle some freshly chopped cilantro for a hint of green. Use any remaining juices to drizzle over the meat.
This was the perfect recipe to welcome Fall of 2018! The roasted veggies, the flavorful and tender meat, the apples and the sage were a superb combination of warm and cozy flavors.
There's so much simplicity in sheet-pan meals that they really are one of my go-to's for busy schooldays - getting all the ingredients together and popping everything in the oven while everyone gets settled from school and sports activities is perfect!
No weeknight dinner stress and mommy gets a load of compliments on the healthy and hearty meals cooked for the whole family.
Just to give you a notion of the number of meals I got from this sheet pan dinner, it was enough for one meal for all of us, another for my lunch the next day and I still got three more individual servings out of it. All in all, 7 servings which was pretty good for the price that I payed for all the ingredients. That is one of the other reasons why I love sheet-pan dinners so much, they really stretch the food out!
Give it a try and let me know what you think of this recipe!
Happy Fall everybody!
If you follow my blog you must know, by now, that I love salmon!
I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to sample the Virgin Bay Seafood Co. wild caught salmon, from Alaska. It really does pay off to spend a bit more for great quality protein that is sustainable caught and that has, indubitably, more flavor and a texture that will leave you wanting for seconds after each meal you prepare with it!
I mean, just take a look at this perfect and beautiful salmon portions:
How could anyone be tired of eating food like this?!
Oh, well, I can't have this fish every week but I'm making sure to take some time and do proper research about the quality and sourcing of our family meals' protein sources. We really should pay more attention to what we feed our bodies and, specially after the whole30, that has been a concern of mine.
Not only for my health but for all of my family's.
By the time I did this recipe I was also able to try out some veggie kits I got from Urban Roots - even though I had to eliminate some of the seasonings that weren't whole30 compliant I had a great time trying these kits out and sampling the different condiments that come with each package. I loved the experience and I'm really glad to know that there's a company that makes eating veggies easier and simpler - if you have a busy life and not a lot of time to spend cooking you should really look into these!
Check out their website and all their veggie kits!
Here's a picture of what I got, alongside some amazing olive oil which continues to be a staple at our house.
I used the butternut squash and the cauliflower kit as a side for another meal and they were delicious! I usually buy all my veggies at the farmers market and prepare them yourself but, like I sad, if you're running low on time and want to make sure that there is always a veggie option in your fridge, make sure to grab some of these packages and try them out as soon as you can.
You won't be disappointed!
The recipe is pretty simple and that's one of the things that I like about cooking. You don't need to over do it, just choose good ingredients, simple flavors and you're off to a good meal, for sure!
2 wild caught salmon fillets (I used the Virgin Bay Seafood Co. - Copper River Sockeye Salmon)
1 big sweet potato sliced
1 brocolli crown
1 lbs small yellow potatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp capers
1/3 lemon juice
1 Tbsp (total) garlic powder
salt and pepper
a bunch of cilantro
2 Tbsp pitted kalamata olives
1 - Preheat the oven at 400 F.
2 - Prepare all the veggies that are going into the oven - wash the potatoes and cut them in half. Wash the broccoli and separate it in florets. Place each vegetable in a different bowl and add the seasonings.
3 - On the potatoes and cherry tomatoes mix I used olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. The broccoli had olive oil, turmeric, salt and pepper. The sweet potatoes just had olive oil, red pepper chili flakes and garlic powder.
4 - Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and line up all your veggies making sure that they are not overcrowded in order to cook evenly. I ended up mixing the salmon with the veggies but next time I'll cook them separately!
5 - On a different baking sheet lined with parchment paper place the salmon fillets and season with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Cook the fish and vegetables for about 20 minutes or until you see they're cooked through. The time may be a bit off if you choose thicker fillets or bigger chunks of veggies - if that is the case roast them for another 5-10 minutes.
6 - When everything is cooked, transfer to a serving plate and make the sauce to cover the salmon: in a bowl add the lemon juice, about a tsbp of olive oil, the chopped and pitted kalamata olives, the capers and some freshly chopped cilantro.
I love cilantro so I really got a good amount in there!
This was a meal for 4 and the whole family loved it!
I must say that sheet-pan meals are my favorite for weekdays because they make everything so easy and simple - one pan (or two, in this case!) and everything gets cooked at the same time. It's also perfect to cook chicken breast/thighs (might need a bit more time to cook) or shrimp!
Take a look at what you got on your last shopping trip and figure out what protein and veggies you can combine to make yourself a full and satisfying meal like this one!
I would love to know if you also have the habit of doing this kind of sheet-pan meals! Let me know in the comments!
.Breakfast! The first meal of the day and, as many say, the most important one. After having been without food for a considerable number of hours our body needs nutritious biological fuel to start waking up our metabolism and to give us energy to kick start a new day with a positive mindset.
While I was on the whole30 I had to rethink my idea of "breakfast". It was no longer the meal filled with cereal, bread or milk to what I had been accustomed to. For me it was relatively easy to change my perspective and try to face this meal as any meal out of the other two I would have during the day - it was a meal that, according to the whole30 plate template, would necessarily have to include protein, vegetables, a plated healthy fat and the occasional piece of fruit.
The first instinct is to choose eggs and, believe me, I LOVE eggs!
Having a couple of beautiful, organic, deep orange yolked eggs in my plate seems like the perfect start to any weekday! But the idea of having the same thing everyday, over and over again, can become really old and give room to "food boredom" which is one of my worst enemies! It makes me feel like I no longer enjoy food and while I do eat healthy and try to always make good choices I love a filled plate of gorgeous food for breakfast as you've probably noticed if you have read any of my food journals, like this one: whole30-week-2-food-journal.html.
