Happy New Year! No doubt many of you have plans for the new year and one may be to clean up your eating. The key to that is food preparation. If good foods are readily available, you are likely to eat them. Today we'll look at lunch boxes. A well-prepared lunch will give you the energy you need to finish out your day. Let's look at some ideas from a favorite of mine, Michelle Tam at nomnompaleo.com.
CHICKEN SALAD, ROASTED CARROT & CRUNCHY PALEO CRACKERS, AND STRAWBERRIES
Make this easy and get a rotisserie chicken to make your salad.
MADRAS CHICKEN SALAD ½ cup Paleo Mayonnaise (if you don’t feel like making it, buy Primal Kitchen Mayo (save 15% with coupon code: nomnom) ¾ teaspoon Indian curry powder 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 small Gala, Fuji, or Honeycrisp apple, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice Juice from ½ medium lime 1 pound cooked chicken breast or thighs ½ cup packed fresh cilantro, roughly chopped 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced ¼ cup almond slivers, toasted
First, make the curried mayonnaise. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, curry powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Yes, folks—whenever possible, it’s important to taste your food so you can adjust the seasoning as needed. In a separate bowl, toss the apple chunks with the lime juice. This will ensure that your apples won’t oxidize into brown, splotchy cubes—and the acid adds a nice zing to the salad, too. Shred the chicken by hand, and toss it into the bowl with the acidulated apples. Add the cilantro, scallions, and curried mayonnaise, and mix well. Top with toasted almond slivers and serve. The salad will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
CRISPY PALEO CRACKERS
1 cup (120 g) finely ground blanched almond flour (Honeyville is a great brand, so is nuts.com) 3/4 cup (90 g) tapioca starch/flour,* plus more for sprinkling 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 3 tablespoons sesame and/or poppy seeds 1 tablespoon (14 g) virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled (you can also use Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening 1:1 by weight) 1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten Lukewarm water, by the 1/8 teaspoonful *I only recommend buying tapioca starch/flour from nuts.com or Authentic Foods. Bob’s Red Mill tapioca starch is of inconsistent quality. Do not buy tapioca starch/flour from the Asian food store as it is frequently contaminated and will not work in this recipe.
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside. In a large bowl, place the almond flour, tapioca starch/flour, salt, baking soda and seeds, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the coconut oil, egg, and 1/8 teaspoon water, and mix until the dough comes together. Knead in more water by the 1/8 teaspoonful until the dough holds together without crumbling. Place the cracker dough between two large sheets of unbleached parchment paper and roll out as close to 1/8-inch thick as possible. To prevent the rolled-out dough from having a crinkled appearance, do not press too hard with the rolling pin. Rather, apply medium pressure and roll back and forth over the dough. Remove the top layer of parchment paper and cut out shapes that are approximately 1 1/4-inch square using a cookie cutter, pizza or pastry wheel, or sharp knife. Lift the shapes off the parchment with an offset spatula or knife, and place about 1/2-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until lightly golden brown all over and dry to the touch, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in a sealed glass container (not plastic!) at room temperature to maintain crispness. Add some roasted vegetables and berries and you have yourself a nice boxed lunch. http://nomnompaleo.com/post/108235360133/whole30-day-16-madras-chicken-salad http://nomnompaleo.com/post/126839726558/paleo-lunchboxes-2015-part-1 https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/crunchy-paleo-crackers/
MEAT LOAF MUFFINS WITH PLANTAIN CHIPS WITH VEGETABLES
MEAT LOAF MUFFINS
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing the muffin tin ¾ cup finely diced onion ½ cup finely diced button mushrooms ½ cup finely chopped green bell pepper ¼ cup tomato paste 1 tablespoon ground mustard 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 ½ pounds ground beef 1 large egg 1 teaspoon dried thyme ½ teaspoon garlic powder ¼ cup carrot juice ¼ cup water
