Make-Ahead Mayhem!

Spinach-Dijon Meatballs, Chicken Strips and Muffins.  Done.

Today was the first day in months that our family has hung about the house, without looming agenda or total exhaustion.  Though I don’t have dayhome kids on weekends, Saturdays from June through October I am usually on my own with our three girls, sometimes avoiding the house for most of the day so that my husband can sleep off a night shift.  It wears thin.

But today!  Today I went a little crazy in the kitchen and made things in bulk to prepare for the months ahead.  My lunch crowd is one 4 year-old, two three year-olds and two one year-olds.  Today’s work puts me in 5-minute hot lunch territory when I need to be there.

Spinach-Dijon Meatballs

  • 1 cup fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced
  • 2 kg ground turkey
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • 1/3 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c dijon mustard
  • sprinkle of black pepper

In a food processor, chop fresh spinach until it is fine – like parsley flakes.  Mince onion, then combine all ingredients thoroughly (I use my dough hook on the Bosch for speed, but a stand mixer or hands are fine).

Spoon teaspoon-sized (no bigger than 1 inch) balls onto cookie sheets and bake at 375 F for about 25 minutes.  Meatballs will brown slightly.  Recipe makes three very full cookie sheets or approx. 175 meatballs.  Cool, then freeze in bags.

To prepare, portion straight out of the freezer and heat on medium in a small amount of coconut milk.  These can be a little dry, so the coconut milk is the perfect “sauce” to create a little more softness and moisture.  If you are so inclined, you could certainly add more spinach or some finely chopped mushrooms to the recipe.  Covert vitamins!  Sneak in what you can!

Chicken Strips

These are standard fare, but this is the first time I have tried freezing them raw.  I used small strips of chicken breast rolled in a light coating of almond flour.  I wet the strips in milk first, but I ended up with too thick a coating – I think I’d rather leave it like more of a dusting next time (maybe dab them off with paper towels before rolling in flour?).  Certainly do not try shaking them in a bag in large batches… my almond flour quickly went wet and clumpy, spoiling a large amount of extra coating.  Rolling them in a shallow bowl was a little slower, but worth the time.

I froze my strips on cookie sheets and then bagged them a few hours later.

To prepare:  Straight out of the freezer and on the cookie sheet… 375 F for at least 30 minutes.  I make my strips quite small, but time will vary with thickness.

Muffins

Today I made Paleo Plan’s Carrot Banana Muffins, one of many favourites around here.  My on-going mission is to have a batch of primal-friendly muffins in the freezer by the end of each weekend.  Muffins can be a healthy accompaniment to breakfasts and school lunches, especially when they aren’t cake masquerading as food.  These ones have a pretty heavy glycemic load, but there are many options out there.  We like to mix it up to avoid boredom.

Ah, yes… they go in the freezer because it makes them less accessible.  I like them to last until Tuesday…

Here’s to primal convenience!

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