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Weekly Meal Plan for the Week of November 23, 2020

menu

The holidays are always a crazy time of year, and it always seems like we are short on time and money. So this week we are keeping meal prep simple and keeping it stress free, especially since we are probably overwhelmed with what we are already going to make for the holiday meals. To save time and money, we used pantry friendly ingredients that we already have on hand. We also incorporated seasonal ingredients that we will be using in our classic thanksgiving meals such as cranberries, pecans, and green beans. 

Menu Breakdown

Breakfast Recipe: French Toast Muffins with Strawberries: French toast is such a classic breakfast and easy since you can use things that you already have in your pantry. For this week, we decided to change it up and make it into muffins. After all, who doesn’t love french toast or muffins? With this recipe, we get the best of both worlds in bite-size form. The great thing about this recipe is that you can use any choice of bread, even gluten-free options. All you need is eggs, milk, and your choice of sweetener. If you want to keep this dairy-free, you can also use coconut milk. This is definitely a great recipe for holiday mornings that are quick, delicious, and fun for the whole family. Serve it with your choice of fruit and top it off with pecans or your choice of nuts.

french toast muffins

Lunch Recipe: Cranberry Pear Chicken Salad: This recipe is a classic traditional mayo chicken salad with a holiday twist using seasonal ingredients loaded with the best seasonal flavors such as pears, cranberries, and pecans. Chicken salad is a staple in our weekly meal prep because you can easily use it as a salad topper, make a sandwich with it, or have it as a snack with crackers. This is a great light lunch option with seasonal flavors that you can enjoy right before the heavy Thanksgiving meals.

chicken salad

Dinner Recipe: Meatloaf Patties & Roasted Green Beans: While a classic meatloaf is baked in a loaf pan oven, we opted for hamburger patties and baked them flat on a sheet pan which took less time than traditional meatloaf. This method is a huge time saver, but you still get the classic flavors of meatloaf that we enjoy. You can serve these with your choice of sides. This week we kept it simple with roasted green beans. If you have leftovers, you can also enjoy these in-between toasted bread or hamburger buns. 

meatloaf patties

Leftover Suggestions:

  • If you have leftover cranberries, you can use the rest for cranberry sauce or make a cranberry vinaigrette for salads. 
  • Since you are already purchasing green beans, go ahead and buy a large batch and prepare the green bean casserole which is a traditional Thanksgiving side dish.

This week can be a bit hectic with cooking, so if you need some ideas for holiday meals, be sure to check out our Easy Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas.

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How to Cook Turkey

stuffed turkey

The crispy-skinned, deep golden brown turkey is always the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving holiday. There are many ways to enjoy turkey whether it’s slow-cooked, grilled, and even deep-fried, but we are going to go with the traditional roasted method. It’s simple and brings delicious flavors. Here are some tips and techniques to consider when roasting a whole turkey.

What Kitchen Equipment do You Need to Cook a Turkey

  • A large roasting pan with handles to make it easy for you to carry your turkey in and out of the oven
  • A V rack for the roasting pan so that it keeps the turkey above the drippings so that it does not get soggy and allows the turkey to get a crispy skin
  • A baster to suction the drippings from the bottom of the pan and pour over the turkey
  • A thermometer that is oven proof or one of those instant-read thermometers to ensure it cooks to the correct internal temperature for turkey
  • Aluminum foil to make a tent over it and keep it warm while it is resting after roasting
  • A sharp knife and cutting board for carving

How to Prepare the Turkey

  • Thaw the turkey: The best way to thaw turkey safely is in the fridge. It typically takes about 24 hours for every 5 pounds of weight.
  • Remove the inner giblets which include the neck and internal organs such as the heart, liver, and gizzard. But don’t throw these things away, use these to enrich the flavor of your gravy.
  • There are several ways to season a turkey. You can coat it with a savory and acidic marinade, wet brine it overnight in liquid or dry brine with a dry seasoning mixture.

How to Cook a Turkey

  • Preheat the oven to 325F
  • After you have stuffed the turkey with stuffing or aromatics such as onions, carrots, and herbs, place the turkey breast side down in a large roasting rack
  • Brush the entire backside with melted butter and then turn it over and brush the entire side of the turkey breast with butter. You can even stuff butter and herbs in between the skin for extra flavor and moisture
  • For an unstuffed turkey, it takes about 15 minutes for every lb of turkey.
  • For a turkey that weighs about 12 to 14 lbs, roast the turkey uncovered for about 3 to 4 hours. Afterward, use a brush to baste it with pan drippings every 30 minutes until the turkey is completely cooked

What Temperature Is Turkey Done

Checking the temperature is the best way to check that it is cooked to kill off all the harmful bacteria. The temperature that the turkey should be cooked is 165F. It is recommended to check the turkey’s temperature in several parts. Examples include the thickest part of the turkey breast, the innermost part of the thigh, and the innermost part of the wing. 