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the wells of a 12-cup muffin tin with olive oil. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions, mushrooms and peppers for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the vegetables to cool. In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, garlic and pepper. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, the reserved sautéed vegetables, eggs, thyme and garlic powder. Stir in half of the tomato mixture and combine well. Spoon the meat mixture into the greased muffin tin and bake for 10 minutes. While the muffins are baking, combine the remaining tomato mixture, carrot juice and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a quick boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the muffins are removed from the oven. Remove the muffins from the oven and spoon or brush the sauce on each muffin. Place the muffins back in the oven and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 160°F. Allow the muffins to stand for about 5 minutes before eating
For Sweet & Spicy Baked Plantain Chips:
2 green plantains 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika 1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar
For Salt & Pepper Baked Plantain Chips:
2 green plantains 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 3/4 teaspoon salt freshly ground pepper to taste
For Garlic & Onion Baked Plantain Chips:
2 green plantains 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 1/2 teaspoon salt freshly ground pepper to taste
For Cinnamon Sugar Baked Plantain Chips:
2 green plantains 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel the plantain with a sharp knife. Then slice the plantains as thinly as possible with a mandolin or knife. In a bowl, combine plantain slices, olive oil, and seasonings. Stir gently to coat the plantain chips. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Place a single layer of plantains on the parchment paper. Place cookie sheet in oven for 16 to 20 minutes. Turn plantains after 8 minutes. Plantain chips are done when they start to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and serve. Chips are best served warm. You can also cool the plantain chips on a baking rack lined with paper towels to soak up any extra oil, and serve them at room temperature, too. Plantain chips keep for about one day.
Add some fresh veggies and fruit and you have your second lunch combo. https://www.thismamacooks.com/2017/09/healthy-baked-plantain-chips-recipe.html http://nomnompaleo.com/post/127040982773/paleo-lunchboxes-2015-part-2-paleo-ranch http://nomnompaleo.com/post/62028051471/quick-easy-paleo-comfort-foods-the-recipe-for
DAMN FINE CHICKEN, ROASTED VEGETABLES AND FRUIT
You'll love this chicken!
2 large shallots, minced** 3 Calçot onions or scallions, thinly sliced** 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or balsamic vinegar) 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, melted ghee, coconut oil, etc. 1 tablespoon coconut aminos 1 tablespoon Red Boat fish sauce Kosher salt Freshly ground pepper 10 drumsticks or 8 chicken thighs (**in place of all the alliums, you can sub in 3 tablespoons of Penzeys Spices’ Sunny Paris seasoning)
Mix together the shallots, onions, vinegar, oil, coconut aminos, fish sauce, salt (2 large pinches), and pepper (several grinds) in a large bowl. Then, plop the chicken on top, and use your hands to make sure it's well-covered in marinade. Allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for a few hours. Personally, if I know I’m going to be short on time (which is almost always), I marinate this dish in the morning – that way, the chicken will be ready for me by the late afternoon, when I start preparing dinner. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400°F on convection bake (or 425°F non-convection). Arrange the chicken (skin-side down) in an oven-safe baking dish and pop it in the hot oven. Bake the chicken for 40-45 minutes, flipping the pieces halfway through the cooking time. If you want to brown the skin some more, broil it for a minute or two. Arrange the drumsticks on a platter, and pour the cooking liquid over the chicken. Simple and ridiculously good!
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND BACON
1½ pounds Brussels sprouts 2-3 tablespoons melted ghee or fat of choice Kosher salt and pepper 4 bacon slices, diced (choose sugar-free bacon if on a Whole30) Aged balsamic vinegar
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Trim the ends and any old outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts. (Don’t throw away the leaves – toss ‘em in a container and keep ’em in the fridge so you can make some Brussels Sprouts Chips later!) Cut the sprouts in half and toss them with melted fat of choice, salt, and pepper. Dump them on a foil- or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, making sure to keep everything in one layer. Sprinkle the diced bacon over everything and pop the tray in the oven. The sprouts take about 30 to 35 minutes to roast, so set your timer for 10 minute intervals to regularly rotate and flip the sprouts ‘n swine. Check for seasoning and drizzle some of the aged balsamic vinegar on the finished dish
Add some fruit and you are good to go.
