Fruit, Potato & Grain Menu: Eliminating Grain Version

Fruit and Grain Free Menu


Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Breakfast Scrambled Eggs with Ham Steak Quick Huevos Rancheros Spiced Butternut Squash Chia Pudding With Options Quick Huevos Rancheros Watermelon Smoothie with Nut and Seed Granola Scrambled Eggs with Ham Steak Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties with Hash Browns
Snack Cottage Cheese with Salsa and Vegetable Chips Hard Boiled Egg Cottage Cheese with Salsa and Vegetable Chips Hard Boiled Egg Celery and Nut Butter with Cinnamon Edamame Snack Leftover Spiced Nuts
Lunch Chicken on Green Salad with Quick Dressing Veggie Soup and Deli Meat Roll-ups Leftover Meatloaf and Salad with Quick Dressing Collard Wraps with Leftover Coleslaw and Salmon Soup and Salad Tuna Salad over Garlic Lentils Leftover Grilled Veggies on Salad with Smokey Meatballs
Snack Hard Boiled Egg Celery and Nut Butter with Cinnamon Raw Nuts, and 1 oz of Cheese Cottage Cheese with Salsa and Vegetable Chips Celery and Nut Butter with Cinnamon Homemade Spiced Nuts Raw Nuts and 1 oz of Cheese
Dinner Shrimp with Garlic Cream Sauce and Bean Salad Meatloaf, with Garlic Collard Greens. *Cook Squash in Oven at the Same Time as Meatloaf, Make Chia Pudding and Put in the Fridge* Turkey, Fennel, and Bean skillet, with Quick Coleslaw Quick Asian Stir Fry with Tofu Noodles Taco Salad Grilled steak, Salad, and Grilled Veggies Roast Chicken with Asparagus and Baked Potatoes

Fruit and Grain Free Menu Tips:


The easiest way to split up your Potato and Grain combination is to completely eliminate one. For this week we’ll eliminate Grain. Our menus are written following this “avoid one” guideline. You will see reminders in the tips to avoid grain, and remember to always read labels, as different forms fruit or grain can be added to so many foods.

Fruit is added to many foods. These tips will help you avoid fruit, and grain, and give you some tools to spot fruit in some unlikely places. As always, try to steer clear of processed, low nutrient foods. Most all commercial white flour has some form of acid, such as ascorbic acid, that is usually derived from a fruit source. You can replace white flour in baking with whole wheat pastry flour. Find a reputable brand that only uses limited, straight forward ingredients in their flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill.

You will not always know if there is fruit in a commercially produced product, or food at a restaurant. Once you have cleared your diet of any  processed foods, and you’ve been without fruit for some time then your body will be able to tell if you’re eating something reactive. You may notice a change in mood after eating a meal, or you may get some physical reaction. Some people who are reactive to fruit and haven’t had any for an extended period of time, can actually get a physical reaction such as a slight burn in their mouth, or immediate heartburn. Sometimes when people ingest (knowingly or unknowingly) the food they are intolerant to they notice an increased level of anxiety, and their whole mood shifts. Some people notice a more solemn mood. Everyone is different, you will eventually learn your body, and learn what symptoms you get when ingesting fruit.

Scrambled Eggs with Ham Steak: Monday, and Saturday

Scramble eggs as normal. The only thing you may want to be careful of is if you normally use a fruit based oil to fry the eggs in. There is a popular spray oil that has palm oil in it, and therefore has fruit, so if you normally use this you should switch to a canola oil, or soybean oil.

For the ham steak, you can purchase a ham steak that will be large enough for 2 servings, (which is great since it’s on the menu for Saturday as well) or you can purchase a whole ham, and slice it in individual portions then freeze. All you have to do the morning of is heat it up on the stovetop or microwave until hot. As for fruit and ham, just read the label and watch out for any apple cider glaze, and always be mindful of those hidden ingredients that are fruit derived such as citric acid or nutmeg.