A lot of people who I talk to come to me with the same question:
What can I have for breakfast that doesn't include eggs? I can't stand eggs anymore!
Well, the quick answer is to tell you that you can have ANYTHING for breakfast, it doesn't have to be eggs!
I used to have leftovers from dinner or lunch from the previous day but I know that ii's also good to have some "recipes" that you can get into your Sunday meal prep and feel more organized during the week, just in case you end up with no leftovers from your meals.
The last thing you want if you're doing a whole30 round is find yourself unprepared and with no compliant options. Having to grab something quick that may not be satiating enough might lead to mindless snacking or poor choices which is precisely what we want to avoid during this reset program.
So, I came up with a bunch of links to delicious and mouth watering breakfast options that don't include eggs. Enjoy and take a look at these delicious and colorful suggestions to start your day right and full of nutritious food!
1. Sweet potato skillet, by "Confessions of a Clean Foodie"
Credit: Confessions of a Clean Foodie
I've been following this blog for a while as well as the author's Instagram account and I am a confessed huge fan!
I so identify myself with her values and her looks on healthy food and eating clean. You will need a spiralizer for this recipe but if you haven't bought one already it's the perfect time to do it! It's one of the kitchen tools I use the most and makes including veggies into your meals even more easy and practical. Zoodles are a favorite of mine and I'm getting the kids on board too, sometimes I'm switching pasta by zoodles and everyone loves it.
It's a super easy recipe that gets everything in the same pan which is perfect - one utensil to clean up and I'm pretty happy about it! You can prepare this over the weekend and even double the recipe, depending on the number of people who you're cooking to and then keep it refrigerated to use as you go.
2. Spinach, mushroom and cherry tomato fry up, by "Eat Drink Paleo"
Credit: Eat Drink Paleo
This is a combo that I love! Spinach and mushrooms really do belong together and I'll try to add the tomatoes next time I do something like this because it looks absolutely stunning! You can always add some more veggies, if you like, and add a piece of fruit like an apple with almond butter for the platted fat.
3. Kale, sausage and pepper skillet, by "Primal Gourmet"
Credit: Primal Gourmet
Just take a look at those sausages? Doesn't that make you want to have a full plate of wholesome food for breakfast?! Sausage and peppers are a great combo and pairing them up with some leafy greens is perfect to get part of your daily dose of vegetables in the first part of the day.
I would definitely add some chopped avocado on top for extra creaminess!
4. Whole30 breakfast hash, by "Tasty Thin"
Credit: Tasy Thin
This kind of breakfast hash is the most common option and useful one if you have a lot of veggies and root vegetables that you want to cook up in just one skillet. Add your protein, choose your favorite healthy fat and finish with a small piece of fruit.
Adding different colored veggies makes it fun to the kids to get involved in the cooking process and in trying new flavors!
5. Breakfast Pot Pie, by "The Castaway Kitchen"
Credit: The Castaway Kitchen
I did not know about this recipe when I was still on my round but now that I've found it I will absolutely make it because it looks absolutely delicious and comforting! This is another blog that I follow, mainly through Instagram, and it's always a source of inspiration and excellent healthy recipes and ideas.
It is a bit elaborate and you have to make the cashew or the cauliflower cream (see notes by the author) but I bet it's absolutely worth it!
Once again, you can always prep ahead and have this done for the week.
It's just a matter of organization and meal prep!
6. Paleo Bison Plantain Breakfast Bowl, by "Fed+Fit"
I love breakfast bowls!
In fact, I tend to prefer eating from a bowl than from a plate...since finishing my whole30 round I notice that I eat less and the size of a regular bowl is perfect for a meal, at least for myself. My husband would take two bowls, for sure!
As for the meat you can use whatever compliant ground meat you have available and substitute the bison.
It really looks yummy and makes you feel hungry just by looking at the picture, right?!
7. Zucchini and sweet potato latkes, by "I Breath I'm Hungry"
Credit: "I Breath I'm Hungry"
I know, I know! When you click on the link and start reading through the recipe you see an EGG on top of the latkes! Forget about the egg, since we're on a egg-free recipe journey and substitute it with another protein of your choice. Smoked salmon would work perfectly here alongside with some fresh and peppery arugula.
Doesn't that sound better?
Usually we think sausage, bacon, ground meat but forget about the smoked salmon and it is such a perfect protein source.
Just give it a try and you might be surprised!
8. Butternut squash breakfast sausage, by "Real Food with Dana"
Credit: "Real Food with Dana"
I love combining fruit with meat and this combo just looks perfect for a breakfast dish!
Add some grilled or sauteed veggies from your Sunday meal prep (yes, I'll keep insisting on meal prep because that is ESSENTIAL to make you stay on track and always have healthy options available!).
Particularly apples work great with turkey or chicken and give that sweet/sour contrast that goes perfectly with the meat flavors.
I love Dana's recipes and views on whole30 and she is also another blogger that I follow and admire.
9. Collard green wraps, by "The Castaway Kitchen"
Credit: The Castaway Kitchen
Wraps are a great option, either for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
They are also very versatile because you can really utilize whatever ingredients you have on hand and it's also the perfect use for those "cleaning fridge" days - whatever vegetables you have left, grilled chicken or salmon, just throw everything together and make it a wrap!
Also, I've seen a lot of collard greens wraps made with the raw leaves and it always seemed kind of hard to assemble that way: getting them in boiling water and cooling them sown afterwards seems like the perfect solution.
10. Egg-free paleo breakfast bowls, by "Simone Miller's Zenbelly"
Credit: Simone Miller's Zenbelly
This bowls are so easy to put together and it's one of those recipes that you can make them your own by replacing some of the veggies by the ones you have sitting in the fridge before they go bad!
