Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
9 Sep

10 Primal Meals in 15 Minutes or Less

Many people think that cooking healthy meals has to be a difficult and time-consuming task. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. (And even if it was true, isn’t the extra effort worth it?) Others of you, meanwhile, are new to this whole Primal Lifestyle and are looking for quick and easy recipes to help you adjust to this new, healthier way of life!

We have heeded your call for more recipes in last week’s “Dear Readers: What do You Want?” If you’re game, read on to learn ten Primal – and truly easy – quick meals.

But first a note: The quickest way to speed up the mid-week meal process is to do some work on the back end. It doesn’t have to mean devoting a whole day to cooking the meals for the week, but it does require some degree of planning ahead. For example, if you have all the ingredients on hand, you turn the process of creating a meal into nothing more than compiling a series of ingredients. So what ingredients should you stock?

•    Veggies of any kind (and you’ll save a ton of time—and encourage your family to consume them as snacks—if you pre-wash and slice them!)
•    Fresh fruit (just give ‘em a good rinse)
•    Nuts (but not peanuts, since we know they aren’t truly a nut)
•    Meats and fish (If possible, try to cook more than you need so that you can use leftovers to use in other meals.)
•    Fats (healthy oils and butter)
•    Fresh spices (they’re more flavorful than the dried ones taking up space on your lazy Susan!)

And now for the recipes…

Breakfast

Spinach Frittata

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An Italian breakfast dish, we’ll pull out the pasta and replace it with a ton of hearty – and healthy – vegetables that will keep you satiated through lunch! And, to make it more grab-and-go, we’ll be making it in muffin pans!

Ingredients:
1 brick of chopped frozen spinach, thawed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (or, if you pre-chopped, about 1 cup of onion)
1 large clove garlic, minced (about 1tbsp)
9 large eggs (and you’ll use the yolk too!)
2 tbsp milk
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (use fresh grated cheese from your deli – it’s more flavorful than the pre-packaged stuff in the pasta aisle. Romano cheese is also good here.)
2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
3 oz goat cheese

Method:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain spinach and set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and parmesan cheese. Once combined, add in sun-dried tomatoes and salt and pepper. In a skillet, sauté onions in olive oil on medium heat (about 2 minutes, or until translucent), add minced garlic and sauté for one more minute. Add spinach. In a pre-greased muffin pan, add spinach mixture to fill cups about one-third to half-way. Pour egg mixture over the top. Sprinkle goat cheese over the top of each “muffin” and put back in the oven for 10 minutes or until muffins appear puffy and golden. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Primal Strawberry Smoothie

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Short on time? This one will definitely take you less than 5 minutes to throw together (and it’s easy to drink when you’re on the move!)

Ingredients:
1 cup frozen strawberries (or blueberries, raspberries)
1 cup milk (don’t worry about going low-fat here – whenever you remove the fat, you up the relative sugar content!)
A couple 20-gram scoops of protein powder (This is our favorite. icon wink )

Method:
Throw in a blender, blend and go!

Quick Cottage Cheese Pancakes

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You’ll fool even the kids with this healthy pancake alternative.

Ingredients:
1 cup cottage cheese (not low fat!)
2 egg whites
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp soy flour
½ tsp cream of tartar

Method:
Beat the egg whites until frothy, add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In separate bowl, mix egg yolk, cottage cheese and soy flour. Combine the two mixtures and stir until just combined (otherwise you’ll compromise the “pancakes” fluffiness!). Cook as you would a regular pancake, on a skillet at medium heat, flipping when each side becomes lightly browned. They’re tasty with just a little bit of butter and some cinnamon sprinkled on top or with blueberries or strawberries and a little whipped cream. Or if you have a few more minutes on your hands – or want to up to the protein ante – top with a few scrambled eggs.

Lunch

Kitchen Sink Soup

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If you make this with leftovers you have on hand, it’s really just a matter of throwing it together, letting it simmer and forgetting about it!

Ingredients:
The basics:
5 cups stock or broth
1 15 oz can tomatoes, chopped (peeled plum tomatoes and probably easiest)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1 tbsp sweet paprika
3 tsp turmeric
½ tsp cinnamon
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

“Kitchen Sink” items: Feel free to include as many of the following items as you deem fit:

2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium bell pepper
1-2 cups of chard, spinach or another leafy green vegetable
1 cup of pumpkin
4 cups of meat, chopped into bite-size pieces – leftover turkey, chicken, steak, pork tenderloin or ham works best here

Method:
In a large soup pot, put oil, onion, and celery (if using). Cook on low heat for 5 minutes to soften. Turn up heat, and add garlic and any other vegetables (except the greens) that you plan to use. Cook for one minute, add spices. Stir and cook about one more minute. Add tomatoes, stock, and meat, if using and allow to simmer 10-15 minutes (we don’t count this as active work since it’s not very hands-on!). Adjust seasonings to taste. This recipe will make about 9 cups of soup, depending on what you add in.

