Friday, November 2, 2012

Paleo cook ahead tips and meals (served 10-18-12)

Breakfast: Mushroom and salsa omelet; pecans
Lunch: Salad with chicken, baby spinach, avocado, sliced boiled egg, cherry tomatoes, with honey-mustard dressing ("lite") and walnuts and olives; apple juice and club soda.
Dinner: Pork roast, onions, carrots, green beans, baby beets; salad of apples, raisins and walnuts.

A big part of being able to stay on the Paleo Diet is planning, purchasing and cooking ahead so that you are ready to put your meals together without being tempted by convenience foods. I spent more than I normally would at the grocery store the first couple of times, trying to build up a pantry and fridge of Paleo-approved foods. My food budget is limited, and my time and energy even more so, so planning ahead makes a big difference to me.

   A package of mushrooms was split in half so I could have raw mushrooms for salads, and the other half I sauteed in a little olive oil, then a little chicken stock.
 I boil three eggs at time, peel them, and wrap each one in plastic wrap before putting them in the fridge for easy use.
 I found a small pork roast ribeye (didn't think about pigs having ribeyes before) for $5. I crusted the entire surface with cheap steak seasoning from a shaker ($1 for a big container), and had the best seasoned pork roast I ever baked. Slicing half the pork roast at a time also meant I had meat-ready-to-eat.
   At the same time, I roasted a drained can of baby beets, onion halves, baby carrots from a bag, one yellow squash and one zucchini. (I put the beets in their own foil package to keep everything from turning purple.) Just about any vegetable can be roasted with a little chicken stock or water; the same veggies can be steamed, sauteed, or stir-fried for a little more variety using the same foods.
   I am fortunate to have lots of shelled pecans in the freezer, and I splurged on a big bag of walnut halves at Sam's Wholesale some time ago, so I have "approved" nuts on hand. (No peanuts allowed, remember.) I bake some with salt, pepper, and a little sugar; others with garlic salt, olive oil margarine, and a shake of hot sauce. I also use pecans and walnuts raw, of course, since they can add the crunch of croutons; finely chopped, they can be a crunchy "breading."
   Almond butter is more expensive than peanut butter, and harder to find, but just a little can add a lot of flavor. I plan on making some Chinese chicken stir-fry with almond butter sauce very soon.
   An omelet of 1-3 eggs is definitely Paleo, and you can add any kind of meats, herbs, vegetables, seasonings, salsa/picante sauce, etc. No dairy allowed, so no cheese--that has been the biggest loss to me so far. No soy either, so tofu and other pretend dairy products are not in my meals.
   I usually buy boneless skinless chicken breasts which I boil and shred, or saute, or bake, roast or braise. Whole chickens are actually more expensive at my store than pieces, but when I do have a whole chicken, I put all the extra parts and bones in a separate pot to make broth for more cooking.
   I'm hungry now--gotta go eat some Paleo for lunch.

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