Well I did it <pat on back>! I was able to recreate my husband’s favorite meal while making it healthier AND having it still taste good. I did this just in time for Valentine's Day too!
I fully believe you should still be able to enjoy the foods you love as you honor your goals to be healthy plus having the entire family eat them too. No need to make 2-3 meals a night to satisfy all members of your family. Sometimes all it takes is a little tweak here or a substitute there. I’ll give you an example of the meal I made and where I made substitutions and where I even left things out to fit our family’s needs.
A couple things I would like to discuss first are shopping tips and planning out your meals. I know shopping for a family can be challenging as well as expensive. Here are some tips on how I save money, time, and my sanity in the process.
- Shop once a week using a pick up or delivery service. Shopping only once a week helps you save on time and money. Using a delivery service or curbside pickup doesn’t leave room for impulse buying of things that don’t align with your goals. I’ve noticed a decrease in my grocery bill because I’m not mindlessly grabbing items off the shelf. I like to use Walmart curbside pickup or have Imperfect Foods delivered to my house.
- Purchase items in season. By purchasing food in season you are not only fueling your body with nutrients it needs and craves at that time in the season but you’ll save money as well. The food is typically farmed local which saves money on travel expenses. It is also more nutrient dense.
- Work the same foods into your weekly menus to save money. Use those in-season items to create your grocery list. Then plan out 2-3 meals to use throughout the week with these in-season items. This way you are purchasing less expensive foods in bulk while saving money and time when prepping because you’ll only have to cut one or two typesof vegetables or fruits.
The recipe I used was from Pass The Sushi. This is a meal my husband always goes for when it’s on the menu at a restaurant so I wanted to bring it into our home. Sometimes all you need to do is satisfy those cravings by cooking at home and save yourself from spending three times the amount at a restaurant.
Cajun Chicken, Shrimp, and Sausage Recipe
1 tbsp butter - I used ghee
1 lbs medium-size fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp olive oil - I used avocado oil
1 to 2 lbs chicken boneless, skinless, dark or light meat, cut into o 1″ cubes
1 12-ounce package fettuccine - I used Banza chickpea shells
1/2 lbs Andouille sausage, chopped
1/2 cup butter or margarine - Again I substituted ghee
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped - Red pepper substituted here because that is what my kids like
4 celery ribs, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes - With this I didn’t add as much knowing that my husband could add additional seasoning to his liking
1 1/2 tbsp salt-free Cajun seasoning - Adjust to taste
3 tbsp all-purpose flour - Whole wheat flour substituted here
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream - Plain Greek Yogurt
6 oz pasteurized prepared cheese product, cubed (a.k.a. Velveeta) - I actually left this out because my husband can’t do much cheese and it was just as good without it
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- In a large non-stick skillet melt the butter over medium heat and cook shrimp until no longer pink, 3 minutes a side. Set aside and cover.
- In a large stock pot, or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat oil until shimmering.
- Brown chicken on all sides 5-10 minutes.
- Check for doneness and place chicken in a bowl and set aside.
- Cook sausage 10 minutes, until browned.
- Add the sausage to the chicken in bowl and cover.
- Meanwhile, prepare fettuccine according to package directions; drain and set aside.
- In the same stock pot, add onion, pepper, celery, and red pepper flakes.
- Cook over medium heat 10 minutes.
- Stir in Cajun seasoning and flour and cook 1 minute.
- Slowly stir in chicken broth, whisking to avoid clumps.
- Increase heat to medium-high heat and bring to a boil for 1 minute.
- Reduce to a simmer and stir in heavy cream and pasteurized cheese; stir to melt cheese.
- Stir in reserved chicken, sausage and pasta. Toss to coat evenly.
- Add shrimp, green onions, Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Serve