I don’t know about your family, but we have hit a financial wall after the holidays. Actually, we may have knocked a hole in the wall and found ourselves on our rear ends outside. We didn’t spend that much on gifts for our kids this year, but we did have some very unexpected expenses this winter that put an enormous dent on the once relatively plentiful bank account. Combine that with the January 1 HOA fees that are now (over)due and you’ve got a family who is pinching pennies in the grocery store.
People who are hard-core Paleo or Primal may not like some of the things I’m about to admit to, but we are a middle class family and we do what we have to do to to put food on the table for our family of 5.
There was a time that we ate free-range meat and organic produce. That time has come and gone, and we are now back to eating Industrial Meat. No matter HOW we squeeze it, there is NO other area in our lives that we can cut money out in order to afford higher quality meat and produce. There just isn’t. If you can afford that stuff, I completely envy you, however; I know that many families are struggling to provide food for their families, and I would like to reach out to those people specifically right now.
Of course having high quality meat on the table is ideal, but unfortunately not everyone is in an ideal financial situation, and you do NOT have to be well off to eat well and be healthy. I often hear from people that they “can’t afford Paleo”. It’s simply NOT TRUE. You CAN afford Paleo, you just have to do it in a way that is affordable to you until you can afford to buy higher quality foods. It is what it is. I think you’ll find that you are replacing your $3.50 bag of chips with a $3 bag of kale (to make into chips) and that sometimes, you can actually spend less per week on groceries.
SO, what I’m admitting to you is that I buy my meat at Walmart, Target, and the other local grocery stores when they have sales. Is it ideal? Nope. But it’s the best I can do, and if that is the best you can do too, please just embrace it.
Because of the financial wall, this week’s menu is going to be as inexpensive as I can possibly get it, as I’m sure we’re not the only family struggling after the holidays.
I have also included some quick-prep meals because I know that many of us are trying to find more time this new year. I have been spending more time in the gym the past several weeks and it really cuts into my time in the kitchen. Time does NOT have to be against you in your quest to find health, so I’m going to do my best to keep in mind that many of us are time-crunched and work easier meals into my menus each week.
AND, by popular request, I have included a few breakfast and lunch ideas as well. I will let you organize these on your own calendar according to your schedule.
Then of course, there’s the ever amazing shopping list ALL READY FOR YOU to print off and take to the grocery store.
Now without further ado, here is the menu for our family this week:
I usually just have 2 scrambled eggs and a piece of fruit for breakfast but so many of you asked for breakfast ideas so I’m including a few of my other favorite morning indulgences here. OH! And bacon. I forgot bacon. Always lots of bacon. I’ve only put three breakfast ideas below, but these recipes should feed you for a couple of days, and give you at least a little morning flexibility.
Autumn Spice No-oatmeal
One of my favorite cold weather breakfasts is OATMEAL! Only…oats are a grain, and we don’t eat grains. I first found a No-oatmeal recipe in Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals Cookbook. While it isn’t exactly like oatmeal, it is a darned good substitute. Now No-oatmeal is my favorite cold weather breakfast, and it really doesn’t take much time at all to make. There are also some fantastic No-oatmeal recipes online like this one from The Foodie & The Family. (Who, by the way, is really the reason I went Paleo to begin with) This recipe adds a nice spice to the meal and will definitely warm your palate.
Apple Bumpkin Breakfast Bake
This is a mouthwatering breakfast bake that you can make ahead of time and munch on as you run out the door, or enjoy with your coffee & coconut milk. One reason I think we struggle with breakfast where Paleo is concerned, is that we don’t want to cook first thing in the morning. I totally get that. But if you think and bake ahead, you can and will find success. Start with this yummy nom nom and you won’t regret it.
Mini Egg Pizzas
This is a favorite in our family. We eat these little egg pies for dinner AND breakfast. Make these ahead of time then microwave a few before you leave the house in the morning. There are options to add your own veggies according to your tastes so keep that in mind when making your shopping list. You won’t miss the cheese on these – it tastes like it’s in there!
Leftover Pork Scramble:
SO easy. We’re having Pulled Pork for dinner one night this week and it’s going to make oodles of leftovers. You can find a picture of what Paleo Pot did with their leftovers here.
Or you can simply scramble some eggs then top with reheated pulled pork & a dollop of salsa or homemade BBQ sauce for a hearty, delicious, protein-filled way to start your day. If you’re feeling really saucy, saute some mushrooms before you scramble your egg. Delish!
In regards to a Paleo lifestyle, I struggle most with lunch. I used to eat sandwiches EVERY SINGLE DAY. What the heck do I do? I’ve found some DELICIOUS salads that will last a few days in the refrigerator. I also eat lunch meat with some lettuce rolled up inside of it, a spoonful of nut butter, and a piece of fruit. I also eat a TON of leftovers for lunch. You don’t need a recipe for THAT, so I’ve included just a couple of my favorite lunch salads. Your kids may or may not eat these, but at least YOU can. Adding these was a bit of an afterthought so I promise to spend more time putting together some lunch ideas next week.
