Dinner Recipes

Focus on moderate sized servings of protein with the other half of the plate loaded with vegetables. If there is one meal a day to minimize starchy carbs, it should be dinner. We are least likely to burn off starchy foods eaten late in the day, whereas if they are eaten at breakfast or lunch, we have all day to use the energy vs. storing it away. Whenever possible, finish eating dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime, which will allow food to be burned off. 

Protein + Veggie + Moderate Carb Template for Meals

You can put together a basic lunch or dinner meal with:

4-6 oz protein per adult, flavored with herbs and spices to taste. 

2-3 cups green or colorful veggies

Have a leafy green salad as well as cooked veggies

approximately two teaspoons oil per person; one to cook, one to flavor the veggies

1 cup whole-food starch such as rice, sweet potato, or quinoa, cooked in broth for flavor


HEALTHY WAYS TO COOK ANY BASIC PROTEIN

Pan-Cooked Wild Salmon

Salmon is an extremely healthy and nourishing. It’s rich in protein, minerals, and anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats. Wild-caught Alaskan is wonderful!

Heat skillet to medium heat with 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil.

Cover the non-skin side of the salmon with dried herbs such as dill, parsley, or oregano. Dill is most common with salmon.

Place in pan non-skin side down; cover.

Cook for 5-8 minutes. Watch the side to see cooking progress. If white fat seeps out, lower heat. 

Flip salmon and continue cooking until it is cooked through. You should only flip once to maintain its integrity. To check doneness, split on the natural gradient of flesh to peek inside. Cooked fish will be firm and lighter in color than raw portions. 

Season with plenty of fresh lemon juice. 


Pan-Cooked White Fish

Sustainably farmed tilapia and filet of sole are two of many yummy fish to experiment with. These two fish have mild flavors, are generally are not “fishy,” and cook quickly. 

Remove any protruding bones from fish filets.

Heat coconut oil on medium heat.  Add fish to pan, and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until the fish flakes with a fork. The cooking time will vary with the size of the fish.

If you are not using a non-stick pan, consider turning the heat down to medium-low and adding a small amount of chicken or vegetable broth so that the fish won’t get stuck to the pan. 

Serve with fresh lemon juice and herbs. Capers are tasty with fish, as is fresh parsley.


Basic Baked Chicken

Heat oven to 350 ℉.

Pour melted coconut oil in the bottom of an oven-safe pan such, such as Pyrex glass, and cover both sides of chicken with salt and black pepper, dried herbs, grated lemon or orange rind, etc. 

You can dip chicken in egg, then into breadcrumbs. Crushed non-GMO corn flakes work well too.

Cover pan with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Using oven mitts, remove pan and check to see if chicken is finished by cutting open a thick area to look for pinkness. It should be white, yet juicy.


Basic Steamed Chicken

Put about teaspoon coconut oil in the bottom of a covered frying pan, melt on medium heat.  

Place a chicken breast on top of the oil, then gently pour half 1/4 inch of broth or water over the chicken.

Cover the chicken once the water starts to bubble. 

Cook for six minutes, then remove chicken and slice open to check for doneness.

Steamed (or poached) chicken stays moist and juicy and is a good way to cook it for use in cold salads or meals you might eat the next day. 


Pan-Cooked Ground Turkey or Beef

Cooking ground meat is very easy, and makes great leftovers that can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days. One and a half pounds should be about the right amount to cook for a family with two adults who eat meat and three children. 

Heat skillet to medium heat with about 1 tablespoon coconut oil per pound of meat.

Cut up half an onion and cook until it is translucent, then add turkey.

Remove meat from paper wrapping and place into pan. Use a study nylon square turner or spoon to break up the meat, and stir frequently. 

Season with salt, black pepper, and any spices or herbs you like.  Turkey can be dry, especially all-white meat, so consider pouring a can of stewed, diced tomatoes over the turkey.  This also works well with tomato sauce, or Indian sauces if you like the flavors. A tasty turkey tomato mixture can be served over rice, quinoa, or green peas, and you can add another vegetables you like.

Beef tastes great with tomato sauce.

If you have leftovers, allow the extra meat to cool to room temperature for about 15 minutes, then refrigerate.


Stovetop Steak

Don’t begin with a cold steak. The outside will overcook by the time the inside is just warming up. Take the steak out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Season the steak with salt and pepper. You can also add a dry rub of herbs and spices or marinate it. Marinating meat can make it tender (see ideas that follow).

Heat at least 1/3 tablespoon coconut oil over medium-high heat until it melts. 

Place steak in pan for about 6 minutes on one side, then turn and cook for 6 more minutes. If you are using a cut thick enough that it has edges, use your tongs to hold the steak edge-down to sear it.

Keep in mind that the goal is to sear the meat and produce a brown color on the outside while keeping the inside tender. 

