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Hatches: Battened

Posted Aug 06 2012 7:01am
Aug 6, 2012 Posted by on Aug 6, 2012 in Blog | 11 comments

Back in May, I told you about some of the writing projects I’ve got going on — and now I’m sprinting straight toward a deadline for . This is what my life needs to look like for the next few weeks:

That means I need to batten down the hatches. Put my nose to the grindstone. Get down to business. Hunker down. [Insert your favorite cliche here.]

It also means I’m going to limit my blog posts, at least for this week, to my Whole30 recaps. But in September, I’ll finally be able to start writing — and posting — about the list of topics that cover the whiteboard next to my desk. I hope you’ll hang in there with me until then.

In anticipation of me spending more time typing and less time cooking, Dave and I came up with a very streamlined menu for the week. Admittedly, there’s not much variety, but the food is high quality, Whole30 compliant, and super tasty. If you find yourself having a particularly busy week sometime soon, you might want to adopt some of these ideas.

a double batch of Chocolate Chili
2 pounds of roasted boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 pounds of roasted boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 pounds of pan-browned grass-fed beef
2 pounds crockpot-roasted lamb cubes
raw veggies, cleaned and cut for eating: cucumbers, red bell peppers, jicama, snap peas
steam-sautéed veggies to reheat at meal time: broccoli, collard greens, cauliflower rice, cabbage
4 roasted sweet potatoes
1 roasted spaghetti squash
homemade mayo
homemade pesto

… plus there are lots of frozen veg and Applegate Farms turkey burgers in the freezer in case we run out of fresh. A turkey burger and frozen broccoli goes from ice cube to dinner plate in about 10 minutes.

The plan is to eat our usual breakfasts which we each cook ourselves, then at lunch and dinner, we’re splitting cooking duties. We’re alternating chicken and vegetables, ground beef and vegetables, and chili for lunches and dinners — and with all those raw materials in the fridge, it shouldn’t be boring. The chicken breasts will go into sautés (like the Hot Plates in Well Fed), as well as chicken salad with homemade mayo or tossed onto a big salad. The chicken thighs and lamb cubes will go into Hot Plates or be slapped on a plate with lots of raw veggies. The ground beef is for Hot Plates and Deconstructed Hamburger Salad. Plus there are always sardines and tuna salad to save the day. And chili… ah, Chocolate Chili.

Thanks for your patience while I crank out my final three chapters of the Dummies book. I can’t wait to start writing for all of you full time in September.

  1. Cynthia says:

    I made the chocolate chili for the first time yesterday, using little chunks of stew beef instead of ground beef. That stuff is magically delicious. It was all I could do not to faceplant in the pot.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Hey Melissa!

    What’s your go-to way for making your chicken breasts?

    • Mel says:

      It depends… if I’m making them for, like, a “real” dinner, then I use the Best Chicken Ever recipe ( )

      But when I just need them cooked so I have something to eat for breakfast, I have two methods:
      1. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and grill. 5 minutes per side.

      2. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder. Throw in a hot pan and brown on each side, maybe 3 minutes per side, then toss in the crockpot with 1/4 water + 1/4 lemon juice and cook on high for 3-4 hours.

      It’s not gourmet, but it’s an easy, fast way to cook high volume with almost no work.

      When it’s time to eat, I dice them and saute with vegetables. Meal=done.

      • Jennifer says:

        Awesome, thank you! I’ll give it a try. I like simple and easy, and doing everything on Sunday night for the week. Just haven’t perfected my chicken lunches yet!

        • Amy says:

          I roast mine in at 350 F until done (er, 30 min or so depending on the size of the chicken breast, but I’m also underdone mead paranoid). Before had I season them (salt & pepper or whatever), then dollop a chunk of butter on top before popping them into the oven. I flip them every 10 minutes so one side is down in the bubbling butter and chicken juices. Once the side that’s “up” more often is a little brown they are usually done. Then I shred or slice for eating.

          This is for simple chicken to add to lunches or slice for snacks, I get more ambitious for fancier dinners and such.

  3. Hannah says:

    OMG seriously, I make at least a single batch of chocolate chili every weekend and nom on it all week. It is usually my go to breakfast. A lot of times I add a buttload of mushrooms to add some magically delicious flavor and some non-protein bulk and it tastes amazing!

  4. Kathy says:

    Thanks for planting the chocolate chili idea. I rotate the same 4-5 things and forget successes from the past.
    When you make whipped coconut cream, do you use the whole can or do you let the ‘cream’ rise and just use that? Do you use an immersion blender or a mixer?
    Thanks, Mel!

  5. I meant to tell you that we did your chocolate chili last week, a double batch subbing 1lb ground beef with 1lb ground beef kidney. Topped it with avocado, green onions and peppers for those who wanted spicier. My daughter asked “momma, why is homemade always SO MUCH better than store bought?” Meaning, she really really enjoyed this. I have eaten chocolate in my chili for years but your recipe was spot on.

    Thanks, Mel! xo

    • Mel says:

      Those mods sound fantastic! Love the idea of adding organ meats. And I super love your daughter digging on the homemade food. That’s beautiful.

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