This is an ongoing post to track our dinner plans and ideas. There will be links to the recipes I am trying. If I don't like them, I'll delete it. If they are yummy, and I made adjustments, I'll make a note. If you struggle with meal planning like I do, maybe this will help you, too!
*Note: We usually plan on 5 meals with 2 nights of leftovers, since we almost always have at least some leftovers.
Meal Ideas for Oct 7-13
Links to recipes:
Sheet Pan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes Apples and Brussels Sprouts
Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash
QUICK GARLIC LIME MARINATED PORK CHOPS
Vegetarian Tacos - our own recipe. I'll post at some point and add the link in. We make it all the time.
whole30 skillet italian meatballs: easy, paleo, low carb
One Pot Chicken And Rice
Sheet Pan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Brussel Sprouts
Not many mods on this one. I Used yellow onions instead of red, because that's what I had on hand, and just used Herbs de Provence because I didn't have a bunch of fresh rosemary (or dried, for that matter). I also added a splash of lime juice in the marinade, because the acid tenderizes the meat a little bit.
The kids loved it. My family loves Brussel sprouts. Me, not so much. Same with broccoli. Long story. But this was a hit dish, for sure. The apple got super mushy, despite cutting it into large chunks, and didn't really add that much to the overall dish, I think. Maybe if I was doing it again, I would add a little applesauce into the chicken marinade to give more of the apple flavor to the chicken, or only add the apple chunks after removing the chicken while the rest of the veggies cooked. Anything to keep them from getting so mushy.
The only other thing I would change is to use thighs instead of breasts. Even when just cooking them to temperature, breasts are always drier than thighs.
Will probably made again with those few modifications. 4 out of 4!
Quick Garlic and Lime Marinated Pork Chops
My husband is the only one who does spicy. The rest of us have pallets just as white as we are. So skipped the chili powder and instead used some Ras al Hanut curry powder. You get the yummy curry flavor without the spice.
Used a bit more lime juice than called for, and mixed it with some olive oil (around 2-3 Tbs), and about a tsp or so of minced ginger for the marinade.. Didn't have an actual lime - they are ridiculously expensive in Norway, so used lime juice and 2 drops of DoTerra lime essential oil for the extra lime oomph.
We paired this dinner with some creamy risotto, green beans and sliced mushrooms. Paul makes killer risotto, I'll post his recipe sometime.
River said it was the best pork chop ever! The kids absolutely loved the whole meal. Definitely a hit, and will for sure make again. 4 out of 4!
Whole30 Skillet Italian Meatballs
For the meatball:
- Couldn't buy ground pork sausage, just plain ground pork, so added 'sausage' seasonings: cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, ginger...
- Didn't have parsley, rosemary and thyme separately, so used the equivalent measurements (little less) of our usual Herbs de Provence.
- Added about 1/4 cup of GF cracker crumbs
- small can of diced tomatoes
- Added to the jar of marinara: herbs de Provence (roughly 2 tsp or so), garlic powder (maybe 1/2 tsp?), and about a Tbs of brown sugar, cuz I like it, and the sauce didn't have any sugar.
- It was still super tart and acidic, so Paul added at least 1/4 C of dairy free butter. It was perfection. And now I know how to bring down the acidity of tomato sauce. ;)
- We like veggies with our meal, so I put in mushrooms and kale into the sauce.
We put it all on top of GF noodles, and sprinkled some authentic manchego cheese on top (because I don't have a problem with sheeps milk).
*I cooked all the meatballs thoroughly without any sauce, because my toddler can't stand tomatoes or anything red. He just had plain meatballs and plain noodles without any sauce. I added the rest of the meatballs back into the sauce 5 minutes or so before serving.
A HUGE hit from everyone except my 4 year old. He mostly just goes to town on the plain noodles. So this gets a 3 out of 4 vote for doing again!
One Pot Chicken And Rice
This is actually our 2nd time making this dish. It was a hit the first time, and went over even better the second time. So with or without these mods, it's delicious.
We added a few things this second time around, mainly to help us fight off the colds we had this week.
- Added fresh garlic, ginger, and turmeric, chopped finely. About 2" of the ginger and turmeric, and 3 cloves of garlic instead of dried. Sautéd them in butter until soft before adding carrots.
- Used 1/2 fresh onion instead of dried, and skipped the parsley flakes.
- Flavored with, of course, herbs de Provence instead of parsley.
Ultimate comfort dish. Will add slightly less turmeric next time, and go back to chicken thighs instead of breasts. This will be on our permanent rotation, for sure. It's quick, it's simple, and it makes excellent leftovers! Even my toddler had 2 bowls! 4 out of 4!
This is seriously the best pumpkin pie recipe ever. I actually really don't like pumpkin pie. The whipped cream was always the best part. I would take a slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, just so I could eat a ton of whipped cream, maybe a couple of tiny bites of pumpkin pie mixed into it.
