Nom Nom Paleo

How I Roll: Weeknight Paleo Dinner Prep

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I was asked about my dinner prep strategies during an interview last week, and I had to confess: I don’t give much thought to meal planning.

How I Roll: Weeknight Paleo Dinner Prep by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m not proud of it. I often wish I were more like the marvelous Melissa Joulwan, whose ingenious Weekly Cookup and Hot Plates concepts in her cookbook, Well Fed, make meal preparation a breeze. Or like Tammy Credicott, whose new book, Make Ahead Paleo, just arrived in the mail yesterday. If I really had my act together, I might even try cooking all my meals a full month in advance, à la Tricia Callahan of Once A Month Meals

Sadly, I’m a shambling mess when it comes to meal prep, and there are days when I’m tempted to go foraging for a carnitas salad bowl with extra guacamole at Chipotle instead of turning on the stove. After all, meals are the one thing that can be easily and cheaply outsourced…

How I Roll: Weeknight Paleo Dinner Prep by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But then, I remember: nothing beats home-cooked meals. 

Since going Paleo a few years ago, I’ve found that the only way I truly understand what I’m feeding myself and my boys is to roll up my sleeves and prepare our meals from scratch. In doing so, I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for whole, nutritious ingredients. Now, with countless hours in the kitchen under my belt, my culinary chops have slowly but surely improved. Like all skills, the only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice. 

How I Roll: Weeknight Paleo Dinner Prep by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Plus, I love our little clan’s nightly ritual of gathering together at the dinner table; there, we can come together as a family to: Instagram the food (that would be me), wearily complain about all the Lego bricks underfoot (Henry), share defensive strategies in response to zombie attacks (Big-O), and count aloud the number of days until Christmas (Lil-O). I have fond memories of cracking jokes over supper with my parents, sister, and grandparents, and I want to pass on this important tradition to my kiddos. 

Besides, cooking at home is far more budget-friendly than dining out every night. 

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Paleo Eats: 2/25/13

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Sometimes, I loathe cooking. There. I said it.

Yesterday morning, after finishing my fifth night shift in a row, I arrived home feeling tired and cranky. I wanted nothing more than to plant myself on the couch and surf the web for articles about IKEA’s horsemeat meatballs. (Horsemeat is so Paleo.) The last thing I want to do after a ten-hour shift is make dinner.

But you know what? Sharing a healthy, home-cooked meal with my family is a top priority for me, so I suck it up and get crankin’ in the kitchen. In shades, no less.*

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And because I took that extra 15 minutes in the morning, dinner was a breeze to pull together in the evening. Wanna see what I did?

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Paleo Eats: 2/6/13

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Lil-O was felled with a “hot” throat this morning, so he got to play hooky from preschool. While I made breakfast, my little one curled up on the couch with his beloved stuffed cat to watch cartoons.

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Nursing a sick kiddo meant I had to skip my class at CrossFit Palo Alto. I’ve totally become an intermittent CrossFitter these days, and when I joke with my gym buddies that I’ll see them next month, I’m only kidding on the square. Sad.

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Paleo Eats: 5/16/12

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If you’re visiting my corner of the interwebs for the first time after watching Dr. Kim Mulvihill’s HealthWatch segment: Welcome, newbies!

In a nutshell, I document every single meal I ingest (almost) every day on this blog – whether I’m dining out or cooking for my family. [Curious about the Paleo diet? Click here. Wanna check out some of my Paleo recipes? Click on my recipe index. Interested in purchasing my iPad cooking app? Mosey on down to the App store by clicking here.]

If you’re one of my regular readers and missed Part 3 of Dr. Mulvihill’s weeklong series on the Paleo Diet, lookie here:

With that lengthy intro out of the way, let’s take a gander at my eats today…

When I cleared the hotel dishwasher this morning, I made an unwelcome discovery that made my blood curdle: my beloved, well-seasoned 8-inch cast iron skillet had been put through the wash.

Ai ya!

The Double-Os knew that I was upset. Perhaps the silent, angry tears rolling down my cheeks gave it away. They worked extra hard to put a smile on my face.

I’m totally kidding about being devastated, by the way. Don’t get me wrong — I was upset about the pan but I didn’t cry about it or lodge a complaint with housekeeping. I’m no drama queen and I knew the cheap-o skillet could be saved with a little TLC.

After I dropped the kids off at school, I came back to our house pronto to re-season the damaged skillet. Luckily, the hotel dishwasher didn’t strip off all the layers of seasoning and only a minor touch-up was needed.

