It’s a Sunday that feels like a Saturday. My kiddos had a 4-day weekend from school, which doesn’t mean it’s a 4-day weekend for me. There are cooking classes to prepare for, blog posts to complete and recipes to test. But I can’t complain because I snuck off by myself for a couple nights this weekend and spent them doing yoga, drinking green juice and getting massages at Deer Lake Lodge. I feel like a spoiled brat admitting that, but we all need a little down time to recharge once in a while.
October is one of my favorite month’s for produce, full of all the pumpkins, apples and sage. Hit your local farmer’s market next weekend and stock up on squash, kale, persimmons, sweet potatoes and pears. Here’s a handy fall produce guide so you know what to do with your farmer’s market or CSA haul.This week’s meal plan is completely Whole30, but I swear you won’t realize it. For those of you glazing over and yawning when reading “Whole 30” just stick with me for a moment.
Sheetpan roasted chicken thighs, roasted delicata squash, green beans and baked sweet potatoes. I’ll omit the brown sugar from the chicken recipe to keep it Whole 30 compliant, and will probably add ground onion and garlic to the cumin mixture. And maybe turmeric and a little paprika as well. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory when mixed with black pepper, but you need the pepper to activate the curcumin in the turmeric. Fennel is mixed in with the chicken in this simple sheetpan recipe, and the roasted red grapes sound like they would add delicious, sweet flavor. But if you’d prefer to add other veggies to the pan, chop up and add whatever you’d like! I’m making extra roasted green beans and sweet potatoes to add to salads and lunch plates during the week.
This will be day 10 of my Whole30, which I’ve read is the day you are most likely to give up. Lucky for me, I’ll have 100 6th grade parents over that night drinking wine and eating carb-heavy appetizers. I’m making a couple big platters of fall fruits, veggies and nuts that I can snack on during the party. Plus we’ll be well stocked in small Pellegrino bottles. I also plan to eat before the party starts, which is a great holiday party trick as well. Unless you’re like me and end up eating before the party and eating your way through the party.
That said, this weekend the cooking instructor at Deer Lake Lodge told me there are healthy frozen chicken meatballs available at Whole Foods and Costco that are organic and fairly “clean.” I’ll do some research during my Monday morning shopping trip, but I’m skeptical. I’ll need to make sure they don’t contain soy, corn, dairy or grains. Plan B is microwaved spaghetti squash (I’ll show you how in stories.) Just put it in a microwave safe container, cut side down, in about an inch of water. Microwave for 7 minutes at a time and check if it’s easily pierced with a fork. We’ll top with marinara, and I’ll make some gluten free pasta for the kids. My favorite GF pasta is the brown rice and quinoa pasta from Trader Joe’s. TJ’s organic tomato basil marinara is tasty and doesn’t have too much sugar (if you want one stop shopping).
I’ve made this slow roasted salmon several times and taught it in cooking classes. Blood oranges aren’t in season yet, so just substitute lemon or orange slices. A pan of roasted fingerling potatoes will be a hit with my kids (just toss them with a little avocado oil and salt and roast in a single layer at 400 degrees). I’ll also make a batch of basil and arugula pesto to drizzle on the potatoes for a pop of color. No Parmesan in this week’s pesto, but the avocado adds creamy texture. This pesto is so good I could eat it with a spoon! On the side, salad greens or arugula with homemade super simple salad dressing.
Almond crusted chicken topped with an arugula and herb salad. I’m using boneless skinless chicken breasts and carefully slicing them in half lengthwise. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, but we’ll use almond meal to keep it gluten-free and Whole 30 friendly. For the salad, I’ll toss arugula, parsley, chives, mint and basil from our garden with a tangy dressing of apple cider vinegar, mustard and extra-virgin olive oil. Here’s a quick blue print for the salad dressing:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced shallot (you can substitute 1 teaspoon minced garlic if you prefer)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Add everything to a mason jar and shake well to combine.
Full disclosure, I haven’t tried this Vitamix tomato soup recipe yet, but I’ll be testing it out tonight. I’m leaving out the bread to make it, ya know, Whole 30. But I’ll increase the carb load with grilled cheese paninis for the kiddos. If we have extra pesto left over from Wednesday, I’ll add it to the grilled cheese paninis. If you’d prefer something rich and hearty, try this Texas chili (no beans, tons of chili and flavor).