Five Paleo Dinners To Cook Next Week #51

It’s that time: my Twitter feed is filled with bacon rose bouquets, chocolate treats, and heart-shaped gifts. Are you feeling romantic?

Dave and I generally ignore Valentine’s Day, and this year, we’ve got our eyes firmly on the prize called “Move To Prague,” so I suspect our “celebration” will be a recipe from Well Fed Weeknights and a Very Special Episode of Jeopardy!

But maybe you’re better at Valentine’s Day than we are!

To help you enjoy an awesome Valentine’s Day—because I like you and you totally deserve it—I’ve collected the recipes below to show you how much I care. And yes, there’s a little chocolate involved at the end. If you’re thinking about a special dinner at home on February 14, these Valentine’s Day menus (and this one from last year) should make it easy and delicious. You might even want to tackle this partner workout that Dave and I devised a few years ago. Happy Valentine’s Day and happy cooking!

Dinner Ideas (Whole30 compliant)

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

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.

2-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

Cookup Tips: Who would have thought that cold water and dark chocolate could be transformed into something so luscious?! Make this on the day you want to eat it and enjoy every silky bite.

A Valentine Message From Smudge

Smudge wanted me to share this quote from Eartha Kitt on her behalf: “It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self love deficit.”



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,...

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Smupdate! February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day from Smudge!

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  • TAC says:

    Since you are going through all you own in anticipation of the big move, you may find help in Francine Jay’s new book, 100 ESSENTIALS. Even if you aren’t interested in minimalism you still may find her process very helpful in your selection journey.

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Mel – Well, it’s been a difficult journey back, but we’re FINALLY here. After losing a beloved colleague in the fall, plus the political, well, let’s just be kind and say “circus” in the fall, plus the holidays – I was in BAD shape. Physically, mentally, eating was just BAD. How’d it turn around? Lucky for me I had pre-ordered Well Fed Weeknights, and it arrived, and I saw it calling me for almost two months. We finally answered in January and have DELIGHTED in getting back to health with YOU at our side. 🙂 I’m especially crazy about your blender stick in the pint mason jar method!!!!! I just completed an herbalist program last summer and have mason jars in abundance. Anyway, long story short – thank you. I love the new recipes and that it makes me and my sweetie healthy again is just an over the top bonus. Happy V Day on Tuesday, from our (healthier) hearts to yours. XOXO Lisa and Sylvie in Newmarket, NH

  • Janis says:

    Smudge is very wise. Love the quote he shared.