BRUNCH-IN-A-BOX: BLINIS WITH SMOKED SALMON WITH EGGS AND BACON
Get your good fats with this lunch combo.
2 large eggs 3 tablespoons full fat coconut milk ½ mashed ripe banana (about 2 tablespoons) ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 1½ tablespoons of Bob’s Red Mill organic coconut flour ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon baking soda 1 small pinch of salt ghee or coconut oil (for frying)
Whisk the eggs, coconut milk, mashed banana, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until well combined. Then, in a separate bowl, mix together the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together the dry and wet ingredients just before cooking. Heat a tablespoon of ghee over medium heat in a small cast iron skillet and add a tablespoon of batter to the pan. As soon as bubbles formed on the surface (about 1½ minutes), flip the flapjack over and let it cook for another 30 seconds or so on the other side. Repeat until done with the batter and enjoy! Add some smoked salmon slices with boiled eggs with bacon crumbles and snap peas for a nice change.
SPICY TUNA CAKES WITH CRUDITÉS AND FLAVORED PALEO MAYONNAISE
These tuna cakes are good warm or cold.
SPICY TUNA CAKES 3 tablespoons melted ghee, divided 10 ounces canned albacore tuna packed in water, drained 3 scallions, thinly sliced (about ⅓ cup) 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh cilantro 1⅓ cup mashed baked sweet potato finely grated zest from ½ medium lemon 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper 2 large eggs ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 3 medium lemons, cut into wedges (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F, and use a brush to grease a 12-cup regular sized muffin tin with one tablespoon of melted ghee. (Or skip this part and just line the tin with parchment muffin liners!) In a large bowl, mix together the tuna, scallions, and cilantro. Add the mashed sweet potato to the tuna mixture, and gently combine. Then, mix in the lemon zest, jalapeño, the remaining two tablespoons of ghee, eggs, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I normally use 1½ teaspoons of Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt, but your taste may vary. (Not sure if you’ve added enough S&P? Take a small portion and fry up a little pancake to see if the seasoning is right!) Use your hands to mix everything together because that way you can make sure that the fish chunks aren’t overly broken up. Scoop a ¼ cup of the mixture into each greased muffin tin cup and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake the tuna cakes for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out cleanly. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool. The easiest way I’ve found to get them out is to put the wire rack on top of the muffin tin, flip everything upside-down, and tap them gently on the counter. Grab a lemon wedge and squeeze some juice on your tuna cake before your pop it in your mouth. They’re fantastic right out of the oven. Alternatively, store them in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to four days, and when you’re ready to eat, skillet-fry the cakes in some melted fat over medium heat. Crisp the edges, and you’re good to go.
PALEO MAYO 1 large egg yolk ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon white vinegar ¾ cup macadamia nut oil or avocado oil I put all the ingredients except the oil in a large bowl and whisked until the yolk thickened and the color brightened (around 30 seconds). I added ¼ cup of the oil in a slow steady stream while I whisked vigorously (~1 minute). To keep my bowl in place, I put it on a rubber mat and tied a towel around the base. If there’s someone else in the house, recruit him or her to slowly pour in the oil while you whisk. After the oil is incorporated, I slowly added the second ¼ cup of oil and incorporated it the same way as the first (~30 seconds). I added the last ¼ cup of oil all at once (per the instructions) and whisked it to emulsify the mayo completely. This version requires some elbow grease but it’s quick and tasty. Yay for homemade Paleo mayonnaise! Here are some other variations: Tartar Sauce = ½ cup mayo + 2 T finely diced cornichons + 1 T lemon juice + 1 tsp Dijon mustard + 1 tsp minced capers Cilantro Lime Mayo = ½ cup mayo + 2 T minced cilantro + 1 T lime juice Curry Mayo = ½ cup mayo + 1 tsp curry powder + 1 T lime juice Smoky Mayo = ½ cup mayo + 1 tsp smoked paprika + 1 T lemon juice Add some fresh cut veggies like cucumbers and sweet peppers and add some fruit for another lunch idea.