To test for doneness, use a sharp knife to cut into the center of the steak and check for color. Depending on your taste, the center can be pink, pale pink, or well done (will be gray, but that’s OK as long as the outside is brown and has a nice flavor).

Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Grass-fed Beef Stew

Makes 8 servings

 

2 tablespoons organic pasture butter or cooking oil, such as coconut oil

1 lb beef stew meat, cut into 3/4 inch cubes 

sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 sweet Vidalia onion, chopped

6 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth and/or vegetable stock or broth

16 oz can BPA-free diced or crushed tomatoes

2 cups celery, chopped (3-4 stalks)

2 cups carrots, peeled & chopped (3-4 carrots)

1 purple turnip, peeled & chopped OR 2 cups potatoes, peeled & chopped

1 cup wild rice, rinsed

2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried basil

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup chopped parsley or dried parsley to taste

 

In a wide, tall, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, melt butter or coconut oil over medium-high heat.  

Season beef generously with salt & pepper and spread in a single layer, allowing it to brown for about 2 minutes. Stir occasionally until meat is well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add onion, stirring occasionally until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.

De-glaze the bottom of the pot (to remove any food that’s sticking) with 1/4 cup red cooking wine. This will also help make the beef tender.

Add all other ingredients and return to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer gently and stir occasionally until rice kernels have popped open and are tender, about 60 minutes.

Discard bay leaf, ladle into bowls and season with chopped parsley. Enjoy! 

Serve this stew with a green salad or a cooked green or colored vegetable.


Sweet Potato Chili: Veggie Based, add Meat

Makes 6-8 servings

 

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 medium red onion, chopped (optional)

1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper 

1 can (28 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes (look for BPA-free cans if possible)

1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed 

1 can (15.5 oz) kidney beans, rinsed

1 cup water if adding to a slower cooker, or 1/4-1/2 cup as needed if cooking on the stovetop

 

To spice it up, add a chopped jalepeño pepper or red chili flakes. Serve with a wedge of fresh lime. Top with chopped cilantro, sliced radishes, or scallions.

Versatile and tasty with three cooking options:

  1. Use a large pan or pot on the stovetop. Cook the onions first, then add 1/2 to 1 lb ground turkey or beef until it browns. Then add other ingredients.
  2. Cook all veggie ingredients for veggie chili on the stovetop.
  3. Cook all veggie ingredients for 4-5 hours in a slow cooker.

If pursuing options #1or #2, steam the sweet potato separately so it does not get too mushy, then combine with other veggies.

Serve with the Quinoa, Corn & Chia Muffins recipe that follows.


Corn, Quinoa, and Chia Muffins

Makes 10 muffins

 

1 cup organic corn meal

1/4 cup organic corn flour

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup unsweetened organic almond milk 

3 tablespoons chia seeds + 9 tbsp water

3 tablespoons honey

Optional: add 1 finely minced jalepeño pepper; this adds an exciting kick 

1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

 

Prepare the quinoa by rinsing it under running water or swishing it with water, then straining it. Quinoa has a soapy tasting outer coating that should be rinsed off before cooking. 

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add quinoa, cover, and simmer on low until quinoa is fluffy.

Preheat oven to 400 ℉. Put 8 muffin liners in a muffin tin.

Mix chia seeds and water in a small bowl and set aside. They will form a goopy gel.

In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients together. Add the cooked quinoa.

Check the chia gel to make sure it is thick and goopy. It should take about 15 minutes to obtain the right consistency. In a larger bowl, whisk wet ingredients together and add the chia gel.

Add the wet to the dry and combine in as few strokes as possible. 

Spoon batter into muffin cups. Do not overfill, it is better to have more smaller muffins since these do puff up during baking.

Bake until the edges are golden brown and they pass the toothpick test, approximately 25 minutes.

 

You can also make the muffins sweet instead of savory by adding 1 cup of blueberries instead of the jalepeño, adding two extra tablespoons of honey and using vanilla almond milk.

 

You can keep them on the counter if you plan to consume them within 2 days, but it’s best to store extras in the fridge to make sure they stay fresh.

Serve with the Chili recipe that preceded this recipe. These are also great for breakfast or snacks.


Chicken Lentil Stew

Makes 4-6 servings

 

3 tablespoons sesame oil 

1 small onion, diced (optional)

1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

2-4 medium tomatoes, diced, or an 8 oz jar diced tomatoes

2 stalks celery, sliced 

2 carrots, coined or diced

2 chicken breasts, diced (or use pre-cooked chicken & add at the end)

1 tsp sea salt (go light on salt if using salted stock, you can add more at the table)

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 teaspoons thyme

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon rosemary

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, ground if desired

1/4 cup cooking wine (white or red are OK)

1 can BPA-free lentils (try Eden Organics)

3 cups (or more, depending on the consistency you enjoy) low-sodium chicken and/or vegetable stock

 

In a large pot, heat sesame oil on medium heat and sauté the onions, carrots and celery until slightly soft. Remove from pot and set aside, allow pot to cool slightly so it won’t splash oil during step #2.