Quick Huevos Rancheros: Tuesday, and Thursday

To make the Huevos Rancheros open a can of black beans, start that heating up while you cook the eggs. Once the eggs are cooked top a corn tortilla (with no lime added to it) and put your favorite salsa on top of that. Pace Picante does not add any acids to their salsa, but iIf you can’t find a fruit free salsa chop up a plum tomato, some green onion, salt, pepper, and cilantro and put that on top of the eggs. If avocados are in season you can put some avocado on this also. Now add the warmed beans and enjoy!

Spiced Butternut Squash Chia Pudding (with Alternative Options): Wednesday

Prep For the Spiced Butternut Squash Chia Pudding:

  • 2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or sweetener of choice
  • 1 cup of milk (any kind, my favorite is almond milk)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. You could also mix this all up first thing in the morning, then go get ready, and let the chia seeds absorb the milk, it should be a pudding/jelly consistency in about 20 minutes if you just leave it on the counter.

You can find butternut squash canned, or roast your own. To cook a butternut squash, cut it lengthwise in half, scoop out the seeds. Roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until the meat is fork tender, but more on the mushy side. You want the squash mushy so it mixes in easily with the pudding. If you’re cooking the squash the night before while the meatloaf roasts, you can just put the squash in the oven with the meatloaf, and keep checking if it’s tender. If your meatloaf is at 350 for an hour I’d check the squash at 45 minutes.

In the morning you can top your chia pudding with heated up mashed squash, cinnamon, and a pinch of ground ginger and some nuts and enjoy.

So, not everyone loves the consistency of the chia pudding, I admit it took me a couple times to like it. If you really miss a bowl of warm gooey oatmeal, you can heat the chia pudding up, or my other favorite option is nut and seed granola, which can be topped with a rhubarb compote. This is a great option for summer. During the colder months you probably won’t be able to find fresh rhubarb but you can order canned rhubarb from many different websites.

Prep for Nut and Seed Granola:

Take equal parts almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds and put into a glass container. Add water to nuts. Double the amount of water to nuts, so if you have a total of 2 cups nuts, cover with about 4 cups water. It doesn’t have to be exact, about double is fine. Put lid, or plastic wrap onto dish and put in fridge until morning. That’s it for tonight!

If you don’t like this mix of nuts, and seeds then try a mix you like. Try pumpkin seeds, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, anything can work with this.

Nut and Seed Granola:

Take the nut and seed mix out of the fridge and strain off all the water, and rinse. Once the mix is drained lay out a dish towel and pat them all so it’s a bit more dry.  Then put the mix into a food processor, and pulse until a ‘granola’ consistency. Basic measurements are below, but it’s not a science, so have fun and experiment with different flavors. You can even add in unsoaked nuts or seeds for a more crunchy texture.

  • 3 cups nut/seed mix
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tiny pinch of sea salt

Pulse ingredients until you have a chunky granola consistency.

If you like you can eat this like a cereal. Just pour some into a bowl, and cover with your favorite milk alternative, and a Rhubarb Compote

You may have tried Rhubarb in a strawberry-rhubarb pie. It tastes tart, and a little bit sweet, and it very similar to a fruit flavor. It is not a fruit, and is therefore safe for you to consume.

If buying fresh rhubarb, or if you decide to grow it, keep in mind that the leafy green tops are toxic and poisonous to humans, and pets. The red stalk is the edible part of the plant. The stalk looks like a red celery stalk. Most markets will not have fresh rhubarb unless it is in season (summer), but you can buy canned. If your store doesn’t have canned you can always order it online. Make sure to read ingredient labels, there shouldn’t been any added acids, but I like to read labels just to make sure. You will also have to sweeten rhubarb, as it is quite tart. An easy way to cook it up is make a compote. You can top toast, oatmeal, put it on a turkey sandwich, top a pork chop, there are so many ways to use a compote.

Rhubarb Compote:

For every 1 pound of fresh rhubarb add ½ cup of sugar or sweetener of choice, such as maple syrup or molasses.

For every pound of rhubarb, use ¼ water.

