Pork Chops with Apple, Walnut, and Raisin Compote

Anyone else out there love pork chops and applesauce? While I’m sure I could find some Whole 30 compliant applesauce at the store, I decided to just make my own apple, walnut, and raisin compote to go on top of these grilled pork chops. You could cook it a little longer and use a hand masher to make this into true applesauce, but I like it chunky. The raisins add a little extra sweetness to the apples since this recipe doesn’t have any added sugar (to make it Whole 30 compliant), and the walnuts add a nice texture. My dad even liked this, and he’s the pickiest person on the planet.

Always Perfect Pork Chops

Ingredients:

  • Lean center-cut pork chops
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Parsley flakes
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Avocado oil

Instructions:

  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a glug of avocado oil to the pan.
  • Season both sides of the pork chops with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley flakes. Place the pork chops in the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • When the pork chops come off the pan easily, they are ready to flip (if they stick, give them a little more time – the crust is not ready yet). Flip the pork chops and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Stick the pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes to let the pork chops finish cooking.

Apple, Walnut, and Raisin Compote

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples (I used red delicious for the recipe I photographed, but I have also made it with golden delicious and Granny Smith, so use whatever kind of apples you like)
  • 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions:

  • Peel the apples and dice into small cubes.
  • Put the apples in a pan over medium-high heat with the water and cinnamon.
  • Stir and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until they start to soften.
  • Turn the heat down to low and add the walnuts and raisins.
  • Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. (I usually cook mine for about 15 minutes.)
  • Scoop the mixture onto the top of your pork chops.

You can also serve this as a side dish, a topping on your oatmeal, or with some granola on top for a warm breakfast or guilt-free dessert.

If you want the mixture to be more like applesauce, then leave out the walnuts and raisins and smash the apples with a hand masher once they have cooked for about 15-20 minutes.

If you are not on the Whole 30, you could definitely add some sugar to this mixture to make it sweeter. I think brown sugar would probably give it the best flavor and would start with just a tablespoon and taste test it.

If you don’t have raisins, you could also use dried cranberries. Just make sure that if you are doing Whole 30 they don’t have added sugar.

Five on Friday – Instagram Accounts to Follow for Whole 30 Inspiration

One thing that is so important for having a successful Whole 30 is surrounding yourself with people who support you and inspire you to keep going. My family is very supportive of me doing this challenge, but they aren’t actually participating in the challenge with me. I’ve found that it is really nice to join the Whole 30 community on either Facebook or Instagram for inspiration and motivation during the program. I listed my favorite Instagram accounts for Whole 30 inspiration below:

  • Just Jessie B. – She has TONS of great Whole 30 and Paleo recipes and does lots of beauty and fashion tips. I love watching her stories!
  • Nutrition with Kate – If you want someone who is going to give it to you straight and keep your feet to the fire about following the program rules, Kate is the perfect person to follow! She is a certified Whole 30 Coach and gives great tips and recipes!
  • Paleo Bailey – This girl is so fun to follow! Her health journey is so inspiring and she’s funny. I love following along with her as I’m going through my Whole 30 challenge.
  • Primal Gourmet – Y’all, not only is this guy an amazing chef with daily videos of how to make super yummy Whole 30 dishes, but he is hilarious. You don’t want to miss his stories where he shares his daily entry in his Whole 30 Day by Day journal – his non-scale victories are the best!
  • Jenna’s Whole Journey – Being positive during the Whole 30 is a challenge some days, but this girl always has a smile on her face! She’s done successful Whole 30s in the past and is rocking this January reset.

And a bonus account, just because… If you are doing a Whole 30 and you aren’t following Whole 30 Recipes on Instagram, what are you even doing with your life? They are a MUST FOLLOW if you’re doing or thinking about doing a Whole 30.