Add another tablespoon of sesame oil and the chicken, herbs, salt and pepper. Sauté until chicken begins to brown and stick slightly.  If you want this to be vegetarian, just don’t add chicken.

 

Deglaze pan with wine. 

Return veggies to the pot. Add lentils, tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until chicken is fully cooked and flavors are combined. 

Serve with Roasted Quinoa with Kale and Almonds. 


Roasted Quinoa with Kale (or Swiss Chard) & Almonds

Makes 4-6 servings

 

1 tablespoon sesame oil 

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained 

3 cups kale, chopped into small pieces 

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 cup almonds, slivered or chopped

sea salt to taste

 

Using a dry pan, turn heat to medium or medium-low and add almonds in an even layer. Allow to brown lightly for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently until slightly browned and fragrant. Remove and set aside.

Add sesame oil and heat on low. Add quinoa, bring heat to medium and sauté for 5-6 minutes, until quinoa begins to dry have a toasty fragrance.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook 12 minutes.

Add kale in a layer on top of quinoa. Cover, simmer and steam for 5 minutes or until kale is wilted.

Stir to mix and check if quinoa is completely plump and soft. If needed, add a little extra liquid.

Do not burn! Sprinkle almonds on top of quinoa and kale mixture. For a scrumptious complete meal, serve with Chicken and Lentil Stew. 


These meatball recipes make about 12 golf-ball sized meatballs, it’s easy to make a double batch. They also make yummy burgers on the grill.

 Maple Ginger Turkey Meatballs

 

1 lb ground turkey (dark and/or light meat) or ground chicken

1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 cup finely chopped shallot or onion 

if you like garlic you could mince up a clove

1 tablespoon tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons neutral oil like safflower or grapeseed


Sundried Tomato Turkey or Beef Meatballs

lb ground turkey, chicken or beef

1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

1/4 cup finely chopped shallot or onion 

if you like garlic you can mince up a clove

1 tablespoon tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 cup finely diced sun-dried tomato

1/4 teaspoon dried paprika

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon dried parsley or 3 tablespoons diced fresh parsley

2 teaspoons neutral oil like safflower or grapeseed

 

Preheat oven to 375 ℉.

Thoroughly mix all ingredients. To avoid touching cold, raw meat with your hands, you can either wear powderless gloves or mix it with a big, metal ice cream scooper that you later disinfect in dishwasher. Roll the mixture into golf-ball-size meatballs by using two tablespoons, scooping up the meat and forming a ball with the spoons.

Bake on a lightly oiled surface (such a Pyrex pan) until they begin to brown and are cooked through, about 35 minutes, possibly more depending on your oven. 

 

Eat meatballs with organic diced tomatoes from a jar. Mix in little maple syrup and tamari (gluten free soy sauce). This tastes fantastic with either version of meatballs. They are yummy over rice with a steamed green veggie on the side.

 

Top with diced tomatoes and avocados, and cook up mushrooms and sweet potatoes as two side dishes.


Salmon Pecan Cakes

1 (7.5 ounce) can wild salmon

1 1/4 cups raw pecans

2 eggs

3 scallions, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/2 tsp sea salt

pinch of paprika

 

Preheat oven to 350 ℉. 

Using a food processor, grind pecans to a fine texture.

Drain canned salmon and add to food processor.

Add remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.

Separate into 8 patties and place on a lightly oiled baking tray. (Coconut oil is a good oil to use.) Sprinkle with a little extra paprika for appealing color. Bake until golden, about 25-30 minutes.

Top with Peach Cilantro Chutney.


Peach Cilantro Chutney

4 fresh ripe peaches or 2 cups frozen peaches, defrosted (dice the peaches in either case)

3 scallion shoots, chopped

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp fresh cilantro

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp diced jalepeño peppers (to taste)

pinch of sea salt

 

Using a small saucepan, combine peaches and olive oil and heat on medium-low. Add a little extra water if using fresh peaches so they don’t scald.

Once peaches are warm, add remaining ingredients and cook for about 12-15 minutes until flavors have combined and peaches are a little mushy.

Serve warm or cooled. 

This chutney is delicious served over Salmon Pecan Cakes.


Asian Chicken with Celery, Carrots and Mushrooms

2 teaspoons refined coconut oil (safe for medium-high heat)

1 small or 1/2 large sweet, yellow Vidalia onion, diced

4 carrots, peeled and chopped (diagonal slices work well)

4 stalks of celery, chopped 

1 pound chicken breast, ideally organic, cut into bite-sized pieces 8 ounces of mushrooms, chopped - OK to add more, they cook down a lot

1-2 tablespoons soy or tamari sauce 

ground ginger powder, just 1/4 teaspoon to start with, see if you like the flavor

1 teaspoon sesame oil

sesame seeds

black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

 

Using a large, deep skillet, melt oil on medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and sauté for about 3 minutes until they are softened.