Use different proteins and seasonings to have variety do you don't get stuck with the same breakfast every day for a week.
Stay away from food boredom!
11. Yam, celery root and bacon hash, by "Rubies and Radishes"
Credit: Rubies and Radishes
I love skillet meals!
I don't know what it is that fascinates me but a round pan filled with good veggies and tasty bacon sounds like the perfect breakfast option right now!
Just make sure to choose a whole30 compliant no-sugar bacon to stay on program.
I love green veggies so I would definitely add some chopped kale or Swiss chard to this beautiful root vegetable skillet!
12. Mango chicken breakfast sausage, by "HeartBeetKitchen"
Making your own breakfast sausages is a great Sunday meal prep idea!
Aside from the fact that you can add your own seasonings and add-ons, you can also double batch and freeze the patties so you can use them as you need them!
This sound absolutely delicious with the diced mango and simple ingredients.
Have them in the morning with a salad and 1/2 avocado for the healthy plated fat portion.
13. Sausage and sweet potato Paleo egg-free breakfast, by "Paleo Bailey"
Credit: Paleo Bailey
Another great skillet meal and this comes with the suggested plated fat, avocado!
That creaminess from the avocado with the richness of the sausage and the freshness of the green onions seems like the perfect combo!
Give this a try and you'll be surprised at how easy this recipe is and how tasty your mornings can become.
Get this all prepped on Sunday and reheat during the week.
14. Sausage and cabbage, by "Life Made Full"
Credit: "Life Made Full"
Is there anyone who doesn't like sausage and cabbage?
t's such a comforting dish!
Just make sure to use compliant sausage and serve this up with some cheery tomatoes and olives!
A different but truly indulgent way to start any day!
15. Pumpkin breakfast apple bake, by "Wholesomelicious"
This recipe is last on the list for a specific reason.
We all know that whole30 discourages the recreation of baked goods and I can see that this looks just like one of those cases. I also know that, sometimes, we just really need something different to get through another day and it's just not about giving into the sugar dragon, it's about needing to have something different that day or something that it's more convenient to eat on the go.
It's funny how I've discovered this recipe. Actually I didn't!
Through my whole30 I met someone on the Facebook group and we went on helping each other out and supporting each other through our journey.
When I went through my first gum surgery I was really demoralized during my post-op weeks and was so fed up with soups, smoothies (I had to take them because of my restricted soft food diet - even though discouraged if they are compliant it's still a whole30) and scrambled eggs that I really didn't feel like eating...at all!
So, my friend sent me the link to this recipe and I did it with shredded apples and no nuts because of my post-op restrictions. I can only tell you that this was a life saver for my 8 weeks of restricted soft food diet and I think it might help other people that are also looking for alternatives for whatever reason that may be.
I hope everyone finds these suggestions helpful and I would love to know if you tried to cook some of them at home.
Don't forget that whether you are doing a whole30 or not, MEAL PREP is essential for a healthy diet and allows you to make the right choices for yourself and for your whole family.
Spending a couple of hours on Sunday cooking up for the majority of the rest of the week may also free you up from that daily stress of figuring out what to cook!
If you are struggling with this issue go back to my blog post about meal prep, here, and read it thoroughly so you can get into the right mindset.
Also, the post about whole30 essentials is a must for anyone starting a whole30, just to get the basics of the program. You can look it up here.
Let me know if there's anything you would like to see posted here on the blog and keep me on your saved links because sharing is caring and we can all use some advice from one another.
Any questions you may have just drop me an email or comment on this post!
I've got this thing with butternut squash - I love it when it's cooked by me but whenever I ask for it when I'm eating out it seems to never come out quiet as good! I do love to play with different flavors and textures and I think that's what so amazing about cooking - you can always try something out of the ordinary, think outside the box: in most cases it works out pretty darn well!
This was a side dish that I tried while I was still on my Whole30. It goes perfectly well with meat, either grilled or roasted and, as a plus, the kids had the apples and walnuts as a dessert and it was a hit! They are not fans of squash but they tried it, as I always make sure they do every time I cook up something new and different. It's extremely important to expose them to all kinds of foods and ingredients and they will only know if they like it by trying it, right?
1 butternut squash
5 medium apples
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 - Preheat the oven to 450 F.
2 - Start by preparing the butternut squash: cut it in half with a well sharped knife. Peel the squash and hollow the inside of each half and discard the seeds. Put the squash in a baking tray and cut some deep cuts (not going all the way through) like seen in the pictures. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and finish with the freshly chopped parsley.
3 - Evenly distribute the olive oil between the two squash halves. I use the spray bottle which makes it a lot easier to control the amount of fat I'm using in my cooking. It''s my usual way of getting the fat in my roasted veggies too, the spray is wonderful and you won't get too much fat in your cooking.
4 - Prepare the apple mix: wash the apples and cut them in quarters. Take off the seeds and stems and cut in big chunks or slices, whichever you prefer. Place the apples in a bowl and drizzle the lemon juice to help prevent the oxidation on the apple. Add the cinnamon and the chopped pecans and mix everything really well.
5 - Place the apple mix on the baking tray alongside the squash and bake for about 35 minutes or until the butternut squash gets golden as well as the apples. Don't cut the apples in small pieces or you'll end up with burnt apples! Not good!
As you can see, this recipe is extremely simple and can serve as a side for so many dishes or as an add-on to a simple salad and turn it into something completely different! If you're not doing a Whole30 round you can also drizzle some honey right at the end of the cooking time to give it a sweet natural touch and it'll turn out perfect too!
Next time I'll add some more nuts and apples to make sure that I have enough to eat this as a side and to have enough dessert for my kids! They went through this like crazy - better have the sweet tooth satisfied with some fruit and nuts than with some high sugar candy, right?