How Long to Cook a Stuffed Turkey

Cooking turkey with stuffing will take longer to cook. Here are estimated times to cook stuffed turkey recommended by USDA

Approximate Cooking Times for Stuffed Turkeys at 325F

Turkey Size by weight (lbs)Time in Hours
8 to 12 lbs3 to 3.5 hours
12 to 14 lbs3.5 to 4 hours
14 to 18 lbs4 to 4.25 hours
18 to 20 lbs4.25 to 4.75 hours
20 to 24 lbs4.75 to 5.25 hours

How to Carve a Turkey

  • Start with removing the legs by cutting through the joint with a Chef’s knife (we recommend an 8 to 10-inch knife). Separate the thigh from the drumsticks and cut through the joint as well.
  • Then remove the turkey breast by starting at the top of the bird and slicing along the breast bone on each side. From there separate the wing from the breast
  • Lastly, carefully slice the breast into horizontal slices.
  • Arrange the parts on a platter and garnish with fresh herbs, citrus slices, or fresh cranberries.

How Long Will Turkey Leftovers Keep?

You can keep leftover turkey for up to three to four days when properly stored in the refrigerator or freezer. It is important to ensure that it does not sit out at room temperature for more than two hours. 

If you need more Thanksgiving meal ideas, check out our Easy Thanksgiving Recipes.

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Easy Thanksgiving Recipes

menu spread

This year’s Thanksgiving festivities might look a bit different this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, and you’re probably trying to figure out what to make on Thanksgiving. Maybe instead of cooking in large meals for a packed house, you’re only with your immediate family or close friends that you’ve been cooped up with for the past few months. Well, it’s still a season for gratitude, and we can still enjoy some easy Thanksgiving recipes that bring some comfort and satisfy those appetites that we look forward to on this holiday. So here are some main dish options and side dishes for thanksgiving that you can whip up real quick and enjoy in the next couple of days.

Roasted Chicken with Green Bean Casserole

Instead of roasting the traditional turkey bird, you can still enjoy a juicy roasted chicken. The leftovers can also make for amazing chicken salad the days after. Chicken goes great with any side, but for this holiday, pair it with a Thanksgiving casserole like green beans. Green bean casserole is the quintessential Thanksgiving side dish.

Chicken Fried Chicken With Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

We always think of comfort food recipes for Thanksgiving, so there’s no better way to celebrate Thanksgiving dinners than biting into a juicy, crispy piece of fried chicken. But if you’re worried about all the calories of a classic deep fat fried chicken, then try this lighter version of Chicken Pan-Fried Chicken. Pair it with traditional thanksgiving sides such as easy mashed potatoes and gravy.

One-Pot Chicken Spaghetti

Who loves a good bowl of spaghetti? I know I do! So here’s a twist on the classic spaghetti using chicken breasts instead of ground meat. And the good news is that you can make it all in one pot. So yay for fewer dishes! So if you’re looking for Thanksgiving dishes that are quick and hearty, try out this simple One-Pot Chicken Spaghetti.

Pan-Fried Eggplant with Meat Sauce

If you love lasagna but could do without the carbs since you’re probably already grazing through desserts and other carb-loaded sides for Thanksgiving, then this is a great alternative that still brings all the great marinara flavors and cheesy goodness that we all enjoy in lasagna.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Sausage

You can’t have a Thanksgiving meal if there aren’t sweet potatoes on the menu. This recipe is such a simple and easy to prep ahead meal. You’ve got the sweetness of the sweet potatoes combined with the savory and spiciness of the sausage. These are freezer friendly and great for making them in advance if you don’t want to spend all day cooking Thanksgiving meals.

Sheet Pan Chicken Sausage Meatballs with Balsamic Brussel Sprouts

For those that don’t want to deal with cooking with raw meat, don’t forget about pre-cooked frozen meat options. They taste just as good if you cooked them yourselves and they will cut your cook time in half. Try Aidell’s Chicken sausage meatballs and roast them in the oven with balsamic Brussel sprouts. This will allow you to get a good roast on the veggies and heat through the frozen meat options. Serve with your choice of grains such as barley, rice pilaf, orzo pasta, or low carb options such as cauliflower rice.

Balsamic Steak with Roasted Delicata Squash 

Here’s a Healthy thanksgiving recipe for beef lovers. Enjoy an easy sheet pan steak meal marinated with the tangy and savory flavors of balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Pair it with the seasonal delicata squash vegetable. 

Turkey and Vegetable Couscous

If you must have turkey on Thanksgiving, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of cooking a large turkey, then use ground turkey. This easy skillet dish combines healthy and seasonal vegetables such as kale and butternut squash with yummy golden brown ground turkey.

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Benefits of Turkey

whole turkey

While turkey has become the centerpiece for Thanksgiving and the Winter Holidays, it is a nutritious source that can be enjoyed throughout the year. 