For every pound of rhubarb use about 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger.

Method:

Chop rhubarb into 1 inch pieces

Bring all ingredients to a boil, then turn heat to medium low, and simmer until the rhubarb is broken down a bit, and the compote is thick and gooey looking. Taste it for seasoning. You can add a splash of rice vinegar if you want some more acidic flavor.

Watermelon Smoothie with Nut and Seed Granola: Friday

For the watermelon smoothie, blend up some watermelon chunks, and some plain yogurt. Be careful to purchase only plain or vanilla yogurt, and again, read ingredient labels to check for fruit additives. Blend the two together with some sweetener, I like maple syrup. Taste as you go, and adjust as you go. If you want it creamier add some more yogurt. I start out by blending about 1 cup of the melon, then add about ¼ cup of yogurt, and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. This can be changed to use any melon you like, and it’s delicious!

A good tip is to make some big batches of this smoothie with different melons when they are in peak season during the summer, then freeze them. You can freeze them in paper cups that are not lined with wax, or just freeze a big batch in a gallon ziplock bag. When you’re ready to thaw the smoothies you can thaw the bag and put the smoothie in to-go cups.

Prep for Nut and Seed Granola:

Take equal parts almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds and put into a glass container. Add water to nuts. Double the amount of water to nuts, so if you have a total of 2 cups nuts, cover with about 4 cups water. It doesn’t have to be exact, about double is fine. Put lid, or plastic wrap onto dish and put in fridge until morning. That’s it for tonight!

If you don’t like this mix of nuts, and seeds then try a mix you like. Try pumpkin seeds, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, anything can work with this.

Nut and Seed Granola:

Take the nut and seed mix out of the fridge and strain off all the water, and rinse. Once the mix is drained lay out a dish towel and pat them all so it’s a bit more dry.  Then put the mix into a food processor, and pulse until a ‘granola’ consistency. Basic measurements are below, but it’s not a science, so have fun and experiment with different flavors. You can even add in unsoaked nuts or seeds for a more crunchy texture.

  • 3 cups nut/seed mix
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tiny pinch of sea salt

Pulse ingredients until you have a chunky granola consistency.

If you like you can eat this like a cereal. Just pour some into a bowl, and cover with your favorite milk alternative, and a Rhubarb Compote

You may have tried Rhubarb in a strawberry-rhubarb pie. It tastes tart, and a little bit sweet, and it very similar to a fruit flavor. It is not a fruit, and is therefore safe for you to consume.

If buying fresh rhubarb, or if you decide to grow it, keep in mind that the leafy green tops are toxic and poisonous to humans, and pets. The red stalk is the edible part of the plant. The stalk looks like a red celery stalk. Most markets will not have fresh rhubarb unless it is in season (summer), but you can buy canned. If your store doesn’t have canned you can always order it online. Make sure to read ingredient labels, there shouldn’t been any added acids, but I like to read labels just to make sure. You will also have to sweeten rhubarb, as it is quite tart. An easy way to cook it up is make a compote. You can top toast, oatmeal, put it on a turkey sandwich, top a pork chop, there are so many ways to use a compote.

Rhubarb Compote:

For every 1 pound of fresh rhubarb add ½ cup of sugar or sweetener of choice, such as maple syrup or molasses.

For every pound of rhubarb, use ¼ water.

For every pound of rhubarb use about 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger.

Method:

Chop rhubarb into 1 inch pieces

Bring all ingredients to a boil, then turn heat to medium low, and simmer until the rhubarb is broken down a bit, and the compote is thick and gooey looking. Taste it for seasoning. You can add a splash of rice vinegar if you want some more acidic flavor.

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties with Hash Browns: Sunday

Homemade sausage patties sounds more daunting than it really is. By making your own you can make a couple pounds and keep them in the freezer so they’re ready to go on quick weekday mornings, and you don’t have to worry about processed additives.

If you don’t currently make your own sausage patties all you really need is some ground turkey, an egg, dried sage, garlic and onion powder, sea salt, pepper, dried thyme, and if you like it hot, ground cayenne.

