Five Paleo Dinners To Cook Next Week #9

Aaaah. Do you feel that?

It’s the gentle lull between last week’s turkey feast and the holiday frenzy that’s going to jump off next week.

For now, it’s peaceful—which means we can turn our attention to healthful, restorative, delicious food to prepare us for the fun and frolic to come.

I’ve collected five of my favorite recipes that (a) make enough for leftovers; (b) are very easy to cook; and (c) taste better the longer they sit around. They’re the perfect recipes for post-holiday recovery and pre-holiday fortification. Happy cooking!

A gift recommendation for you: Cook a batch (or a double batch) of Chocolate Chili and put in the freezer for future meal emergencies. I can pretty much guarantee that sometime between now and, say, January 5, you’re going to need something fast, tasty, and paleo. Give yourself the gift of Chocolate Chili!

Dinner Ideas (Whole30 compliant)

Paleo Osso Bucco | meljoulwan.comSlow Cooker “Osso Bucco” Stew

Cookup Tips: This tastes awesome on days 2 and 3, and it freezes well, too. It’s comforting, easy to make, and requires very little commitment from you. Throw it in the slow cooker during a Cookup or just plop the ingredients into the slow cooker before bed; by morning, it’s stew!

Recommended Sides: Mashed Cauliflower is pretty nice underneath—and a salad with Zingy Ginger Dressing or Creamy Italian would be delicious alongside.

Paleo Caesar Salad | meljoulwan.comCaesar Salad

Cookup Tips: You’ll need to add protein to this to make it a complete meal: roasted chicken or poached shrimp are both good options. (Use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or canned salmon to make it über-easy.) You can make the dressing, cut the lettuce, and prepare your protein in advance, then assemble before eating. When I make this on weeknights, I just skip the croutons, but if you want to make them, I recommend you prep the dough in advance, then bake them just before eating.

Recommended Sides: None required… yay!

Plantain Nachos | meljoulwan.comPlantain Nachos

Cookup Tips: You can cook the meat, chop the raw veggies, and make the chips in advance—or skip the chips and make a taco salad instead. (Or try Crispy (green) Plantains or Pan-Fried (yellow) Plantains. You can boil the plantains in advance, so when you’re ready to eat, all you need to do is fry ’em up. Dice the avocado just before eating for the best flavor.

Recommended Sides: Keep it simple! Cut up raw veggies—cucumbers, carrots, pepper strips—to eat alongside your nachos. If you’re open to a smidge more work, Cauliflower Rice is nice.

Scotch Eggs | meljoulwan.comScotch Eggs

Cookup Tips: I know I recommended these about a month ago, but they’re so handy, I think you should make them again! You can boil the eggs during your Cookup and mix the meat with its seasonings, then roll and bake them just before eating for maximum crunch. Or prepare them completely in advance and reheat before eating. Either way, they taste great.

Recommended Sides: You can be responsible (Mustard-Garlic Brussels Sprouts), playful (Sweet Potato Fries), starchy (Classic Diner-Style Home Fries), or crispy (Simple Red Cabbage Salad). You might also make a quick dipping sauce of homemade mayo mixed with mustard. The Brussels sprouts taste best when roasted just before eating and the cabbage salad tastes best when it’s fresh. But you can prep both the sweet potatoes and white potatoes in advance, then do the final cooking when you’re ready to eat them. Mayo can be made during a Cookup and used all week.

Italian Sausage and Eggplant Strata | meljoulwan.comItalian Sausage and Eggplant Strata

Cookup Tips: This tastes better when you don’t eat it right away, so make it during a leisurely cookup, cover it tightly with foil, and slide it into the fridge for 3-4 days. When you’re ready to eat it, reheat in a 300F oven, covered, until hot—or cut it cold into pieces and reheat in a non-stick skillet on the stovetop. (It’s also great diced and mixed into an egg scramble.)

Recommended Sides: This is really nice with Simple Lemon Spinach or Zucchini Noodles with olive oil and garlic.

Condiment (Whole30 compliant)

Lizard Sauce | meljoulwan.comLizard Sauce

Cookup Tips: Make this during your Cookup and add zing to your meals for weeks! It’s great on Plantain Nachos, sweet potatoes, a bunless burger, grilled/roasted chicken, and even as a dipping sauce for Scotch Eggs.

