Lunch In and Packed to Go

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In case anyone is curious, this is what Fitbomb is having for lunch: (clockwise from the top left corner) Dittmer’s smoked salmon and half a cut up avocado; leftover sous vide tri-tip with roasted veggies; a hard boiled egg; and coconut flakes and mac nuts.  

He also brought some emergency food in the form of a Tanka bar, canned sardines, and a foil packet of wild salmon.  He’ll break into these items if he’s still hungry or if he’s sidelined and can’t eat what’s packed.

I made myself a box of leftover roasted veggies and tri-tip as well and I ate it right out of the Tupperware after preparing my kids’ super un-Paleo lunch.  It goes without saying that I munched on slivered almonds, coconut flakes, and mac nuts throughout the morning and afternoon.  

Super Fast Dinner for Moi

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My kids and I didn’t return from a playdate until 6:45 p.m. and since I forgot to leave a note for Fitbomb (or check my numerous text pages from him as to where we were), he ate some leftovers when he got home early.  

Hey!  Where’s my meal?

Luckily, I had already planned ahead, ahem, for feeding both of us.  Before leaving for the playdate, I washed some Mei Quin Choy and left it in the colander.  I dug around in the fridge and found some old cremini mushrooms that I washed and quartered. Then, I drizzled the ‘shrooms with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper stuck them on a foil lined tray in my preheated toaster oven (400 F).  After around 20 minutes, the mushrooms were nicely roasted (I stirred them around a few times during the roasting).  I removed the mushrooms from the toaster oven, wrapped the foil around them, and got the kids ready to leave the house.

When I returned home, I heated some coconut oil in the frying pan on medium-high and tossed in the choy.  I added some salt and pepper and stir fried them for a few minutes and then put on the lid and lowered the heat to low.  I didn’t add any additional liquid and I let it steam-saute for around 5 minutes.  There was plenty of flavor from the coconut oil, salt, and pepper so I didn’t feel the need to add any soy sauce, tamari, or oyster sauce.

Then, I sliced some leftover sous vide tri tip, and plated it up the choy and mushrooms.  Voila!

Dinner on Flip Day

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Okay, peeps, I’m fricking tired tonight.  Today’s my “flip day” so I gotta switch from working night shift (I got off this morning) to full time mommy.  Man, I’m a cranky mommy every other Wednesday.  Well, crankier than normal.  It doesn’t help that I stopped eating at 4:00 a.m. and only napped from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  And I had to go to the doctor’s to get my labs done, go grocery shopping, take my kid to kung fu, and make dinner.  

So what did I serve for dinner?  Sous vide tri-tip, stove-top braised cabbage and onions, and balsamic marinated bell peppers.  And I did it all in less than 30 minutes.  Word.

Here’s how I tackled dinner:

I knew I had leftover sous vide chicken in the fridge but I also had a tri-tip I had seasoned and vacuumed packed on Sunday.  I decided to cook off the tri-tip because 1.)  I’d have more leftovers  and 2.) it would spoil if I didn’t cook it off already.  Before I took my nap, I filled my SousVide Supreme and preheated it to 136 F.  When the sucker finally came up to temp, I plopped in my prepared trip-tip which I had seasoned with fennel and salt with organic fennel pollen and freshly ground pepper.

When it was dinnertime, I pulled the tri-tip out of its bath (~8 hours in the SousVide Supreme), took it out of the bag, dried it with paper towels, and seared it off in ghee in my super-hot cast iron skillet.

Then, I rummaged through my fridge to figure out what I’d serve on the side.  I found a cabbage, which I promptly chopped up.  Then, I sliced up an onion.  That’s all I wanted to do tonight in terms of prep work.  I heated up a skillet on medium, threw in 2 tablespoons of butter, and sauteed the onions.  I added the cabbage once the onions were wilted and added 1/4 cup of chicken broth and seasoned everything with salt and pepper.  I covered the pan with a lid and lowered the heat to low to soften the cabbage.  After 5-10 minutes, I tasted it and added a few dashes of Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute and then splashed in a tablespoon of sherry vinegar when I took the pan off the heat.

Since I normally like to serve two vegetable sides with my meat, I dug out some marinated roasted bell peppers I already had in my fridge.  Then, I sliced up the tri-tip and plated our dinner.

