Another rule that we are re-instituting at our house is limiting what we buy at the grocery store to what is on the list. I am notorious for overbuying produce. I take my meal plans and write out a specific and detailed shopping list—if I only need 2 tomatoes I only buy 2 tomatoes. If by some strange chance there is something leftover at the end of the week I find a way to incorporate that item into an upcoming meal. The only exception that I have is if there is a sale on meat or another staple item. As both Pam and I have discussed before, having a chest freezer is a vital tool for us in getting the best value for our family when it comes to healthy meal options. Not only does creating a specific shopping list keep me organized, but it keeps me on task and gets me in and out of the market in a jiffy which is important for a full plate mom!I use Sunday as my prep day in the kitchen—time to execute the plan! In terms of prepping for dinners, I prep not only Monday night’s meal but I prep for Tuesday night’s meal and place them in a food storage container. All total, depending on what I decide to make, I spend a good 3-hours in the kitchen on Sunday (active prep). While it may sound like a lot of time, that 3-hours for amounts to 15-meals. Spending 3-hours in the kitchen on a Sunday is a minor sacrifice, especially when it comes to the health and nutrition of me and my family. There are times when the kids are napping that The Hubs will lend a hand in the prep, or that Lil One will want to help too!
Lastly, it is important to check in with the family and see if they enjoyed the meals you prepped and would they like them again. It sounds silly but I know personally, I can get caught up with trying to create a new dish every week, or even trying every single recipe that I have recently Pinned that I forget to focus on the staples and stick to what works and perfect it. It’s also good to take note of anything that you misbought—did you forget something? Did you have enough or too much? This last step is just as vital to your overall success as the first step.
In summary, the following are my five keys to success when getting healthy, nutritious meals on the table for your family and being a general in your own kitchen:
So what about that soup I mentioned above? I had lunch last week with my boss at a fantastic restaurant across the street from my office in the Seaport District in Boston. It was a chicken pozole soup and it was delicious. I knew that I wanted to try and recreate it at home. Since I had two small stewing chickens in the freezer from our CSA I thought this week was a perfect opportunity to test it out! A traditional chicken pozole has hominy in it, which is not Whole30 approved as it is a grain. I opted to replace the hominy with large diced carrots. I made my own stock using the water I boiled the stewing chickens in—it made enough stock for a second pot of soup! I also made enough of the chili base for the stock to jar and refrigerate for future use. So without much ado, here is my version of chicken pozole—Whole30 approved! I hope you enjoy it!
While the chicken is cooking, place the dried chilies in a bowl of warm water to partially rehydrate—reserving the liquid. On a cookie sheet, place the garlic blub and ½ onions that have been quartered on the cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Place under a broiler until it begins to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool sufficiently that the garlic bulb is able to be handled. When cool, place the chilies, chili liquid, onion, and the garlic cloves in a blender or food processor and blend until you have a thick paste. To remove the cloves from the garlic husk I simply turn the bulb upside down over my vessel and squeeze. The roasting typically softens the meat enough that it will squeeze out of its husk. This will make about 2-cups of chili base, which can be placed into a glass jar and refrigerate.
In a Dutch oven, sauté the remaining ½ of diced onion, 3 cloves of finely minced garlic, and large diced carrots until the onions are translucent. Add chicken stock one ladle at a time, careful to deglaze the pot prior to adding the remaining cooking stock. Bring to a simmer. Add shredded chicken, salt and pepper to taste. Begin by adding 2-tablespoons of the chili mixture and stirring to incorporate. Taste before adding more. You can adjust the heat of the soup by adding more chili paste as desired. I found that 3-heaping tablespoons did the trick for our pallets. Add handful of chopped cilantro. To serve, add the garnish of raw, sliced radish and a handful of shredded cabbage and additional cilantro if you’d like. An additional garnish would be chopped avocado.
While not an authentic pozole, I think I captured the essence of the soup that I ordered last week. Because of my use of chipotles in lieu of regular dried chilies, the soup was imparted with a great smoky flavor that provided an added layer of depth other than just pure heat.
Now I want to know—how did Day 2 of Whole30 treat you? What have been your successes? What has been the most difficult for you?