Serious Food Boredom


decker_bear

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Wondering if anyone has some suggestions to help with food boredom? If I have to eat chicken or ground beef again in the near future, I'm likely to throw a tantrum. I made a London broil last night and swordfish steaks the night before, but I could use some inspiration. Also having a hard time finding new veggies - I'm sick of green beans, Brussels sprouts, beets, sweet potatoes and squash (been using zucchini, summer, butternut, spaghetti and sweet dumpling pretty regularly). I have some cauliflower and broccoli at home I'll be using, but being that it's winter I wonder if maybe there's just not a ton of options. I'm open to creative ideas!

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Have you looked at the Whole30 shopping list for ideas for other protein options? The seasonal produce guide for other veggies? 

 

A scan through the Recipe Sharing forum, the Whole30 instagram account, http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/, http://nomnompaleo.com/, or moderator Tom Denham's website gives you a boatload of other options to consider.

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Part of the issue is cost - things like duck, buffalo, etc tend to be on the pricey side - but it may be better than a tantrum. Grass-fed ground beef, chicken and tilapia seem to be the most cost-effective for me and two dudes who have bottomless pits in their tummies. I used to bulk up the meals with beans, but obviously I don't do that anymore which makes it even more costly per meal. Sigh.

 

I read Nom-Nom Paleo's blog regularly, but I will definitely check out the others. Thanks!

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I tend to circulate chicken, beef, pork and fish through our menu every week.  And ya, it can get dull.  The trick is spices and sauces. Spice mixes and blends, dipping sauces and drizzles.  Different textures of the meat (chicken thighs sliced thin and fried vs roasted or baked, ground pork alternated with a pork loin).

 

Pork shoulder is awesome and not expensive and there are 8 zillion recipes for variations of that.

 

Sometimes when I can't think of what I want to serve, I try and think of what colors I want to see on the plate.  That led to one of our favourites, sautéed ground pork tossed in Well Fed sunshine sauce served over shredded red cabbage and green beans that were sautéed together in sesame oil.

 

Turn your ground beef into hamnburgers and top with almond butter and strawberry "jam" as seen in Wellfed 2 (basically just cook sliced strawberries for a short time with some lemon juice and powdered ginger).

 

Meatballs are a great choice for ground meats, I love to put water chestnuts minced up into my ground pork for meatballs, changes the texture.

 

Pork burgers are a staple in our house and go well with any side dish...and if you slice them in half after cooking and cooling, you can use them as a "bun" for an egg "mcmuffin" stuffed with spinach and egg and mayo mixed with Frank's Red Hot.

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Haha, come on over!  My husband caused The Greatest Stink Of All Time when I made the jam burgers the first time. Now he LOVES them and tells everyone he knows about the "weird but delicious food" his wife makes.

 

Ground pork is a staple for me, that would make me very sad.  BUT, I also make chicken & turkey burgers on the regular!

 

Ground chicken, sesame oil, fresh ginger, water chestnuts, fresh cilantro, garlic, S&P, a touch of tabasco, egg to make it the right texture

Ground turkey, 1 medium sweet potato, cooked and mashed up, fresh or dried thyme, sage & rosemary, a bit of almond flour, egg to make it the right texture, franks red hot if you want some kick, garlic, S&P

 

Do yourself a HUGE favour and buy Well Fed.  The first one has ALL the spice mixes and sauces that you would ever need. The second one has even more of them but the first one is best for foundation flavours to build off of.

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Spring for Well Fed and/or Well Fed 2. Well Fed is more basic but full of interesting flavors and dishes. It totally got me through the what to eat? phase you're going through now. Most Valuable to me was:

 

1. The Weekly Cookup section in which she instructs you how to pre-cook a ton of protein and veggies for the week in just one hour. That way when you get home on a weeknight you have meat & veggies to toss in a hot pan and dinner in 10 min or less. LIFESAVER!

 

2. The "Hot Plates" section where she tells you how to use all that cooked up food to make simple meals, fast and just change the meat type, veggie type, and spice/herb combo for totally different meals.

 

She also includes plenty of recipes that are a little more involved/fancy/exciting. Hardly any are really time consuming though, and all were really delicious!

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Haha, come on over!  My husband caused The Greatest Stink Of All Time when I made the jam burgers the first time. Now he LOVES them and tells everyone he knows about the "weird but delicious food" his wife makes.

 

That's really funny, because I was imaginging my BF and teenage son's reaction if I made jam burgers. Hilarious that your hubby responded the same way.

 

Looks like I have some cook books to buy!

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What is well fed?