Hearty Whole 30 Shepherd’s Pie

We’ve been out of school for two days due to ice and snow, and I’ve been craving some comfort food. I whipped up this hearty shepherd’s pie using all Whole 30 approved ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 1 cup Whole 30 compliant chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

Instructions:

  • Wash and peel the russet potatoes.
  • Chop potatoes into small cubes, cover with water, and bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat and cook until potatoes are fork tender.
  • While potatoes are cooking, dice the onion, garlic, and carrots.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of avocado oil to the pan.
  • Saute the onion, garlic, and carrots for about 3 minutes, until the onions are transparent.
  • Add the ground chuck to the pan and season with salt, pepper, oregano, parsley flakes, and red pepper flakes to taste.
  • Stir and cook until the meat is all browned.
  • Once meat is browned, turn down the heat to low and add 1 tablespoon of coconut flour and 1/3 cup of chicken broth to the meat mixture. Stir well and simmer to thicken the sauce. Cover and set aside.
  • To prepare the mashed potato topping, drain the potatoes. Add 2/3 cup of chicken broth and beat with a hand mixer until creamy. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and parsley flakes as needed (you may not need extra salt because of the salt in the chicken broth).
  • Spoon the meat mixture into a small casserole dish. Top with the mashed potatoes.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then put under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes until the potato topping begins to brown.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Steak and Veggie Bowl

There is something so comforting about eating a warm meal from a bowl. This quick veggie and steak combo is perfect for a quick weeknight meal when you want something tasty and healthy that you can put together in 10 minutes or less.

Ingredients:

  • 2 thin ribeye steaks
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies that can be steamed in the bag (I used a combo of broccoli, carrots, squash, and cauliflower)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Ghee
  • Coconut Aminos

Instructions:

  • Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Coat the pan with a glug of olive oil and a teaspoon of ghee.
  • Season the steaks with salt and black pepper. Place in the skillet with the melted ghee and cook for about 4 minutes on each side.
  • While steaks are cooking, steam the frozen veggies in the bag in the microwave using the instructions on the bag.
  • Remove the steaks from the skillet and add a little bit more olive oil. Toss the steamed veggies in the pan and season with a little salt. Saute the veggies for about 2 minutes, until they just start to get some color.
  • Scoop veggies into a bowl. Slice the steaks into think strips. Put the steak strips on top of the veggies and drizzle with a little coconut aminos for extra flavor.

Recipe serves 2.

This recipe is Whole 30 compliant.

Easy Slow Cooker Roast

This recipe is a staple at our house. It’s easy to toss everything in my slow cooker before I go to work and it’s perfectly tender and has the house smelling amazing when we get home. It’s incredibly easy to do, requires almost no prep, and just does it’s thing in the slow cooker without me having to do anything. On a busy weekday, that’s definitely a win in my book!


Ingredients:

  • One 2-3 lb chuck roast
  • 4 medium russet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 handfuls baby carrots
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • 1/4 cup beef broth

Instructions:

  • Place the chuck roast in the slow cooker. If you want it to cook faster, you can cut it into smaller pieces.
  • Season well with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  • Top with carrots, cubed potatoes, and sliced onion. 
  • Pour in 1/4 cup beef broth (or you can use water, but it won’t have as much flavor).
  • Cook on low for 8-9 hours OR on high for 4-5 hours, until potatoes and carrots are fork tender and meat can be easily shredded with a fork.

This reheats really well, and I usually have a couple days worth of leftovers when I cook a roast this size. I use leftovers for an easy lunch or use them to make sandwiches or my Shredded Beef Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Brunch Whole30 Style

Jeff absolutely loves eggs, and our typical weekend brunch usually consists of my bacon, egg, and cheese crescents, or scrambled eggs with bacon, or (my favorite) pancakes with a side of eggs for Jeff. Since we’re doing Whole30, the crescents and pancakes are not allowed and we’ve had bacon and eggs the last two weekends, so I wanted to try something new.

I made this turkey sausage and spinach egg bake for Jeff and reserved some of the sausage for me (because I’m not a big egg fan). I served it up with a quick salad and it was the perfect start to a lazy weekend. Check out the recipes below!

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Egg Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey sausage
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup spinach 
  • 6 large eggs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Avacado oil

Instructions:

  • In a skillet, sauté the diced onions in about a tablespoon of avacado oil for about 3 minutes over medium high heat (until they begin to become transparent).
  • Add the turkey sausage to the onions and cook until browned (5 to 7 minutes).
  • Drain sausage and onion mixture on paper towels to remove excess oil.
  • Spray a cast iron skillet with avacado oil and toss in the spinach. Spoon the turkey sausage mixture over the spinach.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, salt, and pepper together. Make sure to break up all the yolks.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the sausage and spinach. 
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until the eggs are cooked through and set up.