Breakfast/Dinner Tonight

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When I woke up this evening, I didn’t feel like making dinner/breakfast.  I went to sleep late after spending all morning seasoning and vacuum sealing meats to sous vide for the coming week so the last thing I wanted to do was to cook something else. 

But, then again, I didn’t feel like eating leftovers because that’s all I eat in the middle of the night.  Sigh.  It’d be nice not to care about what I eat.  So after all the bitching and complaining, I prepared some delicata squash stuffed with spiced grassfed ground beef and tomatoes and served them with some sauteed swiss chard:

And it only took around 30 minutes.  Here’s how I tackled this meal:

Delicata Squash Stuffed with Spiced Meat and Tomatoes (serves 2) and a side of Sauteed Chard

Ingredients:

  • 1 large delicata squash (or two small ones)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 lb ground meat (I used grassfed beef)
  • 4 small Roma tomatoes
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 tsps of The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate Homemade Taco Seasoning (this blog is awesome, btw!)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C shredded Cheddar cheese (I know it’s not Paleo but I like dairy)
  • 1 bunch of chard, stems removed

First things first, I preheated the toaster oven to broil.  Then, I washed the delicata squash (since I like eating the skin), trimmed off the ends, and cut it in half lengthwise.  After scooping out the seeds and slime in the middle, I cut the squash in half crosswise (yielding 4 pieces).  I drizzled the cut-side of the squash with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned to taste with salt and pepper.  Then, I put the squash in one layer, cut-side down, in a Pyrex baking dish tightly covered in plastic wrap.  I nuked the squash on high for ~5 minutes, re-arranged the squash (the middle ones don’t cook as quickly as the ones on the sides in my microwave), re-applied plastic wrap, and nuked for 4-5 more minutes until the squash was fully cooked.

While the squash was cooking in the microwave, I finely chopped  the onion in my Cuisinart, squeezed 3 garlic cloves through my garlic press, and diced my tomatoes.  I threw together the taco seasoning (switched out smoked paprika for regular, and coriander for cumin) and then fired up a large cast iron skillet on the stove at medium-high. 

I glugged some olive oil in the pan and sauteed the onions until translucent.  Then, I added the minced garlic and moved that around for about 30 seconds and then plopped in my ground beef.  Once the beef was no longer pink, I added 2-3 tsp of the taco seasoning and chopped tomatoes.  I seasoned the meat with salt and pepper to taste and let the meat simmer until the tomatoes broke down a little.

While the meat simmered, I washed some chard and squeezed a couple cloves of garlic through the garlic press.  I took the squash out of the microwave but noticed that they had been flattened by the vacuum created in the tightly sealed dish.  No biggie.  I don’t friggin’ care how something looks as long it tastes good.  Just be careful when you remove the plastic wrap because the steam can really scorch you.  Yes, I know plastic wrap might be harmful when microwaved but sometimes I like to live dangerously.  If you don’t want to microwave the squash — you can bake it in the oven for ~40 minutes.

I lined a small baking sheet with foil and put the cooked squash cut-side up on it.  Then, I scooped some of the seasoned meat and piled it on the squash.  You may have leftover meat which, to me, is always a bonus.  I topped the stuffed squash with some pre-shredded cheddar cheese and popped the tray into my pre-heated toaster oven for ~5 minutes  (until the cheese melts and browns).  While I waited for the squash to broil, I sauteed the chard and garlic in some extra virgin olive oil and seasoned to taste with some salt and pepper.

Yum-o.  Ick.  I swear I will never use a Rachel Ray-ism again.  I would much rather type out E-X-T-R-A V-I-R-G-I-N O-L-I-V-E O-I-L instead of using the initials E-V-O-O.  Even if my fingers were chopped off and I was typing with my nose.

Breakfast For Me (Dinner for Everyone Else)

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Seriously, this dinner only took about 40 minutes to prepare (with some careful pre-planning):

Sous vide tri-tip with roasted cauliflower, sauteed mushrooms and shallots, and pureed winter squash.

I was really worried that the tri-tip would be overcooked; after all, it was in my SousVide Supreme at the same time as my overcooked top sirloin from a few nights ago. I pulled the tri-tip out after 8 hours in the 140 F bath (while the sirloin was left for 24 more hours to turn into shoe leather), and put it in an ice bath before storing it in the fridge.