Well Fed and Well Fed 2 are cookbooks written by Melissa Joulwan. She also blogs at The Clothes Make The Girl and has many of her recipes on the blog. Most of the things in both cookbooks are Whole30 compliant, I think there are one or two dessert-type recipes in each of them that aren't. 

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Keep an eye out for discount kindle books. I purchased Well Fed for 99 cents last year. I would check out her blog first. I only like 50 % of her recipes. For example I don't like her chocolate chili recipe but others love it. I believe there is a thread in this forum " who made what from well fed" that might help you decide. I also like nom nom paleo recipes. Good Luck!

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I cure "food boredom" with seasonal meat, veggie, and fruit options.  In my household, this is affectionally referred to as "du jour", such as "fruit du jour".  This literally means "fruit of the day".  I don't know where you live derrick_bear, but I live in the Pacific Northwest.  This time of year I have to rely on commercial sources because our farmer's market is closed and my garden is in a deep freeze.  My go to fruit this time of year is citrus...think fresh mandarine orange chicken.  Also think pears, pomegranates, grapefruits, cranberries (the winter berry) and apples.  I include "fruits du jour" in salads with balsamic vinegar which give a different flavor to the salads.  Think fresh cranberry relish for a poultry side.  I am also starting to see artichokes in the stores, but these are still expensive at about $3 each.  In a "normal" year, I pay $6/4 artichokes at Costco, but not sure what will happen this year due to the ongoing California drought.  When I cook artichokes, I cook 2-one for dinner and one for lunch the next day.  You have the root veggies and winter squash covered...my preference for winter squash is delicata.  Think about other in season crucifers to add your veggie list such as bok choy, napa cabbage, and red cabbage.  In the Pacific Northwest we also have seasonal meats.  My Costco carried really great fresh, wild-caught sockeye salmon from Alaska.  This was a steal at $8/lb and can only be describe as "melt in your mouth".  Again, I make enough for left overs such as salmon salad.  I roasted the salmon with fresh plums and fresh tarragon from my garden and the flavor was incredible!  My Costco also has fresh, wild-caught razor clams in season and I make Manhattan Clam Chowder.  When not in season, I can purchase cans, smoked, and frozen salmon/clams.  My local butcher has buffalo and elk.  I can get frozen mini wild-caught Oregon shrimp at my coop ($10/2 lbs).  These are pre-cooked and ready to eat when thawed.  Mushrooms are also a go to food for me.  I can get good deals on a variety of mushrooms at Costco and my local Walmart is now carrying "vitamin D enriched" mushrooms.  I make my own vitamin D mushrooms when we are not in the deep freeze.  I make a "creamy" miso mushroom soup using coconut oil to sauté the veggies and adding a couple of Tbs of raw cashew butter near the end of cooking.  Again...make a lot for lunches.  You can add spouts to your food and I grow my own in the winter for the exact reason you have stated...food boredom.  I hope this gives you some ideas...I love to eat good clean food, so I do a lot of experimental cooking.

 

P.S.  I do not each fresh green beans or summer squash this time of year, because it is out of season and really not very good tasting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Don't forget about new ways of cooking your vegetables!  

 

I love vegetables roasted, especially yams.  I roast my yams at 400 for an hour to an hour and a half (depending on the size), and only take them out when they're oozing all over the pan.  The sugar in them has started to carmelize, and it's to-die-for delicious, especially with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. 

 

I also make a mean roasted broccoli with garlic, basil, and lemon zest.  It's an Ina Garten recipe, but the original is non-Whole30 so I won't link it here (although easily modifiable).

 

And when all else fails, buy a really nice cut of meat, like a filet mignon, to remind yourself how good healthy food can taste.  I know it's expensive, and certainly doesn't fit as a regular part of many people's budget, but how much is your health worth? 

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  • 3 weeks later...

And when all else fails, buy a really nice cut of meat, like a filet mignon, to remind yourself how good healthy food can taste.  I know it's expensive, and certainly doesn't fit as a regular part of many people's budget, but how much is your health worth? 

It's funny you mention that.. my BF occasionally asks for filet mignon, but I've never cooked one and I'm TERRIFIED of ruining such a wonderful (expensive) piece of meat. I can hold my own in the kitchen, but if I'm "experimenting," I don't want to kill something expensive. Maybe I'll give it a shot. He'd be happy. :wub:

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It's funny you mention that.. my BF occasionally asks for filet mignon, but I've never cooked one and I'm TERRIFIED of ruining such a wonderful (expensive) piece of meat. I can hold my own in the kitchen, but if I'm "experimenting," I don't want to kill something expensive. Maybe I'll give it a shot. He'd be happy. :wub:

soooo easy its foolproof:  bring your filet to almost room temp. season front and back with kosher salt and cracked black pepper librally.  Put lots on--it creates a wonderful part of the crust.  Get your oven safe frying pan (i use a grill pan with ridges) screaming hot with a bit of olive oil and a pat of grass fed unsalted butter. (about a tablespoon of each) 

