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As I’ve mentioned before, my family follows a paleo diet. No, that doesn’t mean we eat like cavemen, whatever that means. It means we try to eat as much real, healthy food as possible, and we try to avoid sugar, grains, and other foods that aren’t particularly good for us. Paleo is becoming increasingly popular, and I’m seeing more and more people going paleo, low-carb, or gluten-free. But it’s still a challenge putting together a meal plan and a food budget, because high quality real food costs more than processed food.
I recently heard about a company called eMeals that professes to help families meal plan and save money on groceries by minimizing food waste and shopping according to what’s on sale at nearby grocery stores. I didn’t really pay much attention until I heard they have twelve different types of meal plans including paleo! I got the chance to try out a subscription, so for this week’s blog recipe, I decided to share one of the meals I made from my eMeals meal plan: maple-balsamic steak stir fry and roasted cauliflower.
eMeals has a plan to suit just about everyone. You choose your family size, favourite grocery store, and preferred eating style, then you pick your term of 3, 6, or 12 months. A 12 month plan will run you $58 (less than $5 a month). eMeals has classic, clean eating, simple gourmet, low fat, low carb, paleo, portion control, organic, vegetarian, and gluten-free meal plans.
eMeals saves their consumers an average of $1000 a year because of store sales coordination, smart meal planning, and no waste. That part really piqued my interest. I hate it when I go to clean out the fridge and discover rotten produce that’s been shoved into the back of the fridge and forgotten. With eMeals, all the ingredients I buy are used in multiple recipes so there’s very little waste. We buy most of our food from Costco, our local farmer’s market, or our local butcher. Unfortunately, eMeals doesn’t list those stores, but I think I will still realize savings from the coordinated meal plans and shopping lists.
Every Wednesday I get an email with the week’s meal plan and a shopping list that maximizes food usage. Here’s the original recipe from my eMeals family plan. It’s a simple recipe that lends itself well to adaptation which is good for me as I rarely make recipes exactly as they’re written. I usually change things around a bit to suit my family’s tastes and the ingredients I have on hand.
I made the marinade pretty much as called for in the recipe, but I forgot to get fresh rosemary so I used dried. This was a very simple yet tasty marinade – just maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, brown mustard, and rosemary. I put my steaks into a zip-top freezer bag and added the marinade, then put it in the fridge overnight.
I was interested to see roasted cauliflower as the side dish. We have roasted cauliflower at least once a week, but this recipe changed things up a bit with lemon juice, coriander, red pepper flakes, and slivered nuts. I followed the eMeals recipe for the most part, but I subbed pecans for almonds and cut the cumin a bit.
I chopped a head of cauliflower into bite size pieces and tossed them with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, ground coriander, red pepper flakes, sea salt, black pepper, and cumin. I spread the cauliflower out onto a foil-lined cookie sheet and put it in the oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. I added slivered nuts (I used pecans, and it tasted divine!) and roasted everything another 5 minutes.
Back to the steak! The original eMeals recipe said to grill the steaks, but I don’t have any propane for my grill (it is December after all!), and realistically even if I did I wouldn’t be hanging around outside grilling meat while my one year old and three year old wander around. I decided to stir fry the steak instead.
I pulled the steaks out of the marinade and cut the meat into strips. I heated up some coconut oil in my wok over medium-high heat then stir fried about a quarter of the meat at a time, about two minutes per batch. Once all the meat was cooked, I transferred it all back into the wok with salt, pepper, and some of the marinade and let it simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken a bit.
I’m pleased to report everybody really enjoyed this meal. The kids especially loved the maple syrup and balsamic vinegar sauce, and I liked the roasted nuts in the cauliflower. There’s always some risk when trying new recipes, but so far I’ve been really pleased with the meal plans and recipes I’ve received.
If you’d like to try eMeals for yourself, don’t forget I have a 35% off code for you: Cyber35. Sign up before the holidays to save more!
Maple-Balsamic Steak Stir Fry
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 pounds skirt steak
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Whisk maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and rosemary together to make marinade.
- Place steak in zip-top freezer bag or large bowl and add marinade.
- Cover and leave in fridge overnight.
- Remove steak from marinade, reserving 1/4 cup of marinade, and cut into stir fry strips.
- Heat coconut oil in wok or skillet over medium-high heat.
- Stir fry steak strips in three or four separate batches, about two minutes apiece. Remove from skillet before putting in next batch.
- Once all batches are done, return all the meat to the skillet with salt, pepper, and reserved marinade. Simmer and allow sauce to thicken for about 5 minutes.