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Our Three Favorite Quick and Easy Meal Hacks During the Busy Holiday Season


a pan full of turkey slices and colorful veggies

Where does the time go? This is a question we find ourselves asking often when the days are shorter and suddenly it's dinnertime again, but first there's that school pageant costume to create, cookies for the neighbors to exchange, and oh yea, that office party to get ready for! So much fun to be had that we really don't want to miss, but we still need to FEED THE PEOPLE! Have no fear! We have easy meal hacks that happen to be healthy too!


Our 3 Favorite Easy Meal Hacks


1. Crock Pot Meals

I mean come on, for an easy meal, whoever invented the crock pot was an absolute genius! And don't get us started on our love for the Instant Pot! Without further ado, we give you the best spot for all delicious made-in-a-pot recipes: Real Food Whole Life


bowl of turkey chili with a lime

BONUS RECIPE FAVORITE!

Turkey Apple Chili


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 2 pounds 93% lean dark meat ground turkey

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon mild chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce

  • 1 cup apple cider

  • 2 medium apples, any kind, cored and chopped

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • Chopped scallion and cilantro for serving, optional


DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often until soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add the turkey, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook until browned, stirring often, about 5-8 minutes.

  2. Add the cooked onion and turkey, along with the, garlic, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, chipotle peppers, remaining salt, tomato sauce, chicken broth, apple cider, apples, and bay leaf to a 6-quart slow cooker, stirring until well combined.

  3. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-7, or until the onions and apples are very soft.

  4. Uncover and add the lime juice. Taste and add additional salt or lime juice if desired. Serve with scallion and cilantro if you like.


SERVINGS: 4-6


NOTES:

  • Skip the chipotle if you prefer things less spicy.

  • Love beans? Add 2 cans of drained and rinsed white beans for an even heartier option.


baked apples with cinnamon


2. Sheet Pan Dinners

Equally beloved during busy times, is the simple sheet pat. Oh the wonders that can be created when we pile all the things in this one spot and let the flavors come together so beautifully while the oven does all the work. Here's our easy meal go to for all things sheet pan: NomNomPaleo


baked salmon with green beans

BONUS RECIPE FAVORITE!

One Pan Teriyaki Salmon


INGREDIENTS

  • 4 salmon fillets (5 oz each)

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

  • 1 pound French green beans trimmed

  • 1/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, quartered

  • 1 red bell pepper cored and thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 3/4 cup All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce

All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce (you'll have extra)

  • 1 cup coconut aminos

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice

  • 1/4 cup fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 2 teaspoons ginger powder

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the salmon fillets in a high-sided dish where they’ll fit snugly. Pour in ⅓ cup All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce.

  2. Flip the salmon around in the marinade to coat well. Keep the fillets skin-side up in the marinade until you’re ready to cook. (Marinate the fish for as little as 15 minutes, but no longer than 8 hours in a sealed container in the fridge.)

  3. When you’re ready to cook the sheet pan dinner, heat the oven to 400°F with the rack in the middle.

  4. In a large bowl, whisk together ¼ cup All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce with 1 tablespoon avocado oil. (You should have about 2 tablespoons of “clean” All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce remaining to brush over everything later.)

  5. Add the green beans, mushrooms, and bell pepper in the sauce and toss well.

  6. Place the salmon skin-side down in the middle of a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the vegetables evenly and in a single layer around the salmon.

  7. Bake the sheet pan dinner for 10 to 15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked to your preferred doneness. (I like the salmon cooked to about medium, about 130°F to 135°F in the thickest part of the fillet.)

  8. Once the salmon is finished cooking and the vegetables are browned, brush on the reserved “fresh” All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce (not the stuff the salmon was marinated in) to add a bright kick of flavor.

  9. Sprinkle on toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions to finish the dish!

SERVINGS: 4


women working out

3. Healthy Frozen Meals

Don't turn away! Yes, home cooked is best. But in a pinch, it’s nice to have some healthy, quick and easy meals on hand and today's frozen meals just aren't the same as the ones had when we were kids. For frozen meals, among Kevin's, Saffron Road, Amy’s Kitchen, and Primal Kitchen, you'll have a really wide variety of healthy options, (no cherry cobbler square included).


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Kevin's

frozen meal box with Thai style coconut chicken















Saffron Road

frozen dinner meal with chicken enchiladas














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Amy's Kitchen

Frozen dinner meal bowl of mac and cheese and broccoli














Primal Kitchen


4 boxes of frozen dinner meals














green salad with chicken




1 Comment


Amy Younkman
Amy Younkman
Dec 09, 2023

Yum! Some great suggestions!

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