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Quick & Cheap Dinners (with Paleo options!)

20130707-221713.jpgA friend of mine recently asked about some family-friendly Paleo recipes for main meals. I don’t cook completely Paleo (which is essentially gluten free, dairy free, legume free, grain free), but I have some favorites that can be tweaked slightly. Here are a few useful Paleo recipe sites:
Elana’s Pantry
Everyday Paleo
Against All Grain
Paleo Parents

Also, check out my Links tab at the top of the page for a few more sites (sorted by category).
I want my blog to be a resource for people, so I thought I’d share some of my ideas. These are by no means comprehensive, but for those of you maybe a little lost at sea, it’s a place to start.

I’ve been rather proud of myself lately, since I’ve been experimenting with more recipes when it comes to main meals–instead of just making desserts! As my sister and I continue to meal plan (check out this post for more about that), we’re trying to also get the most out of the fruit and veggies we receive from our local food coop. As I’ve written in a previous post, breakfast foods for dinner is always a great option!

Some things I’m learning about stretching the food budget (still learning! Hopefully I can get better at this as I go along):
– wash and cut up as many fruits and veggies as you can when you first get home
– decide whether to store in fridge or to freeze for later use
– tomatoes can be frozen and dethawed to be used like canned tomatoes, such as in this recipe
– most fruits can also be frozen (except maybe apples and plums)–great for fruit smoothies or snacking!
– make veggie broth from older veggies (such as bendy carrots from last week, or the celery that no one will eat)…it’s actually super easy to make! Freeze in plastic freezer bags (laid flat so it will dethaw faster), or in ice cube trays so that you only de-thaw the amount needed<– this was a new tip for me! :)

I thought about putting some of these recipes in different posts, but today I decided that, this time, I’m going to pretend that you are sitting at my kitchen table with me, and I’m just sharing these recipes with you out of my recipe box…then you can just go enjoy them in your own kitchen :)
Now, without further ado, some of my favorite “mains” lately (you’ll see some repeats, but that’s because they’re really good!).

Baked Chicken in Creamy Tomato Sauce–from Dinner: A Love Story (I sub Parmesan cheese for the mascarpone)
Paleo option: omit the cheese, you won’t miss it
Pineapple Chicken in a crockpot
Paleo option: serve over fresh spinach instead of rice (my sister and I actually prefer it this way)
Pulled Barbeque Chicken from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
– I usually serve with crepes or corn tortillas as “wraps,” or over fresh spinach leaves
Paleo option: Make crepes paleo by using tapioca or arrowroot starch
Southwestern Eggrolls

The following two came from the cookbook Dinner: A Love Story, which I checked out of my local library :)

Apricot mustard chicken from Dinner: A Love Story
6-8 skin-on chicken pieces, dark meat (I used frozen chicken breasts, about 5 large)
salt, pepper
3/4 c. apricot jam (I used Smucker’s all-fruit)
1 T. grainy mustard
1/4 c. water
leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme (I used dried marjoram)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place chicken on rimmed cookie sheet or baking dish lined with foil or parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 min. (or if using frozen, about 15 min.)

While chicken is baking, whisk together jam, mustard, water, thyme, and a little salt and pepper in a small saucepan over low heat for about 3 minutes. It should be slightly syrup-y.
Pull chicken out of the oven and pour sauce over top. Continue baking for another 15 minutes (if frozen, 25 min). For last 3 minutes, place oven on broil so that chicken gets golden and crispy looking.

(P.S. I’m pretty sure this recipe could easily be done in a Crockpot, though I haven’t tried it yet!)

Skillet Turkey, Potatoes, and Apples
Adapted from recipe for Baked Sausage, Potatoes and Apples from cookbook Dinner: A Love Story.
Paleo option: I’ve seen recipes similar to this with sweet potatoes, which I’m sure would be yummy!

3 c. potatoes, chopped
1 T. olive oil
salt, pepper, thyme
1 lb. ground turkey (or hamburger meat)
Saute in saucepan until the potatoes are soft and browned, and the meat is cooked.

Chop 2 Granny Smith or Braeburn apples, and toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
Add apples to the meat and potatoes, along with 2 T. apple cider vinegar. Cook for a few more minutes.

Serve with Dijon mustard.

2 thoughts on “Quick & Cheap Dinners (with Paleo options!)

  1. Pingback: Texas-sized Breakfast Casserole | Discovering the Extraordinary

  2. Pingback: Strawberry Apricot Oat Bars | Discovering the Extraordinary

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