Since wrapping up my first Whole30 I found out several things about the effect that different foods have on me. I found out, among other things, that gluten IS the trigger to my migraines: I used to have 2-3 each week and I'm down to one a month which is amazing! This discovery allowed me to change the way I eat in order to control something that was really disturbing and disruptive to my daily life.
Coincidentally, I was contacted by Cappello's brand to whip up some recipes with their gluten-free products! They offer a great range of product, from pizza to pasta and cookie dough. Guess I won't be missing anything on my gluten-free diet! I decided to start with the gluten-free gnocchi because I've always wanted to try them but ended up never doing it. I can only say one thing: PERFECT!
This little golden clouds of puffiness were an absolute delightful meal, paired with roasted veggies that have now a precious place in my daily food routine. Getting them cooked and then crispy by sauteing them in garlic ghee was the perfect choice and resulted in a crunchy outside and a soft and creamy inside - I'm serious, you must try these gnocchi!
Ingredients (3 servings):
1 package of Capello’s gluten-free gnocchi
1 acorn squash
½ butternut squash
4 leaves of Lacinato kale
15 fresh wild-caught shrimp
Salt, pepper to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp new bae seasoning (I used the Primal Palate one)
1 tbsp garlic ghee (I used the 4th and Heart one)
1 – The first thing to do is to start on roasting the veggies. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2 - Wash the acorn squash and cut it in half, remove the seeds and cut thin slices. Peel the butternut squash and dice it finely.
3 – Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spray some olive oil on it and place the veggies on top. Season with a bit more olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and the fresh thyme leaves. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the veggies are cooked (time may vary according to the oven). Midway through the cooking time toss the veggies around so they get evenly cooked on both sides.
4 – Now, start working on those beautiful gnocchi. Get a big pan, fill it with filtered water and take it to a boil. When the water is boiling add the gnocchi and keep moving them around every 30 seconds or so, just like recommended in the package. When the gnocchi float that’s when you know they’re cooked through!
5 – Melt the garlic ghee on a pan and add the strained gnocchi. Let them brown and get the taste from the garlic ghee which is amazing! This process takes about 6-8 minutes but make sure to keep shaking the gnocchi around the pan, so they get brown all over – this step will give a wonderful crispiness that goes amazingly well with the creaminess of the inside of the gnocchi!
6 – When the gnocchi are golden remove them from the pan and cook the shredded kale for about 4 minutes, just enough time to get it flavored but not soggy. Add the gnocchi back to the pan. Turn the heat off.
7 – The last thing to do is to cook the shrimp. Season them with new bae seasoning and just grilled them on a bit of olive oil for just a couple of minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and reserve to drain any liquid that may come off.
8 – Assemble your dish: add the butternut squash to the pan where you have the gnocchi with the kale and plate each serving on a single serve dish. Add the acorn squash and the shrimp and that’s it! A feast for the yes and for the taste buds!
I can't wait to try the other products by this brand! As I'm writing this blog post I'm having another 6 weeks of soft food diet due to a second gum surgery that I had done. It's always boring to be limited to soups, smoothies, scrambled eggs, mashed banana, apple sauce and steamed fish but...it's necessary! Can't wait too get back to solid food and start creating delicious meals again!
In the meantime I have some tasty suggestions that I've cooked these past few weeks and that I want to share with all of you. Stay tuned for another great recipe on Thursday!
If you follow my Instagram account you know that a lot has happened between my last blog post and now!
I had laser gum surgery done on my left side gums (upper and lower) which has limited my meal options a lot in these last 4 weeks. I was on a restricted soft food diet until last week, when I got the OK from my periodontist to get on with "regular" food, but only chewing on the right side of my mouth. Well, I'll take an upgrade from a bad situation any chance I get and this was the perfect opportunity to start trying out new recipes at home and share them on the blog, again!
At the same time, I'm still on my Whole30 journey and I'm now on the reintroduction phase. I've tried dairy, legumes and non-gluten grains and, as soon as I finish that phase, I'll write everything down on a detailed blog post with all my conclusions including if I got to find out about the foods that trigger my migraines which was, after all, the reason to start the whole process!
The recipe I'm sharing today was the last one I got to cook before I got my surgery. As some of you know I got some amazing wild caught Alaskan fish from Virgin Bay Seafood Co. and I've been thinking about it all through this period when I couldn't eat proper food, as I call it! I chose some amazing halibut portions and I cooked them in the oven with some rainbow carrots and broccoli...what can I say? When you have prime ingredients the best thing to do is keep it simple and let the fish shine on its own...and did it shine!
The texture of the halibut was firm and the taste was surprisingly fresh and delicate. I didn't want to overpower it with other flavors and it turned out perfect. If you get a chance, take a look at the company's website and check out the offers in terms of package so you can get your hands on some marvelous wild caught fish from Alaska. I can't wait to try their salmon!
One thing is certain: there really is a huge difference in taste and texture between farmed fish and wild caught fish. Of course the price you pay to get it is higher, as it should, because the superior quality has costs and they are really well known by all of us. The real question is: would you rather pay more for healthier and tastier fish or for healthcare and medicines when the quality of what you eat shows up in some sick and unpleasant way? I choose healthy for me and for my family and I've been trying to improve our food choices in order to improve our health and general well being as well as paying attention to sustainable options that lower the impact that we have on our planet. It is ours to keep safe and protected.
1 - Preheat the oven on 400 F. Peel the onion and slice it in thick slices. Saute them in olive oil and add the garlic and the bay leaf. Season with the jerk seasoning and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes until it starts to get brownish. Arrange the onion on the bottom of the baking sheet, in the center so it can be shielded from the heat of the oven, by the fish.
