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!