For every 1 pound of turkey use:

  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp of the garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme
  • ½ tsp sage, and pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

pinch of cayenne, unless you like it spicy you could go up to ½ tsp

Mix all of the ingredients, form patties, and cook in the same skillet you’re going to cook the eggs in. Cook the patties in batches, and keep them warm by placing tin foil on top of the cooked ones.

Hash Browns:

You can purchase already shredded or diced potatoes in the freezer section ready for your to make hash browns! Just follow package directions. If you feel feisty and want to add in some sliced bell peppers, or chopped green onion you’ll get bonus points!

Cottage Cheese with Salsa and Vegetable Chips: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday

Pace Picante does not add any acids to their jarred salsas, but if you can’t find a fruit free salsa chop up some tomatoes, some green onion, salt, pepper, and cilantro and you have salsa!

For the cottage cheese, you also should read labels, but finding a fruit free one should be quite easy. To season the cottage cheese, if you don’t like salsa, you can add any spices you like, garlic powder, onion powder, or any fruit free pre-made seasoning mix.

Vegetable chips may sound like more of a hassle than it is. You can usually find pre-sliced, raw carrot chips, cut up celery, and prewashed snow peas/snap peas for dunking into the cottage cheese. Some health food stores also carry baked vegetable chips, that can be made from sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, and many other yummy options. These are delicious, and a good choice if you are missing crackers or corn chips.

Hardboiled egg: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday

Boil enough eggs for everyone’s snacks all at once in the beginning of the week, then individually portion them out, or keep in one container, and portion throughout the week.

Once the eggs have boiled at a hard boil for about 10-15 minutes run cold water over them until cool. Do not wait to remove the shell later in the week. It is easiest to remove the shell right after the eggs have cooled. You can simply put sea salt and black pepper onto the shelled egg for seasoning.

Raw Nuts, and 1 oz of Cheese: Wednesday, Sunday

Make sure you get a cheese that is not yellow. The yellow coloring is usually from the coloring annatto, which is derived from fruit.

Celery and Nut Butter with Cinnamon: Tuesday, Friday

Try out other nut butters besides the usual. Almond butter and cinnamon is a fabulous combination! Kids and adults love this one. Since it can be hard to transport, you could put the butter in a container, top with cinnamon, and dip in the celery.

Easy Edamame: Saturday

You can find whole edamame (soybeans) in the freezer section at most stores. I highly recommend the whole beans still in the pod for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, they taste so much better than the shelled ones. The also take longer to eat, and keep your hands busy since you need to pop the beans out of the pods. This is also a great snack to have while you watch a movie and need that salty something.  If it’s a snack for only me I pour about a half cup  of the frozen edamame into a microwave safe bowl with a splash of water. Then cover with a plate so they steam. I microwave for about 2 minutes on medium heat. Then drain the water out and generously salt them. You could also add pepper, or any seasoning you like. This is a high protein, and very filling snack.

Homemade Spice Nuts: Saturday

Preheat your oven to 350.

Take 2 cups of your favorite mix of nuts, I like pecans and walnuts for this. Mix with ¼ cup of pure maple syrup, and 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt, but you can use any dry seasoning you like. Sometimes I use ¼ tsp cayenne powder, and ½ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary. Use what you have and play around. Mix all your ingredients and make sure the nuts are well coated. Pour them onto a parchment lined baking sheet, you may also want to put some oil on a paper towel, and rub that over the parchment paper as the maple syrup sticks. Roast for 5 minutes, then mix again, put back in the oven for another 5 minutes. You will do this for a total of 15 minutes, Sometimes you may need to put them in for a full 20 to be really candied. They will harden as they cool, and should not be sticky at all once dried. You can then put these in baggies and enjoy at your leisure.

Chicken on Green Salad with Quick Dressing: Monday

You can grill up a chicken breast, or cut one up and quickly sauté it with some dried herb seasoning. A good mix is tarragon, thyme, and my all time favorite, garlic powder. I don’t recommend the already grilled and seasoned ones in the freezer section since those will most likely be quite processed, but sometimes if that’s what you have to do then check for no fruit, and go for it.

