Five Paleo Dinners To Cook Next Week #52

I’m a very “everything in its place” kind of girl, and this is my house right now:

The bedroom, living room, and kitchen are still tidy and functioning, but I have to avert my eyes from almost every other space. It’s challenging my daily peace.

My cooking life has been reduced to big hunks of meat plopped in the slow cooker, extra-large trays of chicken pieces roasted in the oven, Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup made with bone broth, and salads with a variety of dressings so we’re not too bored. (Basically, when life gets crazy, I rely on this Panic Cooking approach.)

My days begin with yoga and end with reading. In between, I’m slowly filling boxes bound for various destinations (Pennsylvania, Prague, donations) and sorting former treasures for Friends-Giving (this Sunday) and a house sale (date TBD).

During, around, and through all of that, there are many, many feels which can best be summed up by this quote:

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”—A.A. Milne

Prague has been insistently whispering my name for years, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to leave friends, family, and all that’s familiar.  But then I remember this…

“I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen.” ― A.A. Milne

… which pretty much describes how I felt when I met Dave—and just about every day in the twenty-five years since.

All of which leads to this completely unoriginal thought: Transitions are hard.

And awesome.

But hard.

For me, transitions are more manageable when I remember to breathe, laugh, and eat good food. You’re probably not also moving to Prague soon (although, that would be cool), but it seems like everyone is going through some kind of transition at any given moment: a change of seasons or job or family or even a shift in attitude.

So here are some meal ideas to nurture you through whatever your transition might be. These recipes are easy to cook and they’re comforting, but flavorful enough to feed a sense of adventure. Loving advice: Make a double batch of Mulligatawny Stew. It freezes very well, and it’s so good. (And since it’s March, now could be a fun time to revisit March Meatball Madness!)

Dinner Ideas (Whole30 compliant)

Mulligatawny Stew | meljoulwan.comMulligatawny Stew

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 think about a double batch. It tastes really great on a bed of Cauliflower Rice; you can turn the head of cauli into rice in advance, then store it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it.

Recommended Sides: Cauliflower Rice! It’s also tasty with Mint Chutney.

Machacado and Eggs | meljoulwan.comMachacado and Eggs

Cookup Tips: The downside of Breakfast for Dinner (shall we just call it “brinner”?!)  is also part of its appeal: You can’t really make eggs in advance, but this dish is ready in a flash! This is super delicious and comforting as all get-out.

Recommended Sides: This tastes really great with Classic Diner-Style Home Fries, Crispy (green) Plantains, and Pan-Fried (yellow) Plantains. You can boil the potatoes and plantains in advance, so when you’re ready to eat, all you need to do is fry ’em up.

Paleo Gyoza Meatballs | meljoulwan.comGyoza Meatballs

Cookup Tips: I feel like I shouldn’t be biased, but these are my go-to meatballs when I want to eat something delicious and interesting, but don’t feel like figuring anything out. 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: Cauliflower Rice is always a good choice—or you might sauté snow peas in ghee and sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt. A salad of butter lettuce, radishes, and cucumbers with Zingy Ginger Dressing is tasty, too.

Paleo Buffalo Chicken Chopped SaladBuffalo Chicken Chopped Salad

Cookup Tips: Make the dressing, poach the chicken, and chop the vegetables in advance, then when it’s time to eat, just toss it together and dig in.

Recommended Sides: The gift of a salad like this is that it features protein, veggies, and fat, so you don’t need to add a thing. But if you want to, Crispy Sweet Potato Fries are a yummy choice.

Moroccan Grilled Salmon | meljoulwan.comMoroccan Grilled Salmon

Cookup Tips: This is another recipe that should be made just before you eat it, but the good news: it’s super easy and cooks quite quickly.

Recommended Sides: This Creamy-Spicy Kale has complementary Moroccan flavors, and Balsamic Grilled Butternut Squash is both delicious and in season. No grill? You can make both the salmon and butternut squash in a 450F oven instead.

Balsamic-Grilled Butternut Squash |

Condiment (Whole30 compliant)

Zingy Ginger Dressing | meljoulwan.comZingy Ginger Dressing

Cookup Tips: You can make this during your Cookup in under 10 minutes, and it stays fresh in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. The recipe lists lots of creative ideas for how to put this dressing to good use. (It’s my favorite recipe from Well Fed 2).


nye_snackSavory Paleo Granola

Cookup Tips: This can bake in the background while you’re prepping the rest of your Cookup, and you can keep it whole, as pictured, or crush it in a food processor to make “Magic Dust.” I like to sprinkle a little of this on salads to add crunch—or on top of soups like this Sweet Potato or Golden Cauliflower.



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  • I know exactly how you are feeling right now. 19 months ago my husband and I moved from Scotland to Australia. It was time for our adventure and has always felt right, before, during and after the left. Waking up and going ‘I am exactly where I am meant to be’ everyday is so empowering.
    It doesn’t mean it is easy to leave friends and family, but you just know when it’s right.

    • Thank you, Jen! I’m feeling *mostly* excited these days. Will definitely be more relaxed when we finalize where we’re living. Last night, just as I was falling asleep under my snuggly blanket, I thought, “We’re not going to have a blanket when we get there.” Stupid brain.