2 - Place the halibut portions in the center of the baking sheet and arrange the carrots around it. Wash the broccoli crown and cut off the florets to distribute them alongside the carrots. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon juice. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil on the vegetables and arrange the lemon slices by the fish. Sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley and bake it in the oven for about 25 minutes, keeping an eye on it.
3 - When the fish is ready turn off the oven and take the baking sheet out, not to overcook the fish. Boil the eggs and peel them to serve alongside with the fish and the vegetables.
This was a perfectly healthy and delicious dinner for the whole family!
The kids love fish and if you add eggs to it it's like "the best meal ever"! Isn't it rewarding to hear something like that from them when they're 7 and 9 years old? Teaching them how and what to eat has become another task as a mom and I'm taking it very personally; getting children on the path of healthy food it's an investment in their future health and teaching them things like reading ingredient labels and identifying unhealthy options really is looking out for them.
I'm proud to be an interested mind and I hope to influence my kids' decisions in terms of foods, for as long as they let me! I hope that by the time they start making their own decisions, eating outside, they'll have the tools and information to make the right choices and to practice a balanced diet with real food!
I really can not believe week 4 of my first Whole30 is over! Only two more days to get to the finish line and it's becoming even more natural to eat this way. I've come to the point where I don't even think about bread! Of course I like it but I've been feeling so good without it that I'm almost afraid of what it may do to me during the reintroduction phase. But...one thing at a time!
As some of you may know I'm going to have laser gum surgery performed on Wednesday. That might be a challenge but I've prepped this next week in a somewhat different way. I've cooked and frozen some soups to have during the days when I'll only be able to have liquids and then I'll add some really soft food when that time comes: guacamole, mashed potatoes, applesauce, mashed banana. At least, having prepped for a bit gives me a sense of calm and I don't feel stressed about not having compliant food available. I also have some Zupanoma soups to try, that I've gotten through an Instagram giveaway - can't wait to try those!
I've chosen some pretty basic soups that would end up with a very creamy texture because I'll be having them as the only item of my meal. I used bone broth in all of them, to get even more goodness out of these great soups:
With this being said I do feel nervous about this surgery and that has affected my mood by the end of the week. I usually keep it all together pretty well but with something like this I always fear that something might not go so well and...well. I rather just move on to the food journal!
I hope these pictures help other people to get ideas for meals that come a bit out of their usual menu - getting varied foods is key to keep food boredom away. I know you must be tired of hearing me say that but it really is true! So, inspire yourself and take a look at my week 4 food journal!
riced cauliflower rice with kale and salmon (leftovers from another breakfast) +
1/2 avocado +
1 fried egg, in ghee +
roasted potato wedges +
1 slice of diced pineapple
Romaine lettuce with green goddess dressing, from TJ's +
1 roasted potato +
5 kalamata olives +
grilled Verde Farms steak strips +
sauteed spinach +
roasted red pepper sauce +
seedless green grapes
roasted chicken breast +
roasted asparagus +
roasted red cabbage and cauliflower +
1 Tbsp spicy salsa +
5 kalamata olives +
1 cup roasted tomato soup
2 fried eggs, in ghee +
1 spiralized zucchini sauteed in a bit of olive oil +
roasted potato wedges +
1 sliced apple with 1 tbsp almond butter
steamed spaghetti squash (1/3 of a whole squash) +
ground turkey with marinara sauce +
6 kalamata olives +
roasted asparagus +
ground turkey with cabbage and carrots +
1 bacon strip +
1 cup of roasted tomato soup
1 grilled chicken thigh +
roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon +
roasted green beans +
butternut squash roasted ribbons +
1 banana with 1 Tbsp almond butter
Leftover chicken with mushrooms and tomato (Instant Pot recipe) +
roasted asparagus +
roasted potato wedges +
5 kalamata olives +
roasted butternut squash ribbons +
1 grilled peach (just on the grill, on the stove top, no fat needed)
ground turkey with marinara sauce +
sauteed spinach +
cauliflower rice with salmon and kale (leftover) +
1 roasted potato +
roasted green beans with almonds +
2 scrambled eggs, in ghee +
1 sliced pear with cinnamon and a few more almonds
This time I left some food on the plate, first time ever! I feel I'm starting to get full with less food. I left 1/2 of the potato and 1/3 of the green beans with almonds.
steamed spaghetti squash (1/3 of a whole squash) +
1 small grilled chicken thigh +
roasted red pepper sauce +
roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon bits +
freshly chopped parsley +
1 sliced apple with 1 Tbsp almond butter
Chicken stew with mushrooms and tomato +
roasted rainbow carrots +
roasted broccoli +
Romaine lettuce with TJ's green goddess dressing +
grilled mushrooms and zucchini +
1 grilled spicy sausage, from TJ's +
1 sliced apple with 1 Tbsp almond butter
Steamed spaghetti squash (1/3 of a whole spaghetti squash) +
roasted pepper tomato sauce +
roasted Brussels sprouts +
5 kalamata olives +
5 pieces of grilled plantain (just on the grill, no fat needed) +
1 grilled chili lime burger from TJ's (delicious!) +
1 TJ's chili-lime burger +
steamed bok choy +
leftover rainbow carrots and onions +
1 dollop of guacamole
roasted Brussels sprouts and green beans +
2 fried eggs, in ghee +
1 sliced pear +
1 bowl of Whole30 chili, from this recipe +
1 dollop of guacamole +
This was the perfect example that having Whole30 frozen meals is a must when you commit to the program. I had to go with my daughter to a birthday party and got home past 2 PM. I was really hungry but all I had to do was put the chili in the microwave and get it really hot, just like I like it!
