What’s-on-Hand Salad

Because I’ve been getting the Madness Boxes from Misfits Market every couple of weeks, I’ve come up with a few salad combinations. All I’m doing is using what I have on hand that week for fresh produce. I’m not adding meat, seeds, or nuts, unless I want something with it when I am actually eating.

This type of salad is also good for using up those odd bits of produce leftover from other meals.

Don’t feel like you have to follow this recipe closely. Just use what you have available.

What’s-on-Hand Salad

Ingredients

mixed lettuce

spinach

cucumber

broccoli

  1. Rinse the produce well. Place on a towel and cover with another one. Press gently to dry produce.
  2. Break the lettuce and spinach up using your hands. There’s no kneed to use a knife.
  3. Slice the cucumber into rounds, then cut into halves or quarters.
  4. Chop the broccoli.
  5. Add everything to a bowl.
  6. Enjoy!

I take this a little further by breaking out the reusable containers and filling each of them with enough salad for a meal or a snack. With these in the refrigerator like this, I can just grab a salad when I want one. Easy-peasy!

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with soup on a cool day.
  • Serve with a meal of meat and potatoes.
  • Add some grilled chicken and seeds or nuts and call it dinner!

Tips

  • Use scraps so nothing goes to waste.
  • Use produce from your own garden to save money.

~ Shannon

 

Busy Cooks Guide to Easy Meal Prep

I know what it’s like, being so busy you don’t have time to prepare healthy meals and snacks at home. Things get crazy-busy sometimes, and there does not seem like enough time to do all that we have to do.

But there are things that will help to make meal prep easy during the busier times life will throw at you, and I want to share with you what tactics I use to create quick, easy meals when life is too hectic.

Spend an afternoon preparing

If you have a few hours, it’s a good idea to prepare some things in advance. Here are a few things I do, depending on the time of year:

  • Make tortilla wraps and place them in the refrigerator between sheets of parchment paper. I find a recipe online for Paleo wraps, and use that.
  • Wash and cut up vegetables. Store in containers in the refrigerator. Use ends and greens when making stock.
  • Place fruit in bowls to grab when you want a snack or are in a hurry.
  • Prepare lunches for work or school so you can easily grab them before leaving.
  • Make a vegetable stock and store it in the refrigerator for use during the week. Any extra can go into the freezer. Use ends and greens, as well as any leftover vegetables that won’t get eaten fresh.
  • Roast a chicken, then cut it up into serving sizes and refrigerate. Freeze what you wont use in the next four days.
  • Make chocolate sauce and store in canning jars in the refrigerator. Use this with fresh fruit if you are wanting a dessert-type item.
  • Make energy balls and store three to a small container.

Buy frozen seafood

I like to check out the frozen seafood section to see what I might be able to use for meals during the week. Scallops and shrimp are easy to prepare, and can be used in many food combinations.

This week I found bags of raw, peeled, deveined, tail-on shrimp for $5.00, so I picked one up. I’ll keep it in the freezer, and take some out whenever I want to make a dish.

What will I use the shrimp for? Any number of things, including:

Make a soup

Soups are a wonderful way to add vegetables to your menu. Just throw the ingredients in a pot on the stove – or in a crock – and cook at the beginning of the week. This could be done on a prep day.

My best friend will cook up a huge pot all at once, and I just love my chicken and vegetable soup and my sausage and pineapple one.

I put servings of soup in small canning jars after they’ve cooled some, and place those in the refrigerator. They are easy to warm when you are short on time, and taste great.

Know what fruits can be stored near each other

A few medium size mixing or fruit bowls will hold a lot of fruit. Place citrus vegetables in one, apples and pears in another, and bananas and grapes in the third. One can be used as a centerpiece at the table, and the other two can be placed at either end of the counter.

School and work lunches

I usually put these together during a prep day, because I’m already doing related tasks. All I’m really doing is packing things up a little differently than in spend an afternoon preparing above.

I have a shelf specifically for work meal items, and organize the containers and other items in a way that makes things easy to grab. I work 5 shifts in four days, and will bring everything I put together on the first day.

