Healthy Family Meal Plan: Week 2

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Plate of chicken and riceThis is week 2 of our Healthy Eating Plan. If you are looking for week 1’s recipes, follow this link.

Week 2, Day 1: Curried Chicken and Potatoes

This recipe is truly amazing! It’s like Southern comfort food with a Middle Eastern twist. It’s filling and hearty. It’s just pretty much perfect. It would go great with basic cauliflower rice, so I’ll include my recipe for that as well. In case you hadn’t noticed, these recipes I am posting don’t take a culinary degree to make. They are simple and take very little prep time. This one is no exception. I’m a busy mom with four active kids. Easy is a necessity.

Curried Chicken and Potatoes Recipe

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut into large chunks
  • 4-5 golden potatoes cut into large chunks
  • Powdered curry
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (depending on your preference) minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon

Place the chicken, potatoes and onions in a large baking pan. Rub garlic on chicken. Combine remaining spices in a bowl and cover all ingredients. (Don’t be shy with the spices, but remember curry is strong, so season to your taste. I like a lot, my kids prefer less, so I go a little lighter and add more to mine after cooking.) Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours- broiling for the last 10 minutes.

Cauliflower Rice Recipe

Pulse the florets of one head of cauliflower in a food processor or use a box grater until it resembles rice. Sauté with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat about 10 minutes until soft. Fluff with a fork. I want to be sure to add this will NOT taste like rice. Don’t believe anyone who says it does. The texture works, but it will fool no one. The taste and smell are all cauliflower. Cauliflower and curry are great together, but only if you like cauliflower.

Week 2, Day 2: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad

This one is light and refreshing. I don’t like bell pepper, so I do that on the side. I tried this for the first time after Christmas when trying to lose weight and modified it to taste. It takes about 15 minutes of prep time and cooks up in less than 10 minutes, which means it’s great for a busy night.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad Recipe

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (dark brown is a richer flavor, but light will do if that’s what you have)
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups pineapple chunks (fresh is best!)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 bag of spinach

In a large bowl, stir together garlic, thyme, black pepper, allspice, half the scallions and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir in brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the mustard. Dredge the chicken in the mixture and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil and remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon mustard and ¼ teaspoon salt. Add pineapple, kiwi, bell pepper and remaining scallions. Toss to combine.

Broil chicken 6 inches from heat for 4 minutes per side. Slice chicken, add to salad and toss.

Week 2, Day 3: Breakfast for Dinner – Asparagus, Egg and Ham Sandwiches

A sandwich may not sound filling, but I assure you this one is. It hits multiple food groups and is savory with a touch of sweet for optimal “feel good food” potential. Asparagus is high in Vitamins C and K and Folate. Eggs are kind of a super food. They are low-fat, help increase your GOOD cholesterol (contrary to former popular belief), and loaded with protein (so very filling). The saltiness of the ham means you don’t have to add a bunch of salt to the eggs. This recipe just works. As I mentioned before, I’m (mostly) dairy free, so I do this one without cheese, but I assure you I have tried it with cheese, and it is better. You only use 2 slices of cheese for 4 servings, so it’s not a large amount anyway.

Egg, Ham and Asparagus sandwich Recipe

  • 12 thick or 24 thin stalks of asparagus
  • 4 slices of whole grain bread (check ingredients and make sure to get one without high fructose corn syrup)
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 8 slices ham (I actually use prosciutto since it typically has no sugar in it. I’ve used Boar’s Head Tavern Ham as well. Sweet ham isn’t as good because you need the salt for the eggs so you don’t have to add salt to the eggs.)
  • 2 hardboiled (or baked) eggs
  • 8 slices of tomato
  • 2 slices of provolone cheese sliced into strips

Preheat the broiler. In a skillet of simmering water, cook asparagus for about 3-4 minutes. (Until just slightly tender. You don’t want it droopy.) Place bread on a baking sheet and broil for about 1 minute per side. Spread mustard on each slice. (That is, if you like mustard. I don’t, so I just don’t put anything on mine. It’s still good!) Then arrange the ham, 3-6 asparagus stalks, half of 1 egg (sliced), 2 tomato slices and a ¼ of the cheese strips. Broil 1-2 minutes until heated through. The good thing about this recipe is that it’s easy to modify for the more picky kids. I just leave asparagus out for 2 of the 4 kids who wouldn’t touch it with it ON the sandwich (but can be persuaded to eat it off of their plate). I leave the cheese and mustard off of two. It is good any way you make it! You can also try it on sweet potato “toast” if you are gluten-free. (Take a large sweet potato and slice long ways – about ½ inch thick. Brush both sides with melted coconut oil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, flipping after 20 minutes.)

Week 2, Day 4: Broiled Salmon with Mango Salsa

I’ll admit I can’t stand fish of any kind. I can eat it fresh caught, dredged in corn meal and fried in hydrogenated oil! Ha! We all know that’s not ideal, but it is what it is. I felt like I had to include a fish meal in this healthy meal plan and salmon is the least offensive to me (I can also stomach Cajun spiced tilapia, so keep that one in mind if you’re not a fish lover, but want the health benefits) because it’s so heart healthy. This is also quick to prepare and even quicker to cook (and don’t overcook fish!).

