Now I’ll explain how meal planning happens for me most weeks.
Hopefully it will make all those of us feeling like Pinterest fails feel a little better because somehow despite my lack of proper planning I still feed my family 80-90% healthy foods and we are a busy family
Just because you don’t have binders of recipes and pretty little calendars with perfectly planned meals doesn’t mean all is lost. I used to wish I was like that, but in the end I’m me and I totally dig my free-spiritedness and structured meal plans just aren’t my style – so I decided to ditch the guilt around it and figure out how to eat clean, easy and without a plan.
Once per week I do the majority of my shopping, the wash, cut and store all kinds of good foods in my fridge. Then each day I assess what I have in the fridge, pantry and freezer and make up meals.
Most times they work out and other times we are tossing it and scrambling for something else. Tonight’s meal was one that really worked out. My kids loved it! My husband loved it! I loved it!
We rarely eat pork at our house but this last weekend at the farmers market I met the loveliest little farmer that sold pork, goat and lamb. All of which I enjoy but purchase infrequently. I could see my husband eyeing the pork sausage. All the while I’m thinking WTF do I do with pork sausage (remember I rarely cook with pork).
I had loads of sweet potatoes and know my family loves baked sweet potatoes, so that decision for dinner was done. But what to have with it. My family loves chili with sweet potatoes but I was out of most beans and proteins.
That is when I remembered the pork sausage purchase. I can substitute that for ground beef. I was out of all beans besides one lonely can of kidney beans. I’m getting creative now and also realizing that I need to restock the pantry. I was also getting nervous for this meal.
So, I’m thinking pork sausage and kidney beans. I see a pile of peppers and onions. I now see the beginnings of a meal.
My husband sweetly suggests I incorporate barbecue sauce. At this point I’m thinking why the heck not?
So let’s get to this scrumptious recipe created on the fly with some creative suggestions from a house full of boys. P.S. – to make this Paleo-ish ditch the kidney beans. To make it vegan ditch the pork sausage and add more kidney beans.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the sweet potato skins and lightly spray with coconut oil (I get this at Trader Joes or Whole Foods). You can substitute olive oil. I scrub the potatoes because we often eat the skins at our house. Place the potatoes evenly space on the middle rack and bake for approximately 45 minutes, until they are tender when pierced with a fork. Baking time will vary based on oven temp, altitude and the size of the potato.
For the chili: When you have approximately 15 minutes left for baking time of the potatoes, put the pork sausage in a large pot over medium to medium-high heat. Brown all the sausage while stirring with a spatula. Add in the onion, bell pepper and jalapeños and sauté until they soften. Add in the kidney beans and barbecue sauce. Add water as needed for desired consistency. Simmer over medium heat for a few minutes.
When the sweet potatoes are tender remove from the oven and let rest for a couple of minutes. Cut a slit in the top and open up so you can top with the BBQ Pork “Chili”. We had enough left over chili for my oldest son to take it for lunch.
Remind your family to slow down while eating. It’s beneficial to their digestion and they’ll have more time to enjoy the meal. If your family is like mine, they loved this recipe so much that it was gone before I could blink. I wondered, did they even chew?
About the pork sausage. I know many of you are thinking does that count as clean eating? My answer, that depends on where you buy it. I like to think that since I purchased it from a lovely local, organic and small scale farmer with good practices and processing that it’s a go to have it sometimes. Remember that sometimes doesn’t mean all the time.
By Jessica Wyman
Jessica Wyman is a Certified Nutrition Coach and Yoga Teacher at Jessica-Wyman.com. She has authored two books available on Amazon, Finding Your Foxy and Girlfriends Organic Kitchen.
She believes that women are created by everything they eat, drink, breathe and believe and that concept is the cornerstone of the Wildly Nourished programs she co-created. As a clean eating foodie and wellness maven, she teaches healthy living without the complicated rituals by focusing on simple ingredients to create your ideal life (and meals).
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