Paleo Lunchboxes (Part 4 of 7)

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Can a new week be upon us already? Well, turn that frown upside down: Part 4 of my Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 collaboration with LunchBots will chase away your Monday blahs and beat them into submission!

Paleo Lunchboxes (Part 4 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

After all, Cracklin’ Chicken is the real food answer to all your woes. I know it makes me feel better whenever I’m in a funk.

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Don’t tell me you haven’t made my Cracklin’ Chicken yet. You really have no excuse—it’s ridiculously easy and totally tasty. Peep the recipe over here!

Cracklin’ Chicken tastes best right out of a cast iron skillet, but like all fried chicken, it tastes fantastic cold. Believe me: I routinely crisp up extra thighs so that I can have extra to nibble on straight from the fridge.

Paleo Lunchboxes (Part 4 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Not sure if your kids will eat cold chicken? Offer them a piece and see how they like it. It’ll be good news for you either way ’cause if they turn their noses up at it, more for you!

Paleo Lunchboxes (Part 4 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But believe it or not, no one can live on Cracklin’ Chicken alone, so I’m stuffing this packed lunch with tons of veggies and a sweet treat as well.

Paleo Lunchboxes (Part 4 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 3 of 7)

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Ready or not, here comes Part Three of Paleo Lunchboxes 2014!

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 3 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I know it’s Friday, and the last thing you want to think about is preparing food and packing a pretty LunchBots for yourself and/or your kiddos. I feel your pain. That’s why today’s box is filled with a variety of leftovers that you can throw together in a flash.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 3 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Yes, I said LEFTOVERS. And no, it’s not a dirty word.

Before I starting eating Paleo, I never contemplated making extra food to save for later. But now that I cook virtually all of our meals, I always make sure to have leftovers. Eating out (while staying Paleo) can be an expensive hassle, so for me, cooking is a necessity. It’s kinda like flossing: you just have to buck up and do it. That’s why having ready-to-eat proteins and veggies in the fridge is a lifesaver.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 3 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Besides, having a bunch of ready-to-eat veggies on hand that we can nosh on at any time means we’re much less likely to reach for something unhealthy. Am I right, or am I right? (Answer: I’m right.)

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 2 of 7)

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 2 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Hello again! As promised, here’s the second installment of Paleo Lunchboxes 2014, my collaboration with our pals at LunchBots—the gleaming stainless steel food containers you see in these posts. Our mission is to demonstrate that packed lunches can be simple, nourishing, and magically delicious for kids and adults alike. 

Like the first box in this year’s series, today’s lunch can be assembled the night before, so all you’ll need to worry about in the morning is dragging yourself out of bed and eating breakfast. And wiping the sleep from your eyes.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 2 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Spicy Tuna Cakes are a big hit with our whole family…almost. (Big-O digs these portable veggie-and-protein cakes, but Lil-O doesn’t like spicy foods, so he’s less of a fan. Man, six-year-olds have no taste.)

Bonus: these tuna cakes taste great cold, too.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 2 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

You can whip up a dozen (or even double the recipe!) in advance, and pack the next day’s lunchbox(es) before you go to bed. Your reward for planning ahead? Getting to hit the snooze button a couple of extra times in the morning.

My recipe for Spicy Tuna Cakes has been around for a while now; it was first introduced in my iPad app, and since then, it’s popped up in my cookbook and on my blog). So if you haven’t tried ’em yet, what are you waiting for?

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 1 of 7)

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With a new school year just around the bend, it’s time for the 2014 edition of Paleo Lunchboxes—my annual collaboration with our friends at LunchBots. And this time around, I’m presenting 7—that’s right, SEVEN—new ideas to jumpstart your creative engines.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 1 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

These lunchbox ideas are great for your school-age spawn, but trust me: the meals in this series aren’t just kid stuff. In fact, this first one’s a fast and satisfying lunch you can eat with your bare hands. Plus: we’re talking HOT DOGS.

“But wait a minute! How are hot dogs even Paleo?”

Fine. They’re not technically “Paleo™,” but I’ve got nothing against convenience foods that are made from wholesome, healthy ingredients. Most hot dogs on the market are filled with all sorts of chemical additives and cast-off CAFO animal parts—we should all avoid these freaky franken-weenies like the plague. There are, however, other options.

I’m lucky to have a brother-in-law who hand-makes his own hot dogs out of grass fed beef short ribs

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…but most of the time, I just look for commercially-available wieners made with sustainably-raised grass fed beef and a few simple seasonings and spices. The two brands I buy for my family are Applegate and Fork in the Road (I don’t sweat the small amount of sugar in the latter), and you can find them in most grocery stores. (For additional recommendations for high-quality grass fed hot dogs, check out this link.)

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 1 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Hot dogs have always been a kid-friendly favorite, but I recently hopped onto the bandwagon in a big way after discovering Flame to Fork’s game-changing idea to use the wiener as the “bun” (a.k.a. #hotdogasthebun) on Instagram.

Since then, I’ve been playing around with different fillings every time I make hot dogs for the kids. (The best thing about using the wiener as the “shell”? Sneaking extra veggies into your kiddos’ bellies!) Unlike hot dogs on bread buns, you can assemble ’em the night before; they won’t get soggy, and they taste great cold. Or maybe I’m just a weirdo for loving cold hot dogs. 

Personally, I like hot dogs piled high with sautéed peppers and onions or kraut and pickles, so for this lunchbox, I made both. Properly cooked onions take a while to sauté, so I always start them in the skillet over medium heat with my favorite cooking fat before I do anything else.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 1 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 Preview!

