“One Step” Slow Cooker Chicken

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Ok, so really it’s TWO steps.  Three if you count buying the chicken, and four if you count turning the knob on your slow cooker. Reasons why this recipe is awesome:

  • Simplicity/Affordability
    • Ridiculously simple;
    • Only takes TWO ingredients;
    • Perfect for people who can’t afford salt.
  • Deliciousness. Juiciness factor = high; A++
  • Appeal to Sadism. You get to bathe a chicken breast in its own broth.  And then you get to eat it.

BUT! Take heed: This dish is NOT pretty. In fact, it looks gross. Save something else for date night.

You’ll need:

  • A Slow Cooker
  • Chicken Breast (as a typical white person, I prefer Organic)
  • Chicken Broth (as a typical white person, I prefer Swanson)

Procedure:

1. Apply raw chicken breast to slow cooker. To avoid contracting Salmonella, ask an elderly neighbor to handle the chicken for you.

2. Apply broth to chicken. One cup broth per chicken breast = good, but you can probably get away with a little less.

3. Turn knob. Try not to hurt your wrist.

  • For juicy results: 7 to 8 hours on LOW is ideal.
    • 3.5 to 4 hours on HIGH works too.
  • Time Adjustments: Cook time assumes you’re cooking three lightly frozen chicken breasts in three cups of broth. Adjust up or down based on:
    • how many breasts you’re handling; AND
    • the frostiness of said breasts

Dinner is Served!

This chicken is PERFECT for shredding (imagine – salads/tacos) but also quite yummy whole. There’s no need to season or salt it, but if that is your most urgent desire, I’m not going to jump through your computer screen and stop you.

If you’re interested in experiencing heaven on earth, try it with a side of aromatic jasmine rice and greek yogurt.  It’s yummy, healthy, and (presumably) John Stamos approved.

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So good for you. 

Added bonus – your kitchen will smell awesome for hours.

Happy Slow Cooking 🙂

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The Only Bread I Eat

Ok, not true. To be perfectly honest, I eat many breads.

But I do have a favorite:  Trader Joe’s 100% Rye BreadHere is a photo of my lovely:

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On Taste

I can’t say that TJ’s 100% Rye is my absolute favorite by taste.

..Which isn’t to say it tastes anything other than wonderful. It’s just that bread is a tough category to compete in.

Bread is so damn good. I just want to eat all the bread in the world and then regurgitate it back up and then eat it all again. I want to spend 95% of my life eating bread, and the remaining 5% writing about eating bread. I want to marry a Channing Tatum shaped loaf of bread, and then I want to cheat on it with a hot steamy loaf of that impossibly delicious Honey Wheat Bushman from Outback Steakhouse.

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You know what I’m talking about…

Why TJ’s Rye is the Overall Winner

Clearly, I have bread issues. In general, if I start, I can’t stop. I also cannot keep ANY simple carbohydrates in the apartment, because I will eat all of them.

Yet – somehow, I find TJ’s 100% Rye to be PERFECT for my needs.

  • It gives me the carbohydrates I need to not die of sadness; AND YET…
  • I can stop eating it when I want to.

…I think that’s because unlike many commercial breads, it’s not designed specifically to addict you. Evidence? 

…the short ingredients list. 

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Unlike most commercial breads, TJ’s Rye contains zero percent crack.

So even though TJ’s Rye isn’t #1 in taste, it’s number 1 in my heart. More reasons:

  • The taste IS very good (but see pro-tips below)
  • It’s PERFECT for avocado toast (See recipe: “Avocado Toast on Fleek“)
  • High Satiety Factor
    • 100 calories
    • 3 grams fiber
    • 3 grams protein
  • It has NO artificial colors or preservatives
  • It keeps well in the freezer

Pro-tips:

  • This bread tastes a bit weird unless toasted. I toast it on a pan, either:
    • uncoated; or
    • lightly coated with non-stick Coconut Oil spray
  • This bread can be EXTREMELY crumbly, especially when not toasted. 
  • In general, I’ve found that breads from Trader Joe’s have fewer (or different) preservatives than your standards breads. Meaning, they will go bad more quickly than most.
    • Keep it in the fridge or freezer
    • Note: I haven’t had this specific problem with this specific bread, so maybe it’s fine. I have had other breads from TJ’s go bad VERY quickly.

If you have bread issues like I do, then give it a try. It might be a decent bread that you can eat regularly without gorging yourself.

If you don’t have a Trader Joe‘s near you, but you have another bread you recommend for these same reasons – share the wealth!

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Make ahead Chicken and Quinoa Stew

A few things before we get started on this DELICIOUS recipe.

