Cooking with Friends – January Whole30 Edition

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite way to meal prep is with friends! As often as I can, I try to combine my weekend cooking sessions with a playdate – so I get to cook (and share good food) with my friends and my daughter gets to play with hers.

To do this, I usually ask a friend or two to join the fun. Once we make a date, we email back and forth about the menu and come up with some recipes to try. We make a plan, and then divide up the shopping list so we know who will bring what.


We choose a house to meet at, and make sure we arrive with lots and lots of storage containers to take home all of our delicious eats.

While we cook, our kids play. While we have to stop every once in a while to break up a disagreement between 5-year-olds, it’s more than worth it in the end. We get to spend time together (hard with busy #momlife) and leaved with food prepped to get us through the first part of the week.

I recently had a cooking play date with my friends Andrea and Alyssa – and their daughters. Read on to see what we made:

PALEO PAD SEE EW

I recently saw the episode of The Paleo Way on Netflix that featured Danielle Walker from Against All Grain. One of the recipes she made was her Paleo Pad See Ew – and I knew I had to have it. This recipe did not disappoint! Alyssa was the master of peeling the carrots (I stay away from my peeler since cutting my finger on it last year and needing stitches) and boy, did she make beautiful carrot noodles! This dish was delicious, didn’t require complicated ingredients, and we doubled the recipe to make sure we had plenty to go around.

CHICKEN POT PIE

I had seen Lauren’s Chicken Pot Pie all over Instagram – and my friends agreed this was one to try! We used this recipe and it came out great. We did add some arrowroot to thicken it up to make it more like a true pot pie. It was definitely tasty and we approximately tripled the recipe to make sure we had plenty. A week later, I tried this recipe again with the goal of using canned vegetables. I could only find canned green beans so I used those and it came out great. Next time I find canned carrots and potatoes I am going to grab those to make this dish come together in a snap.

THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING + WEDGE SALAD

Each week in my January Whole30 Coaching Group, we are trying out a different recipe from the fabulous Michelle Smith of The Whole Smiths. This week, I tasked my group with making Michelle’s Thousand Island Dressing + Wedge Salad so I used this cooking play date to make mine. I did get pre-made hard boiled eggs to save time (no shame!) and used some of my delicious Naked Bacon which made the salad incredible. (Save 10 percent off your order with code EVERYDAYWHOLE at checkout!) The homemade Thousand Island dressing was fabulous and got better over time. The salad was a winner and I plan to make it again!

INSTANT POT PULLED BBQ CHICKEN

To make the most of our time in the kitchen, we let the Instant Pot do some work while we chopped, stirred, and cooked! I used this recipe from our blog to make pulled BBQ chicken. It’s so easy – I just added chicken tenders, chopped red onion and small potatoes, The New Primal Classic BBQ Sauce and garlic powder to the Instant Pot. I pressed some buttons and voila – pulled chicken to eat throughout the week! Be sure to use code “Whole30Facebook” for 25 percent off your order from The New Primal.

SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS

What’s a Whole30 meal prep session without meatballs? We made beef meatballs, loosely based on this recipe from Noshtastic. We added tons and tons of spices – lots of garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, parsley, oregano and more. Instead of making our own sauce, we doctored up a jar of pre-made Monte Bene sauce, one of the Whole30 Approved sauces from Cucina Antica. The sauce was delicious on its own but we had some leftover onion so we sautéed that in olive oil in a pot with some garlic and then added the sauce. When the meatballs were cooked, we added them to the sauce to simmer. If you want to try Cucina Antica, save 25 percent off your purchase through February 20 with the code “EverydayWhole” at checkout!

ROASTED SQUASH

While the oven was on, we decided to throw in some roasted squash to help round out our meal prep. We did half of the squash with olive oil and salt and pepper, and the other half with olive oil and Tiny Little’ Chef’s Inflammation Buster seasoning blend. It’s a combo of cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cloves and cayenne — and it’s SO good. Pro tip: It also is a super addition to your coffee. Use code “WHOLE30” for 20 percent off your order when you shop any of Tiny Little Chef’s seasoning blends.

DUMP RANCH

Andrea whipped up some Dump Ranch for us to take home and use throughout the week. This is such a versatile added fat that makes every meal better. We use the Whole Sisters recipe because it’s delicious and easy to modify based on the herbs and spices you have on hand.

MAYONNAISE

Andrea also made some of her famous homemade mayo for us to share. She followed the recipe we recently featured on our blog. This mayo can be used as is or turned into another fun sauce to liven up your meals throughout the week. Mayo is a quick, easy, and budget-friendly added fat for your Whole30. And if you don’t have an immersion blender, get one! It’s a champion of the kitchen and will help you with so many recipes on your Whole30. I have this immersion blender and I highly recommend it!

Have you ever cooked with friends? What’s on your meal prep menu this coming weekend?