Benefits of Turkey

Turkey is best known for its high amount of protein which is responsible for the growth, repair, and maintenance of cells. Turkey is also rich in nutrients, particularly in B Vitamins which impact your energy levels, brain function, and cell health. Turkey also has a high amount of selenium and is a good source of zinc, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and iron. All these minerals impact body processes. Turkey also contains omega-3 fats which help in promoting heart health.

Here are some health benefits:

  • Turkey is a high protein food that can help promote muscle growth and support the maintenance of muscle mass, especially after exercise and strength training.
  • Since it is a high protein source, it can support weight loss by reducing appetite and hunger levels by promoting the feeling of fullness. This is partly due to the protein reducing the level of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
  • The B vitamins in turkey support efficient energy production which helps convert proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into usable energy.
  • The selenium in turkey is an essential component required for thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense systems, and immune function.
  • Turkey also contains tryptophan which produces serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that helps improve your mood and provides calming properties that can aid in promoting sleep.

Nutrition Information in 1 serving –Turkey nutrition depends on the part of the turkey. For example, the darker meat found in the legs or thighs has more fat and calories than white meat. According to USDA, here are several turkey nutrition facts for the different types of cut:

Cut of TurkeyServing SizeCaloriesTotal Fat (g)Total Carbohydrates (g)Total of Protein (g)
Turkey Breast roasted3 oz1606024
Turkey drumstick roasted 3 oz17010023
Turkey Thigh roasted3 oz19010023

Best Uses of Turkey

It is best to consume whole turkey meat rather than consuming the processed turkey products since they can be loaded with sodium. These processed varieties can include sausages, turkey ham, and hot dogs. 

ground turkey couscous

Diet Friendliness Chart

Diet FriendlinessYesNo
Ketox 
Diabeticx 
Gluten Freex 
Dairy Freex 
Low Caloriex 
Alkaline x
Vegan x
Vegetarianx
AIPx 
Allergy Friendlyx 
Low Carbx 
Paleox 

Cook Time: The internal temperature of turkey should reach 165F. This includes ground turkey, turkey tenderloins, and any other raw cut of turkey. 

  • If you are roasting a whole turkey at 350F, it will usually take about 15 minutes of cooking time for each pound when it is not stuffed. If the turkey is stuffed, it usually takes about 20 minutes per pound.
  • If you are cooking a smaller piece such as turkey tenderloin, it will take about 30-35 minutes at 400F.
  • If you are sauteeing ground turkey, it usually will take about 8 to 10 minutes.

History of Turkey

Turkey has long been a long staple food of Mayans, Aztecs, and other indigenous people of Mexico, Central America, and the southern parts of the United States. Turkey became a hit with Spanish explorers that they brought them back to Spain and eventually the birds were bred and domesticated in other areas of Europe. In Europe, people thought of turkeys as an expensive luxury food and were eaten on special occasions. As European settlers began to homestead America, they brought their domestic turkeys with them, however, they found the same birds running wild and free. Eventually, it is suggested that Ben Franklin wanted turkey to be the American bird because of its nutritious and wonderful taste that also had economic value for colonists. 

FAQ – About Turkey

  •  Why is turkey bad for you?
    • Consuming too much turkey that has been processed such as hot dogs, sausages, bacon, can have high amounts of sodium. Too much sodium in the diet can increase risks of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Go for fresh, lean, organic, and pasture-raised turkey. 
  • What is the chemical in turkey that makes you sleepy?
    • Turkey is often blamed for making you drowsy because it is packed with a nutrient called tryptophan. However, many other types of meat and protein products actually pack comparable amounts. Although tryptophan helps make a neurotransmitter called serotonin that can promote a slow-wave sleep, eating turkey does not translate the amplified serotonin production in the brain to cause sleepiness. Instead, what makes people sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner is the stretching of the small intestine that induces sleepiness and protein-fat loading of the stomach. This causes more blood to go to the gastrointestinal tract rather than the brain or other muscles. In addition, the nervous system conserves energy reducing heart rate, blood pressure while increasing salivation and gastric action for digestion.
  • .Is turkey better for you than beef?
    • Surprisingly there are not major nutritional differences between ground turkey and beef as long as you select the same ratio of lean to fat. The lower the fat content and the less saturated fat that you consume will help you lower your risk for heart disease.

Recipe Ideas for Turkey

Oven-Baked Turkey Tenderloin

This turkey tenderloin is braised in the oven with broth and aromatics such as celery, onions, and carrots. It is flavored with lots of garlic and thyme for ultimate flavor. A great alternative if you don’t want to roast a whole turkey.

turkey tenderloin

Turkey Soup

This soup is a gluten-free meal that comes together in one pot. It has turkey sausage, chicken stock, coconut milk, kale, potatoes, onions, and minced garlic. 

turkey soup

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Turkey

This is a great fall dinner recipe. Bake the acorn squash, meanwhile, saute the ground turkey. Once the turkey is cooked, place it in the middle of the squash and let it continue to bake in the oven.

turkey acorn squash

Here are some Turkey Recipes we think you may enjoy:

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Weekly Meal Plan for the Week of November 16, 2020

meal plan menu

This week is all about easy sheet pan meals. Sheet pan recipes are fast and easy to prepare which is perfect for the weekday. We used simple ingredients and let the oven do all the work. 

