After spending so much time defining whole foods and talking about buying directly from the farm, I thought I would give you an example of just such a meal.
I don’t know that I have ever actually photographed my dinner plate before! I know for sure I have never posted a picture of it on the web! Well, this is what we had for dinner tonight. Everything we ate came straight from a local farm and is in season in Tennessee right now. OK, maybe some of the seasonings didn’t quite come from the farm but the big stuff did. Parmesan drumsticks, sweet potato dollars, and kale. A very satisfying, and very healthful meal. A great end to this would have been a fruit salad of fresh cut up grapefruit, oranges, apples, and banana (citrus and apples are also in season right now).
Here are the recipes (with a few comments):
Parmesan Drumsticks from Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely, p. 27
Combine in a bowl: 1 cup parmesan cheese (freshly grate your own!), 3 teaspoons oregano, 2 teaspoons paprika, salt and pepper to taste (remember to use unrefined sea salt).
In a small frying pan, melt 1/4 cup butter with either 1 T olive oil or coconut oil.
Dip 12 chicken drumsticks, no skin (you could leave the skin on if you like), into butter mixture and then into cheese mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about an hour or until chicken is completely cooked.
I always double the cheese and butter mixtures, and use 15 chicken drumsticks for my family of 5. There are usually about 3 or 4 leftover for lunch the next day. This recipe is a big favorite of my kids and it is all whole foods, nothing processed, no chemicals. Hooray!
Sweet Potato Dollars from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, p. 405
Peel 3-4 sweet potatoes and slice crosswise in 1/4" thick slices or "dollars". Melt 3 Tablespoons butter with 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I used coconut oil). Brush a cookie sheet (you may need two cookie sheets) with the butter mixture then arrange the dollars in one layer on the pan and brush with the remaining butter mixture. Season lightly with sea salt. Bake about 45 minutes at 350.
These are another family favorite and there are never any leftovers. Again, all whole foods, nothing processed, no chemicals, and loaded with nutrition!
The kale came from our CSA box. All I did was chop off the long stems, rinse it well, then chop it into smaller pieces. Pour a couple tablespoons of olive oil into a large pan, heat it on medium low, toss in a few cloves of finely chopped or minced garlic (however garlicky you like it is how you decide how much) and saute for a minute. Don’t let the garlic brown — just flavor the oil. Then add the kale, toss it to coat it with the oil, add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes and a splash of balsamic vinegar while tossing the kale, then when it is slightly wilted just turn off the heat and put on the lid. I let it sit on the stove until we are ready to eat.
OK OK my kids don’t like kale either! But everyone has to have one bite or one small portion, depending on their age. The 2 year old will get one small piece on her plate before she gets any other food. When she eats the whole bite, she can have the rest of her dinner. This works best if she has NOT been snacking before dinner! My 8 and 11 year olds will get a small portion on their plates with the rest of their meal. They know that the kale must be entirely eaten before getting seconds. And they have learned from experience that it is much better warm than cold. Remember, it takes dozens of times of trying a food before a child will like it. So don’t give up. My kids learned to LOVE brussels sprouts this way (well, we are still working on the 2 year old). It really makes a big difference to have only one thing per meal that the kids are not crazy about so that they will be more motivated to eat it in order to get more of what they do like. And if they choose not to eat it, they don’t get seconds, and they won’t starve. They really won’t starve.
This meal does take a little hands on preparation but it is really very easy to make. The chicken goes in the oven first, then prepare the sweet potatoes and they can go in the oven at the same time as the chicken. It will take you about 15 minutes to do the potatoes so both dishes will be ready at the same time. While they are baking, prepare the kale then set the table. It really helps to have a helper washing and peeling sweet potatoes. I really wanted a fruit salad to go with this tonight but I had a very late start and my husband said we had enough food already. But a fruit salad could easily have been prepared ahead or at any time during the meal.
I really like this meal because it is all from the farm, not the grocery store so I have had personal contact with each person who grew or raised what I fed my family. I know that everything was farmed organically by good people who really care and who know me on a first name basis. And rather than having my food shipped across the country in big 18-wheelers, I obtained it by simply driving to the local farmers market or farm within a few miles of my house. Another great thing about this meal is the rich color. It is not only pleasing to the eye, but that rich color is truly all natural and it means the food is LOADED with good stuff that is good for my family. The chicken lived outside in the pasture, soaking up the sunshine, and ate a healthy meal of bugs and grass, the way God designed, which makes the chickens healthier. Animal foods are our best sources of protein and without them our bodies cannot effectively assimilate other vitamins. The sweet potatoes and kale were grown in fertile soil free from pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Both are overflowing with vitamins that will boost my family’s immunities, strengthen their heart and bones, support their vision, and many other things. The use of fresh butter and coconut oil will also support our thyroid. And, as I talked about earlier, the garlic is a powerful ani-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial herb.
What did you have for dinner tonight? We had chicken, sweet potatoes, and kale. It was really good.