Five Paleo Dinners To Cook Next Week #17

It’s that time: my Twitter feed is filled with hearts and flowers and chocolates. Bring it on, Cupid!

Between us friends, Dave and I tend to not celebrate Valentine’s Day in the traditional roses-and-candlelight way. I don’t remember how we “celebrated” last year, but I’d be willing to bet we watched a movie in our pajamas with a plate of some kind of paleo food in our laps. This year, we’re going out to dinner at the Tip Top Café—a shockingly good restaurant in our little village—and to see the play Mad Love at the local theater (that somehow draws actors from New York to our tiny town). According to the official description, the play is a romantic comedy about “two brothers, two beautiful women, a rare baseball card, and a lizard named Pogo.” Who could resist that?!

I don’t know how you feel about Valentine’s Day, but I know this: I’m sweet on you.

To make sure you have an awesome Valentine’s Day and even awesomer week of food, I’ve collected the recipes below to show you how much I care. And yes, there’s a little chocolate involved. If you’re thinking about a special dinner this weekend, you might want to check out this Valentine’s Day menu I put together—and maybe even start the day with this partner workout that Dave and I devised. Happy Valentine’s Day and happy cooking!


Dinner Ideas

Beef Stir-Fry |meljoulwan.comHeart-Stirring Beef Stir-Fry

Cookup Tips: Marinate the meat, make the sauce, and cut up the raw veggies (store them in covered container or ziplock in the fridge) in advance, then stir-fry the whole shebang just before eating. You can also make it with ground beef to save time!

Recommended Sides: Tastes great on a pile of Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice.

Bigos | meljoulwan.comBigos

Cookup Tips: This tastes even better after a few days in the fridge, so you can make it up to 5 days in advance. It also freezes very well, so you can sock some away for a future snow day.

Recommended Sides: Some boiled potatoes rolled in ghee and minced parsley would be perfect, as would a batch of Mashed Cauliflower. You can make both of these sides during a Cookup and reheat just before eating.

moroccansalmonMoroccan Salmon

Cookup Tips: This should be made on the day you want to eat it, but it’s easy and fast, so that’s not so bad. The original recipe calls for grilling, but if weather prevents you from doing that, you can roast the salmon in the oven: 425F for 20 minutes or so.

Recommended Sides: This pairs well with Cauliflower Rice Pilaf or plain Cauliflower Rice—and Moroccan Orange Salad is a great way to take advantage of winter citrus. You can’t go wrong with a batch of Moroccan Dipping Sauce, either.

Cuban Meatballs | meljoulwan.comCuban Meatballs

Cookup Tips: Meat “dough” can be made 1 day in advance then cooked—or you can cook the meatballs during your Cookup and re-heat just before eating. They’ll stay fresh and tasty for 5-6 days after cooking. They also freeze like champs!

Recommended Sides: Plantains are the way to go, for sure! Go for Crispy (green) Plantains with Garlic Sauce (the sauce would be awesome on the meatballs) 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.

Deconstructed Gyro Salad | meljoulwan.comDeconstructed Gyro Salad

Cookup Tips: Make the dressing, cook the lamb, and chop the vegetables in advance, then when it’s time to eat, just reheat the lamb, assemble your salad, and dig in.

Recommended Sides: This recipe includes protein, veggies, and fat, so you don’t need to add a thing.

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 the Cuban Meatballs, sweet potatoes, a bunless burger, grilled/roasted chicken, and even dolloped on hard-boiled eggs.


Caramelized Coconut Chips | meljoulwan.comCaramelized Coconut Chips (Whole30 approved)

Cookup Tips: These take about 5 minutes to make, so make them “to order” when you need a little snack.

Sweet and Salty Fudge Bombs | meljoulwan.comSweet and Salty Fudge Bombs (Not Whole30 approved)

Cookup Tips: These hold up great in the refrigerator, so you can make them in advance of your special dinner. Feel free to cut the recipe in half; it works just fine that way.


Want to get a notification of my “5 Paleo Dinners To Cook Next Week” sent to your email every Thursday?
Sign up here!

Food Love For Valentine’s Day

Dave and I have never celebrated Valentine's Day in the Hallmark card, heart-shaped box of chocolates, candlelight and rom-com romance kind of way. Most years,...

Read More
A Spicy-Sweet Paleo Dinner Party

Our rental house in Vermont has plenty of room to spread out, and frequently, our extra-large dining table is surrounded by Dave's classmates from the Center for...

Read More