I preheated the oven to 450° F, coated my pan with a thin layer of coconut oil

…and popped it in the oven for 30 minutes.

While I nursed my skillet back to health in the oven, I reheated leftover Damn Fine Chicken wings and broiled asparagus for breakfast.

After a quick stint in the hot box, my beloved skillet was back in fighting form.

I’ll post an in-depth tutorial on how to season and maintain a cast iron skillet soon. In the meantime, please check out these fab tips from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. The only thing I do differently is I coat my pans with coconut oil or lard instead of vegetable oil.

Because I was returning to a week of night shifts in the evening, I spent the rest of my waking hours cooking. I baked another batch of sweet potato bars or “cake sponges” per the Double O’s requests…

…and coated some drumsticks with my sister’s green marinade

At lunchtime, I tested out my newly re-seasoned skillet by frying a mess of omelets stuffed with basil, chopped frozen broccoli, and leftover Oven-Braised Mexican Beef.

Each one slipped out of the pan effortlessly. Phew!

After lunch, I went to bed for a couple of hours in preparation for my all-nighter at the hospital.

When I woke up in the evening, our family gathered around the TV and yelped and giggled as we watched our Paleo cooking segment on the local news. The piece made me miss our intact kitchen and our funny buddies, Jules and Charles.

Once the excitement had died down, I prepared dinner by roasting My Sister’s Phenomenal Green Chicken in the oven…

…stir-frying mushrooms…

…and spinach…

…and reheating roasted yam purée.

Here’s my dinner plate:

By the time we hustled back to the hotel, it was already past the boys’ bedtime so we hurriedly tucked them in bed. Then, I gathered my stuff for work and drove to the hospital. I knew it was going to be a good night because the last song I heard before pulling into the parking garage was The Black Keys’ Gold On The Ceiling. Now that’s a song I want stuck in my head all night.

Paleo Eats: 4/17/12

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How’s everyone doing today? Mama desperately needs her beauty rest so this post will be short and sweet.

In the morning, I wrapped a Pure Wrap around leftover sous vide New York steak, sautéed mushrooms, and Classic Caraway Kraut from Farmhouse Culture

Now that I eat kraut as a condiment rather than straight-up, I lurve it. See? You can teach an old bee-with-an-itch new tricks.

After the kids were shuttled to school, I spent the morning and afternoon cooking, cooking, cooking. 

I tossed some curly, fresh kale leaves with macadamia nut oil

…and baked a batch of kale chips.

Then, I sautéed some onions and garlic…

…added tomato paste…

…deglazed with chicken broth…

…and tossed the veggies in the slow cooker along with the seasoned chicken. I set the machine to cook on low for 4 hours and continued my cooking marathon.

At lunchtime, I made a quick scramble with diced asparagus and cherry tomatoes.

After I scarfed down my meal, I topped the previously salted top round roasts with melted coconut oil and a homemade Dukkah crust (recipe will be in my upcoming iPad app).

After I let the chilled roasts sit at room temp for an hour, I popped them in the oven to slow roast at 250ºF until the internal temp reached 130ºF (about 90 minutes).

I also washed some berries for the boys to snack on when they got home from school.

I ate a bunch, too.

In the late afternoon, Henry came over to shoot some video. Nope, I’m not talking about Fitbomb — even though both of these gents share the same name, wield cameras with a purpose, and eat Paleo. 

More cooking ensued while the camera rolled…

I plated Slow Cooker Roast Chicken and Gravy

…baked Prosciutto-Wrapped Mini Frittata Muffins

…broiled asparagus…

…and browned the slow-roasted top round roasts.

I’ve finally found a decent way to cook my least favorite cut from my Marin Sun Farms CSA box. Sheeesh! It took me long enough…

Here’s my dinner plate:

**BREAKING NEWS!**

We just submitted the Nom Nom Paleo app to Apple for approval tonight!

Tomorrow, we’ll announce the launch date and post a homemade video that highlights the cool features. Stay tuned!

Paleo Eats: 4/15/12 & 4/16/12

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True confessions: I decided to play hooky and not blog yesterday because I was exhausted.

Why?

On Sunday morning, I was jolted awake too, too early by the piercing shrieks of little boys guffawing at their own nasty scat jokes. Then we spent the rest of the day entertaining family and feverishly working on our upcoming iPad app. Excuses, excuses…

I mentioned in the  Bacon From the Oven recipe post that I like twofers, so here’s a recap of my eats from the last two days: 

For breakfast on Sunday, I baked a tray of bacon

…and fried up sweet potato hash topped with eggs over easy.

