Have you ever tried meal planning? It is SO freaking amazing. It makes the week go a bit more smoothly, cuts down on trips to the grocery, saves $$$, and it certainly helps to steer clear of processed food options if there are pre-made (homemade!), delicious options already ready. After a few weeks of craziness- illness, car accidents (yes, plural), time with extended family, vacation, etc..... it was time to get back on my meal-planning game. Husband and I have a BIG fall lined up with our businesses, so whatever we can do now to get into gear for streamlined efficiency elsewhere totally helps.
If you've never tried meal planning, I highly recommend it. It doesn't have to be super complicated. This week, we're leaning heavily on what we're grilling out tonight for leftovers through Tuesday. I've made ahead a pound of delicious breakfast sausage (organic turkey and seasonings... perfect for Paleo AND AIP), and will be making ahead and freezing some yummy lamb meatballs for later in the week (using yet another incredible recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo as a baseline, modifying the seasonings just a bit for lamb vs. beef/pork).
GRILL- Tonight we're grilling some butterflied, marinated organic chicken breasts, a couple of organic ribeye steaks, and a pound of organic beef burgers. I love using olive oil and apple cider vinegar as the base for my marinades... we totally gave up pre-made, store-bought marinades a few years back because, frankly, they have a bunch of crap in them that our bodies don't need. We've really enjoyed simplifying with marinating just with those and some seasonings. Bonus: apple cider vinegar helps break down the meat a bit so that it's easier for your body to digest. True story. The stuff is amazing for so many health benefits.
I'm throwing in a couple of trays of homemade organic red potato thick fries, steaming a pound of organic carrots in butter, salt, cinnamon and garlic, and sauteeing 4-5 cups of spinach in a pan with coconut oil and salt. The meats will get us through a couple of lunches and dinners, with the chicken and steak being easy proteins atop a salad, and you can throw easy sides with a burger for a quick lunch: black olives, pickle spears, apple slices, carrots/celery and hummus. I quick-thawed my beef, steaks and lamb, which I only suggest doing if your house is temp-controlled and you're keeping a close eye on it. I was short on time and usually let things thaw in the fridge but sometimes, ya gotta quick-thaw. It happens.
OVEN- I'm making these yummy meatballs ahead and freezing them for mid-late week. You can use any variety of meat, and I've doubled the recipe before to have meatballs for that same day as well as freeze half for later. They'll be awesome with some oven-roasted sweet potatoes (hello, Primal Palate!).
I popped wild-caught pollock into the oven to bake for lunch today while prepping the other stuff- marinating the steaks/chicken, making the breakfast sausage. It made for a super-easy, quick, yummy meal for lunch today after church! Heat oven to 425, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, a touch of turmeric, and then bake for 18 minutes. Pop your fish onto a bed of spinach/greens, add some sprouted quinoa, your choice of toppings (we did black olives, fermented salsa from our local farmer), and enjoy! You can swap out other fish, as well. We LOVE doing salmon this way, too. Just make sure yours is wild-caught, NOT farm-raised.
STOVETOP- I made a pound of organic turkey breakfast sausage, modifying slightly one of my favorite go-to recipes for sausage, from Dr. Amy Myers' book, "The Autoimmune Solution" (HIGHLY recommended book & protocol, BTW. We tell EVERYONE struggling with getting healthier to get it and give it a go.). This is a fantastic one to double, triple, quadruple, and freeze extra so you have it to pull out at anytime. It goes beyond breakfast, and you can add it into stir-fry, make turkey burger sliders out of them, or they're great for a quick high-protein snack. It's super-clean, Paleo and AIP friendly, and it's literally what we survived on for breakfast when we were in major healing and recovery mode from our autoimmune issues. Occasionally we strip our diets back to AIP for healing and detox, which we're doing this week, and having this on-hand makes breakfast so much easier.
That's how things are looking for us this week. I hope these recipes and our planning inspire you to give it a shot yourself or to jump back on the meal-planning train! There are some amazing apps out there as well that basically tell you what your meals will be, what to go get at the grocery, and supply the recipes. I prefer to have a little more creative freedom in planning our menus, but enjoy the prepping nonetheless (especially the benefits of it during the craziness of the week). Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone!
Cheers to Health & Wellness Through Natural Solutions!