1 TJ's chili-lime burger +
leftover roasted rainbow carrots +
leftover roasted Brussels sprouts and green beans +
6 kalamata olives
sauteed kale +
1 apple spicy sausage +
butternut squash +
1 pear +
1 Tbsp almond butter
1 bowl of carrot and turmeric soup with pepitas +
1 TJ's chili-lime burger +
1 Tbsp TJ's vegan pesto +
romaine lettuce +
1 radish +
1 Tbsp Tessamae's balsamic vinaigrette +
1 cup of roasted butternut squash soup +
2 slices of grilled bacon +
1 small slice of grilled pork tenderloin +
roasted asparagus +
1 pack of Seasnax roasted seaweed
As always, I had two coffees during the day - one at breakfast and the other one after lunch. I also kept taking my collagen peptides daily and used bone broth in my cooking to help our gut health and include some more natural goodness into our daily routine.
My three meals are done in three different sized plates: breakfast is the largest meal of the day, on a regular plate, lunch is served either on a soup plate or a cereal bowl and dinner is served on a dessert plate, sometimes paired by a cup of soup.
Mood and emotions:
Although I didn't have any negative feelings due to the Whole30 food choices I felt a bit crankier and stressed, thinking about next week's surgery. It was always on the back of my mind and ended up affecting how I felt all through the week. I didn't have any sugar cravings and I think for me that was a non existent issue from the start - I've never been a sweet tooth.
my energy level was a bit lower than usual which was also related to the stress I felt. Other than that I feel that I'm becoming more confident about myself and with my body which is a major issue for me. That dependency on the scale is also something that I still fight and, ultimately, I need to end it! I know that the number on the scale doesn't represent ME but I keep longing to see it - that must end! If I feel good, energetic and more confident about myself I mustn't need a scale in my life! So I guess the topic "less reliance on the scale" really isn't a check for me. Working on it...life long habits are hard to quit!
Physical changes (visible):
My skin is looking great and I haven't had any blemishes, not even during my period week! My hair is shinier, healthier and I don't end up with a brush full of hair every time I comb it! It really is a huge NSV and I wouldn't think that changing what I eat would affect my hair like that.
My clothes foot better and I feel confident wearing clothes that I wouldn't before starting the Whole30 program. I've tried on a couple of jeans that were thigh and now they're loose - I need to get a belt...or new jeans!
Physical changes (inside)
As in the last three weeks I haven't felt any joint or back pain and I'm always ready to do something. I feel more active and I haven't had any migraine after the couple I had last week, during my period. That's the most important NSV for me, right now! Only 2 migraines in 28 days is epic! I can't wait to find out which foods trigger my migraines...I have a suspect, let's find out during the reintroduction phase!
Food and behaviors:
I really have a new relationship with food, there's no question about it. I don't even consider snacking because I'm always focusing on building my meals according to the template. This way I can keep satisfied until my next meal without needing to eat something. Good fats keep you full longer. Everything is well!
I don't feel the need to eat that "little something" after dinner, as my husband calls it! He still has it but even that, which used to bother me at first, doesn't affect me at all. If he eats something I'll just ignore it, I don't need it, I'm not hungry. If I were hungry I'd eat a mini meal which would take care of my nutritional needs not my sugar dragon! I'listening to my body and I'm in charge of what I feed my body - choosing the right foods has been such an eye opener to me! I no longer need a reward in the form of food for anything...
Sleep and energy:
I feel that I have a much more deeper sleep that I used to have and I continue to wake up every morning with lots of energy and positive thinking. I fall asleep more easily except for this past night which was stress related, as I've already described in the beginning. Maybe I'll try some yoga tonight, to try and calm down before going to bed. That wouldn't hurt and would only calm me down, so it seemed like the perfect choice! Yoga it is!
Lifestyle and social:
My kids keep watching make this transition in our diet and they have been following along on some things. They still have bread, milk and sometimes cereal but they are attentive to the ingredients list of each item which I find curious! Funny enough, my son started making some remarks about my husband's snack choices, that was a fun thing to see! As of this moment they don't have any allergies or food sensitivities that I know of so I don't feel like restricting their daily diet any further. They are conscious about what food choices are good and what are not so good and we try to balance it all during our daily routine as a family.
As I've said on my previous weekly food journal I'm thinking about having some blood work done after finishing the Whole30 but before starting reintroduction. Because I'm having this surgery on Wednesday that could influence the results, I'll wait for, at least, another 20 days or so to do the tests and then start with the reintroduction. I'll keep posting a weekly food journal and I'm really curious to know about trigger foods!
I'm also taking a test to assess my sensitivity to 300 foods and nutrients which will be interesting to compare with my reintroduction results. I'll tell you all abut it as soon as I get those results back.
Until next week, keep cooking and trying new things as long as they're compliant, if you're on a Whole30 journey!
If you're like me and love cooking you're always up to a challenge! But you may be in for a teat if you think that will be enough to get you through your Whole30 week smoothly and stress-free! I'm a stay at home mom and, even I, have to meal prep. I do need my time during the week days to get through daily routine things like running errands, cleaning the house, going to the kids' activities, making sure that everything runs as it's supposed to be during the week.
I need time for my blog - to create new posts, develop new recipes and cooking them, all during the school schedule, which can be sometimes overwhelming. It does take a lot of my time and I found out that, since starting my Whole30 I do have more time for my hobby! This is because I meal prep for the week during my Sunday afternoon. Usually this is my Sunday schedule:
That's a pretty good picture of what goes on in the house on Sundays! The kids are always entertained that evening so I can concentrate on my cooking job and make everything I planed for.
Not all weeks are equal and I try to have different meals every week so I don't get bored! I'm always talking about avoiding food boredom because, for me, this is the major obstacle for most people when we're talking about eating healthy. Focusing on the same ingredients over and over again makes you feel discouraged and fed up - that can lead up to cravings when you feel like that's the only way to get something that you satisfy you or that will taste somewhat more like a "proper"meal.