But after I tried this recipe, I discovered that it's really just store bought pumpkin pie that's so gross!
My amazing and beautiful friend, Kryssi Gala, is a raw food chef, and shared this recipe with me many years ago, and we have been making it every year since! She does not have it posted anywhere online, so I can't give you a link to her page. I will just give her absolute full credit for this delicious treat!
Warning: Pumpkin pie ALWAYS needs time to cool for at least 8 hours before you can eat it. Make this the day before you actually need it!
- 2 C pecans
- 1 C dates, pitted
-1 tsp vanilla
pinch pink salt
- 1 C coconut meat or cream
- 4 C pumpkin (freshly baked is best, but canned will work if you have to. I've even done it with half pumpkin, half sweet potato. Changes the taste for sure, though.)
- 2 Tbs honey
- 1/2 tsp pink salt
- 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 2 tsp ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- Preheat oven to 350F
Crust: Blend ingredients in a food processor, mold into a pie crust. Do not bake.
- Blend all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender (like Vitamix or Ninja) until super smooth.
- Pour into pie crust. It will be pretty high, this is a very thick pie.
- Bake at 350F for 35 minutes or so until middle is set.
- Let pie cool for a few hours on the stove, then set in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
What is pumpkin pie without whipped cream, though? I mean, honestly. If you are dairy free like me, or vegan, you have a couple of different options here.
Kryssi's Nutty Whipped Cream:
*Note: Amounts can change depending on how much you want to make....
- 4 oz of coconut meat
- 1 C of macadamia nuts (can sub cashews if you want), soaked and softened
- 1/3 or more of honey (or maple syrup) to taste
- pinch of salt (if not using salted nuts)
- water if needed
- Put nuts in a bowl, cover with boiling water for at least an hour. This softens the nuts to blend into cream.
- Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor, tasting as you add sweetener, and adding more if you want. If it is too thick, add a little water until you get the whipped consistency you want.
*Optional: If you're like me, you like to "dress it up" a little. Add some vanilla and cardamom to make it super yum. Just a little. The nuts and honey are pretty flavorful.
If you don't have the nuts, or have a nut allergy, my go-to for whipped cream is the good ol' coconut cream whipped cream.
Coconut Cream Whipped Cream
- 1 can of coconut cream, refrigerated for 24 hours (careful not to get a brand with guar gum in it, it won't separate like it needs to)
- 1/3 C or more of maple syrup/sugar/honey - your choice. Personally, I love the taste of maple syrup. But I have also used all 3 in the same batch. Be ready to add more if you need it to be sweeter.
- 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla (again, be ready to add more if need be), or even better, a full vanilla bean, if you know how to scrape one of those out. It's the best.
- Take can of coconut cream out of the fridge, turn over and open from the bottom. All the cream should have solidified and rose to the top. You open from the bottom, and you can pour out the separated water. Toss or keep, your choice. But it doesn't go in the whipped cream.
- Put coconut cream, and all other ingredients into a stand mixer, and whip on high for a few minutes. Scrape down the sides as you go.
- Taste to make sure it has enough sweetener and vanilla to your liking. This is an excellent excuse to eat extra whipped cream, because, you know, you have to check it...and stuff.
*Note: This will whip better if you actually put the bowl and the whipping attachment in the freezer before using for a few minutes to keep them cold.
** This tastes best when used IMMEDIATELY after making it, it doesn't keep well in the refrigerator for long amounts of time. But I've never really had any leftover to put in the fridge anyways, it's so yummy!
This is the basic recipe. I fancy it up to add flavors all the time. I add maybe 1/2 tsp of cardamom, some ginger, or even some lemon zest to make it super yummy.
If you have an ice cream maker, you can put this directly into that to make coconut ice cream, too. That opens a bunch of other options for flavors and add ins! Once you get this basic recipe down, you can play with it, too!
This is actually one of the few recipes that is completely my own. Well, technically, Paul's, adapted by me. So maybe not TOTALLY my own. I was lucky enough to marry an amazing cook, and made sure he taught me how to make some of the basics. And how much more basic can you get but chicken soup?
We make this whenever anyone feels like they're coming down with, or fighting off something. It has all the wonderful anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties of garlic, turmeric, ginger, and black pepper. Plus, the nice tummy soothing properties of fennel and ginger.
Of course, this recipe is super adaptable, so if you mess with the amounts of anything, or need to leave certain things out, or add something else you love, it'll still turn out pretty awesome. For example, my dad is allergic to ginger, and has a rough time with black pepper and garlic.. So when we make it for him, we leave out the ginger, and minimize the other two. And you know what? It still rocks.
