Monday, March 25, 2013

What's Your Meal Plan?

This is a question I am asked quite frequently.  When people hear about the family's various allergies, the first question I hear is usually something like "What DO you eat?"  I remember how overwhelmed I was at first, so I can relate to those who are experiencing food restrictions for the first time.  Today I will give you an example of how we eat.

This week looks like this:

Sunday:  Fajita-Style Chicken with Sauteed Peppers & Onions and Salad
Monday: Grain-free Meatballs in Italian Sauce, Broccoli Salad and Steamed Veggies
Tuesday: Citrus-Steamed Tilapia with Mango-Cilatro Salsa, Steamed Broccoli and Salad
Wednesday: Leftover night
Friday: Appetizer night: Fruit and Veggie Platter w/ Bunless sliders and homemade Sauerkraut
Saturday: Tuna Salad over greens

I have a busy week coming up, so I went ahead and prepared the Sauerkraut and Meatballs while I was preparing Sunday's Fajita-Style Chicken and Peppers.  I usually cook one meal a day, then we eat leftovers, green smoothies and veggies for lunch the following day.  I always keep the counter stocked with apples and oranges and keep berries in the frig and freezer.

First off, Sauerkraut.  Are you eating fermented foods?   Not the vinegary-pickles from your corner grocer, but the real deal.  This is something that is very simple to make at home and so nutritious.  Lacto-fermented vegetables are gut healing and full of nutrients readily absorbed by the body.  You can find many recipes in Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions.  A simple recipe is simply combining your favorite vegetables with salt to taste, massaging and storing on your counter until ready.  If you can tolerate dairy, refer to Nourishing Traditions for recipes.

I can't recommend fermented foods/drinks enough. If you aren't in favor of fermented veggies, at least try some kombucha.  It is available in many stores and is very simple to make.  

Assemble your vegetables of choice and wash.  Choose a jar or crock and wash that up, too.

In this case, I'm using a small-medium sized green cabbage, 1/3 of a small red cabbage, one medium sweet vidalia onion, 4 medium-large carrots (three of these were swiped by small hands before I could get them chopped), and salt to taste.  I used about 3 teaspoons of Redmond's Real Salt for this batch.  Always use a good quality salt.  It matters.

You can chop your veggies however you like.  I like to use my food processor.

Now start mixing and massaging.  Get your hands in there and just work your veggies over. 

Remember to salt and taste as you go.  You need enough salt to help with preservation until the beneficial lactobillo can take over, but not so salty it's unedible.  Trust me, you want to salt as you go.  It is no fun to open up a jar of salt-mush because you just measured and dumped.  

Once you have a good amount of vegetable juice released for your veggies you are ready to jar it up.  After you transfer all over your vegetables to your jar, pack them in with a wooden spoon (or your hand).  Pack all the veggies to the bottom so they are completely covered by the juice.

Now if it looks like this, you are going to need to weight those veggies down.  This will work, but you are more likely to get a bit of mold on top.  So go ahead and weight it down with a glass.  This will help keep those veggies under that juice.

Now cover this up with a towel or some plastic wrap and you are all done.  Let it sit on your counter and give it a taste every 4-5 days.  If your kitchen is warmer, it will ferment a little faster; for me this jar will be ready in about a week.  Once it has feremented to your liking, remove the weight, seal with a lid and pop it into your frig.

As for my Fajita-Style Chicken and Peppers, our grill was under a foot of snow so I sauteed everything up in my big pot.  
The chicken I sliced and sauteed in Coconut Oil, then removed to a plate while I worked up the veggies.

I sliced up my peppers and onions and sauteed those up.  Seasoned with chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper.  Set those into a serving dish.  Then before serving the chicken, I added it back into the pot with more seasoning and a spritz of chicken broth to deglaze that pan.  Yum!

Tomorrow I will have my versatile, grain-free, egg-free (paleo) meatball recipe up on the blog.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, fermented foods. Sounds interesting. You are giving so much to think about and look into!