If there is one thing that the entire TSC team can agree on, it’s that we all LOVE anything quick & easy.
When we received Larson’s email on the launch of her new A Month of Dinner meal guide we knew she had to come on to share her top recipes for meals on the go with all you hustlers who always G2G.
In this post you’ll learn about Larson and her journey into recipe development and she’ll tell you exactly what you need to make her most-loved meals that you can easily take to school, work, the gym, wherever.
With that, let’s let Larson take it from here.
Hi everyone! My name is Larson Folkerts, author of A Month of Dinner meal guide. I’m a twenty-something wife and mom in Texas with a passion for cooking good, real food.
Cliff notes version of my resume: I met my husband our freshman year of college at the University of Wyoming in 2012, graduated in 2016 from Texas A&M University with a degree in Agriculture Communications and Journalism, worked in corporate marketing for a large developer in Houston, my husband and I got married in 2018, then I worked as social media manager and junior designer for an interior design firm before having my son in 2020 and becoming a stay at home mom.
My husband (he’s a commercial landscaper) and I are expecting our second, a girl, this August of 2022. We live in a 1980s log cabin on land in a small town outside of Houston. No Uber Eats, no Whole Foods, no Target, it’s 30 minutes to a big-name grocery store and we LOVE it. We have a garden, chickens, big, beautiful trees, cows in our backyard and a herd of deer that come through our property every day.
Growing up, my mom cooked for our family every day and everything was made from scratch—she’s an incredible cook! Nothing was ever boxed or processed, all fresh and good quality. I mean, she was giving us echinacea in green juices when we were in elementary school—the woman was WAY ahead of her time!
Since becoming a wife and mom myself, I approach cooking the same way as my mom does. I cook for my family 4-5 nights a week and try to balance clean eats and comfort foods, while using quality, healthy ingredients. I like to think my style is Ina Garten meets Ree Drummond meets Kelly LeVeque—although nowhere close to the talent of those ladies! Elevated home cooking with health and nutrition in mind.
Cooking is a huge passion of mine, I truly love it, so I began sharing recipes and food ideas on social media. Suddenly, I was receiving tons of messages every time I posted and people began asking for recipes or help with cooking. It seemed like there was a huge interest from people either wanting to learn to cook or wanting to start cooking again. My husband (my biggest cheerleader) said “Larson, you need to capitalize on this” so I wrote A Month of Dinner.
A Month of Dinner is a meal guide with 4 dinners and a dessert per week, for 4 weeks, with weekly grocery lists done for you. The recipes are all coordinated so your ingredients crossover, meaning no more wasted money or food. It drives me crazy when you buy a bag of carrots because you need two for a recipe and then you’re stuck with this whole bag of carrots you don’t know WTF to do with. In A Month of Dinner none of your ingredients go to waste because you use them all over the course of 4 weeks.
Everything is planned to a “T.” The recipes are easy, family-friendly (my toddler eats all of them, or I should say, he’s served all of them…) and use real foods. It’s produce, herbs, meats, spices and good stuff, no boxed or processed crap. My husband always says “I just need a something sweet” after dinner, so I threw some desserts in too.
I believe that food cooked in your own home, even comfort food, is better than anything you can eat out so the dinners are things like Shrimp Scampi, Chicken Pot Pie Pasta and Flank Steak with Roasted Garlic Goat Cheese. No quinoa cakes and zucchini noodles for me.
Something that’s important to me, is recognizing that there is a HUGE part of this country’s population that doesn’t have access to or can’t afford specialty ingredients. I think many cookbook authors today focus on health, but so many of their recipes require expensive, hard to get ingredients. There’s a whole, vast part of the country where everyday Americans are cooking but don’t have a Whole Foods around the corner or don’t have Shipt handy to have groceries delivered.
Rural women, for example, might go stock up on groceries for a week or two because they have to drive an hour or more to the store and they probably won’t find Arrowroot powder or dairy-free, allergen-friendly chocolate chips or fresh sea bass at their small town grocery store. A working single mom with three kids might not be able to spend a fortune at Central Market every week. These women can still cook healthy, nutritious, affordable meals for their families using A Month of Dinner without having to use cheap, unhealthy ingredients.
A Month of Dinner is written for ANYONE, it doesn’t matter if you shop at Walmart or Whole Foods, if you have a strict grocery budget or no budget or if you’re dairy/soy/gluten/allergy free (majority of the recipes can be modified for dietary needs) or could care less about that.
Okay so let’s talk about eating on the go—it’s HARD! You either eat shit all week because it’s convenient/cheap/fast, or you spend a fortune on takeout from healthy restaurants. Whether you’re a mom running around with the kids or a CEO in back-to-back meetings all day or a nurse on her feet working a 12-hour shift, eating meals on the go is never easy. You either sacrifice nutrition for convenience or money for nutrition. There can be a happy medium! Here are some healthy, filling meals that are easy to throw in your bag and eat at your desk or in your car (even though we’re not supposed to do either of those; go for a walk and eat outside). They’re actually great for dinners and you can take the leftovers for lunch to save you time and money.