While cutting up vegetables, I’ll have five containers reserved for work. Into each of those, I’ll put a few servings of vegetables, a few cut up berries or some grapes, and a serving of meat, unless the meat will be in soup form. In that case, the soups are already packaged as individual servings.

If I will be having wraps, I’ll also store the wraps separately.

Much of the time, to make things easy, I’ll have the same foods for all five meals, switching out different fruits or snacks. Having packets of dark chocolate covered blueberries and cherries helps with this, as does having some energy balls on hand.

Easy meal combo’s utilizing raw vegetables include:

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced strawberries, sugar snap peas in pods, broccoli, carrots, celery, and a small amount of nut butter
  • rice, seasoned ground beef, diced tomato, corn, grapes
  • turkey slices, roasted sweet potato, mashed squash, peas, cranberries
  • veggie wraps, shrimp scampi on the side (to be added to the wrap later), strawberry slices
  • sausage and pineapple soup, carrot sticks, celery with nut butter, cherries

Quick breakfast ideas

While a box of cereal is the ultimate in quickness during our busy mornings, those types of boxed, processed things are not exactly the healthiest of choices. I like to make my own cereal, and it takes less time than making pancakes. Here are a few of may favorites:

Another ideas is to make a batch of Paleo granola to use as cereal during busy mornings. Add half a cup to a bowl, top with fruit and organic, unsweetened coconut, and add nut milk.

Quick snack ideas

Parfaits are an easy snack, and can be refrigerated overnight. Make a couple up during prep day for a quick, easy snack later and the next day. A few options include:

Trail mixes are another great snack option, and can be made up in advance and used throughout the coming week or so. Stored little canning jars, they will be easy to grab.

Quick lunches and dinners

If you have the components from spend and afternoon preparing above, you probably already have the components for a few meals. Buy frozen seafood and make a soup offer other ideas. Here are some more that can be made ahead and warmed later, or made quickly the day you want them:

*****

With practice, meal prep days will go more quickly and you might choose to make more options on that day.

What do you do to keep it healthy during the busiest of times?

Shannon

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

If you’re lucky you wont need to buy anything extra for this, making it a very frugal meal indeed. Children who can use an oven by themselves will find this easy. Younger children can put the casserole together for you to bake.

To make this recipe even easier, prepare it when cleaning up after the Thanksgiving meal, and pop it in the oven the next day. You could also put it in the freezer.

Ingredients

leftover turkey

leftover vegetables

leftover mashed potatoes (any kind)

water

  • Put 1/4 cup water in a baking dish.
  • Cover the bottom of the baking dish with bite size pieces of turkey.
  • Cover the turkey with leftover vegetables.
  • Cover the vegetables with mashed potatoes.
  • Bake at 350* until warmed through.

Tips

  • Squash could be used in place of the potato.
  • If there are varying tastes, or not enough potatoes to cover the casserole, top 1/3 with regular mashed potatoes, 1/3 with mashed sweet potato, and the last third with squash.

Serving Suggestions

Shannon

Leftover Turkey and Peas

This is a simple recipe that can be served spaghetti squash or mashed sweet potato, and is a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers.

Ingredients

coconut oil

leftover turkey, in bite size pieces

leftover peas, or 1 can drained

prepared spaghetti squash or mashed sweet potato

  1. Melt oil in a skillet on medium heat.
  2. Pour the peas and turkey in the skillet, and heat until warmed through.

Tips

  • Use any type of vegetable you have left over.
  • You could also use this to make stuffed squash.

Serving Suggestions

Autumn Turkey Soup

This is an easy recipe that can be served on a cold, autumn evening. Served in a pumpkin bowl, this recipe will add a decorative touch to the dinner table.

Ingredients:

water and/or vegetable stock or broth

bite size cubes of pumpkin

bite size cubes of two different kinds of squash

bite size cubes of potato

bite size cubes of sweet potato

chunks of leftover turkey

1 or 2 cloves of fresh garlic

fresh or dried parsley

fresh or dried rosemary

  1. Pour the liquid into a pot, and add the pumpkin, squash, and potatoes, as well as the diced garlic.
  2. Allow to cook most of the way, then add the turkey.
  3. Add the parsley and some rosemary to taste.
  4. Pour into pumpkin bowls and serve.