  • This is a make ahead recipe. YAY! Do it on Sunday and it should last a minimum of 4 meals. So, you either got dinner covered Monday through Thursday or your lunches covered… However you decide to split this meal up, you end up with some free time on your hands 🙂
  • Healthy- you get protein/grains from quinoa and brown rice, protein from chicken, you get veggies and cheese and poblano peppers and tomatoes. EEEEE!!!! So good.
  • This recipe was adapted from the Cooking Light April 2016 issue. They called it King Ranch Chicken and Quinoa Casserole. My husband and I both agreed that it tasted more like a stew.
  • Final point- the pictures do it no justice. Stews always look like a mish mosh of stuff. But stews are usually so delicious. So here ya go!
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Stew/Casserole cheese laying situation happening here
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Crispy quinoa and brown rice final layer
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Final layer of cheese

1.5 cups per serving about 4 servings in this dish

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of rotisserie chicken chopped/shredded or homemade shredded chicken
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa or brown rice
  • 5 tbls EVOO
  • 3 poblano peppers chopped and seeded
  • 1.5 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tbsl minced garlic
  • 2 tbls all purpose flour
  • 2 tsps cumin
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1- 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1- 4 ounce can of mild chopped green chiles
  • 3.5 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8inch square baking dish
  • Optional: chopped scallions on top

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Mix 1 tbls EVOO with cooked quinoa and spread across baking sheet and bake for 10-15 min (this step is really optional… it just gives a crispiness to the quinoa). We also used a quinoa/brown rice blend because that’s all we had on hand and it came out delicious… so if you don’t have quinoa, think about substituting it with brown rice.
  • Heat a dutch oven with olive oil, add poblano peppers, onion and garlic. Sautee for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir flour, cumin, chili powder. Then add stock, tomatoes, and green chiles. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in chicken.
  • Pour half the mixture at the bottom of the dish, top with half quinoa/brown rice and add 2 ounces of cheese. Repeat layers once more.
  • Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes

I seriously wanted to eat the entire thing in one sitting. I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did.

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How to Find Good Food

Yesterday I wrote a post about decent fast food options. I know I know, I totally suck at Fitness.

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If you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me, I’ll do my best to restore some balance to the universe with this post.

How? By sharing a really awesome website I came across yesterday. It’s called EatWellGuide.org.

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EatWellGuide.org landing page

The premise: EatWellGuide.org helps you locate local healthy options. All you do is put in your Zip Code, town, or City.

Why I like It: 

  • I’ve been struggling to find a local Farmer’s Market. Even though I live just outside the city, I live just outside the city. So it’s a schlep to buy food there and bring it over on pubic transport.
  • It’s easier to use than Google Maps because the search is narrower.

Potential Downfall:

  • It seems like it may be focused on certain geographical areas, but I’m not 100% sure.
  • Try it out and see if it works for you!

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Fast Food Decency

 

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“I can barely taste the difference”

My mantra = eat. real. food. But sometimes, real food isn’t there. And other times, you have your period. So you really just want to have fast food.

My problem with fast food, more than anything, is the industry’s general treatment of animals. I don’t go overboard, but I try to minimize my support of fast food restaurants for that reason alone. Emphasis on “try.”

Of course, there are obvious health hazards related to eating fast food regularly. But of course health matters vary based on your personal circumstances and level of activity. The occasional fast food meal won’t make or break you.

In any event, sometimes fast food is what’s there. Here are a few decent options.

McDonald’s: South West Chicken Salad

Remember those gross salad shakers McDonald’s use to have?

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What on earth were they thinking?

Those days are long gone, my friends. The Southwest Chicken Salad is actually super delicious and yummy. It has mixed greens, chicken, beans, cheese and some little tortilla chips. The ingredients are reliably fresh, at least in my experience.

It’s also really cheap, as far as salads go in New York, around 5 – 7$ depending on the location. As a comparison, a lunch salad in the city is usually around $12-15 dollars.

McDonalds: Vanilla Cone

The McDonald’s Vanilla Cone is truly a hidden gem. It’s nothing less than a tragedy how few people know of its existence.

Dude, this stuff looks and tastes like ice cream. But it only has 170 calories. And 5G of protein. It’s not a bad choice – I have it quite often.

Plus – it’s like .99 cents. Some locations even have an extra small size. Ask for a “kid’s cone.”

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“Can I have a Kid’s Cone please? But make it for 28 year olds.” 

Wendy’s:  Chili + Baked Potato or Side Salad

Some of the best moments of my life were moments I spent eating Wendy’s chili. Depressing? Yes. True? Very.

If it weren’t for Wendy’s Chili, I’d never have any excuse to eat saltines. And I love saltines very much.

I usually get my Chili with a baked potato + sour cream and chives. Alternatively, I get the caesar side salad, and dump the chili on top of it.

