August 26, 2016

Best of Whole30 Recipes: Planning and Prepping for the #SeptemberWhole30

September Whole30 Best of Prep Post Header

Our @whole30recipes Instagram feed brings you delicious, Whole30 compatible recipes all day, every day. And, in our series, The Best of @Whole30Recipes, we bring our favorites to the blog.

Are you joining us for the #SeptemberWhole30? You don’t have to officially register below to play along, but if you do, we’ll send you some sweet Whole30 graphics on Day 1.

Join Now!

In celebration of Melissa Urban’s new book, Food Freedom Forever, we’re hosting a group Whole30 that starts on Monday, September 5, and ends on Tuesday, October 4, the day Food Freedom Forever is available in stores (or delivered straight to your door if you pre-order).

During the September Whole30, we’ll be providing you with extra resources and support on the blog, in our free Wholesome emails, and on social media. We’ll also be weaving in sneak peeks of concepts from Food Freedom Forever to help you take the lessons you learn during this #SeptemberWhole30 reset and turn them into healthy habits for life.  And in this post, we complied some of our favorite tips and tricks for Whole30 success, from the contributors to our @whole30recipes Instagram.

[Tweet “#SeptemberWhole30 planning and prep, from some of our favorite #Whole30 Recipes bloggers.”]

Build Your Own Salad Bar with @sodiumgirl

Jess from Sodium Girl

“On Sunday turn your refrigerator into a salad bar. This method of meal prep will let you be more spontaneous with meal planning.  Fill it with:

  • Washed greens and herbs
  • Cooked proteins
  • Spiralized, riced, shredded, baked veggies
  • Whole30 sauces & dressings
  • Meatballs
  • Anything else that adds color and flavor to your food.

Mix & match any of the above throughout the week to create quick and delicious salads and Whole30 ingredient meals.”

Weekly Meal Planning with @becomingjolie

Jolie from Becoming Jolie

“Do you like to meal plan? I am a little obsessive in that regard, and really enjoy sitting down on Wednesday evenings to layout the next seven days of eating, since Thursday is typically my grocery day. (Can you tell I’m into it? I even made this notepad for my shop Brim Papery, because I couldn’t find a meal planner I liked enough to suit my needs.)

I like to pick a variety of dinner ideas that vary between complicated concoctions and things that are quick, reliable, and easy. Usually, I will try one new recipe I’m unsure about, one larger recipe (like a chicken roast or slow cooker meal) that will carry over for two dinners, and some quick and easy ideas in the mix like turkey burgers plopped on some sautéed veggies, or even just a ‘variety plate’ of raw veggies, nuts, fruit, and baked French fries with homemade dip.

I know it seems like meal planning can be time consuming and tedious, but I find in the long run it really saves me a lot of sanity (and money!) and once I made it a habit, I really don’t even have to think twice about it anymore.”

Set Up Your Whole30 Kitchen with @kara_thewholemomma

Kara from Kara The Whole Momma 2

“This is not a food recipe but it is one of my recipes for success on your Whole30 or if you are just spending a lot of time in your kitchen.

  • Find containers that you can keep on your counter for ingredients you are using on the regular. For example, I use my avocado oil at least once a day, if not more. Once I figured out that I was grabbing it out of my pantry that often I found this container to store it in & now I just leave it on my counter next to my stove. SO simple, but a HUGE time saver!
  • Clean out your fridge & pantry! My hubby and I did our first Whole 30 together so before we started I cleared our fridge & pantry of all the things that were not compatible and donated them. It’s much easier to ‘resist’ temptation when it’s not staring you in the face every time you open that pantry door. Now, I know that not everyone has the support of all the people in their household, so for YOU, I’d say clean the fridge and pantry and organize them so your Whole30 approved items are grouped together or in a separate location.
  • Get a fun new kitchen tool that you can get excited about using. It could be an apron, new measuring cups or spoons, a new pot or pan, cute kitchen towels, hard boiled egg slicer, a cutting board, paring knife, garlic press … the options are endless.
  • Organize and clean out your drawers and cupboards. My storage container cupboard is always a huge source of frustration and a time sucker when it’s not organized. Take a look at the drawers and cupboards that you frequent the most and make sure they are nice and tidy and a pleasant place to visit.
  • Stock up on items like heavy duty foil, parchment paper, or the reusable baking mats. They make cleanup so much faster.

I hope you enjoyed these tips, and that they make your Whole30 as easy and approachable as possible.”

Slow Cooker Tips with @rockinmomskitchen

Shauna from rockin moms kitchen 2

“I’m reviving the most amazing kitchen appliance with real, whole foods that are Whole30 compatible, saving you time and money.

