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Protein-Packed Dishes

meal plan

Even with three weeks left in the year, we are going to keep our meal prep strong so that we can ring in the new year with good health and good nourishment. Many say meal prepping feels restrictive and controlling, but to us, meal prepping means having more flexibility with mix-matching foods based on our moods. And we are in the mood for some hot, easy dishes that will get us through this season. 

Menu Breakdown

Breakfast Recipe One: Pork Loin and Eggs

Lean protein, eggs, and a side of red peppers will start your day off right and help keep you full until lunchtime. We set aside a few slices of the pork loin from our Island Spiced Pork Loin dinner recipe and served it with a fried egg and sauteed sweet red bell peppers. You can serve this in between a biscuit and even add a slice of cheese or even make a breakfast burrito out of these ingredients. Fill it with additional ingredients such as avocado and even a potato hash. 

pork and eggs

Breakfast Recipe Two: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

This apple cinnamon oatmeal is a warm breakfast that smells just like apple pie. You get bites of soft sweet apples simmered with cinnamon spices and sweetened with honey on top of warm oatmeal. It is so simple to make and you can easily take this with you if you are on the go. Feel free to add extra toppings such as chopped pecans and nutmeg spices.

apple oatmeal

Lunch Recipe One: Salmon Stuffed Avocado

Canned salmon is one of the most valuable pantry staples anyone should have on hand. This recipe is an easy no-cook meal where we combine canned salmon with avocados. This meal is full of omega 3 fatty acids from both the avocado and salmon. What you get is a salmon salad with fresh apples and veggies mixed in a spicy sriracha mayo sauce. This is a great low carb meal that will keep you full and fill you with many nutrients you need to get you through the day. 

salmon avocado

Lunch Recipe Two: Turkey Toscana Soup

This is a healthy turkey soup that is packed with soft tender potato slices, collard greens, and turkey sausage with Italian flavors. This soup is gluten-free and dairy-free with a rich broth that comes together in one pot in less than 30 minutes. The great thing about this soup is that you can easily swap out the ingredients and still get the same great flavors. If you want to keep this low carb, substitute potatoes with turnips. You can also use fresh kale or spinach in place of collard greens. Feel free to also enjoy it with a fresh crisp salad.

turkey soup

Dinner Recipe One: Turmeric Chicken with Coconut Braised Collard Greens

This oven-baked chicken and braised collard greens is the ultimate comfort meal with so much great flavor. We love roasted chicken because it’s easy to bake, but we leveled up the flavor with some turmeric spice and what we got was a beautiful golden brown chicken. You can also remove the skin from the chicken thighs to keep the calories lower or you can use your favorite chicken pieces such as chicken breast on the bone or even chicken tenderloin. We paired it with coconut braised collard greens with butternut squash. If you’re not a fan of collard greens, then you have to try this recipe and you might just change your mind. Cooking the collard greens in coconut milk and the butternut squash makes them taste sweet, soft, and rich. 

turmeric chicken

Dinner Recipe Two: Island Spiced Pork Loin with Apple & Butternut Squash Hash

This pork loin is flavored with a sweet and spicy island glaze with the flavors of chili powder, cinnamon, garlic, and brown sugar with a little bit of heat from sriracha sauce. We seared it to get a good crust on the outside and baked it in the oven to get it moist and tender inside that just melts in your mouth. We served it with roasted apples and butternut squash, but you can easily serve this on a bed of rice pilaf, a side salad, or even in a baguette and make a hot sandwich out of it. 

pork loin

Meal Planning and Preparation Tips

  • When it comes to meal prepping, we always try to keep our grocery list simple by using ingredients in different ways. For this meal plan, we used apples in our oatmeal, for our salmon stuffed avocado salad, and roasted it with butternut squash for our Island Spiced Pork Loin. We also saved some of our pork loins for our breakfast meal. We also used collard greens and coconut milk in both our Turkey Toscana Soup and in our braised greens. 
  • We also used simple cooking methods and streamlined our cooking steps so that we can spend the least amount of time in the kitchen. For this week, both our breakfast meals take less than 10 minutes. Our salmon lunch meal required no cooking, and the turkey soup was made in one pot to lessen the number of dishes. And we baked our chicken and pork loin in the oven. 

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Low Carb Super Foods

meal plan 7

With the cold winter weather, we wanted to bring in the heat with our dishes. We used harissa sauce to bring heat and a smokiness to our recipes. We also incorporated the earthy and nutty flavors of pistachio nuts to pack a powerful punch for nutrition and also bold flavors. And we can’t go through the winter months without incorporating one of our favorite winter fruits, the pomegranate. Pomegranates ripen during the winter months and bring vivid colors for meal appeal and are a superfood class of their own.