A quality salad for lunch should become a staple for you and your family. Kids may not want salads, but if they help with the preparation they’ll be more likely to eat the final dish. Kids can help by counting the cherry tomatoes, or washing the cucumbers, or while at the store picking out a leafy green salad mix that looks fun to eat. Always try to get the really leafy greens, such as spinach, arugula, or even red lettuce. Head lettuce has no real nutrition. If you need an easy dressing, mix 2 parts cold pressed walnut oil to 1 part rice vinegar, a squirt of Dijon mustard (check ingredients for added fruit ingredients), sea salt and pepper, and finely chopped shallot. If you can’t find shallot, chopped green onion or a little garlic is delicious as well, but the shallot really makes something special.

Walnut oil is a delicious alternative to olive oil. Some health food stores do carry it, and as always, if you can’t find it in store you can order it online.

Veggie Soup and Deli Meat Roll-ups: Tuesday

You can find a canned vegetable soup that doesn’t contain fruit product or grain. There are some organic brands don’t have either. It is so easy to whip up your own, and I encourage you to do so.  Just heat up some good vegetable broth, and toss in a couple bags of your favorite frozen vegetables, and you can add in some beans if you like, diced tomatoes (no added acids), a mixed herb Italian seasoning, granulated garlic and onion powder, and there’s your soup. Freeze soups in serving sizes for on the go lunches.

For the Roll-ups you can use turkey, roast beef, ham, whatever you like. For turkey roll-ups use cream cheese, and pickles. You should be able to find a pickle with no citric acid, or even better, make your own quick pickles.

Quick Dill Pickles:

  • 1 pound quartered cucumbers
  • ¾  cups no fruit vinegar
  • ¾  cups water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt salt (or pickling salt)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled (2 per jar)
  • ½  teaspoon dried dill seed per jar
  • ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns per jar
  • ¼ teaspoon of dried red pepper (optional)

Bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a simmer. While that’s getting simmered up for you, put the spices in jars, and pack cucumbers into jars. Pour the brine over your jars, with about ½ inch of space at the top. Put the lids on the jars, and carefully tap them on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Once the jars are back to room temperature you can store them in the fridge. I would wait about 2 days to eat them so they’re perfectly yummy!

Back to the wraps, I spread out slices of turkey, smoosh (very technical) some cream cheese onto the turkey slices, then top with a dill pickles stick (or sweet if you have them).  Then I sprinkle a teeny tiny bit of cayenne pepper onto each one. Kids will probably not like the spicy cayenne, but a little black pepper can also be delicious! Then roll up like a pickle-cigar. You could use toothpicks to keep these secure, but I just shove them into a small container and they stay put until lunch.

For Roast Beef you can do the same thing, but instead of just cream cheese, I use some fresh grated horseradish root. If you can’t find horseradish root, you could slice some radishes, and layer those on top of the cheese. Play with what you have, and try different flavors.

Leftover Meatloaf, Salad with Dairy Free Dressing: Wednesday

Again, leftovers are your best friend! Throw some meatloaf in the microwave, or toaster oven, toss some salad into a big bowl with the dressing from Monday, or just make some more and you’ve got a delicious and simple lunch.

Collard Wraps with Leftover Coleslaw and Salmon: Thursday

If you’re new to collard greens, they are a giant flat leafed green that you should be able to find in any grocery store. You may have had a collard green dish where they’re all cooked down, possibly with bacon fat, and some vinegar. That’s delicious, but today you’re using collards as wrap for salmon salad.

