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As a food-obsessed umami evangelist, I’ve always prized deliciousness. But over the past decade, I’ve also found improved health and energy after switching to a Paleo eating template — one that prioritizes whole, unprocessed nutrient-rich foods (like vegetables, sustainably sourced animal protein, healthy fats, fruits, nuts, and seeds). So with Nom Nom Paleo, my mission has been to create recipes that live at the intersection of nourishment and flavor.
Having eaten this way for many years, I’ve gradually reincorporated foods that — while not strictly “Paleo” — I love and thrive on. In fact, when I was dreaming up titles for my new cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go!, I briefly flirted with calling it “Nom Nom Paleo-ish” to reflect our family’s more relaxed approach to this way of eating. All that really matters to me is that you roll up your sleeves and cook foods that make you feel better. After all, the healthiest meal is the one you prepare yourself!
Still, as a busy working mom, I favor weeknight dinners that are easy to make — with minimal dishes to clean up afterwards. That’s why I rely on flavor-packed, one-pot (and one-pan) comforting meals that combat kitchen fatigue. And many of them are inspired by the multicultural meals I grew up eating in the San Francisco Bay Area and that I’ve discovered in my travels.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s go in the kitchen and whip up some dinners!
Monday: Chicken and Spinach Velvet Soup
This comforting chicken soup uses a technique I learned from an old Ken Hom cookbook for making a delicately fluffy chicken mixture — or velvet — that disperses the finely chopped chicken throughout the broth. This soup always hits the spot when the weather turns cold — or whenever I get wistful for Cantonese soups (which is often!).
Get the recipe: Chicken and Spinach Velvet Soup
Tuesday: Sonoran Hot Dogs
I first encountered these Mexican-inspired bacon-wrapped hot dogs back when I was a college student wandering around San Francisco’s Mission district. Or, rather, my nose found them. I followed the intoxicating scent of sizzling bacon, hot dogs, grilled peppers, and onions to a sidewalk vendor cooking up Sonoran hot dogs. A few bucks and a big bite later, I was in heaven. Years (decades!) later, I made my own Paleo-friendly version, and it’s so tasty I don’t even miss the bun!
Get the recipe: Sonoran Hot Dogs
Wednesday: Sheet Pan Italian Chicken
This midweek chicken supper reminds me of summertime in Italy, and it’s as simple and delicious as it gets: Kust toss chicken and veggies on a sheet pan, bake, and eat. Cleanup is easy-peasy, too.
Get the recipe: Sheet Pan Italian Chicken
Thursday: Cuban Beef Picadillo
This is classic Cuban comfort food, made from ground meat cooked with a delicious combination of capers, olives, and raisins. This one-pan meal tastes just as great spooned over a bowl of cauliflower rice or tucked inside scrambles or wraps.
Get the recipe: Cuban Beef Picadillo
Friday: Sheet Pan Pineapple Chicken
This easy sheet pan meal is my riff on Huli Huli chicken, a classic Hawaiian barbecue staple featuring a sweet and savory sauce made with pineapple juice, ketchup, and soy sauce. Believe me: No one can resist a pan of sticky chicken and pineapple, especially when it’s reimagined with Paleo-friendly ingredients. Don’t substitute fresh pineapple and ginger for canned pineapple and ground ginger — the fresh stuff contains enzymes that break down proteins, so if you use ’em, they’ll make your chicken mushy!
Get the recipe: Sheet Pan Pineapple Chicken
Michelle Tam is the co-creator of the Saveur Award-winning food blog, Nom Nom Paleo. Together with her husband, Henry Fong, they’ve also produced a two-time Webby award winning cooking app, authored two New York Times bestselling cookbooks, and have been nominated for a James Beard Award. Their latest cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! will be released on January 18, 2022.