We’re in the final stretch of preparations for the Charlotte Mason Educational Retreat this week which means I am running around trying to get all the last-minute stuff done! As such, today’s post is one I’ve shared before but I decided to share it again as I’m constantly updating it and I know I’m usually on the lookout for new real food recipes to add to our meal rotation, so I thought I’d share some of the ones we like!
Food is very important to me and I love finding meals that will not only bring our family around the table each day and fill bellies, but also include foods that I know will nourish our bodies and keep them healthy. I sincerely believe in the healing power of food for both the body and the mind. Adhering to this, however, isn’t always easy with a full schedule of homeschooling, trying to make sure my home is maybe at least kinda-sorta clean, and other responsibilities. So when I find a recipe that includes real, whole foods but is still practical to whip up on any given weeknight, I consider it a win.
This list comprises my go-to, real food recipes and includes the tried-and-true favorites that we usually have on a monthly basis (if not more in some cases). When I’m not sure what meals to plan for the week, I can load this post and see what I have to choose from. Easy peasy!
I do want to add that though these meals won’t take hours, they’re definitely not 5-minute meals. When I consider trying a new recipe, speed is definitely a factor as I obviously don’t want to be making a 6-course meal every night, but it’s not necessarily my top goal as I’ve found that making things with fewer processed foods does just take more time. The trade-off is worth it to me and I find that most of these recipes take about an hour or less. Of course, you may be a gourmet cook and able to whip them up in 15 minutes. If so, I’m jealous and you should feel free to move in with me. 🙂 Either way, once I’ve made them a few times, I get faster and more efficient, so I try to give a new recipe a few tries before I dump it because it takes too long.
Weeknight Real Food Recipes
In the past we’ve gotten a quarter cow at least once per year and you can also find them in your neck of the woods through Eat Wild. It’s the cheapest way to get grass-fed beef and to stock your freezer with ground beef, roasts, and steaks without breaking the bank. It’s also quite a bit more convenient to have all that meat sitting in the freezer than having to buy it at the store each week! More recently, I’ve just been ordering 10 lbs. of ground beef from our raw milk dairy as it’s easier and cheaper in this season of life for us. Azure Standard also offers good prices on grass-fed beef.
I’ve broken this category down even further because that’s how I’ve meal planned for each week in the past. We have ground beef usually twice a month as I have the most of that, then roasts (if I have them) usually once a month, then another week of steaks or stew meat. This makes our stash last as long as possible.
- Beef Tinaktak
- Italian Meatloaf
- Lazy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (we leave out the rice)
- Meat Sauce (my slightly different version is here – we serve this with roasted spaghetti squash with occasional GF noodles)
- Pan-Fried Burgers (4 patties from 1 pound of ground beef and 1/2 teaspoon salt, fried in ghee – usually served bun-less or with the Simple Mills Artisan Bread Mix for buns)
- Nourishing Meat Loaf (from Nourishing Meals – we leave out the egg as C is allergic to egg whites)
- Salisbury Steak
- Sloppy Joes (from Nourishing Meals – with the Simple Mills Artisan Bread Mix for buns or on top of baked potatoes)
- Swedish Meatballs (I just make a reduction sauce from stock instead of the gravy method she describes)
- Tacos (we love the Siete tortillas and taco shells)
I used to be part of a local chicken CSA that I really liked and they provided us with a monthly bundle of hens, leg quarters, wings, and necks and we just had to go and pick them up. Due to various factors (mainly the long drive and cost during a time of no employment), we decided to not renew it, but I’d love to find another good, reasonably priced local source of chicken. Until then, we get Mary’s Chicken at Natural Grocers and Azure Standard as well as Coleman Chicken at Costco.
- Almond Flour Chicken Fingers
- Bacon Ranch Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
- Coconut-Lime Chicken with Almond Dipping Sauce (from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook)
- Indian Chicken Curry (from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook)
- One Pan Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies (I make it slightly differently – you can see my version here)
- Sheet Pan Fajitas (served with or without grain-free tortillas which are cheaper at Natural Grocers)
- Sheet pan Greek Chicken and Vegetables
- Sheet Pan Teriyaki Chicken with Vegetables (I use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce – my slightly different version is here)
I buy canned salmon in bulk from Amazon Subscribe and Save. While not ideal, canned salmon is still nutrient dense and a lot more affordable than fresh or frozen. I also buy wild-caught, frozen cod and salmon at Costco.
