Dairy, Potato & Grain Menu: Eliminating Grain Version

Dairy and Grain Free Menu

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Breakfast Scrambled Eggs with Mixed Berry Smoothies Turkey Sausage with Tropical Smoothies Quick Huevos Rancheros Tropical Smoothies and Ham Steak Nut Butter and Berry Smoothies with Scrambles Eggs Nut and Seed Granola Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties with Hash Browns with Smoothies
Snack Fresh Fruit and Nuts Hard Boiled Egg Hummus, Sliced Cucumber, and Baby Carrots Hard Boiled Egg Raw nuts, and fruit Celery and Nut Butter with Raisins Leftover Nut and Seed Granola
Lunch Chicken on Green Salad with Dairy Free Dressing Veggie Soup and Deli Meat Roll-ups Leftover meatloaf, Salad with Dairy Free Dressing Collard Wraps with Leftover Coleslaw and Salmon Soup and Salad Apples and Tuna Salad over Garlic Lentils Leftover Grilled Veggies on Salad with Barbecue Meatballs
Snack Hard Boiled Egg Raw Nuts, and Fruit Raw Nuts, and Fruit Easy Edamame Celery and Nut Butter with Raisins Easy Edamame Celery and Nut Butter with Raisins
Dinner Shrimp with Red Sauce and Bean Salad Meatloaf, with Garlic Collard Greens Turkey, Fennel, and Bean skillet, with Quick Coleslaw Quick Asian Stir Fry with Tofu Noodles Taco Salad *Quick Prep for Nut and Seed Granola* Grilled steak, Salad, and Grilled Veggies Roast Chicken with Lemon Asparagus and Baked Potatoes

Dairy 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 grains, and remember to always read labels, as grains can be added to many foods.

Scrambled Eggs: Monday, Friday, and Saturday

Butter is not needed to fry eggs, use any light colored oil, or try coconut oil. Coconut oil can be found with the other oils, or in the health food section of your grocery store. It will be solid in the jar at the store, but melts at room temperature. You can cook at high temperatures without it burning, so it’s great for eggs.

If you’re scrambling eggs for a group, and like your eggs fluffy, use your blender! You just crack the eggs into your blender. Blend on low until combined and frothy, then add to your hot pan and cook as normal.

Mixed Berry Smoothie: Monday

You do not need yogurt or milk to have a smoothie! Add in a mix of frozen berries, such as, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. If you have fresh berries this is even better. I still like to add in some frozen to get a colder smoothie, about half fresh and half frozen is great. Adding a handful of fresh spinach will boost the nutrition of the smoothie, and you won’t taste it I promise! If you have any fresh sweet fruit laying around that is a little too soft, add in some water, or orange juice, and blend. If you want it creamier you can add in coconut milk. My favorite is the canned coconut milk, it has fewer ingredients, and is less processed.

If the blender gets stuck and the mixture isn’t moving you probably need more liquid. I’ve been known to add in pineapple juice, coconut milk, coconut water, of even leftover smoothie from the day before.

During the colder months you can’t get quality fresh peaches, nectarines, pineapple, or any flavorful, sweet fruit, so you want to make sure the smoothie is sweet enough. You can do this by adding a little bit of honey at a time, or a few pitted dates thrown in will sweeten it quite a bit.

Tropical Smoothie: Tuesday, Thursday

You do not need yogurt or milk to have a smoothie! Add in a mix of frozen fruits such as pineapple, mango, papaya, kiwi, peaches. I also like to mix frozen with fresh. My favorite combination is frozen pineapple and mango, fresh kiwi and nectarines and peaches, and of course a handful of spinach. You can also add in coconut milk, and for more coconut flavor use a little real coconut extract, but start out with a very small amount like ¼ tsp and to up from there. You can always add more flavor, but can’t take it away. If you have access to fresh coconut, or coconut meat add that as well. For the liquid water usually works just fine since you don’t need more sweetness with these sweet fruits, but half orange juice, and half water is also a delicious option. I also like to add some raw nuts or seeds such as pumpkin seeds to my smoothies for even more nutrition. Make your own favorite combination, play with your smoothies, and let the kids help.

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties: Tuesday

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.