Menu Breakdown

Breakfast Recipe One: Sausage and Potato Hash: For this recipe, we used pre-cooked sausage and baked it with bright colored bell peppers, green onions, and diced potatoes. This is a classic and hearty breakfast or brunch recipe that is absolutely satisfying for a morning meal. The great thing about potato hash is that you can make it with anything you want. You can use ground meats, load it with veggies, and even throw a fried egg on top. The key to this breakfast sheet pan meal is cutting the pieces into small dices so that they cook quickly and get a good crisp that we all love in a hash.

Breakfast Recipe Two: Baked Apple with Ricotta and Walnuts: We often associate baked apples with pies and dessert, but, this version can also be enjoyed for breakfast. It is a light and elegant dish that will start your day off right. The ricotta provides a good amount of protein and the walnuts provide a good source of healthy omega 3 fats. Paired with your serving of fruit, you’re off to a great healthy start for the day. 

baked apples

Lunch Recipe One: Shrimp with Roasted Corn and Cauliflower: This sheet pan lunch is a light version of a shrimp boil that makes it an easy weekday meal prep. We’ve got the traditional ingredients consisting of shrimp and corn, but instead of potatoes that are often used in a shrimp boil recipe, we opted for cauliflower instead to lower the carbs. We also use corn kernels rather than the corn on the cob so that you can just scoop it up easily with a fork without having to get your hands dirty. You can also use fresh or even frozen shrimp with this recipe. It is quick, easy, and flavorful.

Lunch Recipe Two: Cabbage Beef Stir Fry: Now this recipe is not a sheet pan recipe, however, it is a one-pan dinner that can be cooked in less than 15 minutes. We made it with ground beef, cabbage, and bell peppers, but you can use any type of protein and pick your own veggies. It’s keto-friendly and gluten-free but has all the great flavors that you would find in an Asian egg roll without the egg roll wrapper.

cabbage beef stir fry

Dinner Recipe One: Mexican Cabbage Roll: If you love burritos and love cabbage rolls, then, this recipe combines the best of worlds. We opted for cabbage instead of tortillas for a gluten-free and low carb alternative to the standard burrito tortilla.

cabbage roll

Dinner Recipe Two: Cauliflower Sausage Pizza: Cauliflower pizza is a delicious, low-carb way to enjoy pizza and you only need less than 6 ingredients and less than 30 minutes to bake. If you don’t want to make your own cauliflower dough, then slicing cauliflower into thick steak slices works just as good. This recipe is great if you are looking for more creative ways to get more vegetables into your diet. It’s crunchy, cheesy, and saucy all at the same time. 

cauliflower pizza

Swaps, Substitutions, and Additions:

  • Sausage and Potato Hash: If you need more protein, you can add a fried egg on top
  • Baked Apples: You can use pears instead of apples. If you want to keep this dairy-free, try dairy-free ricotta cheese or serve it with a boiled egg for your protein
  • Shrimp and Corn: You can use salmon instead of shrimp and also add a side salad.
  • Cabbage Beef Stir Fry: You can use ground turkey instead of ground beef
  • Cabbage Rolls: You can also use ground turkey instead of ground beef, instead of adding shredded cheese, you can top it off with sliced avocados for healthy fat
  • Cauliflower Steak: To keep this dairy-free, you can use tomato pesto sauce instead of topping it off with tomato sauce and cheese.

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Benefits of Blueberries

bagels and fruit

Blueberries are one of the top fruits that we often buy and eat because it’s just so tasty and convenient. There are many varieties and can range from sweet to tart and tangy. They vary in shades of dark blue to very dark purple. This fruit has amazing benefits with its combination of nutrients.

Benefits of Blueberries

Blueberries have been appreciated for their unique anti-inflammatory phytonutrients which can help enhance immunity, internal cellular communication, and help repair DNA damage from exposure to toxins. Blueberries are a very good source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and manganese. They are also a good source of fiber and copper. 

Here are some health benefits:

  • In combination with other fruits, it can help blood sugar regulation and help improve insulin sensitivity. It is a low-calorie food that is classified as a low GI (Glycemic Index) fruit and has a good source of fiber. This combination helps improve sugar regulation.
  • Blueberries can help support brain health by improving cognitive function. Eating blueberries can protect against oxidative damage to the nerve cells. As a result, it can help improve nervous system responses.
  • Blueberries can help decrease oxidative stress and inflammation in blood vessels supporting blood pressure regulation.
  • This fruit can help lower the risk of cancer due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They can help inhibit the increase of cancer cells and also suppress tumors by inducing apoptosis (cell death).

Nutrition Information in 1 serving –One cup of blueberries has about 84 calories, 21g of carbohydrates, 3.6g of fiber, 1.1g of protein, and 0.5g fat.

