I've been in a food rut. Most evenings, the thought of preparing a meal both exhausts and annoys me. Back when I was a vegetarian, it was so easy to throw together a last minute meal. Cook up a pot of grains, sauté up some veggies...done. Now I eat a relatively grain-free diet, with far more animal protein. (With lots of personal experimentation, I've learned I feel better this way. This may or may not be appropriate for you. A great way to figure it out is by joining my Fueled+Fit program. This is basically the format I used to dial in my current ideal diet. I say current because since I'm a human, I will continue to change, and so will my diet.)
Preparing animal protein does take a bit more thought than cooking up some rice. At least it does for me, since I'm still kinda new to it all. Enter the 5pm eye roll and exasperated sigh when I realize I have to cook dinner...AGAIN.
I've been here before, I know it will pass. In the meantime, I'll stick to some simple no-muss, no-fuss, tried-and-true suppers. Because NOT putting real food on the table for my family is just NOT an option for me.
These are 5 meals that can be whipped up pretty quickly and mindlessly
Lettuce Taco Boats
I make these at least once a week. You can use any type of ground meat - grass fed beef is my favorite, but pastured chicken, turkey and pork all work well. Heck, you can even wile out and do ground tempeh, you crazy vegans. Liberally season with taco seasoning. Do not - I repeat, do NOT - use a prepackaged taco mix. Peep the ingredients below:
So much no. Maltodextrin is sugar, and that's the second ingredient. Bunk City. You should never eat soybean oil, never mind partially hydrogenated soybean oil (that's trans fat, son). Silicon Dioxide: I don't eat it. Sunflower and cottonseed oil: nope and noper. Oh look - sugar again! Because the first time wasn't enough. Natural Flavor: psssssst, it's not really natural. And that last word?! Like, even I've never heard of that. But long story short...I don't want preservatives inside me, thanks!
What you CAN do is google "taco seasoning recipe" and pick one to make. Next time you're at the store, instead of buying that nonsense listed above, buy all the spices you need for a homemade recipe. It will take all of 5 minutes to combine them once you get home. Then you'll have it to use over and over again. Hooray!
I typically just throw together some combination of the following: chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and sea salt. I never measure, it's always good. I add it to the meat (or non-meat) in a large fry pan, and cook it up. Since I usually do this with grass fed beef, I don't have to add any cooking fat. But you may want to loosen the pan up with some ghee or palm oil if you're using chicken or turkey.
For the lettuce wraps I'll use Romaine, cabbage leaves or collard green leaves. I'll make an easy guac of mashed ripe avocados, fresh lime juice and salt. Maybe some salsa if I'm feeling crazy. Usually some starch on the side, as well (the photo above has Japanese sweet potato oven "fries"). If you do eat grains, cook up a pot of rice to serve along side this.
This is basically a play on the dinner above, but with some slightly different flourishes. We always use 100% grass fed ground beef, then make our own patties (usually with Frank's Red Hot, sea salt and pepper) to grill.
My favorite way to serve them is on Bibb lettuce as the "bun". Muir Glenn ketchup, some nice mustard and I'm good to go. I often serve with fermented veggies, avocado and some type of starch. Curly parsnip oven "fries" pictured above, carrot "fries" and fermented red cabbage pictured below.
If you can find frozen wild caught shrimp, buy all of it. It comes in soooo handy when you have 10 minutes to put dinner on the table. I defrost them - it takes about 5 minutes running under water - toss with lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 425 for 1o minutes. It's that simple. If the shrimp are pre-peeled, even better!
Serve over spring mix with leftover veggies for the quickest supper ever. (Photo above is over herbed cauliflower rice - throw cauliflower florets + fresh herbs into a food processor, pulse until fine, sautee in ghee or olive oil.)
Grilled Fish + Grilled Veggies + Roasted Sweet Potato
An hour before you eat, throw a bunch of sweet potatoes into the oven at 400. Seriously, THROW IN A BUNCH OF THEM. Put the leftovers in your fridge, and you can eat them with your breakfast and/or lunch and/or supper tomorrow or later in the week, and you can stop saying "I don't have enough time to eat well".
Throw some asparagus, or sliced zucchini, or whatever is fresh and local onto the grill. Hey! You can use your new spices from up above! Roughly 15 minutes later, put the fish on the grill. If you want to get fancy, cover the fish in pesto. Serve it all up with the roasty, toasty sweet potatoes. (The photo below actually shows squash, but you get the point.)
We're always looking for an inexpensive, quick-cooking and nutritious dinner protein, right? MUSSELS IS WHERE IT'S AT. I find wild caught mussels for about $5 for 2 lbs. (cheap). They take 5 minutes to cook (quick). And all jumped up with nutrition: b12, selenium, manganese, zinc...it's really the perfect trifecta.
My favorite way to eat them is to sautée veggies (onion, garlic, celery, carrots...whatever you've got), and add curry spices + coconut milk + broth + Bragg's liquid aminos or coconut aminos. Once the veggies have softened, toss in cleaned mussels and steam until open, about 5 minutes.
Eat as is or serve over spaghetti squash or rice.
Here's another way I like to prepare them:
1 onion, chopped 4-5 garlic cloves, smashed with side of knife Into a saucepan with a fair amount of olive oil, cook on low heat until soft and translucent Add in: a 28 oz can of Muir Glenn diced tomatoes + couple pinches italian seasoning + salt n pep Cover, cook on low for awhile 30min - an hour. When you're just about ready to eat, throw in 2 lbs. cleaned mussels on top + large handful chopped fresh parsley. Cover and cook until shells are open, about 5 min.