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My Meal Rotation: Low-FODMAP AIP Recipe Roundup

This post is part of the Meal Ideas series. Finding something to eat that is simultaneously affordable, quick to prepare, healthy, AND delicious can be next-to-impossible sometimes. In this section I post pictures of the food I make, links to recipes I love, and some tips for saving time and money while still cooking great-tasting healthy food.

In the guest post I wrote for The Paleo Mom blog, I suggested that a useful way to save time in the kitchen is to use a standard meal rotation: a list of several recipes (enough for a few weeks’  worth of meals) that you know how to make quickly and easily and that your family loves. This can be helpful because, by using the same recipes frequently, you’ll learn to make them faster and more easily and, by using the recipes on a rotating basis, your family won’t get tired of eating the same food all the time.

After I posted that, I received several comments asking for examples of this sort of meal rotation. I have decided, therefore, to share with you the meal rotation list that I currently use, including links to some of my favourite go-to recipes.

Because the meal ideas shared below are the ones I currently use in my rotation, they all adhere to a low-FODMAP, autoimmune protocol (AIP) paleo diet and contain modifications to that effect. For those of you who are able to tolerate high-FODMAP vegetables and/or nightshades, I highly recommend that you include a larger variety of vegetables in your side dishes. More advice on how to modify this meal rotation to fit your individual lifestyle and needs will be listed later.

1. Slow-cooked whole chicken with lemon and rosemary / roasted carrots and parsnips / steamed zucchini

2. Beef roast with gravy (omit the garlic, fennel, and Yorkshire pudding) / mashed rutabaga / roasted green beans

3. Panfried fish (any kind) marinated with herbs de provence and lemon / mashed turnip / cucumber salad (only use green parts of green onions)

4. Slow-cooked beef tongue / mofongo (mashed plantain with bacon) / braised kale

5. AIP hidden-liver meatloaf  (omit the celery, onion, garlic, paprika, fennel, and cayenne) / mixed green salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar / roasted carrots

6. Shrimp stir fry with kelp noodles, shredded carrots, baby bok choy, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts (based on this recipe for shrimp chow mein)

7. Bun-less burgers (replace guacamole with homemade basil pesto) / kale chips / carrot fries

8. Bacon-wrapped chicken thighs / plantain chips / steamed zucchini

9. Zucchini lasagna (follow the low-FODMAP modifications) / mixed green salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar / roasted parsnips

10. Panfried shrimp marinated in herbes de provence and lemon / zucchini “pasta” (omit garlic and walnuts) / steamed carrots

11. Beef liver (omit onions) / mashed rutabaga / braised chard

12. Beef heart soup with ginger, carrots, parsnips, and kale (recipe coming soon)

13. Herb-crusted pork loin (omit garlic and paprika) / carrot and ginger soup (omit onions and garlic) / braised kale

14. Beef stew with turnips and greens (omit onions and garlic)

In my household (two people and occasional guests) these 14 meals generally last us for 4 weeks: I make 4-6 servings of each, enough for one freshly-cooked meal and one meal of leftovers. (A serving size in my house is generally 6-8 oz of meat with 2-4 cups of vegetables on the side). To modify this for a larger household, I recommend doubling or even tripling the recipes so that they can feed more people.

To devise your own meal rotation, pick out recipes that you know well and that you really enjoy. Pay attention to how long each meal takes to cook: if you don’t have much time for cooking, opt for slow cooker recipes and ones that can quickly be fried up in a pan on the stove. Also pay attention to the relative prep times and cooking methods of your side dishes: don’t plan to cook two things in the oven at the same time but different temperatures, because it’s not going to work. Moreover, it’s important to balance the relative difficulty-level of the main dishes and side dishes: if you plan to prepare an elaborate main dish, keep the side dishes simple, and vice versa.

Once you have your meal rotation planned, test it out. Pay attention to how long it takes to prep and cook a certain meal and how to time your prep so that everything’s ready for the table at approximately the same time. This sort of information can be really useful when you’re deciding when to use that recipe again: is it more suited to a weeknight? or a weekend? should you prep the side dishes 30 minutes before the main dish is out of the oven? If you’re particularly keen, you can take a moment to write these notes on the recipe so you’ll have them for future reference.

While it’s nice to rely on the same meal rotation all the time, it’s a good idea to switch a few of the meals up every so often, especially to account for seasonal availability and cooking methods. The meals listed above are part of my winter menu and therefore contain a large number of starchy root vegetables, which are the only local veggies available in my area this time of year. I also opt more for roasted vegetables and wilted/braised greens in the winter, whereas in the summer I go for fresh salads. Modifying your meal rotation every three or four months to fit the seasons can also keep your meals from getting boring or repetitive.

However you choose to modify your meal rotation plan, I hope you’ll find it to be a helpful, time-saving tool for your kitchen.

Have any other meal rotation ideas or tips? Post them in the comments below!

Meal Ideas: Chicken Thighs with Squash Fries and Braised Greens

This post is part of the Meal Ideas series. Finding something to eat that is simultaneously affordable, quick to prepare, healthy, AND delicious can be next-to-impossible sometimes. In this section I post pictures of the food I make, links to recipes I love, and some tips for saving time and money while still cooking great-tasting healthy food.

Chicken thighs with butternut squash fries and braised rainbow chard

Chicken thighs with butternut squash fries and braised rainbow chard

As the weather has gotten progressively colder over the last month, I have found my mind more and more frequently turning to meals like this one. There’s something about fall weather that just begs for roasted squash or root vegetables, and the chicken — with crispy skin right out of the oven — seems like the perfect pairing.

This is a great meal to make for company because all of the prep can be done ahead of time: all that’s left to do right before dinner is to quickly braise the greens and to take the chicken and fries out of the oven.

Ingredients

  • 6-10 Chicken thighs (however many will fit on your baking sheet)
  • 1 Butternut squash (a few sweet potatoes would also work well)
  • 1 bunch swiss chard (or kale or spinach or a combination)
  • 3-6 Tbsp coconut oil (or other cooking fat)
  • 2 tsp herbes de provence
  • salt and pepper
  • water

Tools

  • vegetable peeler
  • 2 baking sheets
  • parchment paper
  • frying pan

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F
  2. Peel and cut the squash according to these instructions. Cut into fry-shaped wedges or 1″ cubes, depending on your preference.
  3. Place parchment paper on each baking sheet
  4. Melt coconut oil
  5. Spread out squash pieces on one baking sheet.
  6. Toss with 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Place chicken thighs on the other baking sheet
  8. Mix the herbes de provence with 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil. Spread over the chicken thighs.
  9. Place both baking sheets in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Flip squash half-way through (20 minutes).
  10. After about 30 minutes, roughly chop the greens, removing the stems.
  11. Place frying pan on the stove over medium-high heat and add remaining coconut oil to the pan.
  12. Sauté greens along with coconut oil and some water according to these instructions.
  13. When the greens are fully wilted, serve alongside the chicken thighs and squash fries.