The trick to using a collard green as a wrap is to warm it up a little bit first. When I’m making my lunch in the morning before work I just put a pan that’s large enough for the collard leaf on low heat. I gently warm up the collard. You do not need to take out the collard stem for this. It should only need to be in a warm pan for 30 seconds or so on each side, then move to a large cutting board, or clean counter, and put some of  the Salmon mixture on the side closest to you. All you have to do for the salad is mix your leftover coleslaw with a can of salmon, maybe add some fresh cut green onion, and a tiny splash of vinegar. I find a long pile of it about a inch wide down the whole leaf is best. I like to fold the very top part of the leaf over the salmon, and then roll up from the salmon side up. Putting the very top of the leaf in over the salmon makes it not squish out so bad when you eat it. You can secure these with toothpicks and place in a container.

Soup and Salad: Friday

Heat up some leftover soup. Make sure to have some protein on your salad like beans, or almonds, or walnuts to keep you full. Also, the healthy fats from your walnut oil dressing help to keep you satisfied. If you want to mix up the dressing, try a different vinegar. There’s all sorts of rice wine vinegars. Some yummy add ins for your salad are pickled garlic, roasted red peppers, baby corn, fresh snap peas, canned artichoke hearts, and drained water chestnuts. As wilth all processed foods just read the labels. For example, most stores carry marinated artichoke hearts, which have some sort of fruit acid in them, but right next to those are plain canned artichoke hearts, with no fruit.

*Tip: If you miss the briny flavor of olives, then artichoke hearts can be a great replacement!

Tuna Salad over Garlic Lentils: Saturday

Basic Tuna Salad:

  • 1 can tuna fish
  • 1 Tablespoon sweetener of your choice
  • 1 stalk celery finely chopped
  • 1 dill or sweet pickle finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise (read ingredients for not grain fruit derived ingredients)
  • 1 tablespoon good dijon mustard (again, check the ingredient label)
  • ¼ tsp dried dill (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

 Mix all ingredients together and top Garlic Lentils.

For the lentils:

I like french green lentils for this recipe since they keep their shape, and have a nice flavor. Cook lentils according to package directions, and remember they double their size once cooked so use a large enough pot. Once cooked add in salt and pepper to taste. To taste means just that, add in a little salt and pepper, taste it, add more if needed and repeat. Pour over some walnut oil, and using a garlic press, press in about 3 cloves of garlic to lentils and mix. If you don’t have a garlic press you can finely chop garlic. I use about 3 average size cloves for every 2 cups of cooked lentils. Mix well, and top with basic tuna salad. This lentil salad is best the next day when it’s marinated a bit, so keep that in mind and maybe make more than you need.

Leftover Grilled Veggies on Salad with Smokey Meatballs: Sunday

For the meatballs, you can use any recipe you have and omit any bread or crackers that it calls for. Some yummy spices to add to the meat are, garlic, grated onion, parmesan cheese, any good Italian seasoning blend, finely chopped parsley. Many recipes call for Worchestire sauce, but this does have a bit of fruit in it, to make them more flavorful you can add about ¼ tsp of liquid smoke. This ingredient will really add so much flavor, and you will find yourself using in it so many recipes. I like to also add a little liquid smoke to marinades, chilis, stews, anything you want a little smokey flavor in!

Shrimp with Red Sauce and Bean Salad: Monday

You can purchase already cooked frozen shrimp, and reheat per the package instructions.

Heat a jar of ready made marinara sauce (no acids look at labels) while the shrimp are cooking. If you can’t find a jarred one, you can cook up some fresh chopped tomatoes with some garlic and basil, until thickened, then you have a quick sauce! For bonus points you can add in a couple cloves of fresh garlic, a box of frozen artichoke hearts, or frozen zucchini mix to the pan the shrimp is cooking in.

Frozen green beans can be just as nutritious as fresh. You can add a bag, or two depending on your family size, to a glass dish, along with a of kidney beans, (rinse the beans first) and cover with a plate, or glass lid and microwave to steam the beans until hot. Once hot, drain off excess water by holding the lid on the dish, but slightly tilt it over the sink and pour out the water. You can add some garlic powder, onion powder, or any premixed herb seasoning that’s fruit free, some fresh basil, a little chopped green onion, 1 grated clove of garlic, go shy at first with the garlic since it may be a little overpowering.