Quick & Easy Meals On-The-Go
First thing’s first. WATER. TAKE WATER ON THE GO. Not a Venti Starbucks salted caramel caffeine milkshake thing because that’s what those drinks are, milkshakes. Cut those out. WATER. Get a giant reusable, BPA-free stainless steel cup (I love my Stanley and have used it every day for 4 years) and fill it with water before you go out the door. Then refill it like at least 3 more times throughout the day.
This habit in itself will do wonders for your health—physically and mentally. If you don’t like the taste of water (I’ve never understood that when people say it), keep a pitcher of water in your refrigerator with some sliced lemons (although I just learned from Dr. Daryll to not put lemon slices in your water and to just squeeze the juice), mint, maybe cucumbers or berries in it for natural flavoring. I know this is a tip that Lauryn shares often as part of her daily habits. It’s like spa water. Don’t use Mio or whatever people were adding to vodka when I was in college.
I’ve also been drinking LMNT religiously for almost 2 years and I’m OBSESSED with it. It’s a science-backed, sugar-free electrolyte mix that you can put in your water and it has sodium, potassium and magnesium, all of which our bodies need for proper hydration. Lauryn and Michael have shared it on their podcast and I know it’s popular with some of their podcast guests too, such as Andrew Huberman and Kelly LeVeque. I swear by it. My toddler even loves little sips of LMNT aka “spicy water” as he calls it.
♡ BLT Chicken Salad Scoops
These are so good and so easy to eat on the go. They’re gluten-free and you can easily make them dairy-free as well.
+ 1 rotisserie chicken (or 2 cups), shredded
+ 4-6 slices of bacon
+ 1 cup Greek yogurt or vegan Mayo
+ 1 avocado
+ 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
+ 1/2 lemon
+ 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
+ 1 teaspoon salt
+ 1 teaspoon pepper
+ 1 teaspoon onion powder
+ 1 teaspoon garlic powder
+ 1 teaspoon cayenne
+ 1 green onion, thinly sliced
+ 1/4 red onion, chopped
+ cherry tomatoes, sliced
+ lettuce scoops
+ Cook bacon until crispy and chop into “bacon bit” sized pieces.
+ Place shredded rotisserie chicken in a bowl and add Greek yogurt. Add half of an avocado and mix so the avocado is mashed in and creamy. Add celery, juice from 1/2 lemon, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and sliced green onion. Mix to combine and add any seasonings to taste. It’s nice to chill the chicken salad but you don’t have to.
+ To serve, spoon chicken salad onto lettuce scoops and top with bacon bits, sliced cherry tomatoes, red onion and remaining 1/2 avocado.
+ Get creative with your chicken salad. You can add nuts, grapes, jalapeños, cranberries, whatever ingredients you like in your salad. I sometimes like to give mine a little Mexican flair with cumin, chili powder and lime juice. Candied jalapeños are super yummy to chop up and toss in, I love these ones. This is a very light, but filling meal and it’s great for lunch the next day. You can totally use croissants instead of lettuce scoops, no judgement.
♡ Pesto Salmon with Roasted Vegetable Salad
This salmon salad recipe is safe to bring to the office because you eat the salmon cold, no microwaving and being ‘that’ person who makes everyone gag at lunch time from the smell of microwaved fish. Don’t be that person.
I love making the pesto salmon and veggies for dinner the night before and then throwing it on a bed of arugula or greens to take for lunch the next day. You can buy pre-made pesto but I included the recipe I use to make mine (I use fresh basil from our garden and it’s the prettiest shade of green. Basil is so easy to grow in a container at home, no matter where you live). This can be dairy free if you make pesto without cheese in it. You could also swap the salmon for chicken if you prefer that instead.
+ 3/4 pound salmon filet (this serves 2-3 people, adjust as needed)
+ 1/2 cup or more of pesto (you can buy pre-made Pesto or see recipe below)
+ 1 tablespoon olive oil
+ Vegetables of choice, chopped (I love asparagus, onion, carrots, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, whatever is on hand)
+ 3 tablespoons olive oil
+ 1/2 lemon
+ Salt and pepper to taste
+ Salad greens of choice (I love arugula)
+ Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet or dish with either foil or parchment paper.
+ Place salmon filet on paper and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread pesto over top of salmon filet.
+ Chop vegetables and place on baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. I do mine on the same pan as the salmon. Drizzle olive oil on top, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Toss to combine then roast in 400 F oven for 15 minutes.
+ Bake salmon and veggies for 15-20 minutes until salmon is cooked through. Put salmon and veggies over bed of salad greens to take for lunch on the go.
♡ Pesto Recipe
+ 2 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed
+ 1/4 cup grated parmesan
+ 1/2 cup olive oil
+ 1/2 lemon
+ 2 garlic cloves
+ 2 tablespoons pine nuts
+ 1 teaspoon salt
+ 1/2 teaspoon pepper
+ Place basil, parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic cloves, pine nuts and salt and pepper in a food processor to combine. Adjust to taste, adding olive oil if it’s too thick. Omit parmesan for dairy free.