At noon, we met Fitbomb’s family at Left Bank in Menlo Park for brunch.

My hubby and I split a a Niçoise salad…

…and a platter of seared skirt steak, egg (singular!), and fruit.

I’ve gotten quite a few questions from readers about why I don’t eat fruit. See? I do eat it — but only when the stuff I like is in season. I’d much rather eat some dark chocolate than a mealy apple. I love stone fruit and berries so I’ll be eating lots of them this spring and summer.

Our supper last night was Turkish sliders, roasted broccoli, and Farmhouse Culture’s Classic Caraway Kraut.

I went to bed late last night and woke up before the sun came up to take my pop to an appointment. When I returned home mid-morning, I rolled a couple of Pure Wraps around leftover Oven-Braised Mexican Beef and stir-fried broccoli. Look! More fruit!

Before spending the rest of the morning and afternoon riding pint-sized roller coasters at Happy Hollow with Lil-O, I prepped some meat for future meals. I seasoned four New York steaks with Penzeys Adobo seasoning and dunked them in the SousVide Supreme

…and salted a couple of grass fed top round roasts that I will slow roast Tuesday.

When I came home in the evening, I seasoned a whole chicken with salt, pepper, and Penzeys Sunny Paris for tomorrow’s Slow Cooker Chicken and Gravy.

I also sauteed some mushrooms and onions that I’ll use to fill prosciutto-wrapped frittata muffins the next day as well. I’m cooking beaucoup dishes mañana because my busy schedule this weekend necessitates having lots of emergency protein on hand.

For dinner, I roasted a tray of kabocha squash

…sauteed chard and onions…

…stir-fried cremini mushrooms…

…and torched the finished sous vide New York steaks.

Here’s my dinner plate from this evening:

Oh, don’t forget to sign up for my latest giveaway for yummy treats from Steve’s Original!

Time to hit the sack…

Paleo Eats: 3/21/12

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Thanks to Matt and Stacy’s magical meatballs (the recipe’s available in their groovy cookbook, Eat Like A Dinosaur), both kiddies were well enough to go to school this morning. Thank the stars because I had a ton to accomplish before I worked graveyard shift in the evening.

For breakfast, I fried up three scrambled pastured eggs and ate them with sliced avocado.

While the kids were out of the house, I seared a couple of pork leg roasts…

…blitzed the sauce…

…and popped the Dutch Oven Pork Roast into the oven for a few hours.

At lunchtime, I broke out a stick of compound butter…

…and fried up some leftover meat and bell peppers. I wrapped up the savory filling in a curry-flavored Pure Wrap and gobbled it up.

My favorite emergency protein these days is definitely the leftover cross shanks and oxtails that I reserve from my meaty pressure cooker bone broth. What are you waiting for? Get a pressure cooker already!

After lunch, I removed the pork stew from the oven and shredded the meat with a couple of forks.

I did some data validation on my upcoming iPad cooking app before taking a short nap in the afternoon. Each new version of our app is looking better and better and the suggestions from our developers to improve the user interface have been awesome. The whole Nombomb clan is crossing all of our body parts to ensure that the app will be in the iTunes store by next month. FYI, we’re descended from a long line of bendy Chinese acrobats.

(If you want to hear me blabber on about the app, check out my interview with Angelo Coppola over at Latest in Paleo. And, yes, I do sound like Minnie Mouse.)

When I woke up in the evening, I dropped Big-O off at little league practice and came home to make dinner. 

I simmered a batch of cauliflower mashed fauxtatoes in the pressure cooker (8 minutes on high pressure with 1/2 cup of bone broth)…

…broiled asparagus spears…

…and reheated the pork stew.

Here’s my dinner plate:

After dinner, I packed my meals for work and drove to the hospital.

I have to tell you though, I’d much rather be staying up all night with my Paleo buddies back in Austin…

[Video by my favorite Primal cuties!]

Paleo Eats: 2/22/12

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Since I was turning into a zombie/night shift worker tonight, I was a busy bee in the morning harvesting brains preparing food for the week ahead.

For breakfast, I downed a bowl of bone broth with shredded beef shanks and gulped down a plate of scrambled eggs before heading to the women’s class at CrossFit Palo Alto.

