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Friday, July 24, 2015

Meal Planning 101


LET'S GET ORGANIZED 

Photo Source: Madison & Rayne


A lot has changed for me since moving to Chicago and I've really refined my methods.  With all of these new (and awesome) food delivery services, I took it upon myself to try out all of them to see if I could keep myself paleo and make the headache of meal preparation easier.  What I quickly learned is that while there are some solid options, most of them won't respect your dietary needs completely (they love those grains, man).  And worst of all, they grandfather you into massive portions that this single little lady just can't handle!  I almost lost hope on them, actually.  But then I stumbled upon Madison & Rayne (I am in no way affiliated with them nor have they asked me to endorse them. I'm just a huge fan).  They are special to Chicago only (sorry everyone else!).  So I won't go into huge detail on how their gourmet meals and refined personal service has made my life amazing.  Suffice it to say, when you read some of these fabulous lunch and dinner descriptions - they're not mine.  I will do my best to link accordingly (their recipe cards are not readily available and they haven't figured out how to archive them yet) or even post the recipe instructions if you ask.  But I just wanted to be honest that I rely on these meals to help me keep up and maintain.  Instead of ordering take out or slapping something together from the hot bar at the grocery store, I get Madison and Rayne.  And I'm damn fortunate.

Onto the realities of grocery shopping.  I've come to realize that less is more in the single life.  The ratio is three-two-two-one-eggs.  Three veggies.  Two fruits.  Two proteins. One night shade or root vegetable.  That gets me through the week pretty easily.  Just remember 3-2-2-1-EGGS.  So it will look something like this...

THE LIST:

2 Heads of broccoli
1 Package of leafy greens
2 Artichokes
2 Avocados
2 bananas
1 Bunch of heirloom tomatoes on the vine

3 Chicken breasts
2 tilapia filets
1/2 Dozen eggs


Once you're properly stocked, it's important to prepare.  And aside from the veggies, freeze 1/3.  Wrap 1/3 of your proteins in plastic wrap individually and then pouch them in freezer bags.  All you have to do it put them in the fridge the night before preparation.  Then freeze 1/3 of your fruits.  For bananas, I cut them up into chunks and throw them into a large freezer container.  Fruits that come with central seeds and stems (think peaches, pears, apples, avocado) don't need to be frozen.  This should take you about 10 minutes of your time as you unpack and voila!  All set for the week.  The menu should look something like this..

  

PLAN:

SUNDAY 
MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY    
SATURDAY

Jasmine green tea and Italian scrambled egg with spinach
Espresso and chipotle deviled eggs
Espresso and chipotle deviled eggs
Espresso and spinach, banana, almond butter smoothie
Jasmine green tea and spinach, banana, almond butter smoothie
B

Earl Grey Tea
English Breakfast Tea
Earl Grey Tea
English Breakfast Tea
Earl Grey Tea

S
Artichoke with homemade mayo
Spinach salad with chicken, avocado, tomato, and sunflower seeds with a vinaigrette
Lunch with a friend (pre-determined to order a Caesar salad sans croutons with steak)
Shrimp tacos, chimichurri, kale slaw, and pimento pepper dip (M&R)
Shrimp tacos, chimichurri, kale slaw, and pimento pepper dip (M&R)
Spinach salad with chicken, avocado, tomato, and sunflower seeds with a vinaigrette
Tomato and avocado with balsamic and olive oil
L
Pan roasted tilapia with oven roasted broccoli
Steak frites, crispy duck fat potatoes, haricots verts, sauce au poivre (M&R)
Steak frites, crispy duck fat potatoes, haricots verts, sauce au poivre (M&R)
Pan roasted tilapia with oven roasted broccoli
Out for dinner!  Pre-planned to order simple salad, glass of red wine, and salmon
D
Banana with almond butter
Babybel cheese
Raw broccoli and dip
Babybel cheese
Artichoke with homemade mayo

S

Step by Step

Here's how the day-to-day breaks down 

Saturday prior:
-Shop
-Freeze: 1 tilapia filet and 1 banana

Sunday:
-Make breakfast and lunch
-Meal Prep: 
--Chipotle Deviled Eggs (2 servings)
--Pounded Chicken Breast (2 servings)
--Perfect Chicken Breast (1 serving divided)
---Freeze 1/2 of a breast for your Friday salad
---Combine all ingredients for your Monday salad (dressing on the side)

Monday:
-Make dinner

Tuesday:
-Make breakfast and dinner (refrigerate leftovers)
-Cook Madison and Rayne meals and prepare lunch portions

Wednesday:
-Make breakfast

Thursday:
-Make breakfast
-Put 1/2 frozen chicken breast and frozen tilapia into the fridge for Friday's meals

Friday
-Make breakfast and prep lunch
-Make dinner

Saturday
-Make breakfast and lunch
-Shop for next week!



I'll update the chart with links to the recipes as the week goes!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Turkey Wings

AFFORDABLE, MEATY, AND REFINED: HERBED TURKEY WINGS IN A WHITE WINE SAUCE




I receive a bi-weekly meat and dairy csa (I'm a single girl - I cannot eat half a dozen eggs in one week. Well, I can. But I rarely do). The delivery is a quart of grass fed milk, half a dozen eggs, and then a pound of meat which is always a surprise.  Usually the meat is lamb related.  This week, I was surprised to find 2 pounds of turkey wings.  They are MASSIVE.  You know the legs from a renaissance faire?  That kind of size.  Look at that photo above. You might confuse the wing and drum for regular ole chicken wings but you'd be wrong.  That's a regular sized dinner plate.  I should have used a banana for scale.   

