The Novice Foodie

Just eating real foods, lifting heavy things and learning about it along the way

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3 Ingredient Paleo quick dish

Sausage Pepper Skillet

One of my favorite quick meals to make: Simply toss some peppers and onions (fresh sliced or frozen) and pre-cooked sausage sliced in a skillet with some olive oil. Because you’re essentially just re-heating and sautéing, the olive oil will hold up safely at the medium to low temperature.
I like Applegate brand chicken sausage, but any natural kind will do. Applegate is a good brand with a short list of ingredients and humane, organic practices. It is pre-seasoned and pre-cooked, which cuts meal prep time down significantly. There are also several different flavors to choose from!


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MEAL PREP: Quick, easy chicken marinade

One of the quickest, easiest, tastiest way to make chicken is to marinade it. The only catch is that you need to allow time for the chicken to absorb the juicy goodness, so meal planning is key.

I buy individually wrapped chicken breasts and keep them frozen.

Every once in awhile I take one out and throw it in the fridge to defrost.


Once it’s defrosted, I rinse it, throw it in a ziplock bag and add some olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, balsamic vinegar and salt/pepper/whatever spices I’m feelin that day and stick it back in the fridge. Some good options are rosemary, garlic powder, basil, cilantro or other herbs that strike your fancy. I usually leave it at least overnight but I bet a few hours would still do the trick.


Makes for a juicy, flavorful chicken breast that I throw on the grill for a quick meal later in the week.

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Lessons from Paleo: Get comfortable buying meat

Protein is an essential part of any diet, and the good news is there are lots of ways to get it. Some of the most delicious ways are through natural, unprocessed meats.

But for a new cook, tackling a dish with meat products is pretty intimidating! There is high potential for disaster, from undercooking and contracting food borne illnesses to overcooking and ending up with dry, tough meat.  For the longest time, the only meat I would cook on my own was boneless, skinless chicken breast for a few reasons. 1. It comes all nice and ready to go, 2. it’s generally agreed upon as a healthy food choice, 3. it’s versatile,  and 4. it’s pretty hard to screw up even for the most inexperienced cook.

After a while, though, I got bored with my meals. I’m gonna go ahead and say that diet rule number one for anyone on any kind of diet should be “always be excited about your food.” This may be the singular most important thing to making a diet sustainable long-term.

So after I got bored with chicken, I began to experiment with ground beef, another relatively easy and versatile meat to conquer. More importantly, it’s all packaged for you and you don’t have to make a whole lot of decisions.

But that got old, too, so I decided to broaden my horizons. There’s a whole new delicious world of possibilities right behind your deli counter/butcher shop, if you can just get yourself over there. This, too, is an intimidating place for a new cook/meat purchaser. You gotta know the proper names of cuts you want and how much you want in pounds. It’s really not so bad, but for a newbie it can get a little overwhelming. So start small.

Some tips for first-time meat buyers: Find something familiar to you and start there. One day on my way to the pre-packaged section of Whole Foods, I noticed that they had kielbasa behind the counter.  I’ve had kielbasa many times in my 50% Polish life, so I pretty much know what to expect when cooking it, and decided that day to get me some. You gotta start somewhere.

kielbasa and sauerkraut

And then I had a nice kielbasa and sauerkraut dinner at work!

Some other tips: Look things up before you get there so you know what to ask for and how much. Follow a recipe! Following recipes are a great way to be introduced to new ingredients and methods of cooking. Soon enough, you won’t need a recipe and you can concoct your own masterpieces. As for the meat preparation itself, there are step-by-step instructions and even videos to guide you through it. And for even more convenience, many grocery stores will even have pre-seasoned meats that are basically dinner-to-go.  (**But check those ingredients lists–it is always better to do the seasoning yourself so you know exactly what all went on there.)

And then, after all of those doors opened, an even greater thing happened. I discovered U.S. Wellness Meats. And I was beyond sold. The trickiest part of purchasing meat is finding the kind that isn’t loaded with fake, scary ingredients, and this place made that pretty simple. All products are grass-fed, humanely raised, nitrate-free, hormone-free, antibiotic-free. And it comes right to your doorstep.

My order from US Wellness Meats

My order from US Wellness Meats

How cool is that? I instantly (well, after they were defrosted) had dozens of meal opportunities without leaving my apartment. But there’s no rush–meat kept frozen will last for years because it comes vacuum-sealed.

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Pizza Burger

Pizza Burger



Turkey burger with tomato sauce and pepperoni for lunch? Don’t mind if I do.

Find this recipe (I modified to use a frozen Turkey burger patty, canned tomato sauce, some pre-chopped onions and a shake or two of Italian seasoning and a slice of pepperoni) and others I’ve tried and rated at my Pinterest board, pinned there, done that


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JUST MADE: sweet potato hash

JUST MADE: sweet potato hash

Just made THE most delicious PALEO breakfast! Recipe originally from “Eating for Idiots” blog.

I usually hate cooking on a skillet because it splashes all over the place, but coconut oil held up much better at medium-high heat and the sweet potatoes actually did get crispy without getting burnt.
I used some Tony Chachere’s seasoning and skipped the cinnamon to make it a little spicier. Top with an egg for perfection!

As always, see this and more recipes that I’ve tried and rated on my pinterest board “pinned there, done that.”

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This is what Paleo looks like: Burgers and Fries!

There are a lot of misconceptions about what Paleo is. I’ve heard more than one person assume it’s some kind of raw food or calorie-restrictive diet. It’s none of those things. What it is is lean beef, avocado sauce, roasted pepper and onions, and baked spicy sweet potato fries. It’s meat, vegetables and some fruit and nuts. It’s eating clean. It’s not calorie counting and it’s not processed food, grains, dairy or sugar. But it can be delicious!

See this recipe and more I’ve tried and rated on my pinterest page, “Pinned there, done that.”