Chicken Club Wrap

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As good as the sandwich from your favorite diner, with none of the guilt!

Ingredients:
3 large lettuce leaves
1 cup cooked chicken (leftovers is best here!), chopped into bite-size pieces
½ cup sliced red pepper
1 plum tomato, sliced
½ avocado
1 tbsp mayonnaise
If you have it on hand, feel free to add in some bacon

Method:
Wash and pat dry the large lettuce leaves. In the center of each leaf, pile all of the ingredients. Top with a dab of mayonnaise, wrap up and enjoy!

Protein Salad Dip

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You’re leftovers have never tasted better when you use them as a dip for your fave chopped veggies.

Ingredients:
2-3 cups cooked chicken or turkey (skin on, coarsely chopped). Or, alternatively, feel free to use a few a few cans of water-packed tuna fish
2 stalks celery, chopped
¼ cup red onion, chopped
2 pickles, chopped

Dressing:
5 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

“Dipping Items”
If you can slice it, you can use it. Good examples are peppers, zucchini, celery, cucumber, and apple. Or, alternatively, feel free to make it into a wrap by rolling it up in large lettuce leaves.

Method:
Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the items for the dressing. Mix the dressing in with the salad ingredients and add salt and pepper to taste. Should make four servings.

Dinner

Chicken with Goat Cheese and Arugula

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This recipe comes from Endless Simmer.

Ingredients:
8 chicken breast cutlets (roughly 1 1/2 lbs). Opt for the ones that are cleaned and trimmed and that are already sliced thin.
4 oz arugula (about 1 large bunch), trimmed
3 oz of soft goat cheese broken into small pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
Toothpicks

Method:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Lay cutlets flat, smooth side down. Season with salt and pepper, layer with arugula leaves and place goat cheese in the center. Starting with the narrow end of the cutlet, roll up the chicken tightly and secure with a toothpick. In a large, non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook the chicken, “seam” side down for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn once and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and cook 10-12 minutes or until chicken is opaque throughout. While the chicken is cooking, make a quick salad of argula, tomatoes and almonds. Pile on one side of the plate and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with course ground black pepper. Once chicken is done, remove toothpicks, slice the chicken crosswise and arrange on plate. Serves 4.

Leftovers A la King

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If you’re in the market for some true comfort food – that won’t make you pack on the comfort pounds – this easy leftovers recipe will be just the ticket.

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey
¼ cup chopped onion
1 small green pepper, chopped
4 to 6 oz fresh chopped mushrooms
2 tbsp oil or butter
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tbsp cornstarch (yes, it’s a starch, but at only 7 grams per tbsp – and double the thickening power of flour – it’ll work just fine here!)
1 cup milk
½ cup cream
1¼ cups stock or broth
4 oz jar chopped pimentos

Quick Cauliflower “Rice” – 1 large head of cauliflower (how easy is that!)

Method:
In a large skillet, heat the oil or butter and sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes. Add the green pepper and mushrooms, and cook until softening. Add black pepper and the cornstarch. Cook for 2 minutes. Add liquids, bring to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add chicken and turkey, heat through (about 10 minutes). While that’s simmering, in a food processor, chop cauliflower until it is the size of rice. Microwave 4 minutes in a covered dish, but do not add water – the moisture in the cauliflower will allow it to cook. Once finished, position on the center of the plate, then top with the chicken or turkey mixture and enjoy!

Eggplant Pizza

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It doesn’t get much easier than pizza – and this one is healthy too!

Ingredients:
1 large sized eggplant
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 can tomato sauce or store-bought marinara sauce
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano

Slice the eggplant lengthwise, making probably 6-8 slices about ½ inch thick. Place on a greased cookie sheet and place under a broiler. Broil until light brown. Remove, flip and cover with tomato sauce, basil, oregano and mozzarella cheese. Place back under the broiler. Feel free to add more toppings here – peppers, onions, pepperoni, diced ham – whatever your favorite pizza is, feel free to add it here! Should serve 3-4 people depending on how big your eggplant is.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

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We say chicken, but steak would be just as good if you have it on hand!

Ingredients:
2-3 cups of cooked chicken breast, steak or turkey
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese
¼ cup of cream or half & half
1 scallion
3 egg whites

Enchilada Sauce:
1 8oz can tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp chili powder

First prepare enchilada sauce. In a medium skillet, warm butter and oil. Add all dry ingredients, whisk in two cups of water and tomato sauce. Stir continually until sauce thickens. Adjust spices accordingly and set aside. In a second skillet, heat chicken in a quarter cup of enchilada sauce. Bring to simmer. In a mixing bowl, add eggs and half and half and beat until well blended. Heat up small skillet, spray with non-stick spray and add just enough egg mixture to coat pan. Allow to cook through, about 1-2 minutes. Repeat till all mixture is gone (you should get about 6 crepes). Inside a baking dish, place one of the egg crepes and coat with a small amount of sauce. Add chicken, a small amount of cheese and roll. When all are rolled top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle chopped scallions and cheese on top and bake at 350 for 10-15 min or until cheese melted and bubbly.

jessicafm, Poldavo (Alex), Majiscup – Drink for Design, yksin, louisa catlover, pollyalida, Endless Simmer, pirate johnny, adactio, hackett Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

Budget Eating Recipes

How to Eat Healthy and Save Money

Mark’s 2 Minute Salad

The Whole Series of Eat This Today, Feel Better Tomorrow: 1, 2, 3, Intermittent Fasting, Special Occasions and Dessert Editions

Healthy Tastes Great!