Nut Butter Smoothie: Friday

This is my take on a ‘peanut butter and jelly smoothie.’ I try to not consume too much peanut butter since there are much more nutrient dense nuts and seeds available. I like to add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of almond butter per smoothie. Then Add in a mix of frozen berries, such as, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. If you have fresh berries this is even better. I still like to add in some frozen to get a colder smoothie, about half fresh and half frozen is great. This is where fresh berries can really shine. I love fresh strawberries with frozen blackberries. For the liquid I like coconut, or almond milk, a little vanilla extract, and if that isn’t sweet enough I’ll add in a little real jelly or jam until it’s sweet enough. This is a fun one for kids to help with as well. They can measure out ½ tsp jam, or ⅛ tsp vanilla extract and add it to the blender, and of course they’ll love the taste.

If the blender gets stuck and the mixture isn’t moving you probably need more liquid. You may also want to scrape down the sides to make sure you got all the nut butter off the blender, but be careful. I have a rule, especially when working with little ones, that we don’t take the lid off the blender until it’s unplugged.

Quick Huevos Rancheros: Wednesday

Fry an egg, or two per person depending on appetites. While the eggs fry heat up some canned black beans, with your favorite salsa. Put some fresh spinach onto the plates, top with bean and salsa mixture, add to that an egg, or two. This is delicious on it’s own, but you can top it with fresh cilantro, chopped tomatoes, green chilies, more salsa, hot sauce, sriracha sauce,  pico di gallo, green onions, or any other yummy topping you can think ot.

Tropical Smoothies and Ham Steak: Thursday

Make a yummy tropical smoothie, and heat up a ham steak on a medium-high skillet for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Most grocery stores have ham steak near the other larger hams. If you can’t find an individual one, purchase a smaller ham, and slice as needed. I slice, and freeze individual portions so it’s ready when I am.

Nut and Seed Granola:: Saturday

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 add in your goodies. I like to add in some dried cranberries, but raisins or dried pitted dates would also work. A good classic tasting granola will have cinnamon, so add in some cinnamon. Basic measurements are below, but it’s not a science, so have fun and experiment with different flavors.

  • 3 cups nut/seed mix
  • 1 cup sticky dried fruit, such as raisins
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tiny pinch of salt

Pulse ingredients until you have a chunky granola consistency.

Now you can top with your favorite fruits, and if you like you can eat this like a cereal. Just pour some into a bowl, and cover with your favorite milk alternative, and maybe some fresh blueberries.

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties:: 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: Sunday

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!

Smoothies: Sunday

You can make the mixed berry or tropical smoothies from Monday or Tuesday. Just make sure to add in some greens to sneak in those veggies everywhere you can!

Raw nuts, and fruit: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday

Divide up raw nuts, and seeds into little reusable plastic, or glass tubs. Some combinations could be: raw almonds, pumpkin seeds (the green ones that have been hulled), sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, or walnuts. Play around, and when shopping for these, look in the bulk section. If you have little ones, involve them in looking at the shapes and colors of the nuts or seeds. The best nutrition is in raw seeds, which should be stored in the freezer.

For fruit you can wash fresh berries, and also pre-package them into reusable containers, or if it’s colder and you can’t get fresh, use frozen. Pour some frozen blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry medley into the container in the morning, and by snack time they’ll still be cold. Pack a spoon to eat the berries with so it’s less messy.

Hardboiled egg: Monday, Tuesday, 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.

Hummus, sliced cucumber, and baby carrots: Wednesday

If you or your little ones are new to hummus it’s a garbanzo bean based dip, full of protein and healthy fats. Your grocery store deli may make their own, and if they do, just ask for an ingredient list to make sure there isn’t cheese or any hidden grain ingredients. Some delis may put feta cheese in it. If they do, just look for a prepackaged one.

You can buy pre-cut baby carrots, and during the summer months you can find the smaller “pickling”  cucumbers that you can just dip and eat. If you aren’t able to find smaller cucumbers, look for English cucumbers and slice them into disks all at one time and package up individual serving sizes for everyone. You can also substitute flavored hummus, like roasted red pepper hummus, or swap out the veggies. I like to dip cut up sweet bell peppers, snap peas, or steamed artichokes into hummus.