Tips

  • Purchase stock or broth on sale, as store brands.
  • Better yet, make your own.  This will save even more money.
  • Use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving to save more money.
  • Use organic herbs and produce from your garden for the ultimate savings.
  • Roast the pumpkin seeds and sprinkle them over the stew once it is poured into the bowls.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve with a fruit salad.

What autumn stews are favorites of your family?

Shannon

Tomato Bake

Here is a vegetable bake for you to try. This does not take much time, and can be served as the main component of a meal or as a side dish. The best vegetables to use are the organic heirloom variety you grow yourself. Same with the herbs. Heirloom varieties of each taste better than non heirloom varieties.

The amount of each ingredient needed will depend on the size pan you are using, and the number of people being served. Think lasagna for basic amounts. I usually start with bulk purchased shredded cheeses and a jar of each grated cheese, as well as about 32 ounces of sauce and a bowl of tomatoes.

Beefsteak tomatoes work well, but you can use other medium to large varieties. Experiment. Also consider trying more than one type of tomato in your bake.

Ingredients

tomatoes

shredded mozzarella cheese

shredded mild cheddar cheese

grated Parmesan cheese

grated Romano cheese

dried parsley

pasta sauce

  1. Start by pouring ¼ cup of the sauce into the bottom of a baking dish and spreading to cover, then work in layers. You will be able to fit 2 or 3 layers into one baking dish, being sure to leave room at the top for another cheese layer.

  2. Rinse the tomatoes well, and dry with a towel.

  3. Cut the tops off and then slice the tomatoes about ¼ inch thick, placing some of the slices in a layer over the sauce. Spread more sauce over this.

  4. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the slices, covering completely.

  5. Sprinkle some of mild cheddar cheese over this, so as not to completely cover.

  6. Shake some of each grated cheese over the other cheeses, then add another layer of tomatoes.

  7. Spread the sauce again, then add the cheeses.

  8. If there is room in the pan, start another layer.

  9. If not, add a thin layer of sauce over the cheeses, and sprinkle the parsley on top.

  10. Bake at 350* – 400*, depending on the oven, until the cheese is melted.

Tips

  • Use tomatoes from your garden and home canned sauce, to save money on this recipe.

  • Growing your own herbs and drying them will save you a great deal of money as well.

  • Try other types of cheeses as desired.

Serving Suggestions

 

Tortilla Wrap: Shrimp Scampi & Veggies

I bought tapioca flour just to try this recipe, and I’m so happy I did. With a love of tortilla wraps, I was really missing the flour tortillas that I used for so many favorite recipes. But now I’ve found a non-grain, Paleo version. Yay! Eating healthier means I miss out on some old favorites, so if I can find a replacement recipe I am a happy lady.

Note that I do not use cheese often and, when I do, I use only a little. It is more like a treat, and one I will likely be cutting out completely.

Ingredients

2 almond flour tortillas (I use this recipe from Paleocupboard.com.)

1 tomato slice, diced

2 cucumber slices, diced

shredded lettuce

6 shrimp scampi (I use the scampi recipe from Paleoplan.com.)

mozzarella cheese, shredded (optional)

mild cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

  1. Place the tortillas on a plate.
  2. Spread shredded lettuce over each tortilla.
  3. Top with the other vegetables.
  4. Place three shrimp on each tortilla.
  5. Top with just a little of each shredded cheese.
  6. Enjoy!

Tips

  • Almond and tapioca flours do not come cheap. Shop around online and off for the best deals.
  • Buy whatever vegetables you like that can be found on sale, to save money.

Serving Suggestions

You May Also Enjoy

Shannon

Shrimp Scampi Salad

Salads are common fare during the spring and summer months, as we try to eat lighter after a winter of hearty meals. Experimenting with different combinations of foods keeps our meals new and exciting. I don’t know about you, but I get so bored with food after a while I need to break out and try something different or I wont feel like eating at all.

This recipe is super-easy, and is so good. I use the same recipe for shrimp scampi that I used to make Lettuce Wraps: Shrimp Scampi & Veggies. As a matter-of-fact, I used leftover shrimp from the scampi made for that meal with no loss of flavor.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

What a beautiful salad! How about making one for yourself.

