Recipes

Successful Dishes from the Past Week

And the attempt to live a Paleo lifestyle continues! Despite the occasional cheat meal (once a week or so), I’d say that we have been doing really well. Even our cheat meals tend to be something that we make that simply isn’t following the Paleo guidelines, instead of going out and breaking our budget as well as the rules. Yes, it sometimes involves something frozen from the store but a $5 frozen pizza is still better than an appetizer, meal, drink and possibly (read: likely) dessert from any restaurant.

IMG_9100Spaz was especially impressed by the guacamole we made for our cheat night (we considered it cheating because of the chips). Somehow, the avocado being squooshed must have sounded like wet kitty food being placed it her bowl. Needless to say, she wouldn’t leave me alone.

I also signed up on the Fast Paleo website (my favorite source of Paleo recipes) and received a great cheat sheet that I immediately printed and placed on our refrigerator. After reading so many articles about super strict diets, it was nice to read a much more realistic description of what we should be doing. For example, this list suggests that dairy is allowed in small quantities, as long as you react well to it. Well, guess who reacts well to it? 🙂 I won’t have to feel bad for the occasional milk, yogurt, or cheese anymore. Also, it mentioned that coffee is allowed as long as it is early in the day. Woohoo!

IMG_9037Some of the produce I bought last week. I love having lots of pretty colors to choose from. 🙂

All this to say that I am glad I found a less intimidating version of the “Paleo rules” and, with that, we had a very successful second week! I am slowly getting better at gauging how much food to buy each week, learning that, with fresh produce (unless there’s a super deal on big quantities), it’s better to buy less and go back to the store than buying too much and ending up throwing away rotten veggies at the end of the week. Let’s just say that we used to do that a lot. Thankfully, it’s getting pretty rare now and we do a much better job at going through what’s in the fridge in a logical order.

Now here are some of my favorite dishes from the last week…

Ricotta, Spinach and Tomato Sauce on Spaghetti Squash

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The sauce was a simple mixture of whatever I found in the fridge: spinach (chopped), cherry tomatoes (halved), garlic (finely chopped), marinara sauce, and fat-free ricotta cheese (ricotta cheese isn’t really Paleo but I had it and only put a little bit anyway). I cooked the spaghetti squash, halved, in the microwave oven. This simple recipe was not only super satisfying but it reminded me that spaghetti squash is a fine replacement for pasta. Not only does it contain a lot of fiber, but it has vitamins A and C as well.

Shrimp Curry Soup

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Once I realized that coconut milk was good for the Paleo diet, curry was the first meal that came to my mind. The saddest part was to let go of the homemade Naan bread but after the first bite, I had already (mostly) forgotten about it. Our latest curry was a mixture of coconut milk (2 cans), 1/2 lb of shrimp, a big bowl of chopped spinach (remember that it gets much smaller when it cooks), finely chopped onion, a bowl of cauliflower, and some red curry paste (quantity based on your personal taste, I keep mine very mild). I cooked the onions and cauliflower first and then added the milk and everything else and let it cook until all the flavors have mingled. We ended up with 4 servings. After dinner, I froze the other half of what I made to have when we won’t feel like cooking.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates and a Simple Salad

IMG_9044My husband’s favorite dish to make whenever we go to a dinner party, or host one, is bacon-wrapped dates. And boy, does he rock that dish. Well, we were planning on making them for a brunch but ran out of time so we decided to make them for dinner instead. My latest obsession for dates and Jeff’s passion for bacon made for a scrumptious Paleo-friendly meal. I did add a salad for extra color with spinach, tomatoes and bell peppers. Nothing crazy. I really only cared about the bacon-wrapped dates. 🙂

Avocado Deviled Eggs on Salad

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I came across this recipe on Reddit and couldn’t wait to try it. The idea is super simple: boil the eggs, cut them in half, take the yolk out, just like you would for regular deviled eggs (although I never tried before). The difference is in the yolk mixture. Forget the unhealthy mayo and, instead, mix your yolk with avocado, lime juice, salt, pepper, and paprika. So simple but so tasty! As I didn’t really care about the avocado getting brown after a while, I made some extra and ate them for three days for lunch. Sooo good! I made a quick salad to go with it. Spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers (my basic salads get pretty repetitive, sorry) and it turned out to be a super healthy AND satisfying meal. I can’t wait to try it again!

Pesto Salmon with Sautéed Asparagus and Mushroom

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This dish was the easiest I made this week! My husband and I both know that eating fish is good for us so although we don’t like it much, we “force” ourselves, once a week or so. Last week, I stopped by Target and bought a bag of frozen wild-caught salmon. The filets are big enough that I can cut one in half and we both get enough. As I am not as familiar with fish, I browsed through my cookbooks and came across this pesto salmon idea in Best of Cooking Light. This recipe was already pretty simple but having my own pesto in the freezer made the dish even easier! You put pesto on your baking dish, set the fish on top of it, cover your filet with more pesto, and cook it at 400˚F for 15-20 minutes. While this was cooking, I sautéed some asparagus and mushrooms in coconut oil, with a little bit of salt. This turned out to be my favorite fish dish so far, honestly because I couldn’t smell or taste anything fishy.

I look forward to next week, not only because I am hoping to attend Restaurant Week but also because I was really inspired by some of the things I found at the market this week. I guess we’ll have to see what it turns into… 🙂

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