Add chicken and raise heat to medium-high. Allow chicken to brown on one side and turn pieces over when they start to look opaque and white on the sides. Stir.

Add more oil if ingredients start to stick at any time.

Season with soy or tamari sauce and sprinkle with ground ginger.

Add mushrooms when chicken looks nearly done. Cut into a piece of chicken to make sure it is cooked through. Once mushrooms are softened, the dish is done.

Drizzle with sesame oil and stir. 

Taste and season as desired. Serve topped with sesame seeds.

This is yummy over brown or jasmine white rice.


Italian Chicken with Peppers and Mushrooms

2 teaspoons organic butter 

1 small or 1/2 large sweet, yellow Vidalia onion, diced

1 organic green bell pepper, chopped 

1 pound chicken breast, ideally organic, cut into bite-sized pieces 

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 or more tablespoons dried Italian seasoning herb mix

8 ounces of mushrooms, chopped - OK to add more, they cook down a lot

cooking wine, white or red, if desired - makes the sauce taste rich and the alcohol cooks off, leaving only the flavor

8 or more ounces of tomato sauce; use more if you want to serve this over pasta

red pepper flakes to taste

 

Using a large, deep skillet, melt butter on medium heat. Add onions and peppersand sauté for about 3 minutes until they are softened.

Add chicken and raise heat to medium-high. Salt and pepper the chicken. Allow chicken to brown on one side and turn pieces over when they start to look opaque and white on the sides. Stir.

.Season with Italian herbs.

Add mushrooms when chicken looks nearly done. Cut into a piece of chicken to make sure it is cooked through. Once mushrooms are softened, the dish is done.

Pour on tomato sauce and heat through.

This is yummy over quinoa or pasta. If you buy pasta made in Italy you avoid the weed killer used on American wheat.


Indian Curry Chicken with Veggies

2 teaspoons organic butter or refined coconut oil (safe for medium-high heat)

1 small or 1/2 large sweet, yellow Vidalia onion, diced

1 organic green bell pepper, chopped 

3 carrots, peeled and chopped (diagonal slides work well)

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 pound chicken breast, ideally organic, cut into bite-sized pieces 

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

curry powder, either hot or mild version, according to your tastes

optional jar of curry sauce, Jalfrezi flavor from Seeds of Change brand is my favorite 

8 ounces of mushrooms, chopped - OK to add more, they cook down a lot

red pepper flakes to taste

 

Using a large, deep skillet, melt butter or oil on medium heat. Add veggies and sauté for about 3 minutes until they are softened.

Add chicken and raise heat to medium-high. Salt and pepper the chicken. Allow chicken to brown on one side and turn pieces over when they start to look opaque and white on the sides. Stir.

Season with curry powder to taste.

Add mushrooms when chicken looks nearly done. Cut into a piece of chicken to make sure it is cooked through. Once mushrooms are softened, the dish is done.

Pour on tomato sauce and heat through.

This is yummy over brown or white jasmine rice.


Turkey with Onions, Spinach and Pecans

A healthy version of meatloaf you can make in a skillet. It is a complete meal that’s great for breakfast, lunch or dinner.


2 teaspoons organic butter or refined coconut oil (safe for medium-high heat)

1 small or 1/2 large sweet, yellow Vidalia onion, diced

1 pound ground turkey breast or mix of light and dark meat

2 teaspoons each dried basil and tarragon, may use more to taste

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

optional paprika and red pepper flakes

 1 1/2 cups pecans, ground in a nut grinder or chopped - these act like breadcrumbs, but much more nutritious, and add a yummy crunch.

1 10-oz bag of frozen, chopped, organic spinach, defrosted if possible (just let it sit out and warm in advance, so the dish will cook faster) 


Using a large, deep skillet, melt butter or oil on medium heat. Add onions and sauté for about 3 minutes until they are softened and become translucent.

Add turkey, stirring and breaking it into small pieces using a nylon cooking utensil.  Raise heat to medium-high so that turkey will brown slightly. Add more butter or oil if ingredients start to stick at any time.

Season with basil, tarragon, salt, pepper, paprika and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.

When turkey is cooked, add pecans and stir to combine.

Add spinach and stir, uncovered to let the extra moisture escape, until all ingredients are combined and heated through.

Taste and season more, if desired. Grated parmesan cheese is yummy on this.

Tastes good with brown rice. May also add sundried tomatoes or tomato sauce.


Want to learn more about the nutritional value in these recipes?