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An Easy Fool-Proof Paleo Meal Every Night of the Week From PaleolithicMD

22 Jul

A lot of people, particularly my patients, ask how I can work all day, and still have time to put dinner on the table each and every night.  I have an amazing wife, and she does everything around the house…but she does not like to cook.  Works out great for me since cooking is very much my way of winding down in the evening.  I like to get my kids involved, and we have already begun to enjoy time chopping veggies as a family.  I love to spend hours prepping and making more complex dishes, but that is more of a once a week deal these days.  Most nights I get home after a long day and need to get food on the table for the family in less than an hour.  So, here is how I go about my most basic meals.

Any meal at my house starts with what kind of meat we are going to eat!  I try to keep things interesting, and my kids are used to eating all types of beef, veal, lamb, chicken, turkey, and various seafoods.  When I need an animal based protein quick I turn to two methods: Either a quick cook on the grill, or a quick finish on a pre-soaked Sous Vide meat.

Grilling is obviously easy and accessible to almost everyone these days and you don’t have to spend tons of money to have a more than functional grill.  I may be in the minority here, but I just don’t understand the concept of overdone MARINATION of meat.  When I eat beef, I want to taste BEEF!  Although at times I will marinate meats with specific goals in mind, I generally never do so.  I also always cook my meat as little as is safe to maximize the flavors.  Here are my preferred meats when it comes to grilling.

Food

Preferred Cuts

Beef

Traditional Steaks (Ribeye, Filet, Strip, Sirloin, etc), Flank Steak, Flat Iron Steak, Skirt Steak

Chicken

Anything with the bone in; Thighs, Drumsticks, Breasts

Veal

Veal Chops

Seafood

Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp

The Sous Vide style of cooking is relatively new to my household as I purchased my Sous Vide Supreme Demi around 6 months ago.  For those who do not know what sous vide cooking is, it is best described as cooking vacuum sealed food in a precisely controlled water bath for a set period of time.  I will be posting on more specifics of sous vide cooking soon, but until then just google the topic or search YouTube and you can learn quickly about it.  Now, if you are like my wife, this will all sound extremely complicated and like a way to spend more money on unnecessary kitchen equipment!  That said, she has told me repeatedly over the last 6 months that the Sous Vide has been one of the best investments we have made for the kitchen…ever!  Why is it so great?  You can take any cut of meat, vacuum seal it, and as long as you leave it in there for the minimum time to cook it, you are good to go.  The best part is that although there is a minimum time to cook it, there is generally no maximum time (unless you are cooking more delicate protein like seafood in particular).  What this means is that like today for example, before I left to round at the hospital I filled up the sous vide, set the temp for 137 F, and popped in the 3 pound pork loin roast I vacuum sealed last night.  It will cook in 4-5 hours, but I’ll just pop it out at dinner time, dry it thoroughly, and finish it off in a very hot cast iron skillet for 90 seconds or so a side.  What this means practically is that with a little planning, I can have my meat finished and on the cutting board in literally 5 minutes after coming home.  All the above cuts of meat will work in the sous vide, but feel free to add tougher cuts of meat like a regular old beef chuck roast or brisket for example.  Let the less expensive roast or brisket cook at 130 F for 48 hours and finish off in the skillet.  Chuck roast turns to prime rib by just taking a bath on your counter for 2 days!  Anyway, I could go on forever about my sous vide.  For some awesome recipes visit my friend over at Nom Nom Paleo, and if you have an iPad check out her App which even has it’s very own sous vide section!

 

So, now the protein is out of the way, what’s next?  My next step is usually to attack a vegetable.  When I’m crunched for time, there is only one way in my book to make vegetables taste great…roasting them at high heat!  The process is pretty simple, I take whatever vegetable I want to roast (or a combination of them), chop them up into similar sized pieces, line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil, and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  I set the sheet in a pre-heated oven set on convection 425 F.  All you do next is set the time for 10 minutes, check the veggies and toss around a bit on the sheet.  Set the timer for 10 more minutes, and repeat.  Just keep doing this until the veggies are charred, crisp, and delicious.  Here is a list of veggies I have cooked in this way, at least what I can remember.

…Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Green Beans, Cauliflower, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, Parsnips, Onions, Bell Peppers, Beets, Carrots, Eggplant, Mushrooms, Butternut Squash, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Summer Squash…

If you can think of others, I’ve probably roasted it!  The other important thing is, especially if you are trying to get picky eaters like kids to eat veggies, is there is a BIG difference in flavor from for example cauliflower boiled in water and drained vs roasted to crisp perfection in the oven.  In fact, if there is a veggie on this list that you think you don’t like, do yourself a favor and try roasting it.  I’ll almost guarantee you will like it cooked this way.  Oh, and one last thing.  Steaming and boiling will no doubt leach some vitamins and minerals out of the vegetables, so high heat cooking should help seal those nutrients in so they can benefit you and your family.

 

 

Well, at that point I’m feeling pretty good about dinner with a solid protein and tasty vegetable on the side.  The last thing I will often do is cut up some fresh fruit or berries and serve it on the side in a little bowl as a “dessert” of sorts.  To my family there is nothing better than ending a meal with the fresh flavor of naturally occurring sweetness you can only find in for example a perfect strawberry.

This may all sound complicated, but once you put it into practice, you will be amazed at the ease with which you can get great tasting Paleo meals on the table with a tremendous amount of variety.  Add a salad on the side if the fruit is getting old, you can really do anything you want!

All this being said, nothing is more important to cooking for the family in a timely fashion than good old fashioned planning.  Think ahead 1-2 days and make sure you have your meat bought and thawed, or sealed and placed in the Sous Vide if required.  Shop for veggies 1-2 days in advance only to ensure freshness, and also to make sure that whatever you are cooking sounds good to eat on that particular day.  How many times have you bought something on sunday to cook thursday, and by the time thursday rolls around it just doesn’t sound very good?  Avoid that by shopping more often.  It’s a bit of a pain, but it’s just the way I do it.

I hope this helps a little on giving you the confidence to try consistently to create fresh and delicious Paleo meals for your family in a time frame that works for you.  Once you get organized, putting together a meal in this fashion should take anywhere between 30-45 minutes start to finish.  Admit it, even YOU can do that!

I’ll try to post pictures of the Sous Vide Pork Roast tonight or tomorrow if able.

-E

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 22, 2012 in General Paleo Discussion

 

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One response to “An Easy Fool-Proof Paleo Meal Every Night of the Week From PaleolithicMD

  1. Jodi

    July 24, 2012 at 8:55 am

    That is how we cook as well 🙂 (minus the sous vide). One thing that makes it easier for us and the kids is making a meal plan for the week and post it on the refrigerator. We base our meal plan on the specials at our local butcher shop. I got so tired of picking up the kids at day care hearing “What’s for dinner?” and then a complaint because it’s not what they wanted. They have almost a week to prepare for that meal that is new or does not sound very kid friendly to them.

     

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