Day 7 - More Food Ideas
I think I may have already mentioned that I’m not a big follow-the-recipe kind of guy.
But with that said, here’s a link to some of my go-to meals
And here’s a link to some more
Play with them and make them your own.
If you only buy bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, no problem – just add some extra time on to the InstantPot setting. If you hate the taste of cilantro, swap it for basil and see how you like it.
I’ll look at recipes to get ideas, but most of the time I’ll eyeball measurements and I’ll substitute ingredients to take a non-paleo or non-keto recipe and turn it into something that I’d like to eat.
Another thing that I’ve learned the hard way is that times and temperatures in recipes can bite you in the ass.
Let me explain.
I decided to follow a recipe for some ribs that I cooked on my Big Green Egg.
It said to get the temperature to X and I did that and it said that they should be ready in Y amount of time.
So, I put the ribs on the egg and started doing other stuff. I went out and checked them about halfway through and they were looking pretty good.
But the recipe called for Y amount of time so I didn’t pull them then since they were only about halfway done according to the recipe.
Something told me that I might be screwing up so I checked them about 5 minutes before they were supposed to be done and they were toast.
There were a few edible bites, but for the most part, they were ruined.
Those ribs died so that I could learn a valuable lesson.
There are too many variables in cooking to blindly follow a recipe.
For starters there are the characteristics of what you’re cooking—like the thickness of the meat, the starting temperature of the ingredients, how accurate is the thermometer on your cooking device, just to name a few.
And then even more subtle stuff like the altitude of where you’re cooking.
I’m a big believer in using an instant-read thermometer. It keeps me from overcooking stuff and it makes sure that I’m not eating rare chicken.
You’ve received two food lists. I’ve shared my kitchen list, as well as the Primal Coach Primal Approved list from Mark Sisson.
Consider those like paints on a pallet.
Here are some things that I have learned that ensure you’re always ready to eat well.
I make sure that I have an assortment of protein choices in my freezer at all times.
I go to the farmers market every week or two and I’ll restock, but even if I can’t go for a few weeks, I have enough protein on hand to get by.
I’ll even have a few frozen veggies on hand just in case, but most of the time I’m buying fresh veggies a couple of times a week.
My meals aren’t real fancy.
Some days I’ll fix some type of scramble or omelet for breakfast – eggs, cheese, greens, a little onion, a small amount of protein (uncured bacon or sausage). Then I’ll add a half of an avocado to the plate and maybe some fermented veggies like kimchi or kraut.
Or I’ll wait a little later to eat my first meal and I’ll make a big ass salad for an earlier lunch.
Like I mentioned in my earlier post, I start with some sort of mixed greens, add protein (grilled chicken, smoked salmon, grilled steak, canned salmon, grilled pork tenderloin), crumbled goat cheese or feta, sliced radishes, pumpkin seeds, sliced boiled egg, diced bell pepper, maybe a couple of sliced strawberries or a few blueberries.
Those are just a few ideas, but there’s a limitless number of options–marinated artichokes or hearts of palm, olives, celery, carrots—you get the idea.
I don’t buy commercial salad dressing. It’s too easy to make. 1 part vinegar (apple cider, balsamic, white wine, etc.) to 3 parts oil (Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Avocado Oil) and then just a squirt of mustard. The mustard helps bind the oil and the vinegar together.
I also don’t buy mayo (if you do, Primal Kitchens has good stuff).
I use a recipe I found on Serious Eats and changed it to make it Primal / Paleo. I use an immersion blender and the container that came with it.
I use one egg, a cup of avocado oil or half avocado and half EVOO, the juice from half a lemon or half a lime, a clove of garlic chopped, a squirt of Dijon mustard and a fat pinch of salt.
It literally takes less than 2 minutes to make and it tastes a lot better than what you find in the store. This can also serve as a base for a salad dressing.
For dinner, it’s some type of protein and a couple of veggies.
I’m an unabashed pimp for the InstantPot.
Short ribs, roasts, shanks, stews normally have to be cooked low and slow in order to turn the tough connective tissue in the meat into unctuous, tasty magic unless you have an InstantPot.
Then you still get the unctuous tasty magic but in a fraction of the time.
Short ribs, roasts, shanks, and stews in an hour or less.
The InstantPot is like a culinary time machine.
Ribs, roast, chicken thighs, boiled eggs, stews, soups, the options are endless.
Here’s a meal as an example.
I buy organic boneless, skinless organic chicken thighs from Costco. There are 3 separate sealed packs of thighs. Use either one or two of those.
Take them out of the pack and dry them off with paper towels and lay them out on a cookie sheet.
Salt and pepper them and lay them out on the cookie sheet—makes things easier.
Sear them in the InstantPot, by selecting the sauté function. I usually have the time set to 30 minutes, but it doesn’t matter how long the time is because we’re going to cancel the sauté selection prior to selecting the Pressure setting. The 30-minute setting just makes sure that the InstantPot doesn’t turn off during the time you’re searing the thighs.
Once the InstantPot display shows “HOT” add your cooking fat. I’ll either use avocado oil, ghee, uncured bacon grease or pastured lard. I’ll use a heaping tablespoon.
Put the seasoned chicken thighs in the InstantPot in a single layer and don’t overcrowd them.
It usually takes 3-5 minutes to brown one side and then you turn them over and brown the other side for a minute or two.
Take those out and put in the next batch and repeat.
While those are browning chop up a medium onion, ½-¾ cup of stuffed olives and ½-¾ cup of sundried tomatoes.
Also, open a can of full-fat coconut milk and have ½- ¾ cup chicken stock ready to go.
Sauté the onions until soft and then add everything into the InstantPot. Make sure that you don’t add past the max-fill line.
Select the pressure option (high) and select 6 minutes. You’ll let it stay on “keep warm” for 5 minutes and then you’ll carefully quick release the rest of the pressure.
I’d serve this with your choice of sides. Sautéed collards go well with it, but so do roasted or sautéed green beans, or roasted broccoli, kale or cauliflower.
I fully embrace leftovers. I enjoy cooking, but I don’t want to have to cook every night.
I usually cook in batches. I may make a couple of pork chops and a couple of packs of chicken thighs on the grill and that’s going to have protein covered for a few days.
I’ll cut the chicken thighs up on big ass salads, maybe have some of the pork chop with breakfast and/ or with dinner.
I know some people who do meal prep for the week on Sunday and then eat the same thing all week. That works for some folks and it might work for you. I’d be losing my mind by Tuesday if it was me. I have to have a little variety.
Here’s today’s assignment – Go for a 30 minute walk and go the opposite direction that you normally go. I’m always surprised at new things I notice when I do this.
See how many pushups and squats that you can do today. 10 here, 15 there – keep track and put it in your journal.
For food today, cook a larger batch of protein than normal and freeze some of it. This will come in handy when you don’t have time to cook.
And make sure you get 7-8 hours sleep.