Meatloaf, with Garlic Collard Greens. *Cook Squash in Oven at the Same Time as Meatloaf, Make Chia Pudding and Put in the Fridge*  Tuesday

Prep For the Spiced Butternut Squash Chia Pudding:

  • 2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or sweetener of choice
  • 1 cup of milk (any kind, my favorite is almond milk)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Squash:

You can find butternut squash canned, or roast your own. To cook a butternut squash, cut it lengthwise in half, scoop out the seeds. Roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until the meat is fork tender, but more on the mushy side. You want the squash mushy so it mixes in easily with the pudding. If you’re cooking the squash the night before while the meatloaf roasts, you can just put the squash in the oven with the meatloaf, and keep checking if it’s tender. If your meatloaf is at 350 for an hour I’d check the squash at 45 minutes.

Meatloaf:

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, leftovers are your best friend! When making your meatloaf, prepare two. This menu guide is assuming you will have leftover meatloaf for lunch, so please, make more than you need for dinner alone.  It doesn’t take hardly any extra time, and you can make sure to have some for lunch the next day, or freeze it and have dinner one night the following week! This menu assumes you will have at least enough leftover for lunch on Wednesday. I say even if you live alone, or with just one other person still double your recipe, and freeze the leftover. This makes life easier when you have a stock of properly labeled food ready to eat on a particularly busy evening. Always label what you freeze! Trust me, this is the best tip thus far.

If your meatloaf recipe calls to soak breadcrumbs in milk you can omit the breadcrumbs, and just reduce the milk. The bread and milk are meant to make the loaf more tender, but shouldn’t be missed if you don’t overmix the meat.

Collard Greens are related to Kale, and in the same family as broccoli. You can find collard greens in the frozen food section, but if not, they are available in produce in bunches. Cut the green leaf part off of the stem, and toss leaves into a big pan with a couple chopped cloves of garlic, add some water and sauté until tender. If you are using them from frozen, you can just walnut oil. The fats in the oil help your body absorb all the nutrients it can.

Turkey, Fennel, and Bean skillet, with Quick Coleslaw: Wednesday

For the Turkey and Bean skillet cook up some ground turkey with a bag of frozen peppers, one small chopped tomatoe, your favorite dried Italian seasoning, or just garlic and onion powder, sea salt,  pepper, and dried fennel seeds. The amount of fennel seed depends on the amount of turkey. I use about a half teaspoon to a full teaspoon of dried fennel seed per pound of turkey. Once turkey is thoroughly cooked taste it for seasonings. The fennel adds a slightly sweet sausage flavor to the dish.

While the turkey is cooking, open a can of black beans, and a can of kidney beans. If you happen to have leftover bean salad from Monday you can just use this instead. Rinse the cans of beans, and put in mixing bowl. Chop up some green onion, and add that to beans. Add all ingredients together, the beans, veggies, and turkey.

For the coleslaw, you can purchase broccoli slaw, or traditional cabbage slaw in a bag in the produce section.

For 1 bag of slaw mix:

Add these ingredients to a large mixing bowl:

  • ¼ cup of light colored oil (I use canola)
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (check ingredients for no fruit)
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard (check ingredients for no fruit)
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sweetener of your choice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and taste for seasoning. Once seasoned to your liking add in the packaged slaw and mix well.

Quick Asian Stir Fry With Tofu Noodles: Thursday

The most important element to this, as with many dishes, is the sweet, yet salty sauce. You could use a bottled teriyaki sauce, but making your own is so simple! Mix your favorite soy sauce with maple syrup or brown sugar. The ratio I like is 2 parts soy sauce to 1 part sweetener. If you have time, a fresh chopped 1 inch hunk of ginger, and a couple chopped cloves of garlic take this sauce to the next level! If you’re in a rush, a couple shakes of dried ginger, and garlic also are delicious.

Tofu noodles are usually found in the refrigerated section near the tofu. I’ve seen many chain grocery stores carry these, but you may have to go to the health food store.  The noodles really don’t need to be cooked, just warmed up, so you can save that for last.

