I have a habit of grabbing coffee at Whole Foods when I go in to buy groceries, but somehow despite my frequent drop ins I had perpetually missed some very important facts that they have posted on the wall.
I love Whole Foods for their foundation work, and knew that they were leaders in renewable energy and upcycling materials, but they actually used the bleacher seating from UHall (the old University of Virginia basketball arena) for their cafe table tops? That’s awesome. This method of recyling (and upcycling, if you will) was a serious inspiration for helping to minimize my time spent cooking this week, and maximize the meals created.
I was craving two of Ralph (my dad)’s old clutch meals, tweaked to be clean and balanced fuel meals. The first half of the inspiration was a meal I replicated a few months back with (gluten free) spinach fettuccine, an avocado/greek yogurt blend dressing and veggies. The other half was inspired by his pasta primavera, my childhood favorite which was always rich with vegetables and popping color.
The base of this meal was a mix of sautéd zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, and red peppers. It was all cooked with coconut oil and seasoned with Trader Joe’s everyday seasoning and ground kosher sea salt.
My goal with these types of meals is to over produce the most fundamental parts of the recipe so that there are leftovers in the fridge to make future meals much faster.
To stay true to my inspiration for this first version of the meal, I cooked more of the gluten free spinach fettuccine.
Once the pasta was nice and al dente (yes, I like it a tad firm. I’m italian.) it was mixed up with the greek yogurt and avocado (2 whole avocados and 12 oz of chobani greek yogurt) and seasoned even more with ground sea salt and ground peppercorn.
Add on the veggies, and voila!
So, here we have our carbs for the meal (probably more than would be ‘suggested’), with our good fats in the yogurt/avocado sauce, and just need our added protein. Per my favorite grilling trends, the other side of the plate was filled with steak.
This was by far my favorite meal of the week, which was a pretty safe bet since it was a blend of my two old favorites and a little bit of a comfort food ‘treat’ with the pasta and yogurt add ons to my typically dairy + grain free eating. So here’s where it gets fun: primavera veggies, day 2.
First I should say that these exact leftovers, with slices of avocado for some additional good fats, did weasel it’s way into my lunch the next day.
But the veggies didn’t stop there. They went on to fulfill their meal destiny two nights later when I hastily roasted spaghetti squash and turned it into a yogurt-less meal of squash overload that was amazing.
Of course, to accompany the squash primavera was grilled chicken and an amazing fruit and nut salad, but there will be more on that coming later this week in a full post on some of the amazing salad combinations that have been happening recently. I can’t explain it scientifically, but there’s something about the warm weather that invites creativity and frequency of amazing salads as the summer meal anchor, and this one was no exception.
With less kitchen time required this week, and a little too much time on (or wine in?) my hands, I even tried to upcycle two of Bug’s toys, covering up the chicken that she feels both active aggression and paralyzing fear towards with her old favorite buddy Cat R. Pillar.
Since we don’t allow Bug to drink wine (if we can help it) she found this stunt less than amusing, and is likely working on her emancipation letter as we speak.