So here's the thing with my own recipes. I suck at measuring stuff. If you want super accurate measurements of everything, you came to the wrong blog. Mine are more like rough estimates. ;)
Below is a basic idea, for the details, you will just have to use 'the force'.
1 medium sized onion (I really don't care if it's yellow or red, cook's choice)
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped*
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped*
3 inches or so of fresh turmeric, peeled and finely chopped**
salt and pepper to taste (bonus germ fighting points if you use freshly cracked black pepper)
1 Tbs or more of Herbs de Provence (if you don't have this in your chicken, you are seriously missing out)
*Fresh garlic, ginger and turmeric is best for fighting off colds, but if all you have is minced in a jar ginger and garlic, and turmeric powder in a jar, they are still yummy and better than not using them at all.
**If using turmeric powder, use about 2 tsp-ish.
1 lb of potatoes (I like using red or yellow, but russets work ok)
1 bulb of fresh fennel (anise)
1 lb of carrots
16 oz, or less of mushrooms (bonus if you use shiitake, they have good germ fighting aspects, but use fewer, as they will totally change the taste of the soup. We usually use baby Bellas or criminis, your choice)
*Optional: celery, kale, or whatever other veg you love. If you add kale, add it 5-10 minutes before you are ready to eat.
2 lbs or so of skinless boneless chicken thighs. (again, use breasts if you want, use bone in if you want more a bone broth and don't mind separating them after it boils, whatever. We just like thigh meat)
Chicken bullion of your choice to make the equivalent of at least 2 quarts of chicken stock. This really depends on how big of a pot you are using. The way we measure it, there is usually just barely enough liquid to cover all the ingredients by a couple of inches at the top of the pot. If your pot is bigger, or you like a brothier soup, you'll probably need to add more chicken stock.
Add water after getting everything else in, to fill the pot.
Chop everything, while listening to music or watching your favorite show. Fantastic time for me to watch my shows without feeling like I'm wasting time, or being a bad mom. I get to tell my kids, "I can't play with you right now, I'm cooking dinner." Not, "I can't play with you, I'm watching 'Leverage' ". See how the first one makes me sound like a responsible parent who is doing all kinds of nice things for her family? I just told you the secret reason why I like spending so much time in the kitchen...sssshhhhh, don't tell.
Anyways, you can do the thing where you add the garlic, onion, turmeric, ginger, and a little oil into the pan before you add chopped veggies and water, or you can start with some water and add it into that. Not much of a difference in the end product. Your choice.
When I make it, I do the sautéing thing, then add the chicken and sauté it with them, then add water and veggies. Paul does it the other way. Water first, then everything else. And you know what? Turns out great both ways.
Anyways, after you get all the chicken and veggies you're gonna fit in, add more water if you need to, or can fit it, the herbs de Provence, the salt and pepper, and the chicken bullion.
Hey, fun fact for all you fellow DF/GF friends out there: The Better Than Bullion chicken stock jars in the store? Yeah, those have dairy in them. It took a friend of mine pointing that out before I realized why I got an upset stomach every single time we made this soup. It's not in any other of their stocks, just the chicken. Stupid. So we switched while in the states to using a powder that we really liked. I was surprised at how few additives there were in the Knorr brand. And here in Norway, they only sell cubes in the stores, and only one kind at that.. Fortunately, don't have any other weird dairy or gluten ingredients in them.
Ok, by now you have all the ingredients in your big ass pot. Bring your soup to a boil, then put a lid on and let it simmer for about 30-45 minutes, until everything is cooked through. We used to make it in our pressure cooker in the states, but it wouldn't fit in our luggage! So that and my beloved KitchenAid stand mixer are sitting oh so lonely in storage. I miss them. :::sniff:::
If you're lucky enough to have a pressure cooker, this will be ready in about 20 minutes.
You'll have to take the cooked chicken out and kind of shred or chop it up and add it back into the soup.
Careful! It'll be hot. Sitting in boiling water will do that.
Oh so carefully, check the flavor of the broth. Add more herbs de Provence, salt, pepper, or chicken stock if needed, or until your liking. You know you need more chicken bullion if the broth tastes like water.
Dish it up, and if you're my husband, generously sprinkle red pepper flakes all over your serving. It helps clear up the sinuses. Or so I'm told.
Mini Swedish Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, and Jam
Who doesn't love having lunch at Ikea? Ok, well, probably a lot of people. But I after going GF, DF, I really missed those yummy little meatballs, the creamy mashed potatoes, the tangy Lingonberry jam.
Now that we are living in the land of Ikea, ok, well, next door to the land of Ikea, I started to feel haunted by those delicious little morsels. Though, to be fair, last time I was there, they did say that had a GF version of the meatballs, but not a DF version of the mashed potatoes. They were good, but it wasn't quite the same without mixing the gravy, jam, and potatoes together.
