Behind the Scenes of Recipe Development + A New One!
Not as cool as it sounds. "Recipe Development" for me is really more like combine basics + add something crazy if you feel inspired + buy something at the grocery store that looks fun.
1. The Basics
Every meal I make is guaranteed to have 3 things: a protein, at least 1 veggie and a starch. I use healthy fats to provide flavor to these meals. The majority of the time these components come together in a pretty boring or random concoction BUT occasionally I get inspired to make it more fun and I like to document these occasions. I love having this basic structure because I can manipulate those categories to make sure I get whatever macronutrient distribution I'm aiming for at that particular meal.
Though I don't make elaborate meals during the week I really do love to cook and and enjoy nice meals. I follow [way too many] foodies on insta and take inspiration from the way they put things together or the way they photograph their meals so beautifully. When I go out to eat I get inspired by the flavor profiles of different cuisines and seasonal foods. I also feel inspired to use foods with known health benefits #superfoods, if you will, because I love being able to talk about why they are good for you - that's why you see turmeric in today's recipe (it's a potent anti-inflammatory!)
3. Grocery Shopping
Arguably the biggest factor in what I decide to cook is what I'm drawn to at the grocery store. I was at TJ's yesterday and needed a few things (cauli rice, lemons, hot sauce and more smoked paprika bc it is the best) but I spent some time wandering around and grabbed a few things that stood out to me. I ended up with these colorful mixed tomatoes, a container of eggplant hummus (go try that, it's amazing), a red onion, and fresh basil. When I got home I was like hmm how can I use everything I just bought so that I feel better about buying it? So I came up with a little something called "curry-ish turkey and veggie bowls" so that I could combine my new finds with a few other key spices, this big ass cucumber from costco and a package of ground turkey that needs to be used up asap!
I love making thai/middle-eastern/mediterranean-inspired dishes because they involve the use of gorgeous spices (I used cumin, turmeric, cayenne and smoked paprika) with fresh herbs (I used basil) and citrus (lemons here). There is something so visually pleasing about using these highly pigmented spices and herbs but they have lots of health benefits too, in fact fresh herbs and spices boast some of the highest antioxidant/phytochemical content available! Plus they add TONS of flavor without throwing off your macro goals for the day. Feeling bored with your bland meal prep but don't want to alter the composition of your meal? Just throw some herbs and spices in there!
Curry(ish) Turkey & Veggie Bowls:
- 1 package (~1lb) of 99% lean ground turkey (or meat of choice)
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 tsp each of: cumin, turmeric and smoked paprika
- cayenne pepper to spice tolerance (I only used about 1 tsp)
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
- 1 cup of tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup of red onion, diced
- 1 cup of cucumber, diced
- a few handful of salad greens
- 2 cups of white rice, cooked
- 4 tbsp eggplant hummus
- 1-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (adjust as necessary)
- a few shakes of coconut aminos
- Begin cooking rice per package instructions, set aside when cooked
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add ground turkey + minced garlic
- While rice and turkey are cooking, prepare the sauce by combining desired quantities of spices with olive oil, juice of 1 lemon and coconut aminos
- Set aside about 1 tbsp of the sauce for topping and pour the rest on top of the turkey while it cooks
- Stir sauce into the turkey and continue to cook until fully browned
- In a separate container chop the tomatoes, cucumber, onions and basil and toss with the juice from the remaining lemon
- Once the rice and turkey are finished cooking, grab 4 large salad bowls and fill with 1 handful of salad greens each (I used spinach)
- Top with 1/2 cup rice, a quarter of the tomato/cuc/basil/lemon/onion mix and 4 oz of turkey
- Add a dollop of eggplant hummus and a drizzle of remaining sauce for extra kick. Enjoy!
This recipe is super customizable!
for low-carb: swap cauli rice for regular rice or do a combo of both
for high-fat: use a fattier meat, top with additional olive oil or get crazy and add some avocado to the top!
for lower-fat: adjust the amount of olive oil in the sauce to suit your needs