Cook up your chicken and vegetables. Chop chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Half to a whole breast per person; depending on if you’re feeding little ones. Toss those into a little bit of sauce to marinate.

While chicken marinates, prep your vegetables by washing and cutting into bite size pieces. If you have fresh produce that’s maybe not so fresh, a stir fry is a great way to use them up. If you don’t have any fresh, frozen is also great! My favorite vegetables for a stir fry are broccoli, snap peas, red bell peppers, and zucchini. You can also find an Asian vegetable mix in the freezer section, I often use a couple bags of these mixes and no fresh vegetables.

Once everything’s prepped, cook the chicken in your largest pan. Once the chicken is cooked through, you can work on the noodles, and add the vegetables to the chicken. Strain the noodles and rinse off the liquid they were in. Put them into a large microwave safe bowl and microwave till heated. Add noodles to the vegetable and chicken mixture, and finish with enough sauce to coat. Add more sauce at the table as needed.

Additional toppings: chopped fresh green onion, cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, sesame oil, hot sauce.

Taco Salads: Friday

Make your own pico de gallo with delicious fresh tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and plenty of salt and pepper. Fresh cilantro is usually available year around, and adding that brings a freshness to you taco salad that will become a staple for you.

Do you like it a little spicy? Great! Add fresh jalapenos, or branch out to other new peppers you haven’t tried. A red Fresno chile looks like a red jalapeno, but is spicier. You can add flavor, and a little spice, with canned chipotle peppers. Add 1 chopped chipotle, and some of the juice in the can, to your beans, or meat while they cook. Keep in mind, little ones will probably not want this heat, so you can add the chipotle and sauce to the beans or meat separately for the grown-ups.

Some extras to add onto your salad are, pinto or black beans, fresh green onions, spinach, shredded cabbage, and lots of spicy salsa, red pepper flakes, and a white cheese such as mozzarella, or white cheddar.

Grilled Steak, Salad, and Grilled Veggies: Saturday

Grill your steak, and some large sliced zucchini, red bell peppers, red onion slices, and mushrooms. If you normally brush your vegetables with a processed sauce from the store, whip up your own! Add fresh chopped garlic, Italian herb seasoning, salt and pepper with some soy sauce and brush over vegetables as they cook. Make sure to make extra vegetables for leftovers to have with lunch tomorrow!

A big salad is a great addition to steak and grilled veggies; you can even top the salad with the warm vegetables. I like a salad mix of fresh spinach, and arugula, with fresh cucumbers. If you need a yummy dressing, mix 2 part walnut oil to 1 part rice wine vinegar, a squirt of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and finely chopped shallot. If you can’t find shallot, chopped green onion or garlic is delicious as well, but the shallot really makes something special.

Roast Chicken with Asparagus and Baked Potatoes:  Sunday

If you don’t normally have leftovers from one chicken, then roast 2. Really it takes the same amount of time. If you only have one roasting pan, roast the other in a large enough glass dish. The next day send the drumsticks in someone’s lunch, one breast for your for lunch, and divide up the rest to whoever doesn’t insist on drumsticks.

Either sauté or broil asparagus, once it’s just done cooking, and still hot grate some good parmesan cheese over the top. If you’re in a time crunch, you could steam the asparagus in the microwave. If you have little ones that won’t touch asparagus, of course always try to explain how it takes tasting things many  different times until they really know if they like it or not. Another option is any other green veggie they like, or at least fight with you less about. You can cook these in the microwave, or sauté them. I find a frozen bag of mixed veggies with green beans, carrots, and lima beans seem to always work. Top with butter,  and some dried herb seasoning for the little ones too.

I think the key to a great baked potato is the crispy skin. To get this I poke holes around the potato, lightly oil it, season with plenty of salt, and put it on my oven rack while the chicken’s cooking. I do not wrap it in foil, that makes a mushy skin. When it’s done, top with your favorite fixins, bacon bits, sour cream, green onion, cheese, and plenty of salt and pepper!

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