Google+ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery: My Top Five Fastest & Easiest Paleo Dinners


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Top Five Fastest & Easiest Paleo Dinners

As wonderful as the Paleo diet is, it does require a lot of cooking from scratch.  And I'm all for cooking healthy meals made of high-quality ingredients, except when I'm tired.  And unfortunately, my own health issues can really wear me out (in addition to the craziness that comes with having three boys).  

Luckily, I've compiled a set of super-easy, weeknight dinners that I can fall back on when I'm just not up for cooking a big meal.  These dinners only require a few ingredients, and either sit in the oven or simmer in a pot and don't require me to fuss over the stove or chop a million ingredients.  I can throw these dishes together before I start the afternoon carpooling and they're ready when we get home.  It's almost like someone else is cooking for me :) 

I'm sharing my top five favorite easy dinners here (all of which serve 6), and I'd love to hear about yours!  

Maple Ham & Apples
This dinner will make your whole house smell wonderful!  Just take one or two small uncured hams (our Niman Ranch hams are usually about 2 lbs each) and set them in a roasting pan with about six apples, peeled and quartered.  Pour about half a cup of maple syrup over the whole lot, and follow with a few sprinkles of cinnamon.  Roast at about 375 degrees until a meat thermometer reads 150 degrees (about 45 minutes).  The maple syrup will caramelize and you can serve the apples over the ham (they taste like dessert!). 

You'll notice I use the word "about" a lot in this description.  That's because all of these recipes are very forgiving and flexible.  Perfect for those times when you didn't plan ahead and might not have exactly what is necessary!  Don't have maple syrup?  Use honey.  Don't have apples? Use pears.  Don't want to measure cinnamon?  Don't bother.  Throw in a little nutmeg or cloves for fun if you want to.  Just toss it all in the oven and enjoy the product :)

Having the oven on for an hour gives you a great opportunity to make easy vegetables on the side as well.  Just cut up whatever you have (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc), toss it with oil and salt, and let it roast on a baking sheet while the ham is cooking.  Couldn't be simpler! 

Spaghetti Squash with Easy Meat Sauce

This recipe is based on my grandmother's spaghetti sauce recipe.  While hers simmers for three hours, this quick version takes only 30 minutes (but can sit on the stove for up to an hour if you are busy).  

While your spaghetti squash is roasting (cut two squash in half, remove seeds, and set upside down on a baking sheet for +/- 45 minutes at 375), brown about two pounds of ground beef in a big stock pot on the stove.  Chop up a red or green pepper and toss that in, then add a whole jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I use Rao's Marinara).  Add a teaspoon of dried oregano, a teaspoon of coconut sugar, and a tablespoon of minced garlic from a jar.  Stir and let simmer for 30 - 60 minutes.  Scrape the centers out of your squashes and serve like spaghetti with the sauce on top. 

Roast Pork Tenderloin and Roasted Veggies

Here's another way to let your oven do all the work for you.   Dig out your favorite spice rub (I like Moroccan seasoning from Williams Sonoma) from the cabinet, and sprinkle it all over two pork tenderloins (about 1- 2 lbs each).   Rub in, set the tenderloins on a baking sheet (no oil necessary), and roast at 375 degrees until a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees (about 20 - 30 minutes).   As with the ham, you can roast your favorite veggies in the same oven on another baking sheet (shown here are carrots and parsnips tossed with oil and maple syrup).  

Burger Salad with Bacon & Caramelized Onions
There's a chain restaurant near us called The Counter that serves the most delicious burger salads.  These are a great way to enjoy your favorite burger toppings without worrying about the grains in a bun.  We top ours with bacon and onions, but you can use whatever you like!

We use pre-washed spring mix salad greens (no prep!) and grass-fed ground beef mixed with Old Bay seasoning to make the burgers.  I start by slicing up an onion and setting it to cook in some oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat.  Then I lay out a package of no-nitrite bacon on a baking sheet and pop that in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Lastly, I mix up the beef and seasoning, make the patties and cook them in a grill pan on the stove (about 5 minutes on each side).  To cook the burgers through the middle, I put the pan in the oven for another five minutes or so.  Stir the onions a few times as everything is cooking, set the cooked bacon on a paper towel, then assemble the salads.  So much flavor!

2-Ingredient Turkey Meatloaf
This recipe is hardly even a recipe -- it's just ground turkey and a really cool product I found at Whole Foods called Pepperoni Pesto.  Made by Bear Pond Farm, this is just chopped up pepperoni in an oily base (kind of reminiscent of sundried tomatoes).  It's really flavorful, and as weird as this sounds, this meatloaf tastes AMAZING!   Ground turkey is awfully plain, and the pepperoni gives it a wonderful, savory flavor.  The finished product tastes NOTHING like pepperoni, just ... umami!  Set aside any doubts you might have and try this one.  It's really delicious. 

Take two pounds of ground turkey, mix in one whole container of Pepperoni Pesto, and pack into a 2-lb loaf pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for an hour.  I served mine with acorn squash and roasted asparagus. 


  1. YUM!!!!!! I am ALL OVER that burger bacon salad and that spaghetti squash and meat sauce!! Too good!

  2. That's the way I like dinner: simple. And everything sounds so tasty. Thanks for these great dinner ideas.

  3. This is a great collection of delicious Paleo recipes - It's hard to pick a favourite but I'm especially tempted by the Maple Ham and Apples. I'm pinning this post and will share it on my Facebook page as well. Thank you for sharing it with the Hearth and Soul hop!

  4. What a great post! Must find that pepperoni pesto (or make my own!) for sure. :-)


  5. This is a great idea and the kind of thing to refer to when trying to figure out menu's.

  6. Oh and I forgot to say this is a featured post for this Friday's Healing With Food blog hop. Congratulations.

  7. Thanks for share easy paleo recipes post. This post is excellent i like it