DON'T FALL INTO THAT TRAP!
If you feel like you're running out of ideas go online and search for Whole30 recipes, there are thousands out there! On blogs, like mine, on Pinterest, on Facebook groups or on the Whole30 cookbooks. Get yourself half an hour during the week, preferably at the end of the day when the house is quiet and you feel like you're mind is clear and ready to start choosing different and exiting options!
I always have a list of staples that I like to have but I'll change them every other week. For example, last week I just had potatoes with two meals and I was feeling like having them this week so I decided to roast a batch to use throughout the week. The first thing is choosing your favorite ingredients and, from there, search for recipes that don't usually fit in your daily diet so you can try something new!
"What do I need to have on my Whole30 plate?"
As anyone who's doing a Whole30 knows there is a meal template that we're supposed to use as a guideline to build each of our 3 daily meals. You are always advised to get in your plate:
When thinking about your weekly meal prep you must consider all these components and make sure to have each of them available for every meal. Being caught red handed without anything prepped may be an easy step to self sabotage and we want to avoid that, at all costs!
I'll give you some examples of the ingredients and meals I prep and then, at the end of the post I'll post up some links to useful posts with "egg-less breakfasts", which I think is a very requested item! I love eggs and I still haven't got tired of them but I usually do eggs 5 days a week, for breakfast, and 2 days off of them. At the end I'll also post my own alternative breakfasts.
There are many different options for protein sources for breakfast. I think the main issue is to stop thinking about "breakfast food". Think of the first meal of the day as exactly that! It's one of the three meals of the day and you can build it with whatever you build the other two. Don't limit yourself to sausage and bacon or you'll be having nightmares about them by week 2! These are some options that you can cook or have at hand - some of them you don't even have to cook.
This was one of my favorite breakfast so far! Grilled chicken breast, sauteed spinach, roasted sweet potatoes and a grilled pear with 1 Tbsp of "Spread the Love" almond butter. Remember when I told you that breakfast is my biggest meal of the day? There you have it! A breakfast like this makes me happy, so happy!
This is extremely important, to get your vegetables going so you don't end up getting shortcuts that wont make you benefit from a full and balanced meal! I always have fresh greens and cooked options so I can make an array of different meals that will keep the excitement for eating good food going!
These are just a few examples of vegetables to roast and use during the week. Choose the ones you and your family like and get creative with fresh herbs and olive/avocado oil. There as so many option: Brussels sprouts, potatoes (white, red, sweet), onion, zucchini, carrots, beets, peppers, kale, cauliflower...just pick some and toss them in a baking sheet to roast! If you feel like it, toss in the protein also, at the same time, and you'll have another meal cooked!
When you make a sheet-pan meal like the one you see above take advantage of the oven and cook extra veggies that will last you another couple of meals! Make the most of everything when planning and prepping!
Cooking fat and plated fat:
Two very important elements of your meal template!
Make sure to have enough of these in each meal in order to make you feel satiated from one meal to the next. I guarantee you that, if you do this right, you won't even remember to snack or "feel the need"to do it. I'm currently on day 21 and I have only felt hungry, after dinner, yesterday and it was for two reasons: I hadn't had enough for dinner because I was having a bit of a hard time having a migraine and didn't get enough food/fat at dinner and I was on my second day of my period which felt me feel hungrier after dinner. I got a small green apple with 1 Tbsp of almond butter and that was it - the only time I needed something and it was because my last meal hand't been built according to the template!
Make sure to always have a good stock of both these fats to guarantee that you stay compliant and that you're getting the right amounts of each in each meal.
Spices play a very bog roll on my Whole30, as well as fresh herbs! They make everything taste better and give you the change to play with different flavors so you don't get bored of eating the same thing allover again! Chang your spice game and start by trying out these Primal Palate spices! I just can't live without them!
It is recommended to eat fruit with moderation, mainly due to its the natural sugar content. I usually eat two pieces of fruit a day, one at breakfast and the other at lunchtime. It's also recommended to eat the rainbow - choose different fruits for different days and to make sure that you're getting a little bit of everything! One thing I usually try to do is, if I have a sweeter fruit at breakfast, like 1/2 mango, I choose a less sweeter fruit, like a green apple for lunch. It's all a matter of balance.
These are the main things I consider essential when I'm doing my meal prep, as I'm doing as I'm writing this blog post. This is the list of everything I'll be prepping between today and tomorrow - there is no school tomorrow so I get an extra day to prepare.
You can check all my meals on my weekly food journal posts but here are some ideas:
I have some very interesting suggestions for egg-less breakfasts, which I think is one of the "most wanted" Whole30 item! I hope that this post helps you to understand the Whole30 meal prep concept and importance. I really think is one of the main factors to get you going along, feeling excited about food and about this journey on which you decided to get into!
