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 month, 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
We get a beef quarter at least once per year from our raw milk dairy 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! I’ve also gotten ground beef, steak, and roasts when we’ve run out from ButcherBox (get $30 off your first order with my link!).
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
- Ground Beef Taco Salad
- Instant Pot Beef Stew
- Italian Meatloaf
- Lazy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (we leave out the rice)
- Meat Loaf (from Nourishing Meals – we leave out the egg as C is allergic to egg whites)
- Meat Sauce (my slightly different version is here – we serve this with roasted spaghetti squash or occasionally with 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)
- Salisbury Steak
- Shepherd’s Pie (from Irish Traditional Cooking)
- Shepherd’s Pie Loaded Baked Potatoes
- Sloppy Joes (from Nourishing Meals – on top of baked potatoes)
- Spaghetti Dinner
- Swedish Meatballs (I just make a reduction sauce from stock instead of the gravy method she describes)
- Tacos (we use the Siete tortillas and taco shells or Food for Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas)
- Beef Pot Roast with Red Wine and Thyme
- Beef Brisket Pot Roast (this is our traditional Christmas dinner – soooo easy and soooo tasty)
- Sheet Pan Nachos with Slow Cooker Beef Roast (we use the Siete grain-free tortilla chips)
- Braised Steak with Red Wine
- Cast Iron Skillet Steak
- Mongolian Beef and Veggies (with soaked Basmati white rice)
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 through Azure Standard (which I appreciate because I can buy it in bulk) and Natural Grocers.
- Almond Flour Chicken Fingers
- Coconut-Lime Chicken with Almond Dipping Sauce (from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook)
- Garlic Butter Baked Chicken Thighs
- Home-style Chicken and Vegetable Stew (from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook)
- Honey Spice Chicken Thighs with Roasted Vegetables
- Indian Chicken Curry (from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook – with soaked Basmati white rice)
- One Pan Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies (I make it slightly differently – you can see my version here)
- One-Pan Paprika Chicken with Potatoes and Tomatoes
- Sheet Pan Fajitas (served with or without grain-free tortillas)
- 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 as well as wild-caught, frozen salmon and cod from Costco (or cod through Azure Standard if Costco is out). We have crab once in a great while and I usually just pick up a can of that at Natural Grocers.
- Baked Cod with Old Bay Seasoning and Tartar Sauce (I use that recipe to bake the cod, but leave out the lemon)
- Cod with Tomato and Herb Butter
- Garlic Butter Baked Cod
- 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)
- Pizza (we make this crust with pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese and then everyone gets to pick their own toppings like sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, bell peppers, etc.)
- 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
- 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
- Simple Garlic Chicken Soup
- Simple Potato Soup
- Simple Tomato Soup
- Super Immune-Boosting Chicken Soup (I make a big batch of this and freeze it so it’s ready whenever any of us is sick)
- Tomato, Beef, and Cabbage Soup
- Zuppa Toscana
- 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 Butternut Squash with Raisins and Shallots (from Nourishing Meals)
- 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)
- Sweet Potato Wedges (from The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children)
- 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). Because C can’t have egg whites, I usually make a batch of breakfast chicken sausage from Nourishing Meals for her. They also get yogurt and a banana and a few times a week I’ll serve soaked oatmeal with ground flaxseeds, butter, and maple syrup. In the past or if we’re short on time, I also 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 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, chicken salad, or some other kind of protein along with cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, pepper slices, olives, peas, or some other kinds of veggies as well as a ferment like pickles or sauerkraut. I’ll usually have leftovers, tuna, or hodgepodge 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 one of my very favorite cookbooks and includes many of the recipes in all of her cookbooks.
- Raising Generation Nourished – I have her Little Lunchbox Cookbook and the majority of the recipes I’ve made for my family that she created have been approved by all of us which is a rare feat.
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!