EGG FOO YOUNG, GARBAGE SOUP, AND FRUIT SALAD
Funny name, but delicious lunch.
EGG FOO YOUNG
6 large eggs ¼ cup coconut flour 1 teaspoon fish sauce (or kosher salt, to taste) ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1 cup diced ham or cooked meat of choice 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry 2 scallions, sliced 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro ½ teaspoon baking soda Freshly ground black pepper ghee or coconut oil for frying
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut flour, fish sauce, and apple cider vinegar until smooth. Mix in the ham, spinach, scallions, cilantro, and baking soda, and some freshly ground black pepper. Melt a tablespoon of ghee in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Use a large dish (3-tablespoon size) to plop the batter in the pan, and flatten the pancake to ½-inch thick with the back of a spoon. I can comfortably fit 3 pancakes in my 12-inch skillet at a time – don’t overcrowd them! Fry without disturbing the patties for 2 minutes before flipping the pancakes over and cooking it on the other side for about 1-2 minutes more. The pancakes are cooked through when the centers bounce back when you press down on them with your finger. Repeat until you’re out of batter. As each pancake finishes cooking, transfer it to a wire rack to cool. Then, plate ’em up and serve!
This soup will change every time you make it. It could also be called "leftover soup" because you take whatever you have
Here is an example: carrots and other root vegetables onions, leeks, or shallots sautéed until translucent in some sort of fat a 14-ounce can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained chopped greens (spinach, chard, cabbage, kale, etc.) canned or homemade broth
If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll throw in:
a ham hock rehydrated dried mushrooms couple of bay leaves fresh herbs
Here’s a typical example of how I make garbage soup:
Chop up some leeks, green garlic, turnips, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes... I melted a couple tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large soup pot and sautéed the green garlic and leeks until soft and then add in everything except the cabbage. Add bone broth & then the cabbage. Feel free to add meat if you like. Bring to a boil and then turn low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add some fruit slices to your lunch box and you have a lovely meal.
ASIAN MEATBALLS & VEGGIES
Who doesn't love meatballs?
8 medium fresh shiitake mushrooms, minced (or 8 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated) 1 medium shallot, minced ¾ cup minced sweet potato 2 tablespoons minced cilantro 2 pounds ground beef 1½ tablespoons Paleo-friendly fish sauce 2 tablespoons tomato paste Kosher salt Freshly-ground black pepper 2 tablespoons melted fat of choice (unnecessary if using parchment paper)
Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or foil, and preheat the oven to 375°F. In the meantime, finely mince the mushrooms, shallot, sweet potato, and cilantro. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, fish sauce, tomato paste, and the minced veggies and herbs. Sprinkle on salt and pepper. If you’re unsure of how much seasoning to use, start with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Thoroughly combine the ingredients but don’t overwork the meat. To check if your seasoning is correct, form and fry a mini patty. Chow it down and adjust the meatball mixture for additional salt and pepper if needed. I scoop out uniform balls with a medium dish (1½ tablespoon) and use my hands to roll out three dozen meatballs. Each meatball should be about 1½ inches in diameter. (If you’re not using parchment paper, brush the foil or baking sheet with the melted fat before you place the meatballs on top.) Plate and serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. You can also freeze the cooked meatballs for up to 6 months. Simply freeze them in a single layer and then place the solid orbs in a freezer bag or sealed container. Add some fresh veggies and fruit to complete this lunch. http://nomnompaleo.com/post/39832097367/whole30-day-6-asian-meatballs http://nomnompaleo.com/post/58924698497/another-week-of-paleo-lunches-part-4-of-5
With a little food prep, you can have any amazing lunch every day. Try these recipes to change up your old routine. For more ideas visit nomnompaleo.com.
Here's to your health! Happy Cooking!