Eggplant & Fennel Salad:
Because I am a blogger with integrity, and this recipe cannot be found on the internet, I am not including the recipe in this post. You can purchase the cookbook from Amazon by clicking this little picture. This cookbook has been one of the best Paleo investments I have made. FULL of quick and easy meals that I use often. If you are going to follow along with our Meal Planning, you might want to scoop this book up ASAP. I HAVE included the ingredients in my shopping list.
Cauliflower Salad with Vegetables:
This my new favorite lunch. The lime juice and radish add just the right amount of flavor that I don’t think this salad requires any more salt or pepper. It only goes about 3 days in my refrigerator before it becomes bitter so make sure you eat it once you make it. It’s DELICIOUS. Seriously. I originally found this in Make it Paleo
but you can also find the recipe online at The Food Lovers Kitchen.
Beef & Sweet Potato Hash:
OK so this is less of a salad and more of a dinner-ish item, but it’s a great, hearty lunch and takes about 20 minutes to whip together. I put some ketchup on it for the kids and they eat it then ask for seconds. True story. This is another fantastic Paleo recipe from The Foodie & The Family. Tara probably doesn’t even know I still use her website for recipes all the time. If you’re not a big fan of sweet potatoes, you can use acorn or butternut squash for a different taste.
See? Not many lunches. I think you will find plenty of leftovers this week, though. If you have something in particular that you miss eating all the time, please let me know and we’ll create a substitute together!
Paleo dinner is much easier to figure out, isn’t it? Unless you’re so used to eating pasta every night of the week that you can’t see straight. This week is all about ease and INexpense. I have a bunch of ground beef in my freezer that is begging to be used, and one roast so I am going to incorporate those into the menu this week.
Stuffed Acorn Squash:
OK so this recipe calls for sausage but I’m using ground beef. I put sausage on the shopping list, adjust it accordingly if you have ground beef you can use in your refrigerator. I personally think this stands on its own as a meal, but if you’d like to add a side item to your shopping list, go ahead and do so.
Pot Roast and Roasted Veggies:
There is no recipe I’m sending you to for this. It’s VERY easy. Simply buy a pot roast 3-5 lbs and season with kosher salt & pepper. Place in your crock pot then add about 1″ of beef stock. Cook on low for approximately 8 hours. When you get home from work (or about 40 minutes before you plan to eat), preheat your oven to 400*. Chop broccoli and cauliflower into florets, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, then roast in preheated oven for 35 minutes. This is simple, flavorful, and hearty. If you don’t already roast your vegetables, you need to start. It really adds a new flavor profile to everything.
I LOVE and miss real tacos, but nothing gets closer than a homemade taco salad, or taco ingredients rolled in a fat Romaine leaf. On this website, you will see arrows next to the recipe name. Hit the arrow pointing up because I increased this recipe to feed 8 people in the shopping list. WHY? Because The Workaholic will eat at least 3 servings worth and I want leftovers for the next day. I know, I’m brilliant. ALSO PLEASE NOTE: This recipe calls for ground Bison. I put ground beef on the shopping list because we’re going for inexpensive this week and bison is not inexpensive. If you want ground bison, please substitute 2lb of ground beef on the shopping list for 2lb of ground Bison.
Here’s another Paleo crock pot meal! We’re going to make at least one other meal out of this roast so make sure you buy closer to a 6lb shoulder if you have a big family like we do. Now see the Breakfast menu for an idea on what to do with the leftovers.
Mustard Chicken Thighs:
Are you in need of some moist chicken in your life? Chicken Thighs are your guy. They’re so moist and delicious, not to mention much cheaper than those pesky, dry breasts. Who needs breasts anyways?! Pair this with cauliflower
Super Fast Slow Cooker Meat Loaf:
Who doesn’t love a meat loaf?! I stinkin’ love meat loaf. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss those day-after meatloaf sandwiches too. *drool* Anyways, I now use some Boston Butter Lettuce to wrap a slice of meat loaf in for a delicious leftover inspired lunch. Add that to your lunch list up there! PaleoPot has perfected Paleo meat loaf in a crock pot. This IS real life, folks. It is. Now your dinner can be ready for you when you get home from work, or from ballet, or from whatever crazy schedule thing you have going on this week. I always serve our meat loaf with mashed cauliflower and shredded, sauteed Brussels sprouts.
Chili Cilantro Lime Crock Pot Chicken:
I have a confession: I haven’t made this one yet so this will be my first time. I am SO excited about it, though. Once you see the photo of it, you’ll want to try it too. And yes, another crock pot meal. I hope you have lots of Tupperware, or multiple Crock Pots, because you’ll need them this week. A whole chicken is enough for our family of 5 and we sometimes have leftovers, depending on the size of the chicken. They are also inexpensive, delicious, and easy to make. We are serving this Paleo Crock Pot Chicken with roasted broccoli.
Click on this link for your printable shopping list
If you’re craving something specific, let me know and I’ll be happy to add it to next week’s menu!
And don’t forget to get these cookbooks from Amazon as soon as you possibly can. I cook from these A LOT, and would be lost without them.