Wendy’s: Everything You Actually Want, But in a Tiny Version

If you happen to find yourself at Wendy’s, and you actually want the real stuff, you’re in luck. Wendy’s has itsy bitsy versions of quite a few menu items.

Just ask for the “value size.” And yes, they have tiny Frosty’s too.

Bonus Sauce: Even though your fries and nugs are now tiny, the BBQ sauce stays the same size.

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No, this soda is not enormous. 

Burger King: Ceasar Salad

Burger King’s salad is not nearly as good as McDonald’s, but at least the ingredients have appeared fresh in my experience. And it isn’t gross. At the very least it’s better than getting a Whopper.

Taco Bell: Fresco Menu

Taco Bell has a light menu, called the “Fresco Menu.” These are decent choices, calorie-wise. In fact, pretty much any soft taco is a decent option. The Bell also has rice in a styrofoam cup. #epitomeofclass

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“I’ll have one of everything, please. Actually, make that two.”

A word of caution: these items are not exactly filling.

I find that the Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes are far more suited to my tastes. Not terrible. 270 calories. Could be worse – I could be eating an entire antelope followed by a jar of Nutella.

Any Suggestions?

These are just a few decent fast food options – I’m sure there are many more out there.

I’d love to hear your recommendations.

…Together, we can make sure that no fast food item will ever go uneaten.

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Kimchi pancakes

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Being that I am Russian, I suppose loving anything pickled is in my blood. I also hate throwing away unused food… Which got me thinking, what can I do with a jar of almost expired kimchi other than serving it on the side of something?

My husband and I got a Groupon for a local Korean BBQ joint that served these delicious seafood pancakes, scallion pancakes, veggie pancakes and shrimp pancakes…so why not kimchi?

Guys, listen, if you’re not a fan of kimchi, you’re about to become one. Hubby said it tastes like veggie tempura except with a little kick to it.

Did you know that kimchi has health benefits? Basically what I am saying is pancakes = healthy. YOLO!

Kimchi is low cal, low carb, low sugar, low fat and high fiber. It has probiotic benefits similar to yogurt and other dairy products. It’s good for controlling appetite, controlling blood sugar levels, and cholesterol levels. The fiber in kimchi helps keep you fuller longer.

Here is a fun chart of Kimchi Benefits:

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*Visit organicfacts.net for more info*

So, these pancakes were a last minute idea which is so not me… I am a meal planner. Charts and graphs and scribble everywhere! Imagine, “A Beautiful Mind”. I wonder what Russell Crowe’s thoughts are on playing a neurotic, food obsessed Jewish girl. Math and food, same thing, right? Anyway, I digress… sorry sorry sorry!

Kimchi pancakes:

Yields 4 medium size pancakes

Ingredients:

¼ cup kimchi drained and cut into itty bitty pieces

1 egg and 4 tablespoons egg whites

2-3 tablespoons kimchi juice (add more or less depending on spice preference)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

¼ cup chopped scallions

½ cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons evoo

*Served with Thai Kitchen’s sweet red chili dipping sauce

Directions:

Heat pan with olive oil

Mix all ingredients together till it turns into a pancake-y batter

Drop ¼ cup of mixture onto frying pan and spread as thin as possible

Cook on each side for approx. 2 min or until golden brown

If this were planned, I would have made cauliflower fried rice and a sunny side up egg… alas, I did not have the necessary ingredients.

*You can make homemade sauce or use any store bought sauces. I imagine this would taste good with peanut or gyozo dipping sauce.

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Caribbean Jerk Shrimp and Sweet Potato Avocado Mash

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No offense to Paula Deen or my Russian ancestors, but we do not need to use butter in everything! “What do you mash with your potatoes to make them moist and flavorful?”
::insert heavy Russian accent::

 

Say hello to my little friend, Avocado.

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I promise I will get to the recipe in a second but first lets see the difference between avocado and buttah:
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Ingredients for one serving:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cayenne pepper optional
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tbs evoo or coconut oil
  • Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
  • Lemon juice for the avocado and shrimp
  • 3 oz shrimp (I used Target’s Market Pantry small shrimp): 60 cal/13g protein

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Pierce holes around sweet potato and bake for 45-1 hour or until soft or microwave for approx 10 min turning sides once
  • Soak shrimp in cold water for about 15 min
  • Once shrimp have defrosted place in ziploc bag and mix with jerk seasoning. Cook on pan for about 3-5 minutes or until translucent
  • Chop onion and garlic, saute for approx 3 to 4 minutes until translucent
  • Drizzle half avocado with lemon juice, salt and pepper
  • Mash baked potato and avocado together and mix in onions and garlic
  • Serve with cooked shrimped and lemon wedge

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