  • Lydia says:

    You. Poor. Thing. Just looking at the photos of the boxes and mess makes my tidy-freak self wince. Thinking of you!

  • Trish says:

    Tomorrow my husband and I are driving from our current home in Richmond, Virginia to Pittsburgh. If all goes as planned we will make an offer on a house and move there in June. Oh–and I got laid off and he’s retiring. 2017’s been interesting, but like you and Dave we had a plan and although we hadn’t thought that it would come to fruition quite like this we’re getting excited for our new lives!

    • Yowza! You have a lot of new adventures on the horizon, too! Safe travels tomorrow. I hope you have a blast on your roadtrip. And good luck on landing your new home. I’m sure getting layed off wasn’t fun, but I hope you’re excited about the new opportunities coming your way. Internet hugs to you!

  • Laura says:


    Like the others, and you, I can relate. I am selling my house and moving into a 280 square foot RV and going full time RVing for who knows how long. I have the same piles, and at the same time trying to make my house look nice to sell it. I eat the Silky Gingered Zuchini Soup for lunch just about every day, and am ready to make up your fabulous Pad Thai recipe. Now for me I just retired, but I cannot imagine what you are going through and working at the same time. One question, and only an answer if you want to say, how long do you think you will be in Prague? I am so excited for you. My next hope is to go from the RV to living in Europe somewhere, not sure where, or on a boat!! Thank you for everything you do. Your work is amazing.

    • Wowza! That sounds like an awesome adventure. I’m so excited for you! Where are you going first?

      Don’t be too impressed: I’m only halfway working… and writing an occasional blog post is like a nice visit with all of you, so it’s restorative.

      We’re planning to stay somewhere between two years and indefinitely. We just really don’t know right now. If we’re happy there, we don’t have any specific reason to return to the US, so for the first time EVER, we’re just playing it by ear. YIKES!

      When do you set out? Safe travels. Best wishes for a smooth transition. XO

      • Laura says:

        Wowza is right…. I like your plan: jello planning is good. It takes the stress off. I realized I asked you a question most folks ask that I can’t answer either: How long on the road? And the other: when? First for us and like you at least two years, but who knows. If all is well we keep going. When, when we have our house sold and our new “rig” in hand. Neither of those has occurred yet. First place? Reno NV, to establish residency there and to be with family. Then the continental US is our oyster. We plan to stay in cool climates in the summer, warmer ones in the winter (think flip flops rule, so tempurature is key). We do plan Alaska, the Keys, New Foundland and San Diego, and everything in between, for sure Canada, not so sure about Mexico. We will see. I do plan to bring all of your books with me, that says a lot given how precious space will be! Good luck to you in your travels.

  • JanF says:

    Mel, how inspiring to read your blog. I have had a bit of a catch up this morning reading the last 3 or 4 blogs and feel for you as you make so many decisions leading up to your move.
    I’m going to make your Mulligatawny Stew and freeze it for those times where I don’t have time to cook.
    I admire the way you and Dave commit to your dreams and even in times of massive change remain true to your health and wellbeing lifestyle. Unfortunately as soon as “life” gets in the way, my healthy eating goes out the window.
    Go well during the lead up to your move.

    • YAY! I’m glad you were able to spend a little time catching up with our news… and YES! to double-Mulligatawny 🙂

      The only way I feel like I can get through stressful times is to really hunker down with some healthy food. It’s unexciting, not-very-creative food, but it does the job, and right now, that’s all we need. That “Panic Cooking” post is a helpful one when life gets super busy.

      Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement! And thanks for following along with us!

  • Andrea Stramara says:

    Hi Mel, tried different food plans. After much research, and the gift if well fed 2 from your mom, I am all in!! Since my car accident 3 years ago, my health has taken a step back. Excited to start with whole 30 and the Paleo. Thanks for your fun inspirational recipes and book. Best to you in your move. How Exciting!! XxOo Andrea KAT

  • Anne says:

    Long time fan! I love Prague, I think you’ll find it was a great decision. Or, you won’t. And that’s fine, too! Adventure regardless. I made Muligawany stew this last weekend for my husband and kids, since I was feeling guilty about escaping on a girls weekend. Here’s what my hubby texted to me when I was completely across the country, “Love the stew!” Thanks for making me a super hero. Best of luck on your big move. Glad to know you won’t be leaving all of us, I love your site.

    • Thanks for the words of support, Anne! Dave and I have discussed that it would actually be awesome either way: we love it and never want to come back, or we spend a few years there and realize we miss the US. Both are great!

      I hope you had a VERY fun weekend, and I’m so glad the stew was a hit with your family. Thank you for reading!

  • Heather Shollenberger says:

    What an exciting opportunity!! In the midst of panic try to remember what adventure awaits 🙂 I am in the process of trying to relocate to Philly from (you are going to be very familiar with this place 😉 ) Schuylkill county!! LOVE your recipes and I am leading a Whole 30/Paleo Facebook group. I am always recommending your books to my peeps!! All the luck to you in your new endeavor!