In any event, they sent me these wings and I had no idea what to do with them!  There aren't many recipes online.  Most of them call for turning the wings into bone broth.  But they're so meaty, I couldn't imagine wasting them.  Plus I love buffalo wings.  How could the turkey variety not compare?  I did stumble upon some southern dishes that recommended frying them or drowning them in heavy, SAD based sauces.  That was a no-no.  So I decided I'd roast them my way.  The result was not only phenomenal. I think I've just stumbled on the next food craze.  Because this cut of meat is dirt cheap.  And if it's this easy to make and it's this delicious? I might have just found the next kale, people. 


INGREDIENTS


2.5 lbs turkey wings (two flat wings, two drumettes)
4 tbsp herbs de provence
1 tbsp lemon pepper
2 tsp garlic powder 
Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp potato flour
8 ounces chicken bone broth
8 ounces white wine (can substitue 2 tbsp lemon juice and water)
1 tbsp butter


TOOLS REQUIRED:

Bowl, dutch oven preferred (baking dish or roasting pan optional as well along with a saucier or deep skillet) 


INSTRUCTIONS:

1.


2.



3.




4.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 


Salt your turkey wings.  Combine your herbs, lemon pepper, garlic powder, and flour in a bowl.  Dredge your wings in the mixer.  


Put your dutch oven on the stove over high heat for 90 seconds.  Then add 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Brown your turkey wings cooking two minutes per side and then set them aside.


Deglaze your pan with the wine.  Then add you stock and bring it to a boil. When it starts to boil, add your turkey back in, cover, and put in the oven for an hour.  Bast at 30 minutes. 


5.






6.
When the cooking is done, pull the dutch oven out and keep covered for 20 minutes (I like to rest thing, mkay??). Then remove the turkey wings and turn the stove back on high.  The broth should already be cloudy and almost thick.  Add the butter to it and allow it to reduce by half (it took about 4 minutes for me).  Then drizzle the remaining tbsp of olive and season with salt and pepper.  


Serve the turkey wings and spoon the sauce generously.  


SERVES 4 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Classic Rack of Lamb

DRESS TO IMPRESS




My favorite meat splurge is rack of lamb.  Not only is it the easiest meat in the world to make (trust me on this, I'm about to prove it to you), but it's one of those meals that impresses the hell out of guests or if you're a single gal like me, I can daintily gnaw on those bones like it's my last meal and it is finger lickin' good.  

Here's the deal with my version.  Most people use rosemary in combination with dijon mustard on their racks (and some sort of flour to weaken the flavors - don't ask me why they do that).  But I like to use fresh herbs and I don't have rosemary growing on my windowsill right now.  I have thyme.  Let me tell you, the switch up is astounding.



INGREDIENTS


1 frenched rack of lamb
1 tbsp thyme 
1 tsp garlic powder (or 2 fresh cloves minced)
1/4 cup dijon mustard
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper

TOOLS REQUIRED:

Oven safe dish / roasting pan / sheet pan, small mixing bowl, aluminum foil                   


INSTRUCTIONS:

1.

2.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. 

In a small bowl, combine the thyme, garlic powder, mustard, and balsamic vinegar.  I then blended these ingredients in my nutri ninja but I think it was unnecessary.  Just make sure your herbs aren't clumpy.
3.



4.




5.
Drizzle your baking dish with olive oil and place your rack in the dish, fat side up.  Salt the top of the rack and then spread the mixture generously across getting the sides too.   

Roast your lamb for 20 minutes (18 for rare which is how I like it, 20 for medium rare, 22 for medium).  Then pull the lamb from the oven and cover it with aluminum foil and ALLOW IT TO REST FOR 15 MINUTES (you KNOW how passionately I feel about resting your meats).

Cut into double chops and serve!


SERVES 4



Friday, July 17, 2015

Chipotle Deviled Eggs with Avocado

DEVILISH DEVILED EGGS: MAKE THEM HOT, CREAMY, AND SINFUL



It's no secret I love a great deviled egg. The first round was such a hit, that I've been experimenting like crazy.  This is my best hit yet. Even my boss loved them.  

It all began when I stumbled upon Sir Kensington's Chipotle Mayo.  I'm already a huge fan of the regular variety and I just couldn't help myself from an impulse buy when it was on sale.  But I was at a loss for how to actually enjoy it short of spreading it on a lettuce leaf and making some makeshift turkey sandwich (boring... unless you add bacon... hmmmm - stay tuned).  In any case, I wracked my brain for all of the recipes that use mayo and I happened to have a surplus on eggs on hand.  It instantly became a no-brainer.  I had to give it a shot.

And thus the spicy deviled egg was born.  The heat is formidable, I warn you.  But the addition of avocado on top balances the flavor profile so that once you pop you just can't stop.  I'm surprised I even had enough on hand to let my boss try them.  (I'm telling you - surplus of eggs).


INGREDIENTS


3 Hardboiled Eggs
1 Tbsp Sir Kensington's Mayo
1 Tsp lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
1/4 Avocado
1 Tbsp Sir Kensington's Chipotle Mayo

TOOLS REQUIRED:

Bowl, plastic sandwich bag, immersion/stick blender recommended (hand mixer or blender can be used as an alternative)                     


INSTRUCTIONS:

1.


2.
Slice the eggs lengthwise and carefully put the yolks into a bowl.  I like to gently press on the back side of the yolk to "pop" it out.  

Add the mayos, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper to the yolks.  Blend with a stick blender until creamy.  
3.


4.
Spoon the mixture into a plastic baggy, seal it, and snip off a corner.  Then pipe it into the empty egg white halves.  

Dice your quarter of avocado into 6 chunks and top each egg.  



SERVES 3 

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