Firstly, found the cute pic on Food Bites. Foodography is not my forte. But ^ this is my jam!
Lettuce get to it.
I think I've figured it out.
Quick, healthy, homemade AND delicious meals have always eluded me.
Especially when they need to be gluten, dairy & sugar free.
Hitting all of those requirements is something I have only just wrapped my head around. It was either homemade and boring OR quick, healthy, delicious and a casual $20 a pop at a cafe / restaurant ...
I went through a period of relying too much on gf grainy carbs and noticed I wasn't eating enough veggies so I decided to introduce the motto 'LESS GRAINS, MORE GREENS' anytime I was deciding what to eat.
Given my body doesn't do well with gluten, dairy, or sugar I realised the dietary guidelines I'd be following were paleo. So I decided to start researching paleo recipes. Usually researching recipes overwhelms me because I struggle to find anything that accommodates my various food intolerances. But I've never right clicked so many links in my life.
Side note: if you are vegan or vego you can still take this approach too.
The reason I am not vegan or vego is because my gut does not tolerate beans, capsicum, eggplant, cauliflower, soy products or rice. So.. rather tricky. I have worked on my health for years and have found that in order to have optimal digestion, energy and clarity a paleo diet works really well for me. I go into further detail on this topic in my CELLULITE + CIRCULATION blog post. I also get a lot of questions regarding what I've done to fix my gut and that credit would go to Alyse Co-Cliff (holistic nutritionist). If you're struggling please see a health professional!
Back to it...
Introducing the elle_kook trick that has taken the pressure off cooking and is saving me a loooot of money.
For the past month, every Sunday, I head to the shops to grab my groceries.
Key ingredient: a big 500g packet of spinach.
When I get home I roast pumpkin and sweet potato, enough to keep in the fridge for the week.
I then pop a meal in the slow cooker which yields 6-8 servings. I portion them out to one serving per container, keep 2 in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.
Boom. That's the 'hard' bit done.
Now when it comes to meal time, especially lunch and dinner, all I do is throw a big handful of spinach in a bowl, add my roasted sweet potato and / or pumpkin (cold or hot), heat a serving of the slow cooked meal in the microwave for 2-3 mins and voilà!
Superrrr quick, healthy, homemade, delicious, no grains, lotsa veggies!
Having to decide what to eat (3+ times a day), creating it and then eating it can quickly take up a good portion of time if we aren't prepared - my life story. This method has freed up a lot of time for me! And mental space too!
This may not be revolutionary to some but it's taken me 27 years to figure this little hack out. I find it much better to take this ingredient-prep approach too because it allows me to create something slightly different each day depending on what I feel like.
I am a creature of habit and I'm happy to eat the same thing every day so I must admit I have made the same slow cooked recipe about 3 times already. BUT I do have about 3 different kinds in the freezer at the mo'.
I am trying to expand my horizons with a new slow cooked meal each week. So far I have tried:
Chipotle chicken - I swap the honey for rice malt syrup. This one is super flavoursome!
Beef rogan josh - I swap the sugar for tamarind puree and like to add lots of green veggies towards the end!
Butter chicken - this one looks very similar to the chipotle chicken so now it's a bit of a surprise when I pull the container out of the microwave.
The beauty of slow cooked meals is the ridiculous ease of it all. There is little prep involved before placing all of the ingredients into the slow cooker, then you just flick it to either low or high and let it do it's thang for 4-8 hours!
Also, the only time you really need to find is the time to decide what meal you are going to cook + 5-10 mins to pop it on. Das my kind of cookin'! AND if you can find 10 mins once a day and did this for a week straight you could potentially have close to 50 meals in the freezer!!! If that doesn't excite you... we're on different pages.
Another quick lunch idea is a biiig handful of spinach, roasted sweet potato / pumpkin + a can of chilli tuna. Now that's a proper elle_kook meal. But I thought I'd share because it's on heavy rotation and costs about $2 per meal.
I'll keep adding to this list as I go. I'd love for you to leave a comment if you have any other great ideas to share!