Easy Edamame: Thursday, and 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.

Celery and nut butter with raisins: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Oh, the classic “ants on a log!” Try out other nut butters besides the usual. Almond butter and raisins is fantastic! Kids and adults love this one. Since it can be hard to transport, you could put the butter in a container, top with raisins, and dip in the celery. I think it’s more fun to have kids help top their own “logs” with the “ants.” If you’re not a fan of dark raisins, try golden raisins, or cranberries instead.

Chicken on Green Salad with Dairy Free Dressing: Monday

You can grill up a chicken breast, or cut one up and quickly sauté it with some healthy oil, like grapeseed, or coconut. Remember to season your chicken, try some dried herbs like 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 bad dairy, or grain ingredients, 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 part extra virgin olive oil to 1 part good quality balsamic vinegar, a squirt of Dijon mustard, 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.

Veggie Soup and Deli Meat Roll-ups : Tuesday

Vegetable soup in a can could contain some grains. You can find a variety at health food stores that do not have grain or dairy. Making your own quick vegetable soup is also easy. Find a good, vegetable or chicken broth. Then heat up, and toss in a couple bags of your favorite frozen vegetables, and you can add in some beans if you like, a mixed herb Italian seasoning, granulated garlic and onion powder, diced tomatoes, 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 avocado, and pickles. I spread out slices of turkey, smoosh (very technical) some avocado onto the slices, and quarter dill pickles (or sweet if you like) lengthwise, and put that on top of the avocado. 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 avocado, 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 avocado. Play with what you have.

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 olive oil 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, and cut a lemon in half and squirt a little lemon juice on the mix. 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

There are great canned, or boxed soup options at health food stores, or even supermarkets that are dairy, and grain free. I like tomato soup, or even a sweet butternut squash. Making your own squash soup is as easy as roasting (or even microwaving) a butternut squash and adding a few ingredients. Once the squash is cooked put the meat of the squash into your blender with some vegetable broth, some garlic and onion powder, sea salt and pepper, and blend. If you want to add some more flavor, sage and squash pair beautifully. The amount of liquid is up to you, how thick do you like your soup?

Make sure to have some protein on your salad like beans, almonds, or walnuts to keep you full. Also, the healthy fats from your olive oil and balsamic 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. Even chain supermarkets are carrying a variety of different red wine vinegars, or flavored balsamics now. Some yummy add ins for your salad are pickled garlic, canned roasted red peppers, baby corn, fresh snap peas, frozen, and drained artichoke hearts, or canned, and drained water chestnuts.

Apples and Tuna Salad over Garlic Lentils: Saturday

Apple and tuna is a classic combination. You can just simply add chopped apples to your favorite tuna salad recipe and enjoy!

Basic Tuna Salad:

  • 1 can tuna fish
  • 1 sweet apple roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery finely chopped
  • 1 dill or sweet pickle finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise (read ingredients for not grain or dairy derived ingredients)
  • 1 tablespoon good dijon mustard
  • 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 good quality extra virgin olive 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.

Leftover Grilled Veggies on Salad with Barbecue Meatballs: Sunday

Leftover grilled vegetables are one of those all purpose great go-to ingredients. I say leftover because I’m assuming you made the Grilled steak, Salad, and Grilled Veggies on Friday night. For these leftover veggies, keep them cold and top a pile of fresh baby spinach, or spring salad mix, and then douse with some good extra virgin oil and balsamic vinegar.

Barbecue meatballs you can use your favorite meatball recipe, and omit any grains if your recipe has them. Make sure you use a binder, like and egg so the meatballs stay in their shape. Once the meatballs are formed put them in a pot on the stove. Cover the meatballs with barbecue sauce, and a can pureed tomato to thin out the sauce. Then bring to a boil, and simmer until the meat is cooked through. This should take about 20 minutes.

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 bad grain or dairy words, look at labels) while the shrimp are cooking. Once both are done and hot, mix them together for a fast delicious main course. For bonus points you can add in a couple cloves of fresh garlic, fresh basil, a box of frozen artichoke hearts, or frozen zucchini mix to the pan the shrimp is cooking in.