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Kids: Put away the gadgets ’cause it’s time to head back to school!

As in years past, I’ve teamed up with our friends at LunchBots to show you that portable Paleo lunches can be healthier and more satisfying than a soggy PB&J sandwich. From tomorrow through Labor Day, I’ll be posting a myriad of midday meal ideas that’ll (hopefully!) inspire you to take a few moments out of your day to throw some meat, veggies, and fruit into a container. These aren’t just for kids, either—grown-up eaters will have plenty to feast on, too.

Plus, for those of you who’ve requested heartier fare for bigger eaters, I’ve got you covered! This year, you’ll find even more rib-sticking meals in this lunch series. 

Come back tomorrow for the inaugural post—and in the meantime, check out the previous years’ lunches!

Paleo Eats: 9/6/12

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Armed with a steaming mug of java and an insulated cooler stuffed with leftovers, I was ready to sling drugs all night long. Hunkered in the hospital pharmacy, I snacked on two hard-boiled eggs and a big square of dark chocolate, and at three in the morning, I popped open my box of leftover sous vide wild king salmon and sauerkraut. Lunchtime!

In the blink of an eye, the sun shot up over the horizon — the signal it was time to vamoose. Upon arriving home, my hubs reported that when Lil-O had been searching for me all over the house. After having me around for five weeks, I guess my little guy had forgotten that I actually work. And frankly, it’d kind of slipped my mind, too.

Still, I knew that my return to work meant I’d have limited time to prep dinner in the evening. So even though I wanted nothing more than to fall face-first into my pillow, I quickly threw together the marinade for Damn Fine Chicken — albeit a shortcut version using Penzeys Spices’ Sunny Paris Seasoning instead of fresh onions and herbs.

Next, I trimmed away the extra flaps of skin from some fresh chicken thighs with a pair of kitchen shears

…smooshed the chicken into the marinade…

…and stored the poultry parts in the fridge.

The rest of the morning was a haze. I’m pretty sure I shuttled Big-O to school and accompanied the little guy to gymnastics class before I collapsed into bed.

In the late afternoon, I crawled out of my blanket cave and was rewarded for my efforts with a couple of cool gifts on my doorstep. The fine folks at USA Pears (hi Cristie and Brittany!) sent me a box of Star Crimson pears…

…and Daren of Itsumo Ahi Tuna Jerky sent me a couple of samples of their new cooked tuna pouches packed in coconut oil.

Despite the overwhelming temptation to tear into both packages, I knew I had to get our supper on the table.

Sigh.

First, I arranged the marinated chicken on a wire-rack-topped tray and shoved it in the oven.

Then, I chopped up some assorted alliums….

…and trimmed a head of cauliflower for a new pressure cooker variation on my mashed faux-tatoes recipe.

I sautéed the onions and garlic in butter before adding the florets, a splash of homemade bone broth, salt, and pepper.

Once the pot got up to high pressure, the cauliflower softened in just 7 minutes. Speedy!

Meanwhile, I flipped the chicken…

…and stir-fried a pan of chard leaves and beet greens with some minced garlic.

As soon as the chicken was finished roasting…

…I pulled out my stick blender

…and puréed the cauliflower mash with a big pat of grass fed butter.

This was one of the rare dinners that got a rave review from Lil-O. "I LOVE CHICKEN! I LOVE CHICKEN!" he chanted with his mouth full.

By the way, did you hear that Melissa Joulwan, Holly Woodcock, and I are combining forces for a special Paleo seminar in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado at the end of the month? Tickets are $50 each ($80 for two). And for an additional ten bucks, the chef at the YMCA of the Rockies will offer you a buffet of recipes from Mel’s insanely terrific cookbook, Well Fed, including Chocolate Chili, Cinnamon Beef Stew, Rogan Josh, Shepherd’s Pie, The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat, raw veggies with Moroccan Dippin Sauce, and fresh berries for dessert. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy Mel’s cooking, and believe me: Her recipes are mind-bogglingly good.

I’ll be doing a presentation (and some cooking!) at the event, and l may even bring with me some super-rare, sold-out Nom Nom Paleo socks from my secret stash. Details and registration information are over here.

Who’s coming to hang out with us?

Paleo Eats: 6/1/12

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My word. Can it really be June already? 

Halfway through my graveyard shift at the hospital, I chowed on leftover sliced steak and roasted veggies.

When I returned home in the morning, I ate a handful of macadamia nuts and promptly passed out in the guest room.

In the evening, I stumbled out of bed to prepare dinner. I didn’t have much to cook since I was simply reheating the cheater oxtail stew that I’d pressure cooked the other day.

 To accompany the stew, I roasted a tray of cauliflower

…and stir-fried some baby kale.

Once the stew was piping hot…

…I topped it with a shower of minced Italian parsley.

Here’s my dinner plate:

I know this is pretty hearty fare for a summer supper, but I love braised meats any time of year. I’m crazy like that.

Before I sign off, I wanted to let you all know that the latest update of the Nom Nom Paleo iPad cooking app has been approved by Apple. For those of you who have already purchased it, you can download the latest version now.

(By the way, if you previously bought the bonus recipe sets, it may LOOK like you need to buy ‘em all over again — but you DON’T! Just hit the “purchase” button again, enter your password, and an alert will come up that says “You’ve already purchased this. Tap OK to download it again for free.” See? I’m not a crook!)

If you’re enjoying the app, please review it at the iTunes store. Every rating/review makes a huge difference!

Don’t know about the app? You can read about it here or watch this video:

Toodles!