Five Paleo Dinners To Cook Next Week #107

It’s still in the 90s outside, so I have been living in my imagination via some really good books, like the just-released-here, but not-out-until-November-for-you novel Prague Spring by Simon Mawer (author of The Glass Room) and the brilliant essay collection by Anne Bogel: I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life.

Do you ever wish you could literally jump into the pages of a book and live there for a while?

I have a pretty great life, but I do wish I could do that sometimes.

This month, I’m also part of a mini-book club—my husband David, my niece Pepper, and me—to read Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life. The three of us are in places of transition, so it’s a good time to dig in and lay the foundation for what’s next. I like this book because it uses design principles to figure out life stuff, and there are exercises at the end of each chapter that are kind of fun. We meet on Wednesdays, eat some great food at a Prague restaurants, then share the results of that week’s chapters.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person who desires a good life, must be in want of healthy food—or something like that. So here are five bold and colorful dishes to inspire you to live a bold and colorful life. Happy cooking!

padthaiPaleo Pad Thai

Cookup Tips: Make all the components during your cookup—roast or grill the chicken, cut the veggies, roast the spaghetti squash, make the Sunshine Sauce—then when it’s time to eat, you’re, like, 10 minutes from slurping the squash noodles.

Recommended Sides: This has everything you need for a complete meal, but if you also made Thai Yummy Salad, you could have a two-course Thai meal, and that would be rad.

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.


Cookup Tips: This is the perfect meal for a weeknight if you prep the (super easy) components during your Weekly Cookup. You can make everything in advance and do a quick reheat on the lamb and eggplant when it’s time to eat—or skip the lamb and eat all the elements cold and chopped like a salad.

Recommended Sides: If you’re feeling like a little kitchen project, you could try your hand at Grain-Free Pita Bread.

Paleo Cincinnati Chili | meljoulwan.comCincinnati Chili

Cookup Tips: Chili tastes even better on day 2 or 3, so let this simmer on the back of the stove during your Cookup and enjoy it later in the week. (Pro tip: This is pretty great for breakfast with a fried egg on top.)

Recommended Sides: You’ll want to roast a spaghetti squash to use as a bed for the chili. (And here’s a how-to video so you can cut the squash without mishap.)

tropical_chopped_saladTropical Chopped Salad

Cookup Tips: I recommend against making this in advance; the flavors will be much brighter and tastier when you make it fresh—but it takes such a short time that you won’t even mind. If you want a shortcut, you can use pre-cooked and peeled shrimp. (I am a fan of shortcuts.)

Recommended Sides: This really doesn’t need a side, but if you want extra credit, and extra vegetables, I recommend Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice.

Condiment (Whole30 compliant)

Ranch Dressing

Cookup Tips: Make this during your Cookup and add flair to your meals all week. It’s great on salads, sure, but you can also drizzle it on hot vegetables or a roasted chicken breast, plop it on a bunless burger, and use it as a dipper for roasted sweet potato wedges.


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