Question of the Day: Some days between picking my kids up from school and activities I am only home for 30 minutes, so where do I go to find quick meal ideas (crock pot ideas would work too)?
After adjusting to the shock of no pizza, no macaroni and cheese, no tacos, no crackers, no cheese, no rice, no sandwiches, no mashed potatoes, no French fries, no frozen chicken nuggets, no–I’m stopping. I’m stopping.–I was able to wean myself off of the grain-free meal plans I bought at Health, Home, and Happiness.
Which is good because I like to fly by the seat of my pants when it comes time for meals. Nothing tastes the same twice here at our house. Spontaneity rules in the kitchen. I don’t have too many crock pot recipes because sadly I can rarely plan 8 hours ahead.
But quick meals. Gotta’ be kid friendly. OK. Here goes. We got ’em!
Grilled/broiled/or fried hamburger patties
♦ Serve with lettuce, onion, tomato, mustard/ketchup/mayonnaise, sliced Bubbies pickles.
♦ Sometimes I will cut the hamburger patty into slices so it will fit into the lettuce so the kids can have a “sandwich.” They like this a lot and they top it with fixings of their choice.
♦ I adore it served with some mashed avocado mixed with lime juice and salt (and all the other fixings too).
♦ Add a side of applesauce and call it a meal.
♥ Ingredients: 1 pound ground beef, 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 2-4 teaspoonsful cumin, 2-4 teaspoonsful oregano, 2-4 teaspoonsful salt, black pepper to taste, 1 cup or so of tomato sauce, lettuce, chopped onion, tomato, avocado, lime, salsa
♥ Brown ground beef with onion and some pressed garlic until cooked through (alternatively add in garlic last so it’s more “raw” and nutritious). Add salt, pepper, and about 2 teaspoonsful of cumin and oregano. Taste. If it’s not “Mexicanny” enough for you, add some more cumin. Add some oregano if you wish. Add about half the tomato sauce. If it’s saucy enough for you, you’re done. If not, add more. Serve meat over chopped lettuce with some fresh chopped onion, chopped tomato, salsa, and some smashed avocado mixed with lime juice and salt. If you can do dairy, add it. If you have some precooked navy beans, add those on too!
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
♦ An absolute favorite at our house. Hands down our favorite.
♦ Ingredients: Sauce (see next bullet point) and a large spaghetti squash (or two small ones)
♦ Cook the sauce in the crock pot on low for about 6-8 hours, until the vegetables are soft and meat cooked. Just mix all of this in the pot: 1-2 jars of tomato sauce, 1 diced onion, 1 diced green pepper, 3 large cloves of pressed garlic, 1 cup of finely chopped carrots, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar or red wine or leave it out, 2 tablespoonsful of olive oil, 1-2 teaspoonsful salt, 1 teaspoonful pepper, 3-5 teaspoonsful dried oregano, 3-5 teaspoonsful dried basil, 2-4 teaspoonsful dried parsley, and about 1/4 pound of ground beef (we don’t like it too meaty–and the meat can be tossed in in a lump and then stirred and broken up about half-way through the cooking).
♦ When you walk in the door for supper, cut the spaghetti squash in half. Don’t worry about cleaning out the guts. Lay one half on a plate filled with a bit of water (not even really 1/4 of a cup), guts-side down. Microwave (sorry–we’re in a hurry here!) the squash about 8 minutes, until a fork pokes through the skin easily. Repeat this process for each half of squash. Using an oven mitt to protect your hand, scoop out the guts with a spoon and discard. Use a fork (or the spoon) to scoop out and break up the strands of squash as you transfer it to a serving bowl. Repeat for each half of squash. Last night I made a small squash and we served two adults and two children. We had plenty of sauce but not enough “noodles”. Just to give you an idea of number of servings.
Crock pot chili:
♦ Plan ahead and soak your beans a couple of days in advance. When I even think about chili for a meal in the upcoming week, I get the beans out and start soaking them in some water and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar! Rinse and refill when I think about it. They really can’t soak too long. Well, they can. But even if they’re sprouting a little bit, that’s great, allowing the seed’s phytic acid to break down a bit so your body can absorb more phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium. If I decide not to make chili, I place the beans in the fridge for a week hoping to use them for other meals (like taco salad or vegetable soup or white chicken chili).
♦ Take this recipe and use your beans that have been soaked but don’t worry about cooking them. Put all the ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours. If you don’t break your ground beef up then make sure and stir about half way through to mix it all up.
Chicken Strips with Honey Mustard Sauce
♦ Another family favorite. Always gets lots of “Mmmm…this is good, Mom.”
♦ Ingredients: chicken tenders or breasts, almond flour, eggs, salt, pepper, and some garlic power and/or onion powder (optional dried parsley). For sauce you need honey and mustard. If you’re egg intolerant, you could dip the chicken in coconut milk to help the breading cling.
♦ Pound chicken with a meat mallet (this step REALLY makes a HUGE difference, even with chicken tenders–and you can put the meat in a plastic baggie and pound through it to make less mess). If you’re using breasts, cut them now into thinner strips.
♦ Mix together about 1-2 cups of almond flour, 1-2 teaspoonsful salt, 1 teaspoonful pepper, 1 teaspoonful garlic and/or onion powder. Add a little dried parsley for a pop of color if you want. Mix an egg or two really well in a large bowl. Dip chicken strips in egg and then dredge in almond flour mixture. Fry in preheated olive oil (about 340-350 degrees if you’re using an electric skillet) over medium-high heat until golden brown. Turn and cook the other side until cooked through and golden brown.