Menu Breakdown

Breakfast Recipe One: Egg Stuffed Peppers with Pistachio Pesto & Harissa Sauce

Baking eggs in the oven is one of our go-to cooking methods when it comes to making an easy breakfast. Typically we use up leftover veggies or dice up some sausage and bake eggs in a frittata or bake mini egg muffins. For this recipe, we took the same concept and decided to bake eggs in its own edible vessel. We sliced up bell pepper and removed the core and cracked our eggs into the wells. Just a few minutes in the oven and you have a sweet tender bell pepper with a baked version of a “sunny side up egg”. Just like any stuffed pepper, you can add additional ingredients such as herbs, other veggies, and top it off with your favorite sauce. We topped ours off with a sweet and smoky harissa sauce and a little bit of pistachio pesto to add a nice herb and nutty flavor. With additional slices of avocado, you’ve got a power breakfast to start off your day.

egg stuffed pepper

Breakfast Recipe Two: Pistachio Pomegranate Granola

Granola is nutritious and filling for breakfast. However, many varieties can contain excess sugar and unwanted preservatives. So making your own granola can help you avoid these unwanted ingredients, and it takes less than 5 minutes to make. We used oats that are filled with fiber and can help lower cholesterol. We added pistachio nuts because they provide healthy fats and are a good source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. And since it’s the holiday season, we added pomegranate seeds. Not only do they add a bright red color, but they add a bright and tart burst of flavor. Just add a touch of honey and cinnamon to bring it all together.

granola

Lunch Recipe One: Baked Harissa Chicken Tenderloin with Pomegranate Seeds and Roasted Turnips

This Harissa chicken uses the sweet and smokey red chili pepper paste to create a bold, spicy, and flavorful dish. With all the cold weather, we wanted something to heat up our tastebuds. This easy and healthy harissa chicken is so quick to make and serve on top of a bed of salad. The chicken tenderloins are marinated in harissa paste for a sweet and spicy dish. It is a gluten-free and low carb way to boost flavor to any chicken recipe. To contrast the sweet and spicy flavors of the dish we added pickled flavors of pepperoncini peppers. We also sprinkled juicy pomegranate seeds for a bit of tartness and sweetness to cut through all the heat. We wanted to add extra veggies for our meal, so we also roasted up some winter vegetables such as diced turnips. This added some crunch to our salad in place of croutons. 

harissa chicken

Lunch Recipe Two: Hot and Sour Soup

This hot and sour soup is a favorite in Asian take out, and now you can enjoy it right at home. Drinking warm soup has been a method to keep illness away and strengthen digestion. It’s incredibly easy to make at home and you can customize it to suit your flavor preferences. This means you can adjust how “hot” and how “sour” you want the soup to be. You can easily upgrade the nutritional value by adding extra veggies. For this recipe, we kept the heat simple by using red pepper flakes, but you can use the traditional chili garlic sauce found in most recipes. The sour flavors came from rice vinegar, but you can easily use lemon juice. Typically you’ll find pork or tofu as the main protein sources, but we decided to just keep it simple with eggs. We used low sodium chicken stock and low sodium soy to limit the amount of sodium typically found in this soup. 

hot and sour soup

Dinner Recipe One: Pistachio Crusted Salmon with Roasted Asparagus

Salmon and asparagus are two food items that are nutritious and offer many health benefits. They often can stand on their own, but we wanted to bring bold and exciting flavors to this classic baked dish. Making this dish will make you feel like you are eating something from a gourmet restaurant and only requires minimal ingredients. The nutty pistachio mixed with the spicy dijon mustard tastes exquisite when combined with salmon. What makes this dish even better is that this elegant meal can be made in less than 20 minutes.  

pistachio salmon

Dinner Recipe Two: Instant Pot Harissa Beef Stew

You can’t go wrong with a basic beef stew. Beef stew is a standard dish in many cuisines with the warm and filling broth and the fork-tender beef that just brings so much comfort in the winter months. But we are always looking for ways to level up our meal prep and introduce new flavors. Many beef stews use tomato paste or tomato sauce as a base to flavor the soup. We took it up a notch and decided to use harissa sauce. It just added extra kick and smokiness to this slurpilicious stew. Most stews are paired with root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. For this recipe, we opted for turnips. Turnips are a winter vegetable that is in season and are perfect for a low carb or keto alternative in place of potatoes. This hearty and flavorful beef stew is perfect for a chilly night. 

beef stew

Meal Planning and Preparation Tips

  • When it comes to meal prepping, many find themselves with leftover ingredients. Therefore, we are always aiming to use ingredients that we can overlap throughout meals. For this meal plan, we used harissa sauce in our breakfast stuffed peppers, oven-baked chicken tenders, and also instant pot harissa beef stew. Pistachios often come in a large bag, so we made pistachio pesto, added it to our granola, and used it as a crust topping for our salmon. 
  • To make sure we were able to cook all of our meals in the quickest way possible, we also incorporated recipes that use the same meal preparation, and also sequenced our cooking steps in the most efficient way. While we were waiting for the beef stew to cook in the instant pot, we baked three recipes in the oven: breakfast stuffed peppers, harissa chicken, and salmon with asparagus. Meanwhile, we had two stovetop dishes that took less than 15 minutes to cook: granola and the hot and sour soup.

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Quick Low Carb Meals

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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