Best Uses of Blueberries

Blueberries are so versatile that you can eat them for Breakfast, Lunch Dinner, snacks, and even dessert. You can freeze blueberries and save them for smoothies. You can also bake them in muffins or scones. They are also perfect additions to salads. 

fruit coleslaw

Diet Friendliness Chart

Diet FriendlinessYesNo
Ketox 
Diabeticx 
Gluten Freex 
Dairy Freex 
Low Caloriex 
Alkaline x
Veganx 
Vegetarianx 
AIPx 
Allergy Friendlyx 
Low Carbx 
Paleox 

Cook Time: Blueberries can be enjoyed fresh, and they actually retain their maximum amount of nutrients when they are not cooked. 

History of Blueberries

Although blueberries can be found in many countries such as Europe, Asia, and South America, it is most native to North America than any other continent. Blueberries were not considered the superfood that they are today. The commercial cultivation of blueberries started with the daughter of a New Jersey cranberry farmer who partnered up with a USDA botanist. They were able to develop a variety of modern blueberry varieties, and eventually many started to appreciate this tasty fruit.

FAQ – About Blueberries

  •  How to Select and store?
    • Buy blueberries that move freely in the container. This will indicate that they are firm and not mushy. You’ll often find a whitish bloom on the exterior. This is actually okay because this acts as a barrier against insects and bacteria and helps seal in the fruit’s moisture. It is also a sign of freshness. Ensure that they are free from water to prevent it from decaying quickly. When purchasing frozen berries, make sure that they are not clumped together as this may indicate that they have already been thawed and refrozen. Store the blueberries in the refrigerator and don’t wash the berries until right before eating as rinsing will remove the protective bloom barrier and cause it to decay quickly. However, if you plan to freeze blueberries, it is recommended to wash and drain the berries and place them in a sealed container for storage in the freezer. 
  • What happens if you eat blueberries everyday?
    • Consuming blueberries as part of a balanced meal can help boost immunity and reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. They can also help lower the risk of cancer.
  • .Can blueberries help you lose weight?
    • Blueberries are low calorie and have a good amount of fiber that can help you feel full longer. They are also a great option if you have a sweet tooth to help satisfy those sweet cravings. 

Recipe Ideas for Blueberries

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Bars

To satisfy the sweet tooth, blend together frozen berries with yogurt, and lemon juice. Place them in muffin pans and freeze them for about 30 to 45 minutes. These simple ingredients make for a quick healthy dessert. 

blueberry frozen yogurt

Blueberry Muffin Bars

Add frozen berries to muffin batter with rolled oats. They pack the texture of a muffin and a bar that makes for a great breakfast, snack, or even a sweet treat.

blueberry muffin

Smoked Salmon and Fruit Salad

Add fresh blueberries as a salad topper. The fresh bites of blueberries pair deliciously with this smoked, fresh strawberries, and creamy avocado. All these ingredients make for a heart-healthy salad. Check out the recipe here

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Weekly Meal Plan for the Week of November 9, 2020

feature menu

It is definitely smelling like the holidays with this week’s meal plan. The use of cinnamon spice, ginger aromatics, and herbs such as thyme gave these simple dishes a sense of the holiday spirit. Cinnamon enhances baked goods and fruit, but it also adds warmth to savory dishes. Ginger is a health booster in the kitchen and adds warm and woody flavors whether you use them in sauteed dishes or even add them to baked goods. Thyme is also one of the best herbs to pair with fall dishes and has a fragrant scent that just fills up the room. The tastes and smells of these flavors play such an important part for this time of year.

Menu Breakdown

Breakfast Recipe One: Sweet Potato Egg Frittata: Eggs normally go well with potato hash, but this twist uses sweet potatoes which adds a sweetness to the frittata. It’s a great breakfast option that provides a good source of vitamins and fiber, and also adds a great orange fall color to the dish. The great thing about frittatas is that you can literally use any ingredient. You can easily add more vegetables such as spinach and bell peppers. If you are a meat-eater, you can easily add breakfast sausage to this dish. 

sweet potato frittata

Breakfast Recipe Two: Persimmon Almond Muffins: These persimmon and almond muffins are a great healthy seasonal treat, perfect for breakfast or snack. Persimmon is a winter fruit that is available in supermarkets and can easily be found in Asian specialty stores. The key is making sure you get a ripe persimmon that is soft to the touch. They look similar to tomatoes but are very orange in color like papaya when cut open. We added sliced almonds for extra texture and seasoned it with cinnamon for that holiday flavor.

persimmon muffins

Lunch Recipe One: Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops With Persimmons and Salad Mix: The sauce of these pork chops is a blend of balsamic vinegar and spices such as cinnamon and paprika to bring out robust flavors. We often cook pork chops with apples or pears, but to keep it seasonal, we opted for persimmons. We also cooked it with thyme for that extra fragrant layer of flavor. Perfect for a weeknight dinner. 

