Five Paleo Dinners to Cook Next Week #98

It feels a little bit like déjà vu: Dave and I spent the better part of today tromping around Prague—under brutally sunny skies—to collect bits of paper for our Czech visa renewal. It was almost exactly a year ago that our first visa was approved!

Today, we needed to get a notarized copy of our lease and stamps from the post office worth 1500 korun—about $75—to pay the visa fees because the Ministry doesn’t accept cash or cards, just stamps. That sounds simple, but… first we were too early for the notary, and we both forgot our phones (what?!). We sat under an umbrella at a café while sipping limonáda and writing letters home to wait for the notary to open—the horrors! It was just as awful as it sounds.

When we went back to the notary, after killing a little more time in a comic book shop, we found that she was opening 40 minutes later than expected today—which would be no big deal except it was getting on to lunch time, and we didn’t know the location of the BBQ restaurant we wanted to try. We rallied our spirits and walked back home for our phones and the BBQ address. By now, in addition to hungry, we were thirsty and sweaty. But it went according to plan… tram, BBQ (meat, potatoes, slaw… yay!), walk, notary, tram, post office, walk, home.

Now I’m standing in front of the fan, drinking water, and our precious documents and stamps are in a folder, ready for our meeting at which we get official permission to stay in the Czech Republic for two more years.

I know there’s no reason to be nervous, but it still makes me nervous.

It’s been really lovely settling into life here without worrying about potentially getting kicked out of the country. I’m both very grateful that it’s unlikely our visa would be denied—and heartbroken for the people in the United States right now that are unsure of their status. I am completely aware of how fortunate we are. Even though we haven’t been here very long, wherever Dave, Smudge, and I cook and sleep feels like home, and I would be wrecked if we had to leave here before we’re ready.

When life feels overwhelming, I like to dive deeply in to a book (Hello, Jane Eyre!), cook comforting food, and snuggle with my favorite husband and feline. I hope you’re not feeling overwhelmed these days, but if you are, maybe these recipes will help you feel grounded and comforted. Happy cooking!

Dinner Ideas (Whole30 compliant)

Merguez Meatballs

Cookup Tips: Meatball “dough” can be made one day in advance and cooked the next day; cooked meatballs are good for about a week in the fridge, and they freeze well, so a double batch is a great idea!

Recommended Sides: These are nice served on a bed of Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice (and both can be baked at the same time, same temp!) and drizzled with Moroccan Dipping Sauce. You can grate the raw cauliflower into rice and store it covered in the fridge to cook just before eating. Moroccan Dipping Sauce tastes fresh for about 4-5 days.

Crispy Latin American Chicken

Cookup Tips: This recipe tastes best when it’s made just before you eat it, but it’s so worth it! The original recipe calls for grilling, but you can also make this on the stovetop. Coat the chicken in the “breading,” give it a quick sauté in a little fat in a skillet, then finish in a 400F oven for 15-20 minutes, until it’s browned outside and its juices run clear when poked with a fork.

Recommended Sides: Do not skip the Cucumber-Pineapple Salsa! You will also be pretty happy if you make either Crispy (green) Plantains with Garlic Sauce or these Pan-Fried (yellow) Plantains.

Snap Peas with Lemon, Mint & Pistachios

Cookup Tips: This is so fast, no need to do anything in advance!

Recommended Sides: To make it a complete meal, you need to add protein. Grilled chicken thighs, baked or grilled salmon, steamed shrimp, and bunless burgers are all awesome choices.

Italian Hoagie Salad

Cookup Tips: This recipe is from Well Fed Weeknights, and it’s one of my favorite recipes ever. It’s the best part of a sub without the bun, and it can be thrown together in about 10 minutes. This taste best when it’s tossed just before eating, but if you wanted to get a jump on it, you could pre-julienne the deli meats.

Recommended Sides: It’s everything you need in one delicious bowl!

Creole Ham & Cauliflower Rice

Cookup Tips: Chop the raw cauliflower into rice and store in a covered container in the fridge until you’re ready to make the whole recipe. You can also cut up the veggies and ham in advance.

Recommended Sides: This really doesn’t really need a side, but if you want extra credit, and extra vegetables, I recommend steamed green beans with garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a pinch of dried thyme.

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 Latin American Chicken, Scotch Eggs, sweet potato fries, a bunless burger, grilled chicken thighs, or drizzled over fried eggs for breakfast (or brinner).

 

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