Did you guys know we’re officially halfway through winter? I guess we could take this as a glass half full/glass half empty situation. On the one hand: “Yay, winter’s half over!” On the other: “Boo, winter’s only half over!” I think I’ll try to take the glass half full approach, at least for now.
To get you through the mid-winter slump, this week’s Real Food Meal Plan is a collection of tried and true family favorites, including a grain-free spaghetti and meatballs that we’re bonkers for. These are the type of meals that can easily be pulled together to make the dark winter days a little brighter. Give a few a try this week!
Slow Cooker Chicken and Black Bean Taco Salad from Skinny Taste
- The ingredient list for this recipe couldn’t be simpler. Just be sure to check the ingredients of your taco seasoning and salsa. Some brands contains sugar and preservatives.
- This salad is great topped with guacamole or sliced avocado instead of cheese. A squeeze of lime and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil makes a speedy substitute for the buttermilk dressing.
- This slow cooker recipe is so versatile. Use the chicken-black-bean filling to top your salad and then offer tortillas for your family if they prefer tacos or burritos.
Turkey Kale Soup from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
- Sometimes simple recipes are the best. This one is a weeknight no-brainer, and makes great leftovers as well.
- Add a can of rinsed white beans along with the kale if you want extra fiber and protein.
- Some real-food sausage would also work in the place of turkey. Be sure to check the ingredients and use a variety free of sugar and preservatives.
Quinoa Veggie Fried “Rice” from Damn Delicious
- Fried rice is the perfect option for a night when you just don’t feel like cooking. Plus, it works well with any veggies you have, so don’t feel restricted by the veggies listed in the recipe.
- Cook a batch of quinoa early in the week and you’ll be able to pull dinner together in minutes.
- Use coconut aminos or tahmari in place of the soy sauce for a gluten free option.
Grain-Free Spaghetti and Meatballs from Against All Grain
- We are passionate about spaghetti and meatballs around here. Between my husband’s cravings for Upstate New York Italian-American food and my daughter’s obsession with all things pasta, I could make spaghetti and meatballs every night with no complaints. These days I prefer to make a grain-free option and this recipe fits the bill—kid and husband approved! I usually offer a choice of zoodles or spaghetti squash, and whole wheat pasta. Sometimes I’ll mix whole wheat spaghetti with zoodles for my daughter.
- Grass-fed beef can still be difficult to find in some areas, but I’ve seen it popping up more frequently. Call around in your area to find a store that carries it.
- You don’t have to use Pomi tomatoes, or make a tomato sauce from scratch. Just be sure you’re using a tomato product that lists tomatoes as the only ingredient, and look for a sauce that’s free of artificial ingredients, preservatives, and sugar.
- Bonus tip: Read the comments for info on an egg-free version of the meatballs.
Sweet Potato and Green Rice Burrito Bowls from Cookie & Kate
- If you have the time, definitely make this recipe as-is. If you don’t, here are some shortcuts: Skip the green rice and use regular brown rice. Replace the brown rice with quinoa for an even faster option. Heat the black beans with a sprinkle of granulated garlic and salt. Serve the grains on top of spinach to keep the green factor going.
- This recipe is pretty family friendly if you deconstruct the parts and serve all the parts separately.
- This filling also makes great tacos.