pork chops

Lunch Recipe Two: Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Peppers: These bell peppers are filled with bubbly enchilada sauce and tender chicken topped with fresh cilantro and sliced avocado. This is a great recipe when you have leftover rotisserie chicken. All you have to do is to mix together the chicken and enchiladas and stuff it in bell peppers and pop it in the oven. You can easily serve this with a side of beans or cilantro rice and top it off with your favorite toppings.

chicken enchilada pepperes

Dinner Recipe One: Beef and Tomatillo Stew: One-pot meals are a must for weekly meal prep. For this recipe, we used tomatillo salsa to flavor our broth. It definitely brought delicious Mexican flavors creating a warm weeknight dinner. We added fresh bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and topped it off with fresh jalapeno for some heat. You can easily use ground turkey for your protein, or even use beans for a vegetarian option. 

beef stew

Dinner Recipe Two: Moroccan Chicken and Couscous: If you love exotic flavors, then this Moroccan Chicken and Couscous is super flavorful but extremely simple to make using pantry friendly spices such as cinnamon, paprika, and ginger. You get juicy tender chicken, with plump raisins, and fluffy couscous. If you want to keep this low carb, you can also swap out the couscous for cauliflower rice.

moroccan chicken

Tips for Leftovers

  • The beef and tomatillo stew is a recipe that you are probably going to want to have again during the cold weather. So feel free to make a large batch and keep them in your freezer. 

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Keto Food List

chicken stuffed peppers

Starting the keto diet can be a little overwhelming, but no worries, we’ve put together some basic information about the Keto diet and listed out some keto-friendly ingredients to help you take out the guesswork of grocery shopping.

What foods to avoid on a Keto diet?

Since this is a high-fat diet that limits carbs, here are some foods that the Keto Diet Limits:

  • Grains and starches such as rice, pasta, and cereal
  • Most fruit: While fruit is healthy and offers many vitamins and minerals, the diet restricts most fruits due to the number of carbs. 
  • Beans and legumes such as peas, lentils, chickpeas
  • Starchy root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips
  • Sugary foods such as fruit juice, pastries, cakes, ice cream, and soda

So as you can see, this may require saying goodbye to some pantry friendly items that you’re used to having at your fingertips. But before we start with what you should add to your shopping list, let’s learn a little bit about the Keto Diet and how it works.

What is the Keto diet?

The ketogenic (keto) diet is primarily a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. It requires drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and increasing your fat intake. If done correctly, the reduction in carbs will put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Instead of the body burning carbohydrates as the primary source of energy, it resorts to burning fat for energy. It results in the body releasing ketones into the bloodstream.

How many carbs can I eat on the Keto diet?

Most of our cells in the body prefer to use blood sugar, which comes primarily from carbohydrates, as the main source of energy. In the absence of blood sugar circulating from food, we start to break down the stored fat in the molecules. This shift from using blood glucose to stored fat as a source of energy typically starts occurring over two to four days if eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. However, it is important to note that everyone’s body has individualized metabolic processes and may impact ketosis. 

The two most studied Keto diet is the Standard Ketogenic Diet which typically contains 5% carbs (which is generally about 20-50 grams per day), 20% protein, and 75% fat. High-Protein Ketogenic diet is similar but includes more protein with 5% carbs, 35% protein, and 75% fat.

What are some of the health benefits of the Keto diet?

Some studies claim that health benefits can include:

  • Weight loss without hunger
  • Reduction in blood sugar and Improved insulin sensitivity for those that are diabetic or prediabetic
  • Reduction in abdominal fat
  • Decrease in triglycerides

So now that you have learned what not to eat on a keto diet, here are some ingredients that you can stock up on when you’re following a keto diet.

chicken stuffed peppers

What are foods you can eat on a Keto Diet?:

Protein:

  • red meat, pork, chicken, and turkey
  • Fatty fish: such as salmon, tuna, and halibut
  • Shellfish: crab, shrimp, lobster, mussels
  • Deli meat: ham, turkey, roast beef
  • Sausage, Turkey Bacon
  • Eggs

Dairy:

whole cheese, greek yogurt

Nuts and seeds:

almonds, walnuts, chia seeds

Healthy Oils:

olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil

Fruits:

Avocado, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries

Beverages:

Sweetened Coffee, tea, almond milk, coconut milk

Non-starchy vegetables:

  • most green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, all lettuce
  • cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower
  • tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, cucumber, asparagus, green beans, zucchini, olives

Low carb pasta alternatives:

zucchini noodles, squash noodles, shirataki noodles

Alternative flours:

almond flour, coconut flour

Seasonings and herbs:

  • herbs such as cilantro, thyme, rosemary, spices such as garlic powder, ginger, cinnamon, and oregano
  • Condiments: such as lime and lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, soy sauce, buffalo sauce, sugar-free ketchup, ranch, pestos

Although the keto diet is focused on high fat, you’ll want to ensure that you incorporate healthy fats and a variety of vegetables that will provide maximum vitamins and minerals.