Spinach, Walnut, and Apple Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 gala apple, cubed
  • 1 snack sized box of raisins
  • Red onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon police oil
  • Handful of toasted walnuts

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, combine the spinach, apples, raisins, red onion, and walnuts.
  • Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon over the salad. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Toss greens to coat in the olive oil and lemon juice mixture. 

Baked Chicken Breasts with Zucchini Noodles in Spinach and Walnut Pesto

I made zucchini noodles today and now I am wondering why it took me so long to try them. They were amazing! I could replace spaghetti with zucchini noodles forever and not miss it one bit. Also, they were incredibly easy and cooked super fast. This meal came together so quickly that I barely felt like I had cooked, but it was really tasty and Jeff gave it his stamp of approval. That’s always a win. Check out the recipes below:

Simply the Best Baked Chicken

I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this, but you could absolutely use bone-in chicken. You’d just need to adjust your cooking time. Usually bone-in chicken tends to take a little longer to cook. Just make sure that the juices are running clear when you puncture the chicken to be sure it is done.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 Tbsp avacado oil

Salt

Pepper

In a skillet, heat the avacado oil over medium high heat until warm. Make sure to swirl it around to coat the entire skillet. 

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place in the skillet seasoned side down. Season the other side with salt and pepper. 

Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until browned. Flip the chicken and cook on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes. 

Transfer to a 400 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes. 

Browning the chicken in the skillet first makes such a huge difference in how flavorful this chicken is! Having that crispy, browned crust makes it so savory!

Spinach and Walnut Pesto

1 1/2 cups finely packed spinach

1/2 cup fresh basil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

Combine the spinach, basil, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor. Drizzle in olive oil until you reach the desired consistency. 

Put It All Together

Spiralize 3-4 large zucchini using a vegetable spirializer like this one. Sauté the noodles on medium high heat in avacado oil with a little salt and pepper for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add two tablespoons of pesto to the noodles and toss until coated.

Serve with sliced chicken breasts and toasted walnuts for garnish. 

Crockpot Chicken and Potatoes

I made up this recipe this afternoon because I wanted something easy and the only meat I had in the house was chicken. Since I’ve been doing the Whole 30 program, we have had a LOT of chicken. I wanted something different than our typical grilled or baked chicken breasts, so I decided to pull out my crockpot.

I wasn’t sure how this would turn out, but it was really good! The chicken was perfectly cooked and really juicy, and the potatoes were nice and tender. This is probably going to be a regular in our house now! As my dad says, we’re going to “put it in the rotation.”

Here’s what you need:

2-4 Frozen chicken breasts (yes, I put them in the crockpot frozen because I had something to do this afternoon and didn’t have time to thaw them – it turned out fine cooking them from frozen)

1 can chicken broth

2-4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

Salt and pepper

Minced garlic

Parsley flakes

Oregano

Red pepper flakes

Rosemary 

Thyme 

Bay leaf


Place the chicken and potatoes in the crockpot. Pour about half the can of chicken broth over the chicken and potatoes. (Don’t cover them – you just want a little liquid in the bottom of the crockpot). Season with salt and pepper, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and a bay leaf (I didn’t measure – I just gave a generous sprinkle of each one over the chicken. I took it easy on the red pepper flakes, though.) 


Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. 

I wish I had included some baby carrots in this and probably will do that next time. I had steamed broccoli with mine, and heated up some frozen rolls for Jeff. 

Sundays are for meal prep

I have almost made it to the halfway mark in my Whole 30 challenge! Today is day 14. 

This morning, Jeff and I went for a little drive to Payne Lake to take advantage of the beautiful weather and the fall colors. 


When we got home, Jeff grilled some amazing burgers and I made rosemary and garlic roasted potatoes for lunch. I wish I had a picture of the burgers he made, but I was so hungry that I dove in  before I remembered to take a picture. 


For the potatoes, I scrubbed and diced some potatoes and sprinkled them with garlic salt, paprika, rosemary, and parsley flakes and baked them at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. I took them out and turned them every 15 minutes to keep them from sticking.

After lunch, it was time to shop and meal prep. I decided to go to Target this week because they had some good sales. Our usual budget for groceries and household items is around $100 to $150 a week. I use coupons.com, Target Cartwheel, Walmart Savings Catcher, Savings Star, and the Ibotta apps on my phone to try to save as much as I can. I printed my list from the Whole 30 website and filled in what I needed, then headed to town. 


