Life is so busy. Trying to balance keeping your house clean, everyone well fed, in clean clothes and happy, work flow, kids’ extracurricular activities (thankfully we aren’t there yet), the list goes on and on…and maybe find some time for yourself, during all of that is HARD.
Even when I was home on maternity leave it was HARD. You cannot just sit around your house all day napping and staring at your baby. I cannot at least…I feel too guilty about the clothes that need washing and folding, the dishes in the sink or dishwasher, getting lunch and supper ready on time, toys all over the floor, vacuuming the floors…props to all you stay at home moms. When I was on maternity leave I did not meal prep on Sundays like I used to, until I remembered how I didn’t really just have all day to sit around and do nothing.
Unfortunately life does not just stop after a c-section. You still have all of your wife and mom duties, to pick right back up and run with like nothing ever happened. I really didn’t have all the time in the world with a newborn, to just cook whenever I wanted to. My goodness, by the time you feed the baby and get her to sleep, maybe lay her down, try to squeeze in a shower before the husband comes home for lunch, it is time to rinse, wash, and repeat! I like to tell my students to work smarter, not harder, and I was not working smarter on my maternity leave. Slowly I got back into my groove of meal prepping on Sundays and it became much easier again. Eventually it lead to me actually having a little more free time between feedings, diaper changes, working out, and household chores so I was able to start typing. ♥
It is supposed to be a little cooler on Monday, so I am going to make some chili one last time before the warmer weather is here to stay. I always double my recipes so we have enough food for lunch the next day. Doubling this recipe leaves me enough for daaays, which is fine by me. To me it is almost like a thick vegetable soup with some meat thrown in there. So many veggies.
The recipe calls for ground turkey meat, which I do not use but it would be a good substitution if you are wanting a leaner meat. I also do not put cheese in my chili. If you end up with excess chili you can always freeze it for later. I use a food saver that my mom got me as a house warming gift, that is awesome when storing food. I use it a lot when I am stocking up on food to make my own baby food.
For this recipe I start with browning my meat and chop up the veggies while the meat cooks. I saute the garlic, onion, and peppers first, then add in all the ingredients once the meat has cooked and been drained. I wait to add everything together once the meat is done, so the meat will soak up all the flavor. I am usually heavy handed when it comes to seasoning my food, unless we are talking about salt. I don’t like to over salt anything. I don’t measure out my seasonings, I season to taste and this chili can always use a heavy dose of chili powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika.
I was talking with a lady at work this week, about how her family stays so late at the ball field for practice and games. She said that without her crock pot, she didn’t know how they would eat decent meals. I asked her if she had ever tried a boston butt in the crock pot and she had. We both agreed it was the best way to cook the meat and is so good for tacos! I was more excited than I probably should have been to hear that someone else cooks a boston butt, in the crock pot for the sole purpose of eating tacos too.
Since I am not making BBQ sandwiches this week, I am going to get a smaller boston butt this time, but still cook the meat with the exact same spices. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? I cook our meat fat side up, on low for 4 hours and then turn it on high until it is cooked to temperature. I will let the meat sit in the crock pot for a few hours after, to soak in the juice. I think letting them soak is really key to flavoring the meat. Once the meat is done soaking, I take it out and let it cool before separating the fat from the meat and shred it for later.
Cut your peppers and onion while the meat is cooking and save to cook the night of or cook ahead of time. The vegetables do not need to be crisp, so there is no harm in reheating them to eat later in the week. The less work you have to do during the week the better! Make sure you don’t kill it on your carbs with your tortilla wraps.
Before you get all excited about chicken salad, let me warn you, this is not your mama’s chicken salad. Nope. No Mayo. Not even any yogurt to be found in this recipe…I mean come on, have we met? This is your new and improved PALEO chicken salad. You do make your own “mayo” but it is nothing close to being anything like mayonnaise. Sorry, not sorry.
To make this as simple as possible, I boil my chicken until it is cooked all the way through. If it gets a little over cooked, it is okay because you will be making the mayo to coat the chicken and help it stick together.
While the chicken is boiling, chop the celery and make your mayo. I like to add some sliced carrots to give it more crunch and color. You can add in anything that you typically love to have in your chicken salad, just be mindful of added fat and carbs from nuts and fruits.
You will need an egg at room temperature for the mayo, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and some heavy seasoning. The seasoning is what will make or break this for you. You cannot go into this thinking it will taste like old fashioned chicken salad, because I promise you, you will be disappointed. It would be like cooking spaghetti squash and still expecting it to taste like spaghetti noodles. I season the mayo heavily with creole spices and top off the chicken salad with hot sauce before we eat it.
I used to make this dish a lot when Josh and I were newly married. We weren’t so concerned with counting macros back then and just focused more on eating whole foods. Good plan, until we realized how much we were over eating and how much fat we were consuming in the process. This time around I am going to use boneless, skinless thighs. I am going to miss the crispy skin on the thighs, but so goes the process of counting macros.
Since I am using skinless thighs, I am going to use more oil to ensure my chicken does not stick. It calls for a teaspoon but you will need more like a tablespoon of oil. This recipe is a labor of love until you have cooked it a few times, browning the chicken, caramelizing lemon slices, putting it in the oven, taking lemons out of the pan, adding in oregano, seasoning, shallots, and wine all seems daunting, but I promise it is worth it.
I would not recommend cooking this the night of, unless you don’t have kids. 🙂 Your time would be better spent cuddling on the couch, listening to them talk about their day, or playing with your little one(s).
I love this beet salad, because it is so EASY. This recipe has scallops but I skip that part and use this salad as my side dish. If you have access to golden beets or have never tried beets before, go with golden beets. They don’t have such a strong taste and are slightly sweeter. I will likely leave out the olive oil from the dressing since I am going to have a fattier meat with our meal. Skinnytaste cooks their beets the same way I cook mine at home. Boiling beets has proven to be the easiest method for me when meal prepping.
I was honestly nervous to try cooking white chicken chili. Josh LOVES the white chicken chili from Three Crazy Bakers in town and I wasn’t sure I could out-do them. I wouldn’t say I out-do them with this recipe, but there is never a drop left in the bowl.
I like to spice this recipe up with fresh jalapenos and top with a squeeze of lime and chopped cilantro. You can make this as healthy or unhealthy as you would like. There is always the option of adding sour cream or using a fattier cut of chicken. I stick with boneless, skinless chicken breast and boil it for ease. Once the chicken is cooked to temperature and shredded, throw all the ingredients into the pot to heat up and enjoy! It really doesn’t get much easier than that and it can all be done in one pot.
Easy recipe! Easy clean up!
Don’t forget the grocery list!