Treat Bonus Veggie Recipe (Whole30 Compliant)

Golden Cauliflower Soup | meljoulwan.comGolden Cauliflower Soup

Cookup Tips: This is usually the space where I recommend a little paleo treat, but this week, I encourage you to make Golden Cauliflower soup instead—and eat a cup once a day. Now is an awesome time to get lots of veggies, and soup is so comforting! Make it with bone broth to give yourself a super-gut, and/or add some Vital Proteins Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides for a protein boost. (If you’re into the soup idea, but not feelin’ the cauliflower, maybe you want Silky Gingered Zucchini or Persian-Spiced Winter Vegetable. Same guidelines re: bone broth and protein powder apply.)

A Gift Recommendation for You (Whole30 compliant)

Chocolate Chili | meljoulwan.comChocolate Chili

Cookup Tips: What’s a more thoughtful gift to yourself than spicy, mellow, rich, comforting, just-pull-it-out-of-the-freezer-and-heat-it Chocolate Chili?! Make a batch or two, divide it into BPA-free containers, and sock it away for future dinner emergencies.

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  • Jennifer says:

    Again, love this series! Seeing it pop up in my blog reader makes my heart happy (and also makes me hungry). I will be making that Osso Buco, and the idea of making and freezing chili for emergency meals is genius. It’s an old cliche held over from my Weight Watchers days, but it’s true that if you fail to plan you plan to fail. :/

    Quick question! I just succumbed to a Black Friday deal on Amazon and got myself an Instant Pot! Do you have a pressure cooker, and if so, any chance we could get some awesome recipes from you using it? I’m reading a lot online but it’s my first time using a pressure cooker. Nomnom Paleo has some good stuff, but I’m flying mostly blind until I figure this thing out. Thanks!

  • Michael Bell says:

    Love your Well Fed blog!
    You are missed in Austin, and wish you and David all
    the Best this Holiday Season….and Blessings Always.

    • So nice to hear from you! I just got a reminder about an appointment from my dentist here in Vermont, and it made me really miss all of you. Such lovely people! Hugs to you all from cold Vermont.

  • Amy says:

    Melissa, THANK YOU for this series. It helps me to stay out of my baked chicken thighs/salmon/grass-fed steak rut. It’s truly appreciated.

  • Ooohhh… We haven’t made your plantain nachos in, like, forever. Way overdo for those!

    And STILL haven’t tried scotch eggs, though we find them adorable and keep meaning to give them a go. Perhaps this week’s project:)

  • Marcia Graham says:

    THANK YOU Mel! We’ve all been sick and I had no energy to plan what to eat this week and this solved all my problems. Also, this is the second time I’ve heard about collagen in two days so I’m ordering some immediately. Have you used the gelatin? I’m sure this is a dumb question but I’m not sure the difference between peptides and gelatin if you ever wanted to do a blog post on such things… 🙂

    • I’m sorry you’ve been under the weather! And that’s not a dumb question at all.

      The basic difference is that gelatin gels in cool temps, while the peptides do not; they don’t really affect texture at all. I haven’t used the gelatin yet. I use the collagen peptides all the time: in smoothies, to add protein to my zucchini soup, I’ve even sprinkled it into sauteed ground beef to add more protein (without additional fat) to my Hot Plates.

      From Vital Proteins:
      Collagen Peptides and Beef Gelatin Collagen Protein both offer the same amino acids and nutritional benefit. They are slightly different in application.

      Collagen Peptides: Our peptides offer a convenient form to add collagen to your diet. You may add our peptides to cold or hot beverages such as a smoothie, juice, water, tea, or coffee, as well as a variety of foods such as oatmeal and yogurt. Our peptides will not “gel” in cold liquids and they do not alter the texture or thicken liquids.

      Beef Gelatin Collagen Protein: Our beef gelatin protein product will solidify or “gel” in cold liquids and as a result, it is ideal for hot beverages such as herbal tea, hot juices, or a protein pumpkin spice coffee. Hot liquids with collagen protein will solidify once cooled. Our Beef Gelatin Collagen Protein is a 100% Pasture-Raised Beef Gelatin and is a stable in many recipes and can be used to make fruit gelatin, healthy gummy snacks, or added to soups an broths as a nutritious protein booster and thickener.

  • Cathy Brooke says:

    I have been loving the What to Cook this Week! Thank you so much, it’s really helpful to have the gathering of ideas. We usually don’t do the whole thing, but it’s great to have the ideas pointed out. So glad I found you! And have pointed so many others in your direction. 🙂
    p.s. Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup, which I did not think sounded very good, is one of our favorite recipes. And being a gardener, I now have bags upon bags of it frozen from our summer zucchini downpour. Thanks again!