- Baked Cod with Old Bay Seasoning and Tartar Sauce (I use that recipe to bake the code, but leave out the lemon)
- Maryland Crab Cakes with Homemade Tartar Sauce (from Without Grain)
- Twice Laid (from Irish Traditional Cooking)
- Poached Salmon with Irish Butter Sauce (this is also good with just melted butter – from Irish Traditional Cooking)
- Salmon Cakes (from Practical Paleo)
- Creamy Sausage Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash (I cook the spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot and leave out the crushed red pepper)
- One-Pan Healthy Sausage and Veggies (we usually leave the cheese out and don’t serve it with rice or quinoa)
- Paleo Egg Roll in a Bowl (you can also use ground pork – I’ll occasionally serve this with soaked white rice)
- Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Kale (I used pork sausage instead of turkey sausage)
- Sausage and Potato Casserole
- Sausage, Peppers and Onions
Breakfast for Supper
- Cheesy Sausage with Spinach Baked Ramekin Eggs (from The Breakfast Revolution)
- Denver Scramble
- Irishman’s Omelet (from Irish Traditional Cooking)
- Kale and Egg Scramble (from Nourishing Meals)
- Spanish Omelet
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Chicken and Wild Rice Soup with Mushrooms (I soak the rice for this ahead of time)
- Instant Pot Hamburger Soup
- Italian Wedding Soup with Meatballs (I take a little out of the pot for C before I add the egg)
- Simple Garlic Chicken Soup
- Simple Potato Soup
- Simple Tomato Soup
- Acorn Squash with Maple Butter Sauce
- Carrots Vichy
- Cucumber Dill Salad (from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook)
- French Fries
- Fried Peppers and Onions
- Garlic-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- Kale Chips
- Oven Roasted Broccoli (I use butter instead of olive oil as a taste preference)
- Roasted Beets and Carrots (or, pretty much any kind of roasted root vegetable can be used here)
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts (I use butter instead of coconut oil)
- Roasted Cauliflower (from Nourishing Meals)
- Roasted Herb Sweet Potato Bites
- Rosemary Potatoes
- Sautéed Spinach
- Sautéed Spinach and Caramelized Onions
- Steamed Broccoli (trim stems and chop broccoli heads, steam for 10 minutes and mix with lots of butter and salt)
- Coconut Flour Flatbreads (from Nourishing Meals)
Desserts and Snacks
- Almost Oatmeal Cookies (and, really, almost anything from Everyday Grain-Free Baking!)
- Apple Sauce & Apple Chips
- Blueberry Muffins
- Chocolate Walnut Brownies (from Nourishing Meals)
- Cocoa Mole Smoothie (from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook – I use maple syrup and leave out the chili powder)
- Mango Banana Almond Smoothie (from Nourishing Meals)
- Nutty Chocolate Chunk Cookies (from Everyday Grain-Free Baking)
- Pumpkin Pie
- Simple Apple Dip
- Ultimate Cookie Bars (from Everyday Grain-Free Baking)
For breakfast, we have the same thing nearly every day because who has time to come up with something different every day? During the week I make scrambled eggs for B, my husband, and myself (sometimes with kale). If I’m ambitious, early in the week I’ll make up a batch of chicken sausage from Nourishing Meals for C, but otherwise she’ll get an Applegate Farms chicken and apple sausage. They also get yogurt and a banana. If we’re short on time (especially on homeschool co-op days), both kids will get chicken sausage and I will usually make apple cinnamon cottage cheese bowls for my husband and me. He also makes coffee for himself. I’m not much of a coffee girl, so I’ll usually have a mug of oolong tea with breakfast that lasts into our lesson time.
For lunch we go through a rotation. The kids will have leftovers, hot dogs, cheese, tuna, summer sausage, sardines, or some other kind of protein along with cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, pepper slices, olives, peas, or some other kinds of veggies along with a ferment like pickles or sauerkraut. I’ll usually have leftovers, tuna, or hodge podge something together from whatever I have in the fridge. Sometimes we’ll have crackers as well.
Favorite Recipe Sites
I get a lot of my real food recipes from Pinterest, but there are also a few sites that consistently offer meal ideas we really like:
- Simply Recipes – This is good for traditional favorites, though sometimes we have to alter the ingredients to match our way of eating.
- The Domestic Man – I love this site for more exotic meals that I’ve never heard of before. 🙂 There are some that are a little complicated, but most of the ones he offers are easy to pull together for an evening meal.
- Budget Bytes – Beth is a former client and I love her site for very simple recipes that are broken down by cost per meal or serving.
- Nourishing Meals – This site is run by the author of my very favorite cookbook and includes many of the recipes in all of her cookbooks.
I will definitely be revisiting this list from time to time and adding new recipes or removing recipes we don’t have as much anymore. If you have any recipes your family loves, feel free to leave a comment!