For the bean salad, open a can of kidney beans, and a can of garbanzo beans, and a bag, or box of frozen green beans. 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, 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. Careful, the lid is hot. Make sure to rinse and drain the kidney, and garbanzo beans also. Mix all the beans together, and add in 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. Drizzle on some quality extra virgin olive oil, and red wine vinegar. For the oil and vinegar 3 to one oil to vinegar is a good rule of thumb. You can use any vinegar you’d like, I just prefer red wine for this, but balsamic, or apple cider vinegar would be great also.

Meatloaf, with Garlic Collard Greens:  Tuesday

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 this whole step. The breadcrumbs and milk are there to make the loaf more tender, and juicy. To help keep the loaf tender don’t overmix the meat mixture.  Also add a bit more liquid, just a tablespoon or more of Worcestershire sauce is a great flavorful option. Again, make sure it’s a quality Worchestershire sauce with no grain derived ingredients.

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 add them to the pan, and heat up with the garlic. When they’re done cooking, top with some extra virgin olive 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, a small can of tomato sauce, 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 olive oil
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 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: 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 honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup. You can also use the pineapple juice from canned pineapple chunks, and use the chunks in the dish as well. 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, sriracha sauce.

Taco Salads: Friday

How are you supposed to enjoy a taco salad with no cheese!? Add more fresh deliciousness! Make your own pico de gallo with delicious fresh tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and plenty of salt and pepper. Fresh summer tomatoes are a whole different flavor profile than a yucky winter tomato, so keep the time of year in mind. My favorite fresh addition is lime juice. Squeeze a quarter of a lime on the salad, and you’ll never be able to go without lime again. Fresh cilantro is usually available year around, and adding that brings a freshness that will also become a necessity.

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. Flavoring your meat is a great tip also. Don’t skimp on fresh garlic, and chilis, chili powder, and cumin powder while the meat cooks.

The one condiment I thought I’d miss the most is sour cream. You don’t have to miss it! There are some great dairy free (vegan) options at the health food store now days. Always remember to check ingredient lists though. Now I actually prefer just loading up on fresh green onions, spinach, shredded cabbage, and lots of spicy salsa, and I really don’t miss the sour cream. Don’t forget to prep the granola.

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.

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 orange juice and brush over vegetables as they cook. Make sure to make extra vegetables for leftovers to have with lunch tomorrow!

If you want to grill some potatoes to enjoy with your steak, parboil them first. This just means precook them in boiling water, then cover with oil and grill. You want to slice the potato into big wedges, then boil them. Boil for a few minutes and check in they’re tender. If you stick a knife in one the knife should go in, but the potato should still have a little give. You don’t want them too mushy, or they won’t hold up on the grill. Toss the boiled potatoes with any light color oil, or coconut oil, some salt and pepper, and I like finely chopped fresh rosemary, and crushed garlic as well.

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 dairy free dressing, mix 2 part extra virgin olive oil to 1 part good quality balsamic 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 Lemon Asparagus and Baked Potatoes: Sunday

Roast your chicken like normal, but if you usually put butter on the skin, omit that. 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 you for lunch, and divide up the rest to whoever doesn’t insist on drumsticks.

Either sauté or broil asparagus, and at the end of the cooking time squeeze for lemon juice over it, and a little extra virgin oil, salt and pepper. If you’re in a time crunch, you could steam the asparagus in the microwave with the lemon juice. 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 extra virgin olive oil, and some dried herb seasoning for the little ones too.

If you normally top your baked potato with sour cream and cheese, you could try the dairy free sour cream, and dairy free butters, or omit it completely. You can still have other deliciou fixin’s like green onion, roasted garlic, salsa, chopped pieces of ham, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, dried or fresh dill, fresh chives, sauteed mushrooms, chopped rosemary, or any combination you can think or! Try things out, see what you like.

You can top the potato with roast garlic, or you can top any vegetable, or piece of meat with roast garlic and it’s delicious! To make roasted garlic you can chop off the very top of a whole head of garlic and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, wrap it in foil, and just put it in the oven while the chicken cooks. Check the garlic after 30 minutes. If the to of the exposed cloves are golden brown, they are done. You can either scoop out the roasted garlic from each clove or squish them all out at once.