  • Choose the right cut – The slow cooker and inexpensive (aka tougher meats) are a match made in heaven. Of course, always choose grass fed and humanely raised when possible.
  • To brown or not to brown – Searing your meat in a hot pan with a little coconut or EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) always adds in a ton of extra flavor to your final dish. Recommended but not required.
  • Trim excess fat – Trimming your roasts of the extra visible fat prevents your dish from being excessively greasy.
  • Be consistent – Try to chop your veggies roughly the same size so they’ll cook in the same amount of time.
  • No frozen meats -When frozen meats start to thaw and cook gently in the slow cooker, they hang out in the danger zone temperatures for too long which can cause bacteria to thrive.
  • Brighten it up – Slow cooked meals are great but sometimes they need a little burst of freshness from being cooked all day. Try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice or a nice hit of green with some fresh chopped parsley or chives.
  • Not too full – Give your meal some room to groove. Try to fill up the slow cooker no more than about ¾ full to let the machine do it’s thing.
  • No coconut cream til the end – Adding coconut cream at the last half hour or so keeps the sauce or liquid nice and creamy and doesn’t dilute the flavor much.
  • Handle with care – Be kind to your slow cooker insert and wash it gently with warm soapy water and a soft sponge. Also, be gentle as the ceramic pots can crack easily.
  • No peeking – Don’t take off your slow cooker lid until the minimum time has passed. This keeps precious moisture inside the pot and doesn’t take hours longer to cook from the heat escaping.”

Want more Whole30 slow cooker ideas? Check out our 4-part slow cooker series, complete with delicious recipes.

Prepping Essential Pesto with @weightsandonesies

Liv from Weights and Onesies

“Every week during my meal prep session I make one sauce for the week. One of my favorites is this pesto. I can use it for scrambles, zoodles, and hot plates. It’s so good that you won’t even miss the cheese. Also if you love garlic in your pesto, feel free to add a clove to the food processor.”

1/3 cup of toasted pine nuts
1 1/2 cups packed basil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Place all the ingredients into the food processor and pulse until a smooth consistency.

Batch Cook and Freeze Cauliflower Rice with @kara_thewholemomma

Kara from Kara The Whole Momma

“Word on the street is that everyone is freaking out about frozen bags of cauliflower rice at specialty food stores. I’ve also heard that they’ve been selling out too. Well, I have a solution for you! Here’s my method for frozen cauliflower rice:

  • Roughly chop at least one head of cauliflower in to large, fairly uniform pieces.
  • Place one layer of raw cauliflower in your food processor. This is important… do not over fill it. Just enough to cover the bottom. (You will probably have to do several batches.)
  • Pulse in short spurts, about 8-12 times till the pieces are at the size you like.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread a single layer of your riced cauliflower on the parchment.
  • Place in your freezer for about 1-2 hours then transfer to your favorite air tight container. Store in the freezer till you need a quick and easy side dish for any dinner!

And there you have it… your very own frozen cauliflower rice. Make sure to have some on hand because my next post is going to be my new favorite dinner recipe of Broccoli Beef which goes beautifully with some Cauli Rice!”

Whole30 note: Mel Joulwan’s Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice is an essential, too!

Sunday Night Meal Prepping Sessions with @meg_mcgrane

Meg from Meg Mcgrane

“Every Sunday I spend about two hours preparing meals for the week ahead. Here is an example of my prep for one week:

  • Grilled Whole30 compatible Andouille sausage (or your favorite Whole30 compatible sausage)
  • Crispy, oven-baked prosciutto to add to salads or crumble over veggies
  • Roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • 2 lbs of sautéed ground turkey spiced with Tessemaes Southwest Ranch
  • Simply sautéed kale and chard in coconut oil
  • Mashed yams
  • Roasted butternut squash.

I drizzled the veggies, yams and butternut squash with olive oil and roasted them at 375 degrees until fork tender. I sautéed the greens in coconut oil over medium-high heat for about five minutes. The turkey was sautéed with a minced yellow onion over medium-high heat until cooked through. My refrigerator is also stocked with fresh salad greens, chopped peppers, cucumber, baby carrots and sauerkraut to make a salads and Whole30 ingredient meals in a snap.”

Essential Homemade Mayo with @nomnompaleo

Michelle of NOM NOM

“Making your own mayo means you can Whole30 like a pro: use it as a condiment or as a base for everything from deviled eggs to chicken salad. Here, I’ve detailed two ways to make it: hand whisk or immersion blender. (Nervous? Visit my site to watch my mayo-making video or buy a jar of Primal Kitchen Whole30 Approved mayo.)”