Here are some low carb/keto-friendly recipes:

What are the risks of the Keto Diet?

Although many claim that the Keto Diet has helped with weight loss and can provide other health benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. There are also some side effects as somebody adapts to the diet. These symptoms can include:

  • Poor energy and mental function, sleep issues, nausea, and mood swings
  • It can also impact the water and mineral balance of the body
  • Some may lose muscle on the diet
  • Digestive disorders

This diet was also primarily used to manage seizures in children with epilepsy, but the research on its long-term effectiveness in treating obesity or diabetes is still limited. 

Although it could be an alternative to treating certain conditions and may result in a quick fix for weight loss and lowering blood sugars, it may not be the most sustainable diet for all.

Most diets like this is pretty much an all or nothing diet that can be restrictive and may omit a wide variety of other nutritious foods that can be beneficial for your overall health. In addition, if a person is not educated on heart-healthy sources of fat, they may consume an excessive amount of unhealthy fats, such as saturated fat, which has been linked to increased risk for heart disease. 

There are also additional risks for those that are already taking diabetic medication that lowers sugars. They would need to work and consult with their medical practitioners to make adjustments to the medications. 

In addition, the diet is not recommended for those that have medical conditions involving the kidney, pancreas, liver, thyroid, or gall bladder as it could worsen their conditions. 

In general, the Keto Diet may have some benefits in weight loss and lowering blood sugar, however, it is always important to consult with nutritionists, doctors, and specialists to ensure that you are eating a healthy and well-balanced diet

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Learn to Cook Asparagus

salmon and asparagus

If you’re looking for an easy vegetable side dish, then cooking asparagus can’t get any easier. This vegetable is amazingly versatile and can be prepared in many ways: Asparagus can be cooked on the stove, oven, or on a grill. Grilling, roasting, and stir-frying asparagus are our favorite ways to enjoy it.

Types of Asparagus

  • Asparagus can come in three different colors: green, purple, and white. Green is the most common and available year-round. White asparagus has been covered in mulch to prevent chlorophyll from developing which gives plants their green color. Purple asparagus is purple when raw, however, turns dark green when cooked.
  • Asparagus also comes in different sizes: thin, medium, and thick. Thin is great for quick cooking methods such as sauteing or stirfries. The medium and thicker asparagus are great for roasting or grilling.

How to Buy and Store Asparagus

  • When you are at the grocery store, look for asparagus spears that are brightly colored, compact, and have tips that are tightly closed. Avoid spears that are dried out, brown, or have spears that are ridged.
  • If you are not cooking it right away, you can either wrap them in wet paper towels and cover with a plastic bag before refrigerating, or you can trim the bottoms and keep them standing up in a glass with about an inch of water. We recommend cooking them within 3 days.

Meal Prep Tips for Asparagus:

  • Before you cook, you will want to cut off the tough bottom ends of the asparagus. If you are using white asparagus, you will need to peel them from top to bottom. If you have really thick asparagus, you may also want to peel the lower end of the stalks starting about halfway and peel toward the root.
  • Asparagus also cooks quickly, so be sure to have your seasoning and other ingredients that you will be cooking with it readily available.
prep asparagus

Here are three of our favorite ways to cook asparagus.

Grilling Asparagus (either indoor or outdoor): Warm up the grill or indoor grill on medium-high heat. Coat the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the asparagus spears on the girl and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until it gets a good char. Flip them on the other side so that they crisp up all around. Once they are cooked, you can finish them with lemon zest for an extra fragrant flavor or you can drizzle them with a balsamic glaze.

grilled asparagus

Roasting Asparagus: Preheat the oven to 400F and drizzle the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can also add other spices such as paprika, cayenne, or red pepper flakes. Try adding nuts to roast alongside the asparagus. Spread the asparagus on a baking sheet and roast them for about 10 minutes until they are lightly golden brown and sizzling. After it cooks, top it off with shredded parmesan.

roast asparagus

Stir Fry or Saute Asparagus: Asparagus cooks quickly in a sauteed or stir-fried dish. Cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Add oil to a wok or skillet on medium-high heat. Cook the asparagus pieces for about 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned and tender. Throw in some chopped herbs such as green onions, basil, or cilantro. In the end, season with soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil.

stir fry asparagus

What can you eat with asparagus?

  • Asparagus pairs well with many proteins such as a grilled steak, baked salmon, and roasted chicken.
  • You can also serve it alongside your choice of grains such as brown rice pilaf, couscous, pasta, and even quinoa 
  • Asparagus can be a great addition to salad and many other vegetable medleys such as stir fry veggies such as bell peppers or with other roasted veggies such as zucchini.