We had a full house today and it was fun working out with a room full of strong-ass women. Post-WOD, I gulped down a nuked yam and a few slices of Applegate Farms organic roast beef.

I spent my last couple of hours sans kiddos working on a new pressure cooker grass fed short rib and porcini mushroom recipe.

When it was finished cooking, I stored the stew in the fridge for tomorrow night’s supper.

In my opinion, stews cooked in the pressure cooker taste better the next day because the flavors have a chance to meld. Plus, if you don’t like greasy braises, it’s super easy to peel off the thick layer of congealed fat once it’s chilled.

After I picked up the kiddos from school, I turned them over to my parents before heading to bed for two hours.

In the evening, I reheated the pressure cooker curried lamb spare ribs…

sauteed purple cabbage, onions, and bacon

…and roasted curried cauliflower.

Here’s my dinner plate:

Before heading to work, I labelled and packaged a few more sock orders and assembled my grub for the night. Just one more week of work before vacation!

Paleo Eats: 2/21/12

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Ay caramba! Because my week of night shifts starts tomorrow night, my day was filled with loads of laundry and meal prep.

As we were getting the Double-O’s ready for school, I reheated a bowl of beefy bone broth with leftover braised kale and carrots for breakfast.

When I finally had the house to myself, I seasoned a bowl of grass fed beef short ribs and stored them in the fridge…

…pressure cooked a pot of curried lamb spare ribs…

…and packed up another pile of socks.

I’m totally serious about wanting to see pics of everyone traipsing the globe in Nom Nom Paleo socks. If you guys post pics on my Facebook page, I’ll happily label and package more socks until I’m blue in the face.

I didn’t really eat lunch — I just snacked on some nuts and dark chocolate. Don’t shake your head disapprovingly! Mr. Primal Blueprint says that I should eat dark chocolate every day. Yes, that’s how I interpreted his article and I’ll disregard the part about eating cacao in moderation.

At dinnertime, I was too tired to make a real meal so I grabbed a can of crab meat from the fridge and tossed it with a few tablespoons of Primavera salsa and freshly ground black pepper.

I wrapped the makeshift crab salad in Pure Wraps along with some avocado slices and roasted bell peppers

…and called it a night.

I’ll be posting a bunch of pressure cooker recipes in the next few days. I’m seriously crushing hard on my pressure cookers. Luckily, I’ve got enough love to go around and none of my appliances feel slighted.

Time to hit the sheets! 

Paleo Eats: 2/7/12

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After a couple of days of cooling my heels in the kitchen, I was ready to cook my way through the day. My night shift work week starts tomorrow night and I had to prep food so my family won’t starve. See? I am a good mother.

After I shuttled the kids off to school, I roasted half a mongo kabocha squash

…and blitzed a batch of garlic cauliflower mashed fauxtatoes.

I was noshing on the veggies while I cooked so I didn’t really eat any breakfast. Er, except for a handful of macadamia nuts. The mac nut ban is effective as soon as I run out of my current can…and now our house is officially rid of them.

For lunch, I reheated leftover barbacoa, roasted bell peppers, and frozen broccoli in a small skillet and cracked in two eggs. I put the pan under the broiler and lunch was ready in less than 10 minutes.

After lunch, I grabbed a can of Penzey’s Chili 9000

…to season three slabs of grass fed beef back ribs from Brandon Natural Beef.

After the racks were dusted with salt and dry rub, I wrapped each one individually in foil and stored them in the fridge. 

I was cooking one rack tonight in the pressure cooker and the other two tomorrow in the oven. 

At dinnertime, I took out one rack of seasoned back ribs and cut it into three sections. I broiled the ribs to give them some color before throwing them in the pressure cooker.

While the ribs were cooking, I roasted a head of escarole in the oven…

…and reheated the roasted kabocha squash in the toaster oven.

After 20 minutes on high pressure, the ribs were tender and falling off the bone.

I brushed on some of the reserved cooking liquid and broiled the ribs again for a minute to get some added char.

Here’s my dinner plate:

I can’t wait to slow-roast the two remaining racks of beef ribs in the oven tomorrow to compare the two methods of cooking. I’m secretly rooting for the pressure cooker method because it saves me time and energy. I’m totally in love with my pressure cooker these days and have been checking out this awesome blog, Hip Pressure Cooking, to get tips, tricks, and recipes. She’s got me utterly convinced that I need a second pressure cooker, preferably a pricey but AWESOME Kuhn Rikon.

Time to catch some zzz’s for the last time at night this week!