Salmon with Mango Salsa Recipe

  • 2 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 4-ounce boneless salmon fillets
  • 1 large mango, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I buy organic. It’s maybe a 20 cent difference.)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 6 cups Napa cabbage cut or torn into small pieces

In a large bowl, stir together paprika, coriander and salt. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of mixture on the salmon, rubbing it in. Place salmon on broiler pan. Broil salmon for 5 minutes about 6 inches from the heat. While the fish is broiling, combine remaining spice mixture with mango, avocado, chickpeas, cilantro, lemon zest, lemon juice and oil. Toss to combine. Make a bed of cabbage on plate. Top with salmon and salsa.

Week 2, Day 5: Paleo Slow Cooker Lemon Basil Chicken

Yes, another lemon recipe! It’s great for summer (or reminding you of summer) and acid pairs with most proteins really well, so why not? This dish has a deeper flavor because of using the slow cooker. However, if you can’t turn the crock pot off in a maximum of 5 hours, skip this one until you can because it will dry out if overcooked (especially with breasts – stick closer to 4 hours). It is guaranteed to draw in neighbors because your house will smell SO good, so you might want to double this one.

Lemon Basil Chicken Recipe

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • Juice of half of a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 10-12 large basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup water

Line the bottom of the slow cooker (aka Crock-Pot) with fresh basil leaves. Lay chicken on top of the basil. Combine lemon juice, lemon pepper, garlic and water in a bowl. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. It is pictured with cauliflower rice, but I think broccoli with some orange or lemon zest and garlic would be a better companion (and my kids would eat it better!).

Week 2, Day 6: Asian Marinated Flank Steak

I love all things Asian. In fact, Chinese food is my one occasional guilty pleasure (although I try to stick to once a month). I don’t eat a lot of beef, but chicken does get old once in a while. So, if I’m going to eat beef, Asian is the route I’m going. This is an easy marinade (you could use it on chicken or pork) with a definite Asian flair. This is a good one to make the night before and let it marinade over night. It can marinate for up to 24 hours.

Asian-Marinated Flank Steak Recipe

  • 5 inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dark Asian Sesame oil
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds flank steak, fat trimmed

Combine all ingredients into a sealable, airtight container. Allow to marinate at least 30 minutes (up to 24 hours). Heat a pan with ½ inch oil (sesame or olive oil) to a medium high heat. Do not add the meat until the pan is hot. Cook 6-8 minutes per side for medium – more or less to your taste.

Week 2, Day 7: Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings

I may just have saved the best for last. In my opinion, this is hands down the best. It uses a simple sauce you can buy PREMADE in the grocery store. Yes, premade! But, it meets my less than 5 ingredient rule and I can pronounce all of the ingredients. In my book, that makes it okay to take this short cut because making a pepper sauce is a lot of work that isn’t much fun. Since my husband loves buffalo chicken wings, finding out the Frank’s Hot Sauce met my pretty strict food guidelines was amazing!

Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings Recipe

  • 1 large bottle Frank’s Hot Sauce (not the wing sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter (depends on how clean you want to eat!)
  • 4-5 pounds chicken wings

Line a cookie sheet with foil and bake chicken wings for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. While the wings are baking, combine the hot sauce and ghee/butter in a saucepan and simmer over a low heat for 8-10 minutes. Dump the wings into the sauce and coat well. Return the wings to the oven for an additional 30 minutes. If you like saucy wings, re-dunk the wings. Serve with celery and blue cheese (you can make a dressing, but I just use crumbles).

Develop Healthy Eating Habits

Are you struggling to develop healthy eating habits? We’ve all been there. In fact, did you know 34.9% of U.S. adults are obese? That’s 78.6 million people! It’s something our society struggles with. We tell ourselves we’re going to be healthy and change our eating habits but it only lasts a few days. Don’t get down on yourself! We all have those moments of weakness where we eat out because we’re too busy to cook or our coworker offers us a cookie we probably should’ve said no to. It’s not about the poor choices you make, it’s about all the other good eating habits you are making. So stay positive and don’t beat yourself up. It’s the fact that you are trying to better yourself and you are making changes that counts! Here are some more tips to help you on your healthy eating journey.

Rinse and Repeat

You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m not the absolute best chef, but I do like to eat, so that counts for something. I’m honestly more of a baker, but since I’m still trying hard to keep my sugar addiction from overtaking me, I try to only bake for others. To stay on track with my healthy eating, I really need a healthy meal plan. With a 2 week healthy meal plan, it’s easy to choose your favorites and make them staples in your house. That will make eating healthy on a regular basis much easier. So, try these recipes out, enjoy them, steal them, make them your own with modifications. Eat healthy; be happy!

Do you have any go-to healthy recipes? Please share them!

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