1 - Egg-less Whole30 breakfast ideas
Over on the Whole30 website, here, you can find new alternatives that will keep you excited about breakfast and, at the same time, keeping eggs out of the picture! (credit: Whole30 website)
2 - Kale, sausage and Pepper skillet (Primal Gourmet)
This breakfast is super easy and quick to make. Cook it during the Sunday meal prep and reserve in glass containers to use during the week. Just heat it on the microwave and go! Access the recipe,here. (Credit: Primal Gourmet)
3 - Plantain bacon fritters with avocado and poached egg (Paleo Running Momma)
A great suggestion that you can also prep ahead. If you don't have time to poach the egg in the morning just go with a hard boiled egg, I'm sure it'll be awesome too! Also, if you double the recipe you get to freeze extras to have at hand! Great recipe and super yummy looking! (Credit: Paleo Running Momma)
4 - Caramelized pork hash with brussels sprouts and sweet potato (I Heart Umami)
Another great recipe to cook ahead and to give you a fulfilling and tasty breakfast! Check it out here. (Credit: I Heart Umami)
5 - Warm pumpkin breakfast bowl (Jenny on the spot)
This really is a different and satisfying alternative to the meal template that we are used to. I'm trying this one out but I'm having some mini salad on the side so I can keep following the template. I'm all about rules if I see they work for me and the fact is that they have! Access the recipe here. (Credit: Jenny on the Spot)
As I've mentioned before, I haven't felt the need to snack but I've prepared myself for that event! I always keep a stock of Chomps meat sticks, Seasnax roasted seaweed and Wild Zora meat and veggie snacks. Also, almond butter and apples are something I always have and that is a perfect snack option too.
There's my coffee creamer, from Nutpods. I've tried the vanilla flavor and will go through the Original and Hazelnut over the next weeks. I like the flavor but I guess it must feel really soft/bland if you were used to having really sweet beverages or coffee drinks. Just give them a try and see what you think of them!
Any question that you may have, feel free to email me or reach out through my social media channels. I'm always trying to find out what specific information people are looking for so I can do my part and help a little!
Now, I'll get back to my meal prep!
I've been thinking about making a big batch of chili since I started the Whole30. No beans, of course! But, really, who needs beans when you can have a super amazing chili with veggies and great quality meat?? I got some Verde Farms meat products to try and I decided to test this chili recipe as the first experiment!
I used the 93% lean ground beef which comes in a 1 lbs vacuum sealed package. The Verde Farms products are all from grass-fed animals and 100% free range. There are no antibiotics used and no grow hormones either - just good natural food for the animals which results in superior quality beef. Verde Farms provides a complete line of grass-fed beef products to meet a range price-points and consumer preferences. Their grass-fed beef includes ready-to-cook grinds, patties, steaks, roasts, and marinades, and ready-to-eat options, including beef hot dogs and roast beef.
The company makes sure that the animals are raised as nature intended and seeks to democratize the consumption of high-quality, grass-fed beef worldwide. As the brand states in their own website: Verde Farms beef is better for you, the animal, the family farmer, and the planet.
The day I decided to cook this chili I, literally, opened the fridge and took out almost anything I though would go well with this beautiful ground meat. I think I overdid it a bit because I ended up not needing the eggplant which I'll use in another recipe further down the line! I used peppers, sweet potato (and the rest of one spiralized sweet potato, no waste allowed!), celery, onion, spices, bone broth and canned diced tomatoes.
The amount of chili I got from this recipe was enough to freeze two meals and for 3 additional meals, which was great for only a pound of meat! I always like to take advantage and make extra food whenever my husband has a travel week. I end up cooking the same quantity of food as if he was home but I'm able to freeze single portions to make up for those days when time is of essence! This is a very important thing to consider when I'm planning my meals for the week and my Sunday meal prep - in order to get the right quantity of each ingredient I have to figure out how much food or how much quantity of each meal I'm going to cook.
The bone broth I used, this time, was the Broth Masters beef and chicken bone broth and I'm really liking this one, both for cooking and for sipping. It's delicious on its own, really hot, straight from the stove top! The seasoning is perfect and I've been making an effort to save some because my son also loves it! It's amazing to see how, sometimes, kids love something that is naturally healthy like bone broth. I'm loving that he shares my passion for healthy food and I think we've come a long way since a time where he had too much sugar in his diet! Enough of that!
This chili recipe is super simple and the only advice I can give you to make it the most tasty chili ever is to use great quality meat, like the one I've used by Verde Farms. Use great quality protein in your meals to make them even more whole!
1 - I cooked my chili on the Instant Pot but it's perfectly fine if you cook it in a pan on the stove. Just adjust the cooking time. I turned the Instant Pot on the "Saute" mode and during the time it took to get at the right temperature I peeled and diced the onion. Add the olive oil and the onion to the pot and stir it for a bit. Cook the onion for about 3-4 minutes.
2 - Wash the peppers and the celery and peel the sweet potato. Dice the vegetables trying to have them all with the same size so they can cook evenly.
3 - Add the ground beef to the pot and cook it until it changes color and starts to get brownish. At this time season with salt, pepper and add the minced garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes.
4 - Add all the vegetables and the canned diced tomatoes. Season, once more, with garlic powder, the New Bae Seasoning and the red chili flakes. Add the bone broth and the olives, stir the mix for a while and add about 2 Tbsp of freshly chopped parsley.
5 - Add the mustard greens and, if necessary, add some water just to cover all the ingredients.
6 - Cook the chili on the chili/stew mode and use the natural release method to let the pressure out. This will allow to deepen the flavor of the chili!
I loved the final result - a comforting meal loaded with veggies and a great tasting meat! Not only that but you have the protein, the potatoes, the veggies, the greens and also some plated fat (olives), all the components you need for a balanced Whole30 meal. It can't get easier than that!
I had this delicious chili twice and I also froze a couple of individual size containers for next week. I had the chili with a spoonful of guacamole and some more fresh herbs which is an addition that I make to almost all of my meals! I think herbs bring any dish to life and make any ingredient shine a bit brighter, don't you?
I guess I'll be having a couple of delicious dinners next week, without having the trouble of cooking anything at all! That's a perfect treat for me and I find myself thinking about how my eating habits will be after this Whole30...I'm loving every meal, every bite and, although I miss some things, I will sure use them with caution in the future because I'm seeing such great results with this program that I don't want to let go!
For now, I'll keep sharing delicious options that can help anyone looking for easy and simple meals for a healthy lifestyle!