Ingredients

about a dozen shrimp from the scampi recipe (I used the one from Paleoplan.com) (Hot or cold. does not matter.)

2 romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed, patted dry, and shredded

a little cabbage, shredded

3 slices cucumber, cut in fourths

3 slices zucchini, cut in fourths

7 or 8 sugar snap or snow pod peas

4 baby carrots, diced

  1. Layer the vegetables on your plate, however you like.
  2. Top with the shrimp scampi and a little of the sauce from the pan.
  3. Enjoy!

I try to use mainly organic vegetables when possible, though sometimes cost trumps everything.

This is a good-size salad, so I count it as a main meal.

Tips

  • Use whatever vegetables you can get affordably to save money.
  • Try different types of seafood.

Serving Suggestions

What are your favorite salad recipes?

Shannon

 

Lettuce Wraps: Shrimp Scampi & Veggie

In Lettuce Wraps: Keepin’ it Veggie, I mentioned I bought shrimp, and will be posting some recipes that use shrimp scampi as their base. I don’t often by shrimp, so this is a real treat. I get a bag frozen raw, deveined, tail-off, shrimp for $5.00, and it will last through multiple meals. I try to buy the small ones, that come at least 60 (or as many as 80) per bag, and make a half a shrimp scampi recipe, keeping the rest of the shrimp frozen for another batch later on.

I cook the shrimp scampi and use it up over the course of a day-and-a-half, because I am super picky about seafood and freshness. Maybe over-picky, I’m not sure. But I’m okay with it. I just need to eat the shrimp quickly.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

 

 

Don’t these wraps look delicious? Try them for yourself!

Ingredients

(For two wraps.)

8 shrimp from the shrimp scampi recipe (I use this recipe from Paleoplan.com) (Hot or cold, does not matter.)

2 romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry with a towel

shredded green cabbage

4 cucumber slices

4 zucchini slices

  1. Place the wraps flat on a plate.
  2. Sprinkle shredded cabbage over the wraps.
  3. Cut the cucumber and zucchini slices into fourths.
  4. Top the cabbage with the cucumber and zucchini.
  5. Add 4 shrimp to each wrap.
  6. Enjoy!

It’s that simple. Give it a try!

Tips

  • Use different types of leaf lettuce each time you make these.
  • Try different types of vegetables, such as broccoli.
  • Try other types of seafood.
  • Use leftover veggies to lower the cost.

Serving Suggestions

Share your veggie wrap ideas with us.

Shannon

Lettuce Wraps: Keepin’ it Veggie

I’ve wanted to get away from eating the heavier foods of winter, and back into eating lighter fare. I’m switching things out as I can, now that the winter stocks are almost depleted. The last shopping trip netted me many fresh fruits and vegetables at a reasonable cost. I love it when I can pull that off. The only meat I bought was shrimp, and I have a few recipes coming up for that. (So come back often this month to see what else is on the site!)

But this recipe is strictly vegetables. If you’re wondering about protein, this recipe does provide that, and many other nutrients. Meats aren’t the only foods you can get protein from, thank goodness. I don’t always want meat. As a matter-of-fact, the reason I made these wraps was because I wasn’t into eating meat on that particular day.

I just wanted my veggies!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

Don’t these wraps look good? Try them for yourself!

Ingredients

(For two wraps.)

2 romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry with a towel

shredded green cabbage

4 cucumber slices

4 zucchini slices

  1. Place the wraps flat on a plate.
  2. Sprinkle shredded cabbage over the wraps.
  3. Cut the cucumber and zucchini slices into fourths.
  4. Top the cabbage with the cucumber and zucchini.
  5. Enjoy!

It’s that simple. These wraps are so versatile they can be used as sides or snacks, or could even count as a whole meal.

Tips

  • Use different types of leaf lettuce each time you make these.
  • Try different types of vegetables, such as broccoli.
  • Add some sliced strawberry for a sweet kick.
  • Use leftover veggies to lower the cost.

Serving Suggestions

Share your veggie wrap ideas with us.

Shannon