 

Place filet in pan and dont move it!!! Let it sear for 2-3 minutes on EACH side.  a tad longer if you like it more well done.  Pop it into the a preheated 400degree oven for 12-15 minutes.  I like medium rare so i often do about 15 minutes to get it to an internal temp of 145.  For medium-rare about 15  minutes to get an internal temp of about 145 .   Then let the steak rest on a plate for another 2-4 minutes to let the steak relax.  I usually cover very loosely with a piece of foil.  It is perfect every time.  I like to garnish my steak with another pat of grass fed butter and a sprinkle of fresh parsely.  hope that helps. 

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Hi Jcasar, butter is not compliant within a Whole30, grassfed or not. Folks on a Whole30 can substitute that butter for ghee, lard or any other compliant fat and should get the same result, it sounds tasty!

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  • 5 weeks later...

I totally agree with the previous poster who mentioned sauces and spices.  My favorite sauce at the moment is a take on a traditional mexican suizas:

 

2 lbs tomatillos (husks removed and well cleaned)

3-4 jalapenos (or less spicy peppers of your choosing)
1/2 an onion
4-6 cloves of garlic (more or less, to taste)
 
Set oven to broil (hi) and lay above ingredients on a foil lined baking sheet.  Broil for 7-10 minutes. Flip.  Broil 7-10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then add all ingredients to blender.  Blend thoroughly.  Once blended, send mixture through strainer to remove stems, seeds, and skins.  Discard contents of strainer.  Rinse blender, then put the strained mixture back in the blender with:
 
2 avocados
1 bunch cilatro
 
Blend until everything is incorporated.
 
Put on EVERYTHING.
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I tend to circulate chicken, beef, pork and fish through our menu every week.  And ya, it can get dull.  The trick is spices and sauces. Spice mixes and blends, dipping sauces and drizzles.  Different textures of the meat (chicken thighs sliced thin and fried vs roasted or baked, ground pork alternated with a pork loin).

 

Pork shoulder is awesome and not expensive and there are 8 zillion recipes for variations of that.

 

Sometimes when I can't think of what I want to serve, I try and think of what colors I want to see on the plate.  That led to one of our favourites, sautéed ground pork tossed in Well Fed sunshine sauce served over shredded red cabbage and green beans that were sautéed together in sesame oil.

 

Turn your ground beef into hamnburgers and top with almond butter and strawberry "jam" as seen in Wellfed 2 (basically just cook sliced strawberries for a short time with some lemon juice and powdered ginger).

 

Meatballs are a great choice for ground meats, I love to put water chestnuts minced up into my ground pork for meatballs, changes the texture.

 

Pork burgers are a staple in our house and go well with any side dish...and if you slice them in half after cooking and cooling, you can use them as a "bun" for an egg "mcmuffin" stuffed with spinach and egg and mayo mixed with Frank's Red Hot.

 

Yup. I love the frittatas and curries from the book, because it's easy to vary the protein and veggies with those dishes. My business is sporadic, so during lean weeks, I can use canned salmon, more eggs, and yams; during richer weeks I can use more steak, chicken, and pork. Great idea about the pork burgers and egg mcmuffin! 

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  • 1 month later...

soooo easy its foolproof:  bring your filet to almost room temp. season front and back with kosher salt and cracked black pepper librally.  Put lots on--it creates a wonderful part of the crust.  Get your oven safe frying pan (i use a grill pan with ridges) screaming hot with a bit of olive oil and a pat of grass fed unsalted butter. (about a tablespoon of each) 

 

Place filet in pan and dont move it!!! Let it sear for 2-3 minutes on EACH side.  a tad longer if you like it more well done.  Pop it into the a preheated 400degree oven for 12-15 minutes.  I like medium rare so i often do about 15 minutes to get it to an internal temp of 145.  For medium-rare about 15  minutes to get an internal temp of about 145 .   Then let the steak rest on a plate for another 2-4 minutes to let the steak relax.  I usually cover very loosely with a piece of foil.  It is perfect every time.  I like to garnish my steak with another pat of grass fed butter and a sprinkle of fresh parsely.  hope that helps. 

this is exactly the way I cook all my steaks and my husband, friends ect all rave and rave at how perfect the steak is every time. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Suggest trying cuisines with exotic favors for inspiration and to beat boredom. I've so far experimented with curries with coconut milk and great spices; as well as Vietnamese Phos or beef soup with lots of fresh herbs on top and minus the noodles ( zucchini noodles work well).

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