Hand Whisked Mayo

1 large egg yolk
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp Dijon-style mustard (Tessemaes has a compatible option)
1½ tsp lemon juice
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
¾ cup macadamia nut or avocado oil

IN a medium-sized bowl whisk together all of your ingredients except the oil for about 30 seconds or until the yolk thickens and the color brightens.

POUR about one-third of the oil in a very slow, steady stream into the bowl while whisking the mixture vigorously for 1 minute to create an emulsion.

AFTER the oil is incorporated, slowly add half of the remaining oil and continue to whisk rapidly. Once it’s emulsified, repeat with the rest of the oil.

Immersion Blender Mayo

1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard (Tessemaes has a compatible option)
1 cup macadamia nut or avocado oil
Kosher salt

THROW all of your ingredients minus the oil into an immersion blender cup. Add the oil to the contents of the cup.

PLACE the head of an immersion blender at the very bottom of the cup and pulse away. As an emulsion forms, carefully lift and tilt the head of the immersion blender so that the mayonnaise forms evenly.

SEASON with salt to taste. Cover and store in the fridge. It should keep for a week or two.

Weekly Meal Prepping Advice with @sarahksteffens

Sarah from Sarah K Steffens

“A successful Whole30 requires meal prep and cooking each week. Make it easy on yourself by getting into the habit of grocery shopping every week and if you have one, going to your local farmer’s market. Here are some of my favorite meal prepping tips:

  • Buy in season.
  • Experiment. Buy a variety of different veggies and practice different cooking methods for them. You can steam, roast (my favorite), sautee or puree… all are fantastic methods. Don’t be afraid to experiment with them until you find what you like.
  • Buy a few proteins for the week. Grill, saute, roast or slow-cook (or try a pressure cooker!) meat throughout the week. Try cooking in bulk to save time.
  • Pair a veggie with a protein at every meal. Add fat like ghee, avocado or olives (to name a few). It really is that simple.
  • Cook enough dinner to pack in your lunch for the next day. When you plate your dinner, plate your lunch. This will change your life!
  • Remember: ghee, coconut oil, sea salt and black pepper make everything amazing.
  • Dried spices like turmeric, cinnamon and smoked paprika give your dishes depth. Primal Palate has several Whole30 Approved options. Experiment with them. Be a curious cook!
  • Fresh lemon and lime juice, fresh herbs and a splash of vinegar finish everything. Keep them on stock, always.
  • You can have dinner for breakfast. This is liberating news!
  • Leftovers are king.
  • Try making your own broths. You will never go back.”

Shopping Your Farmer’s Market with @rockinmomskitchen

Shauna from rockin moms kitchen 1

“Time to hit up the farmers market! I’ve got a few tips for you that willl turn you into a Farmers Market expert… saving green and getting you the best produce around.

  • Get there early (or late)! Getting to the market right when it opens gives you two things – best selection and beats the crowd. You probably won’t save money here but the quality of the produce is at its peak. That being said, if you want to save some money, go about 30-45ish minutes before closing. The suppliers bring a ton of produce to each market with hopes of selling as much as they can. They’d be happier to sell it at a reduced price then lug it back to the farm.
  • Walk the market before you buy! Before you bust out your wallet, take a walk through the market to check out all the stands. Note the price for the items you regularly buy and see what looks the freshest. Then, head back to those to make your purchases. These are the ones you’ll want to stick with in the future.
  • Get to know your farmer! Introduce yourself and ask their name. This is such a great way for you (and your kids) to get to know who is growing your food. A smile really can go a long way.
  • Ask questions! Are they organic? If not, how do they combat pests? How far does the produce travel? Asking questions shows you care about the food you buy.
  • Carry your own bags! Forget the plastic stuff and save the planet by keeping your produce in your own reusable bags or cool handwoven baskets.
  • Be consistent! Show farmers you care by being a consistent supporter. Find the ones you like and stick with them. They will appreciate it and also probably end up giving you more (and sometimes the best!) produce or give you a break because they know you support them.
  • Just ask! Don’t be shy and ask for a deal if you’re buying in bulk. They might say no but what do you have to lose? In the end, it never hurts to ask.”

[Tweet “Getting you ready for the #SeptemberWhole30 and your #Whole30FFF.”]



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Shanna Keller

Shanna Keller, hails from Boise, Idaho, where she lives with her husband Alan and a poorly-behaved terrier named Olly. She has spent her career telling stories of life transformation on social, web, e-mail and print media platforms. In addition to celebrating Whole30 successes and stories online, Shanna loves to cook, read, and climb.