So, when I saw this recipe from SpoonForkBacon, I had to make my little adjustments and tweaks to fit my dietary needs.
Here is the original recipe from their wonderful website, with my changes in red next to it:
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter -
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste - Along with garlic salt/powder, dill, and paprika.
MY version of mashed potatoes goes a little more like this, and the seasonings can be adjusted to your liking:
1 lb of potatoes - I always use yellow or red potatoes, skin left on, cut into large cubes.
4-5 Tbs of vegan butter - I always add the dairy free butter last, though, so I can adjust to my desired level of creaminess. You will need at least 4 Tbs, though, maybe more. I use Earth Balance, or now that I'm in Norway, and there is no Earth Balance, I like using their version of Margarine. It actually tastes more like actual butter, go figure!
3/4 C of chicken stock - I usually make a cup using chicken bullion, and keep some out to add if I need to later.
1/2 Tbs of minced garlic - or more if you really like garlic.
salt and pepper to taste - Along with garlic salt/powder, dill, and paprika.
Here's what you do: Put a little butter in the pot to cook the minced garlic for a few minutes, then add the chicken stock. Put in the chopped potatoes and bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer with the lid on for about 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
Once the potatoes are soft, start mashing! Once all the chicken stock has been well mashed, add the butter, along with salt, pepper, and other seasonings. I estimate I usually use a little less than 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, maybe a tsp of dill, 1/2 tsp of paprika, 1 tsp of garlic powder (use less salt if you're going to also use garlic salt), and if I have it, another 1/2 tsp of fennel powder. It's good to sprinkle on a little less at first, then add as you taste.
Once you have mashed those in pretty well, and the potatoes are looking pretty creamy, bust out the hand mixer and whip those potatoes good! If you want creamier, add more butter, or chicken stock, or even a little dairy free milk.
The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can play around with it a little bit, until you find YOUR perfect version. It's pretty forgiving.
Swedish meatballs and gravy:
1 slice white bread, crumbled - Just toast and crumble a piece of your favorite GF bread
1/4 cup milk - Dairy free milk of your choice. We tend to use almond milk.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided - Again, just use vegan butter of your choice
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound lean ground beef - I actually didn't have any ground beef on hand, and it's super expensive in Norway, so we just used 1 lb of ground pork. Pork is HELLA cheap here. And they were still delicious.
1/2 pound lean ground pork
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice - I didn't have any allspice on hand, so I added some cinnamon, clove, and cardamom instead. But I'm sure it's wonderful with allspice.
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all purpose flour - Use your favorite GF flour blend. In the states, I my favorite was Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF flour.
1 1/2 cups warm beef broth - I always use bullion, it has way more flavor than the broth in the cartons. Just sayin.
2 tablespoons heavy cream, optional - Skipped this completely. Didn't need it. If you find that you do need it, subbing coconut cream pretty much always works for when a recipe calls for heavy cream.
freshly chopped parsley, for garnish - Also didn't have any of this on hand, and did not miss it.
I followed the directions they gave that didn't have to do with the mashed potatoes pretty closely, though:
2. For meatballs and gravy: Preheat oven to 375˚F.
3. Place the crumbled bread and milk into a large mixing bowl, stir together and allow the mixture to sit.
4. As the bread soaks up the milk, melt 2 tablespoons butter into a sauté pan, over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until onion begins to get translucent. Remove from heat and add to the bread and milk mixture. Allow mixture to cool, about 5 minutes.
5. Add the beef, pork, egg, salt, pepper, allspice, and nutmeg to the mixing bowl and thoroughly mix together. Form 2 teaspoon sized meatballs and place them onto a parchment lined baking sheet, 1/2 inch apart, then bake meatballs for 10 to 12 minutes or until they have just cooked through.
6. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and whisk in flour. Continue to whisk for about 1 minute to remove the raw flour taste. Slowly whisk the beef broth into the mixture, making sure to whisk out any lumps. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the gravy to simmer and thicken enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the cream, if using. Add the meatballs to the gravy and toss together.
7. To serve: Scoop and spread mashed potatoes onto a large platter and top with gravy covered mini meatballs. Ladle extra gravy over the top and finish with freshly sliced chives.
Add the yummy jam!! My hubby picked up a jar of Lingonberry jam at the grocery store, and it was exactly what it needed to complete the Ikea experience. But WAY tastier! In the states, if you have a hard time finding Lingonberry jam, you might be able to adjust some whole berry cranberry sauce or jam to get a similar taste. Or just pick up a jar of actual Lingonberry jam from the kitchen at Ikea next time you're there!
Don't forget to check out other yummy recipes from spoonforkbacon.com, they have some good ones! As always, play with your food, make adjustments, and have fun in the kitchen!