Before going to bed this morning, I preheated my SousVide Supreme to 130 F so it would be ready to reheat my tri tip when I woke up seven hours later. Luckily, the appliance only uses the energy of a light bulb (or so the promotional materials say). I washed and quartered 1.5 lb of cremini mushrooms and cut my cauliflower into florets. Serious Eats has a great video on how to cut up a cauliflower for those of us with shitty knife skills.

When I woke up, I tossed the trip tip and two frozen packets of Cascadian Farms winter squash puree into the Sous Vide Supreme. I preheated the oven to 450 F and threw the prepared florets onto a foil-lined baking sheet. I tossed the cauliflower with Casina Rossa Fennel & Salt with Organic Fennel Pollen, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil, and then tightly covered the whole thing with another sheet of aluminum foil.

I popped the sheet into the oven and baked for 12-15 minutes on the middle or middle lower rack. Afterwards, I removed the foil and baked for 10 more minutes, then flipped the florets and baked until brown in parts (10 more minutes)

While the florets were roasting in the oven, I chopped 4-5 large shallots in my mini food processor, and tossed them into a heated pan with 2 pats of butter. After the shallots were translucent, I threw in the chopped mushrooms and sauteed them with some salt, pepper, and deglazed with some Two Buck Chuck. Done.

Next, I heated my cast iron skillet to high for ~5 minutes and I quickly seared off my dried off trip tip (which I removed out of my Sous Vide Supreme after 40 minutes in the bath). Yay! It’s not overcooked!

I removed the puree packets from the Sous Vide Supreme and squeezed them out into a bowl with a pat of butter and salt and butter to taste. After a swirl or 5 to mix in the melted butter, dinner was ready. Voila!

Not only was dinner quick and delicious, but now I have lots of leftovers (that I can combine in various permutations) to bring to work!

Dinner/breakfast (my meal before starting the night shift): Sous vide grassfed top sirloin (Note to self — never set temp to 140 F for grassfed beef — overcooked!), tomato and avocado salad, and braised cabbage. I’ll conquer my Sous Vide Supreme yet!

Dinner/breakfast (my meal before starting the night shift): Sous vide grassfed top sirloin (Note to self — never set temp to 140 F for grassfed beef — overcooked!), tomato and avocado salad, and braised cabbage. I’ll conquer my Sous Vide Supreme yet!

Recipe: Lamb Kofta Kebabs

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Aarti Sequira, the latest winner of The Next Food Network Star, makes me smile and her lamb kebabs are really tasty.  My meat CSA includes 5 lbs of ground meat each month so I’m always making these kebabs for my family.  Sometimes, I use grassfed beef, lamb, or a combo of the two.  

  • 2 medium shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 quarter-sized slices ginger
  • Handful of cilantro
  • 4 sprigs mint
  • Zest of one lemon, and separately, its juice
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Lots of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1lb ground lamb, grass fed beef, or combo of the two
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses + 2 tbsp extra for glaze

1) Bring lamb to room temperature. If you’re going to cook your kebabs on the grill, soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes, so they don’t burn.

2) Grab your mini food processor and throw in shallots, garlic, ginger, lemon zest, cilantro, mint and salt. Grind until very finely chopped.

3) Throw lamb into big bowl. Add the shallot mixture, pomegranate molasses, baking soda, garam masala and pepper to the meat. Using your hands, knead 2 to 5 minutes until meat lightens in colour, taking on the appearance of knitted fabric. It will also be very sticky. 

4) Divide the meat in half, then half again, and then half again, until you have 8 mounds.

5) Have a platter ready for your completed kebabs. Drizzle a little oil on the platter so the kebabs don’t stick.

6) Have your bamboo skewers standing by. Take one ball of meat, and roll it into a short stump. Thread the skewer through it, then begin shaping the kebab with quick strokes, pulling the meat down. It should be a little over 1/4″ thick. Roll the kebab between your hands to seal the meat. Repeat.

7) Heat griddle over medium heat, drizzling oil over it, so that when it starts to smoke, you’ll know it’s ready. Meanwhile, mix the juice of half the lemon with extra 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses in a small bowl.

8) When it’s hot, place the skewers on the grill. Cook about 2 minutes, then turn a quarter of the way. Brush with lemon-molasses glaze, and cook another 2 minutes. Continue in this way until you’ve cooked the meat 8-10 minutes.

9) Alternatively, you can broil these suckers in the oven — just place the kebabs on a foil lined baking tray about 6 inches from the heating element and turn every 3-5 minutes until done.


Makes 4 servings.