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Five Paleo Dinners To Cook Next Week #84
David and I both have work projects that are keeping us very busy lately, and my Monday-morning Cookups are the only thing preventing us from ordering take-away Vietnamese and picking up döner kebabs from the kiosk down the street.
My mantra: Don’t give in to takeout! Don’t give in to takeout!
My new plan weekly food plan—which after months of experimentation is that one that is finally working—begins on Saturday afternoon. I take half an hour and plan our menu for the week: usually five dinners, plus eggs, chicken, ground beef, and sausage for breakfasts, and staples like tuna and salad fixings so we can eat leftovers and tuna for lunch. Then I place our giant grocery order with Rohlik and schedule the delivery for Sunday evening. Monday morning, I wake up at 6:00 a.m., practice Yoga with Adrienne, meditate with Insight Timer, shower, and start cooking.
Because our fridge is small and food doesn’t have the long shelf-life here that it does in the U.S., I usually cook enough protein for only 2-3 days and place the other half-week’s worth of meats in the freezer. I also wash and repackage all of our produce, make a batch of mayo and at least one salad dressing, and prep dense carbs for workout days: boiled potatoes and/or plantains and roasted sweet potatoes. All of this usually keeps us going until Wednesday or so; that’s when I defrost the remaining protein, throw chunks of beef or pork into the slow cooker, and do an interim trip to the store or farmers market for a fresh batch of produce. OMG, WE ARE ANIMALS AND NEED TO EAT SO OFTEN AND IT’S ANNOYING AND INEFFICIENT!
Sorry, I just really needed to get that off my chest. I love to eat, and sometimes the shopping and the cooking and the cleaning up are a bit much. But… this plan is working pretty well! We’ve been eating at home for all but 1-2 meals per week—just the way I like it. Do you have a Cookup plan you follow? Share in comments!
And now, here are five dinners you might like to cook next week. Anything that requires a grill can also be made in a 400F oven (Hello, Çevapçiçi and chicken thighs!) Happy cooking to you!
Dinner Ideas (Whole30 compliant)
Çevapçiçi, aka, cute Balkan sausages
Cookup Tips: The meat “dough” can be made 1 day in advance then cooked—or you can cook the çevapçiçi 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! The original recipe calls for grilling, but you can also make these little guys in the oven: 425F for 20 minutes or so.
Recommended Sides: These taste great on a pile of Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice and do not skip the Ajvar recipe below! On our travels, we also ate these with shopska salat: a chopped salad of cucumber, tomato, onion, and bell pepper dressed with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil.
Spring Chopped Salad from Well Fed 2
Cookup Tips: This needs protein for a complete meal; I really like it with grilled chicken thighs. You can wash and cut the veggies, and make the dressing in advance, then toss with dressing just before eating.
Recommended Sides: When you add protein, this recipe includes the triumvirate of protein–veggies–fat, so you don’t need anything else.
Yucatan Green Chile Sauté from Well Fed Weeknights
About the Recipe: This recipe was inspired by the crazy-good food we ate on a trip to Tulum and Playa del Carmen, Mexico. It comes together really quickly, so it’s great for a dinner when you’re yearning for something comforting and fast, and the leftovers taste great topped with fried eggs or mixed into a scramble.
Cookup Tips: Rice the cauliflower, prepare the spice blend, and make the sauce in advance; store everything in separate airtight containers in the fridge. When it’s time to eat, begin with the “Cook the meat” step.
SB&J Burger from Well Fed 2
Cookup Tips: This is another fast recipe that doesn’t require you to think about it until about 10 minutes before you want to make it. As long as you’ve got ground beef, some fruit, and a jar of nut butter, you have all you need to make this deliciously-weird (weirdly-delicious?) meal.
Recommended Sides: This tastes really great with Classic Diner-Style Home Fries or Crispy, Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries. You can prep potatoes in advance, so when you’re ready to eat, all you need to do is finish ’em up.
Waldorf Tuna Salad from Well Fed
Cookup Tips: If you make a batch of mayo in advance, you can whip up this tuna salad in almost no time. Or use your Cookup time to make a double batch of tuna salad so it’s ready to grab all week.
Recommended Sides: Colorful veggies are the way to go: Simple Red Cabbage Salad, a bed of baby spinach, and lots of crudité with Ranch Dressing for dipping.
Condiment (Whole30 compliant)
Cookup Tips: Make this during your Cookup and add zing to your meals for weeks! It’s great on the çevapçiçi, bunless burgers, grilled/roasted chicken, and fish. The original recipe calls for grilling the peppers, but you can roast them in the oven.
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I love a good meal plan! I make my weekly meal plan and grocery list Thursday, then try to do my grocery shopping Friday after work. That way it isn’t a chore hanging over my head all weekend. I usually plan six dinners, and I cook one-two extra servings for leftovers for lunch all week. I also plan a big batch breakfast to cook up on Sunday, like sweet potato soup. Sunday’s I always cook something that takes some time, like a roast chicken. I also always plan one slow cooker recipe, and one entree salad in my dinner plan.
Another excellent plan! Thank you for sharing! I almost want to hug my slow cooker sometimes because it’s such a kickass convenience—good to see it’s on your list, too 🙂
God, those SB&J burgers are so good. Seems unusual, but the flavor combo really works (the scallions are necessary, IMHO, to keep things just enough on the savory side).
Anyway, my plan usually is: hit up my two grocery stores Thursday night (an amazing deli for all my proteins plus a few extras, then my regular grocery store for everything else). Sometime over the weekend, usually Saturday morning, I spend 2.5 hours cooking up and portioning my breakfasts and lunches for the week. Dinners are usually just 10 minutes: saute a protein and veggies and add a starchy veg if I went to the gym.
But yeah, I here you. Sometimes I am just so over going through this whole process but it makes my week SO much easier AND I feel so much better – physically and mentally – doing it that it’s worth it.
And a lot of my recipes and process come from reading your books and blog, so thank you for all you hard work, ideas and inspiration!
So interesting! I’m all about batch cooking and love your cook-up resources. I.just.cannot.cook.every.day. I have wondered how I’d manage with a little fridge. Exactly when I cook varies, but my planning is steady. I plan for dinners by “type of meal” with some big and some smaller so that we have just the right amount of food or some ready made meals I can freeze.
Sunday= simple sauteed protein + veg
Monday= soup (which helps with lunches, or freezes well for easy future lunches)
Tuesday= stovetop saute
Wednesday= crockpot/IP meat + veg (freeze any extra meat for next week)
Friday= out or something fun
Saturday= hearty, like a casserole
The days get moved around based on things in the evening, but having this structure helps me to plan the menu much more easily and cook a couple meals at a time!
This is such a well-thought-out plan! I love it! Thank you for sharing—I bet it will be really helpful to other readers.
Can I use the raw tuna? Still have some grams tuna in my fridge so I wonder if I could try this recipe with them ?
I don’t see why you couldn’t use raw tuna–should be great!
Thank you very much!