One of the many benefits I got from going through the Whole30 program is a newfound love for cooking. Seriously. I never really had an interest in spending time in the kitchen growing up, but reading labels, understanding what's in my food and actually cooking meals that make me feel good has given me the sweetest feelings of joy and fulfillment.
Something I never really considered, until doing the program, is that shopping for weekly meal prep is actually much cheaper than eating out a lot (even if you're getting cheap fast food...that stuff adds up, y'all), and if you're eating out at "healthy" places, you best believe you're paying extra. I was shocked by how much I liked the food, despite it lacking all of the grains and cheesiness I thought food needed to be delicious. I also couldn't ignore how many people were sending me messages, asking for recipes. I figured I would just use this space of mine to share recipes I've been trying and loving, just for anyone looking to try something new....or even just wanting a healthier take on something they already love.
Speaking of that very thing...THIS CHILI, Y'ALL.
I've posted a chili recipe here before (click here, if you want it). That one, like most traditional chili recipes, called for beans and an already-packaged chili seasoning. The main difference between that one and the Whole30-compliant recipe is that this one leaves out the beans (because legumes), calls for bell peppers and your own medley of seasonings instead.
Chili is one of my favorite meals, especially when it's cold outside. I absolutely love this recipe, and I use it even when I am not doing a round of Whole30. I add compliant hot sauce and chopped pickled jalapenos because I love spicy, and it's just as hearty and tasty (and actually MORE delicious) than my previous one.
The recipe comes from the actual Whole30 book! I just added the hot sauce and peppers for my own taste.
Here's what you'll need:
1 pound of ground meat (I use lean ground beef)
1 can of compliant diced tomatoes (basically just no added sugar)
1 jar of pickled jalapenos (optional)
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cups beef broth
How you make it:
1. Cook your meat in a large pot.
Take it out when it's nice and browned, but leave the leftover fat in the pot.
2. Add the onions, garlic and all the seasonings to the pot. Cook them in the leftover fat for about 5 minutes, until the onions are transparent and it smells super yummy.
3. When the onions and garlic are done, add the bell peppers, broth, tomatoes and cooked meat.
4. Turn the heat to high, and wait for the liquid to start boiling.
5. Once it's boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer. This is when I add the hot sauce and peppers. Whether you add them or not, let it simmer for about an hour.
Another dish I love is chicken alfredo (so basic, I know). I was super excited, but also intrigued, to find a compliant recipe for this, since you can't have pasta (grain) or alfredo sauce (dairy) on the Whole30 program.
This plant-based pasta alternative and cashew + coconut milk cream sauce was surprisingly tasty. Now, the disclaimer is, I don't think it's totally fair to expect these sorts of alternatives to taste EXACTLY like the real thing. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how much the sauce really did taste like alfredo and how much I honestly liked it.
I got this recipe (here's a link to the original) from a food blogger named Jessie. Her site features a ton of different recipes, with tons of yummy paleo takes on your favorite dishes.
Here's what you'll need:
1 spaghetti squash
1 pound of chicken breasts
3/4 cup of raw cashews
1/2 cup of canned coconut milk
1/2 cup of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of avocado oil
4 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 white onion minced
3 cups of broken up broccoli florets
salt and pepper for taste
Here's how you make it:
2. While that's baking, go ahead and grill your chicken. You can cook it in a skillet or on a grill pan. Cook the chicken until it's cooked through and slightly browned. When it's done, give it a minute and then cut it into chunks.
3. Next, you'll make your sauce by putting the cashews, coconut milk and broth in a blender or food processor. Blend it together until you've got a smooth sauce. Then, set it aside.
4. Around this time, your squash should be about done. Once it's cooked, you'll be able to use a fork to scrape the insides in pasta-like shreds. Do that to both halves, and put the shredded squash into a bowl.
5. Use a large skillet, over a medium heat, to cook your broccoli, garlic and onion in the avocado oil. Once the veggies are cooked and tender, add your sauce. This combo will make your sauce taste less like coconut and cashews and more like the Italian creamy dream you're used to.
6. Now, you can add your shredded spaghetti squash and some more salt and pepper. Stir it a little, and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Then, add the chicken and let it cook some more until the chicken is hot and your sauce is simmering.
I recommend eating this dish hot and adding any seasonings that may give it more of an Italian feel. It reheats well, BUT my desk neighbor at work said she could have done without the smell (reheating squash, cabbage and brussel sprouts can be like that...sorry Sloan).
Hoping this is a nice little idea for anyone looking to try something new and healthier. Happy cooking, y'all!
With Love & Glitter,