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Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals. I'm a recovering former vegan and vegetarian, now healing with a nutrient-dense mostly Paleo diet, and love at-home CrossFit and yoga workouts. I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

New mom to baby Otto born April 2018!

1 week of EASY & healthy (new mom-friendly) dinners

I'm usually the cook in our family but I've had about 9 months off of doing it every night like I used to. Morning sickness, fatigue, moving in with my parents for 4 months, moving into the apartment super pregnant and being exhausted again, then having Otto and the chaos of his schedule of feeding and trying to get him to nap... Jason (or my parents) did a lot of the cooking for a while!

But the past couple weeks I've been able to actually cook real food for us most nights and I feel so good doing it again!!

I've come up with some hacks and found a few super easy recipes and meal ideas that are much healthier than eating out or buying prepared foods. I still don't have tons of time, but these are things I can do quickly, start ahead of time, or use in two meals (or as leftovers for lunches) so are great for a busy mom (or anyone). I put together these 5 meal combos, with links to recipes or just simple instructions, and hope they'll help you with super easy, tasty, homemade meal ideas when you're busy! There's even a shopping list for you!

These meals are Paleo-friendly or can be made strict Paleo with some substitutions, though for me personally I've relaxed on what I do and don't eat through pregnancy and a busy lifestyle. I've found I can tolerate white rice, corn, packaged dressings/sauces, and grassfed butter, so those are included. But again, feel free to substitute what you can't eat, and/or add dairy like cheese to things if you want!

I know lots of people are busy, but these recipes are particularly good for new moms - I know a lot of nights I just can't predict what Otto and I will be up to around 5:30 when I'd like to be cooking dinner, so I've found I can chop some veggies ahead of time, put some things in the oven and hour early, etc. and make it work. Plus, breastfeeding moms need to eat real food/balanced meals, so cooking at home is maybe a little more important now than other times!



1 week of EASY & healthy (new mom-friendly) dinners


Shopping List


Here's what you'll need for these dinners, servings for 2 adults, with enough for leftovers after each meal for at least one lunch. Feel free to buy and make more for more leftovers! Not included are staples like spices, olive oil, and butter.

Produce
  • 5-6 bell peppers, your choice of colors
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce
  • 2 bags salad kits (we like the Trader Joe's ones since the dressings are a little cleaner than the bigger brands)
  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 2 tomatoes or 1 package cherry tomatoes
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 4 red potatoes
Meat/Dairy
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 lbs raw shrimp
  • 1 3-4 lb pork shoulder roast pork
  • 2-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • sour cream (optional)
Middle of the Store
  • 1 package corn tortillas (organic non-GMO if possible)
  • 1 can refried beans (optional)
  • corn chips (optional)
  • white rice
  • teriyaki sauce
  • plantain chips or other starch of choice for Wednesday
  • 1 can black olives
  • salsas of choice

Monday: Roasted spatchcock chicken with steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes


I recently found this recipe for roasted spatchcock chicken and OMG, it is so good. It cooks faster than just baking a whole chicken and it is THE most tender, delicious way I've ever had chicken!

The roasted potatoes are world's easiest; chop them and roast on tin foil with olive oil, bacon fat, or coconut oil plus salt/pepper/garlic powder. I put them in the oven halfway through the chicken cooking. Perfect!

Tuesday: Simple shrimp tacos and salad kit


Saute onions and bell peppers with lard or coconut oil. (I like to make lots of the bell pepper/onion veggies to use on other meals, like the tostadas on Friday!)

Thaw shrimp in a colander with running water in the sink (it's super fast). Remove shells if they came with them. Cook shrimp with chili powder, cumin, and a little bit of cayenne.

Serve with tortillas (I only had the mini street-style ones but regular corn small ones are good), salsa, and an avocado chopped up.

I recommend the Trader Joe's "southwestern" salad kit with this but anything with fresh cabbage would be delicious! Mix salad on the side and serve separately, though you can add some to the tacos for extra crunch!


Wednesday: Slow roasted pork and spinach-added salad


This recipe for slow-roasted pork shoulder is AMAZING. I've made it several times and it always turns out so good! It cooks for 8-10 hours so start it in the morning, and you can add the spice mix the night before. That recipe uses a chili con carne seasoning; I mix my own from this ingredient list but have never used tomato powder.

For the salad, we like to enhance the salad kits with extra spinach, and often add to or make our own dressing since the dressings are usually cheap vegetable oil-based and high in sugar. So for this one, I used half or 3/4 of the dressing, added some apple cider vinegar and olive oil, and mixed. Then added the lettuce mix and 3 big handfuls of fresh spinach. This is the Tahini, Pepita & Apricot Slaw Kit from Trader Joe's.

This meal would be a little low-carb without a starch on the side, so serve with potatoes, rice, or my favorite - plantain chips.

Thursday: Teriyaki roasted chicken thighs with veggies and rice


This is the WORLD'S EASIEST way to cook chicken well, I swear. I am very new to cooking chicken (being vegetarian and vegan for 13 years, then paleo and mostly eating beef and pork from local farms, till all the moving in recent years and not having our big freezer handy). Chicken can be dry and boring, but this sauce-drenched baking method makes chicken thighs so flavorful.

Most teriyaki sauces have wheat-based soy sauce in them, so for strict Paleo/gluten-free, make your own, or make a Hawaiian pineapple sauce and use wheat-free tamari or coconut aminos, or use a different sauce like BBQ or buffalo sauce. All of those make for delicious baked saucy, flavorful chicken.

To make the chicken, coat the thighs in sauce of choice and bake for 1 hour-1 hour 20 minutes (depending on how thick or watery the sauce is).

Meanwhile, cook rice 20 minutes before meat is done. (Bonus points if you cook it in homemade broth instead of water!) Coarsely chop the cabbage, chop the broccoli, and slice the carrots diagonally into discs. Steam veggies together; when done, drain water and toss with butter or serve with butter on top.

Friday: Tostadas!


This is my mother-in-law's go-to meal for a crowd, and one of my husband's favorite dinners of all time.

It is super easy; the main step is cooking the beef, and then just chopping everything else. Here are her instructions on the beef, cooking in a large skillet: "Add chili powder (a lot), cumin (a lot), garlic powder (medium), salt and pepper. Add about a cup of water, cook until simmered away."

The Stanleys always eat theirs on top of crushed corn chips, but you can also eat it like tacos or a taco salad. So serve with more tortillas, or none for a lower-carb meal.

Everything you add in here is optional... sour cream if you're doing dairy, I guess even shredded cheese (not on the grocery list above), olives, whatever salsas you're into right now... even the beans are optional.

I love to eat this with leftover bell pepper/onion saute but I totally forgot before this meal!!

By the way, I had seconds on the beans and beef after eating what you see here... so good!

Hope these easy meals are helpful! Pin for later here!

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