I mainly stick to fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats, but I also love Larabars and Naked fruit drinks for quick and easy breakfast options.


When I got home, I spent about 30 minutes doing some meal prep – mainly cutting up fruit and veggies so they’ll be ready to use when I cook later this week. 

Here’s what my fridge looks like after meal prep for the week:


Top Shelf: eggs and condiments (yes, I know most of those condiments are not Whole 30 approved, but Jeff is not doing the Whole 30 program, so those are for him)

Second Shelf: Pickles, random stuff

Third Shelf: Deli turkey, snack bags of grapes, chopped pineapple, single servings of grilled chicken

Drawer: cheese, cream cheese, sausage and hot dogs (for Jeff)

Fourth Shelf: Prepped fruit, lettuce and spinach

Veggie Drawer: cauliflower, carrots, bell pepper, chopped onions, squash, zucchini, pecans, and walnuts

Bottom Drawer: meat thawing drawer – pot roast for tomorrow 

My meal plans for this week are pretty simple. I’m going to be super busy at school, so I’m keeping food as easy as possible. Hopefully I’ll have some new recipes for you soon. 


Breakfast and lunch for tomorrow are prepped and ready. I’ll be sharing my Whole 30 approved pot roast recipe tomorrow! It’s the perfect crock pot meal for cozy fall nights! 

I hope y’all all have a great week! 

Keeping up with the Wallaces!

These last few weeks have been crazy busy. My husband and I started the Whole 30 challenge on Monday, October 10th. Somehow, he finished way earlier than I did…


I’m currently on day 9, and I’m honestly surprised that it actually hasn’t been that hard. I do miss bread (a LOT), but because you can eat so many fruits and veggies, I haven’t really felt super hungry or deprived, which is a really good thing when it comes to diets.

However, I do feel that my cooking game has been knocked off kilter since I started this challenge. There are only so many ways to cook chicken and fresh veggies… I have realized that almost ALL my recipes use some kind of forbidden food like flour, canned soup, or sugar. I know Jeff is ready for me to be doing something in the kitchen besides roasting chicken and I’m trying to come up with some creative ways to cook healthy meals that even the non-dieter in the house will enjoy.

Here are some of the meals I have been relying on to get through this challenge so far:

Roasted chicken breast with green beans – I love bone-in chicken for roasting. Wash the chicken breasts and place on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and parsley flakes. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the chicken (these breasts were HUGE, so I had to cook mine for an hour).

Most of the time, my breakfast and lunch look like this. I try to stick to something easy to pack, so I take Sundays to prep all my veggies so I can just toss some in a bowl at night before bed and they’re ready to go in the morning. I also include some slices of deli turkey for protein.

I just found out about these AMAZING little snack bars and they are a game changer! I was really missing my granola bar for breakfast every morning, and these little bars satisfy that craving without any of the bad for you ingredients that are in my typical bar.

Jeff has been working hard on the grill since we started this challenge. He grilled burgers for us a couple times (I ate mine without a bun), and last week I found these awesome steaks on sale at Publix and couldn’t pass them up.

Jeff said he has eaten more fruits and veggies in the last week than he has all year leading up to this challenge. I think he’s sick of broccoli…haha.

Besides the Whole 30, I’ve been super busy at school. We’ve just started a new nine-weeks. My 11th grade students are about to start reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. To kick off the unit, I am hosting a Gatsby Soirée in my classroom next Friday featuring all things inspired by the 1920s. There will be 1920s food, 1920s music, 1920s fashion, and 1920s dancing. I am still researching the food that I’m going to make for my students, and I can’t wait to share the recipes I find with you guys next week.

On Sunday, we gained a new member of the family!  Meet Hemingway, our new kitten!

He is a feisty little guy who loves jumping all over the couch, hiding under the furniture, and attacking the cords on our blinds. George is NOT happy at all about this new addition, but we read that it is actually pretty normal for an older cat to resist adding a new cat to the family at first and we’re hoping he will come around. Does anyone have any suggestions for making the transition smoother? George has been extremely ticked off at us since we brought Hemingway home and has decided that he’s going to just camp out in the basement and ignore all of us. Hopefully he’ll get over it soon.