All MDA Recipes

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. What else can you add to smoothies to make them creamy besides dairy?

    MeganGrr wrote on July 24th, 2011
    • Have you tried avocado?

      Erin L wrote on July 27th, 2011
    • a can of organic chilled coconut milk is thick and rick and is a great addition to a smoothie!

      CHRISTINA wrote on July 29th, 2011
    • I am surprised by the amount of dairy on these primal recipes. Personally, me and dairy don’t mix too well and I feel much better omitting it from my diet. I use coconut milk in place of milk and skip cheese. I haven’t found a substitute for cheese yet. :(

      CHRISTINA wrote on July 29th, 2011
  2. I just made the chicken with arugula and goat cheese – DELICIOUS! it’s going into the rotation.

    Erin L wrote on July 27th, 2011
  3. Just had a great quick and simple breakfast – burgers using roasted eggplant as the bun! The whole recipe is at primalinapinch.com

    Emily C wrote on August 18th, 2011
  4. I want to prepare the BreakfastSpinach Frittata, but I have no idea what a “brick” of frozen spinace is. Does anyone have a definition for that?

    WJ Purifoy wrote on October 3rd, 2011
  5. Chopped spinach stuffed into a little box in the freezer section. Unwrapped it’s a little “brick”.

    rlrg wrote on October 4th, 2011
  6. I made a modified version of the chicken with goat cheese and arugula and it turned out AMAZING. I added sliced sun dried tomatoes to the chicken filling (I used the kind that are packed in oil. Soaked fresh ones would probably work too), and I made a balsamic cream sauce to go over the chicken that I loosely based on this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/balsamic-cream-sauce/detail.aspx
    I added sliced crimini mushrooms to the sauce, used closer to a whole onion and diced it instead of mincing. I also used a lot more balsamic-I wasn’t measuring anything, but the balsamic to cream ratio was probably closer to 1:1 (although I let the balsamic reduce for a minute or two before adding the cream, possibly making it more like 1:2). I really wanted a nice strong balsamic flavor. I’m thinking about finding a way to incorporate bacon next time, possibly adding it to the sauce or something. The sauce didn’t add much time to this recipe, because I was able to get it almost finished while the chicken was in the oven. Anyway, Thanks!

    Sara wrote on November 8th, 2011
  7. Where can I find macro nutrition count for “Easy Chicken Enchilladas” from your site on 10 Primal Meals 15 minutes or less? I’m try to put into myfitness pal.

    MC wrote on November 15th, 2011
  8. The cottage cheese pancakes were a fail over here, but I just started primal and noticed afterwards that I only had lowfat cottage cheese on hand – maybe that’s why? Next time I will try them with full fat cheese and blend it to make it smooth.

    carrie wrote on December 3rd, 2011
  9. The frittata recipe confuses me. What do you do after you add the spinach? Let it saute for a while longer, or remove the mixture immediately? Also, the recipe says “put back in the oven,” but never mentioned putting anything in the oven prior to that. How can something go “back in the oven” if it was never in it in the first place? Is there a missing step?

    I’ll just go ahead with the recipe as best I can, but I always hesitate with unclear recipes — especially when a failed recipe means I’d waste expensive ingredients, like the goat cheese.

    Daniel wrote on January 13th, 2012
  10. For the cottage cheese pancakes, can I substitute coconute flour or almond flour? (I’m allergic to soy.) If anyone’s tried that, please let me know the result.

    Thanks!

    Amina wrote on January 23rd, 2012
  11. Hey! In Australia ‘tomato sauce’ refers to ketchup! Does tomato sauce in this mean like a can of crushed tomatoes that are all juicy, or tomato paste, which is concentrated and thick?

    Kate wrote on August 28th, 2012
    • It’s not the tomato paste or the crushed tomatoes. It’s pureed tomatoes…smooth.

      Amie wrote on August 29th, 2012
  12. I’m making the enchiladas tonight, only I made cream cheese crepes. Suffice it to say my end result doesn’t look at all like the picture LOL but it’s delicious. Thanks!

    Deanne wrote on April 6th, 2013
  13. I’m surprised to see soy flour as an ingredient on this site. Has anyone figured a good substitute for that yet? I don’t do soy, or any legume flour.

    Jen wrote on May 30th, 2013

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