Here are some recipes that we think you might enjoy:

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Benefits of Garlic

Garlic

Garlic is a great herb to add flavor to many meals. It’s in the same Allium family as onions, shallots, leeks, and chives which all contribute to their pungent aroma and flavor. However, it does more than add fragrant flavors to your favorite dishes. Garlic is actually loaded with vitamins and minerals that provide health benefits that have been recognized for centuries.

Benefits of Garlic

Garlic is loaded with many vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, selenium, and calcium to name a few. However, the sulfur compounds in garlic are what have been shown to provide health benefits for our systems such as the cardiovascular system, immune system, inflammatory system, and detoxification system. Keep in mind, most of the studies show the health benefits usually occur when taking high doses of a supplement. Most recent studies are suggesting that it would take approximately 4 to 6 raw cloves consumed at least 1 to 3 times a week to reap measurable benefits. However, adding this ingredient to your daily meals, along with other Allium vegetables such as onions and leeks, over a period of time can help.

Here are some health benefits:

  • Garlic has been known to reduce the hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis).
  • Some studies also suggest that it can act as an anticoagulant reducing the risk of heart attacks. It increases the production of nitric oxide which keeps blood vessels relaxed and prevents platelets from binding to proteins reducing blood clots. 
  • Some studies show that taking garlic may reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is known as the “bad” cholesterol in people with high cholesterol levels. However, it takes a long period of time to let the vitamins and minerals build up in your body.
  • Garlic can also contribute to lowering blood pressure by its ability to widen blood vessels. The sulfurous compounds have also been shown to inhibit cancerous cells and block tumors by slowing DNA replication.

Nutrition Information in 1 serving –One raw clove has about 4.5 calories, 1 g of carbohydrates, 0.2g of protein, and 0 fat.  

Best Uses of Garlic

Garlic is a great addition to marinades, sauces, and salad dressings. It adds tons of flavors to soups, roasted veggies, and stir-fries. It is also a tasty spread after roasting it in olive oil.

green vegetables

Diet Friendliness Chart

Diet FriendlinessYesNo
Ketox 
Diabeticx 
Gluten Freex 
Dairy Freex 
Low Caloriex 
Alkalinex 
Veganx 
Vegetarianx 
AIPx 
Allergy Friendlyx 
Low Carbx 
Paleox 

Cook Time: Heat oil on medium heat and add the garlic. Garlic usually cooks in less than 30 seconds. You’ll know it is cooking when you can smell the garlic and your mouth starts to water. Garlic cooks very quickly so keep stirring to avoid burning it. Most health benefits come from raw garlic due to allicin which is most potent briefly after it has been chopped or crushed. It is destroyed by temperatures over 140 degrees, therefore, if you want to add it to hot meals, add it at the end of the cooking process to limit the loss of health benefits.

beef stir fry

History of Garlic

Historical records show that garlic has been cultivated 5000 years ago and found in ancient Egypt, India, and China. As of today, China is the largest commercial producer of garlic, followed by India, South Korea, South Korea, Egypt, and Russia.  

FAQ-About Garlic

  •  How to Select and store?
    • Buying fresh garlic will give you the best flavor and maximum health benefits. Avoid buying garlic that is soft. Gently squeeze the garlic bulb between your fingers to check if it is firm. Store it at room temperature uncovered in a cool dark place away from heat and sunlight. We recommend finding large bulbs as they are easier to peel and chop than the smaller cloves. The whole garlic bulb can keep fresh for about a month. Once you break it up, it greatly reduces its shelf life, so be sure to use it in the next few days.
  • What are tips for preparing garlic?
    • You will want to separate the individual cloves by removing the layers of skin that hold the bulb together. Then, you will peel the garlic by placing it on a cutting board and using the flat side of a wide knife, and gently tapping it. Start peeling the skin with your fingers. Slice it, mince it, or just crush it whole and add it to your recipes towards the end of the cooking to better retain the flavor and also maintain the most amount of nutrients 
  • Are there any safety issues with garlic?
    • Ingesting raw garlic may cause indigestion, flatulence, and diarrhea if taken in high doses.

Recipe Ideas for Garlic

Marinades

Use garlic in marinades to add yummy garlicky flavors to your poultry, meats, and seafood. For example, you can mince cloves and add it to a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and fresh herbs. Place it on top of the salmon and veggies and bake it in the oven.

salmon and asparagus

Add to Soups

Save the steps of chopping garlic. You can actually add peeled, whole cloves directly into the soups. Over time, the soup will release the garlic’s sweet flavors. We paired it with sun-dried tomatoes in this creamy Tuscan chicken soup.

chicken soup

Roast the Garlic

One of the best ways to add flavor to a classic side dish, such as mashed potatoes, is to add roasted garlic. Cut the top of the bulb and drizzle it with olive oil. Wrap it in foil and bake it in the oven at 400F for 45 minutes until it turns soft and creamy. After it has cooked, let it cool, and squeeze it out of the bulbs. Mix it in with mashed potatoes along with your favorite seasonings and herbs. 

chicken and mashed potatoes

Here are some recipes that incorporate garlic that we think you’ll enjoy:

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