♡ Sausage, Apple, Arugula & Goat Cheese Flatbread
This recipe is possibly my husband’s favorite, ever, and gets great reviews. It’s also a hit when entertaining. I originally saw it 5 years ago from the blog Eat Yourself Skinny and have modified it over the years.
+ 3 Naan flatbreads (our grocery store has a great Vegan one but Stonefire is a good brand)
+ 2-3 Chicken Apple Sausage links (I like Applegate or Aidell’s, you can use any sausage link though)
+ 1 log goat cheese (our local farmer’s market has the BEST, be sure to shop yours)
+ 1/2 apple, thinly sliced
+ 1 teaspoon pepper
+ 4 tablespoons olive oil
+ 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
+ 1 tablespoon honey
+ 1/2 lemon
+ 1 teaspoon salt
+ You can either use your grill or your stove top/oven for this recipe. If using your grill, heat it to medium heat. Ladies, do not be intimidated by the grill. It’s really not that hard and if we’re being honest, most men are just winging it when they grill so you can do the same.
+ If using your oven, preheat to 300 F. Cook sausages either on grill or in a skillet on the stove so that they’re nice and charred. While sausages are cooking, toast your flatbreads by either heating on the grill or directly on your oven rack. It only takes two to three minutes on each side.
+ Spread goat cheese over warmed flatbread then top with thinly sliced apple. I like to cut my apple slices in half or in thirds to make it easier to eat.
+ Make the dressing by whisking together salt, pepper, olive oil, Dijon, honey and fresh squeezed lemon juice.
+ Once sausages are done, remove from heat and cut into thin slices. Place on goat cheese with the apple. Top flatbreads with a handful of arugula and drizzle dressing over entire flatbread. Cut into quarters to serve. Easy to eat on the go.
♡ Israeli Couscous Greek Salad
This recipe is by far the meal I made most for myself when I was working pre-kids and if I notice I’m not eating well myself, as a mom, I immediately throw this together to munch on for lunch throughout the week. It’s cold, refreshing, filling and just tastes healthy. Omit feta for dairy free.
+ Israeli couscous
+ cherry tomatoes, sliced
+ kalamata olives, sliced
+ cucumber, sliced
+ red onion, chopped into small pieces
+ 2 tablespoons olive oil
+ 1/2 lemon
+ fresh mint leaves, chopped
+ salt and pepper to taste
+ feta, optional
+ protein, such as grilled chicken, optional
+ Prepare couscous according to directions and let cool.
+ Meanwhile, slice and chop all your veggies and throw them into a bowl. Once couscous has cooled, add to vegetable mix.
+ Drizzle olive oil over everything then follow with fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add chopped mint and salt and pepper to taste.
+ Toss everything to combine. You can add feta cheese or a protein, such as grilled chicken, shrimp or salmon, if you want!
Okay this is basically an adult ‘Lunchable’ in terms of concept but let’s be chic and healthy about it. This is great if you really hate cooking and would rather just buy ingredients and assemble something. You want to have a balance of protein, fat, fiber and greens (shoutout Kelly LeVeque’s Fab Four) for most of your meals and that’s what I keep in mind when I do my little grazing boards on the go. I’m not a nutritionist. This is just a guideline I try to follow when assembling one for myself. I like to think of foods that fall under each category and then do a combination of them to create a little charcuterie situation.
Hard boiled egg
Healthy jerky or sausage
Good quality prosciutto
Arugula, I love to toss with some olive oil or lemon juice
To make my Charcuterie-to-Go, I’ll just pick a few things that fall under each category and put them in a glass container to take with me. I like to use Simple Mills or Mary’s Gone Crackers for crackers as needed but otherwise, I pack fruits, nuts, veggies, fats and proteins that are easy finger food options. I love to spread a little goat cheese on a cracker then top it with a little prosciutto and some arugula tossed in olive oil and lemon juice. You don’t need to do a full-blown charcuterie board, think personal size for one.
There you go, 5 yummy (I promise!) meals that are easy to take on the go. They feel healthy, they’re exciting, not boring and sad, and they’ll leave you full. No 2pm cravings or hangry meltdowns. There is so much shit in the food you buy on the go, even food that’s promoted as healthy. Take care of yourself and your body by fueling it with good food.
Want to make your weekly dinner situation so much easier? Check out A Month of Dinner at www.letslovetocook.com. Stay tuned for “A Month of Dinner Vol. 2” coming soon!
You can find me on Instagram and Facebook at @larsonfolkerts and you’re welcome to message me any time with recipe questions. I’d love to see what you create in your own kitchen so be sure to tag me or use #letslovetocook and #amonthofdinner. Let’s love to cook!
Hope you guys loved this post and got some fun meal ideas. There are so many more quick & easy recipes in Larson’s A Month of Dinner so be sure to check it out.
x, The Skinny Confidential team
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