♦ Mix about 1/4 cup of honey with some mustard and salt until it tastes like you like it. Serve beside chicken strips.
♦ Serve with some frozen peas that have been simmered in a bit of broth, salt, and pepper. Add oil of choice if you wish, such as ghee. We use a touch of olive oil.
Roasted chicken legs
♦ Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush chicken legs with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast on whatever pan works for you until juices run clear, and the skin is crispy golden brown–about 30 minutes.
♦ Consider making some butternut squash fries–but this is cutting into the time limit because peeling a butternut squash sucks. Or roast any vegetable or combination of vegetables. Mix some small pieces of broccoli, cauliflower, a few quartered brussel sprouts, asparagus tops, and some kale all together in a bowl. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, dried basil, and a little garlic powder. Or whatever dried herbs you like. Or just do oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven with the chicken for about 20 minutes, until some veggies are browned. But not burned.
♦ Ingredients: large can (15 ounces) of salmon, 2 eggs, diced onion, optional diced celery, about 1/4 unsweetened shredded coconut, about 1/2 teaspoonful salt, pepper to taste. The nuts and bolts for this recipe came from Health, Home, and Happiness.
♦ Caveat: Don’t try this without blending (with a blender, food processor, or immersion blender) because the canned salmon has the bones and skin in there. Full of calcium and omega-3s and completely edible. Not too appealing to a child. Or me. The bone loving orthopod in our house like it. Us girls not so much.
♦ Mix all ingredients and blend well. Form into patties and fry over medium-high heat (340-350 degrees Fahrenheit if you’re using an electric skillet) until golden brown and cooked through.
♦ We serve these with mustard, Bubbies pickles, and lettuce.
♦ Add in a favorite steamed vegetable. Ours is broccoli which I put in a glass bowl with a little water, cover with lid, and microwave (not GAPS friendly) for about 5 minutes. I season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Because, again, we can’t eat dairy.
Honey sweetened salmon:
♦ Ingredients: salmon filets, honey, mustard, salt, and oil
♦ I keep frozen salmon filets in my freezer. They thaw out very quickly in hot water.
♦ Place desired number of salmon filets in a lightly oiled 9X13 pan lined with some parchment paper or foil (for easy clean-up). Mix about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of honey with about 2-4 tablespoons of mustard and a tablespoonful of olive oil. Add some salt and pepper. Pour or brush honey mixture over salmon filets and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, until flakey.
♦ Toss some asparagus with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and put in the oven at the same time until browned but not burned!
Foil Wrapped Halibut
♦ Not for the non-fish lover. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a filet of halibut in a square of foil. Dash with olive oil and seasoning of choice. Ghee or butter would be tastier than olive oil if you can do that. Seasonings we like are salt, pepper, a little garlic power, and parsley. Bake for about 20 minutes until the fish is flakey.
♦ My kids eat this better if I make up some tartar sauce: mayonnaise, a little honey, a spot of mustard, pickle relish, a little apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato:
♦ Fry up some bacon. Lay on a “boat” of Romaine lettuce. Top with bacon and tomato. Onion if desired. Condiment of choice. Place another Romaine leaf on top. BLT.
♦ I try to find the bacon that’s uncured and no added nitrites. I usually can’t find truly GAPS legal. But here’s where I say I’m SCD. Elaine Gottschall thought it was okay to eat bacon maybe once a week despite its tad of sugar. Sounds good and we’ve seen no problems.
♦ I buy the thin cut pork chops and pound them with a meat mallet as I did the chicken. It really just tenderizes that meat for little mouths. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Fry over medium-high heat. I use olive oil.
♦ Serve with choice of vegetables. One our fast favorites is to fry diced onions, canned green beans, salt, and pepper in olive oil until the onions are browned and oh-so-flavorful.
♦ Another kid-loved favorite with some sugar-free ketchup and mustard.
♦ I just tried some all beef, no sugar, no added nitrites, etc hot dogs from US Wellness Meats. Expensive but fast and they taste like hot dogs.
♦ Serve with your choice of sides: fresh cut fruit, a smoothie, peas, broccoli, whatever your kids love.
♦ We make roast. But I really miss the potatoes and the gravy made from the juices. So we make a roast not too often. It leaves me hankering for something I can’t have right now. That’s just me. We throw ours in the pot for 8-12 hours with some onion and carrots. My kids don’t like squash or parsnips. I’d love to find a recipe that filled my longing. But this recipe looks very good, although I’ve not tried it. I’ll probably still add my carrots in there for a complete meal.
Breakfast for Supper
♦ Any combination of eggs, bacon, sausage, and pancakes! Or waffles.
I hope that helps! We have lots of yummy other meals, but these are by far the fastest. I try to remember to have some broth and fermented foods daily.
I’m hoping to type up what helps keep my pantry stocked and easy to cook from. And also what kitchen utensils/gadgets that I use very, very often.
I hope you and yours are happy, healthy, and well. And warm would be nice. Winter waxes long for us way up North.
Eat well. Feel well. Give up those things detrimental for your health–whether it be wheat, eggs, dairy, coffee, or whatever. Help your kids know what affects their health. Don’t take anyone’s word about “WHAT IS HEALTHY.” They don’t know you. You know you.
Good luck and best wishes!