Monday, February 8, 2016

Squeaky Clean Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon + 30 Days of Dinner

I'm dreaming of the weather being just slightly warmer so that I can stand to stay outside and grill something for din. But until that happens, we'll keep cranking through slow cooked comfort foods. The kids LOVED this Bourguignon -- they chowed it down without noticing (or at least not caring) about all the veggies inside. I skipped thickening the broth (because I can't really stand many of the Paleo-friendly cooking starches) and just ladeled some of the broth over the meat when I served it. No complaints.

We just wrapped up our Whole30, but are sticking with clean eating as much as we can now that we've got a good system up and running. I've received several inquiries about how we manage doing a Whole30 with kids and, at the risk of getting too Paleo on you, I thought I'd share a few tips. And I actually think a lot of my "tips" apply to family healthy eating in general. To start, I think it is important to recognize that eating clean actually requires a lot of cooking. A lot. Now, I like to cook, so I don't mind. But if you don't or you don't have a lot of time to cook during the week, I suggest doing a big prep and cooking session one weekend day to set yourself up for a good week (Melissa Joulwan likes to call this her "Sunday cookup.").

If you're still on board, this is how I approach eating clean with the kids:

  • I don't eat grains, but I frequently make the kids an easy grain (or pseudo-grain) side dish to go with their dinner. It doesn't need to be fancy -- brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta are a quick thing to fix that helps make sure they are eating a fully balanced diet. 
  • Similarly, I often make the kids a separate easy veggie to supplement whatever vegetable I make for the adults. 
  • I did away with dessert during the week. Not only does this wipe out dinnertime negotiating, but I think decreasing their sugar intake allows them to more fully taste the healthy food and enjoy it. Plus it means less sweet distractions in the house for me. I make exceptions of course (um, hello Winter Storm Jonas), but otherwise desserts are usually reserved for the weekend. 
  • I stopped trying to impose any "amount" rules -- e.g., you must eat 1/2 of everything or try three bites, etc. I put a small amount of each food on their plate and they have to eat it. Or they don't get up (I also did away with the "if you don't want to eat it, don't" approach). I'm not trying to be mean or force feed them, but it makes them eat a balanced meal and then if they want more of something, they can have it. 
  • I keep a few healthy frozen or prepared foods on hand for the kids in case I know they really won't eat the main dish I make (e.g., they both still hate cooked fish or overly spicy dishes). So probably once a week they get an Amy's Kitchen frozen pizza or enchilada. 
  • When we get busy and I don't have a lot of time to cook, I whip up brinner. It's easy to quickly customize to everyone's taste (e.g., I'll make a breakfast hash and give everyone a little bit of what they like best). 

Other than the increase in cooking, I really don't find getting kids to eat cleanly to be any more difficult than getting them to eat regularly. Hope that helps!!

Squeaky Clean Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon
(slightly adapted from The Healthy Foodie)

- 2 lbs grass-fed beef stew meat
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, whole
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced

1. Pat the meat dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
2. Melt a generous amount of healthy cooking fat (such as lard, ghee, or coconut oil) in a heavy skillet set over hight heat.
3. Add the meat in a single layer, making sure the pieces do not touch, and cook until brown on all sides. Work in several batches if you have to so you don't overcrowd the pan. Remove the cooked pieces of meat to a bowl to collect the juices.
4. Once all the meat has been cooked and set aside, lower the heat to medium, add a little more fat to the pan if necessary then throw in the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onion is fragrant and becomes translucent.
5. Add the broth, red wine vinegar, and dijon mustard and bring to a simmer. Add the meat and meat juices back to the skillet, stir, and kill the heat.
6. Transfer to slow cooker, add carrots, mushrooms, rosemary, and bay leaves.
7. Cook the stew on low for 8 hours or on high for 6 hours.
8. Remove rosemary and bay leaves and serve immediately.

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30 Days of Dinner

Day 1(W) -- Chili for a Crowd (left out beans and added 1/2 red bell pepper and 1/2 yellow bell pepper).
Day 2 (Th) -- Spicy Burgers with Pesto (left out feta); sweet potato fries.
Day 3 (F) -- Honey-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Apple-Potato Puree; green beans.
Day 4 (Sat) -- dinner out.
Day 5 (Sun) -- Greek Beef Stew; Twice-Baked Potatoes (regular potatoes, minus cheese and sweets).

Day 6 (M) -- One Skillet Mediterranean Chicken; riced cauliflower.
Day 7 (T) -- Honey Chipotle Meatballs; sweet potato hash.
Day 8 (W) -- leftovers.
Day 9 (Th) -- Veggie omelets, chicken sausage, and roasted potatoes.
Day 10 (F) -- Shredded Beef with Lime and Avocado; kids had tortillas, we had leftover potatoes.
Day 11 (Sat) -- dinner out.
Day 12 (Sun) -- dinner out. 

Day 13 (M) -- Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Soup; mixed green salad.
Day 14 (T) -- Mexican Meatloaf; mashed potatoes with rosemary; green beans. The meatloaf was REALLY spicy, so I made the kids quick chicken tacos.
Day 15 (W) -- Cincinnati Chili 
Day 16 (Th) -- leftovers.
Day 17 (F) -- Chicken Meatballs with Garlic Kale Marinara; spaghetti squash; kids had pasta. The kids LOVED it and I love that they ate all the extra veggies without noticing.
Day 18 (Sat) -- Swirly Crustless Quiche; Grilled Squash and Pineapple; apple chicken sausage.
Day 19 (Sun) -- dinner out. 

Day 20 (M) -- dinner out.
Day 21(T) -- Mediterranean Turkey Burgers; Roasted Radishes and Cauliflower 
Day 22 (W) -- Breakfast Hash -- I like these Food52 guidelines on making a hash without a recipe. I used potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, onion, and avocado on ours.
Day 23 (Th) -- The Perfect Burger; baked fries; carrots.
Day 24 (F) -- Roasted Italian Sausage with Onions and Peppers.
Day 25 (Sat) -- dinner out.
Day 26 (Sun) -- Classic Meatloaf; green beans. 

Day 27 (M) -- Shrimp with Scallions and Crispy Potatoes; kids had pizza :)
Day 28 (T) -- Squeaky Clean Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon; potato hash; Sautéed Red Cabbage with Onions and Apples 
Day 29 (W) -- leftovers.
Day 30 (Th) -- Lemon Spaghetti with Turkey Sausage and Spinach, but I left out the noodles, added two tomatoes, and served it over spaghetti squash. 


DSquared said...

Hi! I just found your blog and I love it. Thanks for writing! I love your recipes -- are you dairy-free?

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