Alysha’s Crispy Chicken Thighs & Veggies

Day 13

So this fine specimen of dinner is a creation of Alysha’s – and boy was it tasty!

And simple.

So I am going to share it with you:

Ingredients: (Makes 2 servings)

2 chicken thighs, skin on

2 cups brussels sprouts, washed and halved.

2 onions, sliced

1 teaspoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons Tony Chachare’s seasoning (or really, ANY seasoning you want!)

Cooking: 

1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil. Make sure it is very hot – you can do this by doing the water droplet test (a drop of water should sizzle in the oil!). While the coconut oil is heating, rub the seasoning on the top and bottom of chicken breasts.

2. Once oil is hot, place the chicken skin-side down in the oil. It should sizzle. Throw in the onions around the chicken. Let the chicken cook about 5-7 minute or until skin is browned and crispy.

3. Flip the chicken over and let the under side cook about 2-3 minutes, so the chicken no longer looks raw.

4. Move the chicken skin side up to an 8×8 baking dish. Put onions around the chicken. Leave stove ON.

5. Put the brussels sprouts in the still hot skillet that the chicken was in. Saute for 2 minutes. Turn stove OFF. (I always forget to do that 😉 )

6. Put the sprouts in the 8×8 dish around the chicken. The chicken skin should not have vegetables on top or it will get soggy.

7. Put the baking dish in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Voila!

Here are some extra notes about this recipe:

  • You can swap out the seasonings for ANYTHING you want, and make the chicken whatever flavor your heart desires!
  • You can swap out the veggies! We did sprouts. We also did green beans. You could do just onions with the chicken for flavor, and then cook another veggie on the side or have a salad. the possibilities are endless!
  • This can easily be scaled up for a family by adding more chicken thighs and more vegetables, or scaled down for one.. or you could make six at once and have leftovers!  Reheats nicely in the oven!
  • You could do this without the chicken skin — its not as tasty, but it does make it a smidge healthier. I say a smidge because I built out this recipe in LoseIt and here is what I found

ChickenandBSproutsNutrition

Super filling and UNDER 500 calories!  This assumes you eat 1 chicken thigh, half a cup of onions and 1 cup of brussels sprouts.

  • This is gluten free, dairy free, and it can be paleo if you make sure to use a paleo friendly seasoning.
  • this was also inexpensive! We bought a big pack of chicken thighs. If I scaled out the costs of all the ingredients, this was under $5 per person!
  • In conclusion: healthy, tasty, easy, inexpensive, and able to modify for endless options. Sounds like the perfect dinner to me!

Better Breakfast

The word breakfast literally means to break one’s fast. A fast is a time of not eating. So breakfast is literally the time of day where we give our bodies the nourishment that it has not received during our slumber.

You can argue that our bodies need less energy during the night, to which I would agree. But breakfast skippers (my former self included) find themselves not eating until lunch time. Guilty as charged. On an average night, if I went to bed around 11, and ate lunch at noon, that means I was leaving my body without proper nourishment for 13 hours! And by the time I ate, I would crave sugary, fatty foods. And lots of it.

So I started eating breakfast.

I have been thinking about breakfast a lot lately, and doing a bit of Google-research. I find study after study that says eating breakfast has no effect on health or weight loss. And study after study that says it does. So where is the truth in it?

I’ll put up a big disclaimer – I am not an expert. I did not conduct a study. But I can say this:

The studies that seemed to prove that eating breakfast didn’t matter did not control WHAT the eater ate for said breakfast. For example, both studies cited in this article, “Is Breakfast Overrated?” only seemed to control whether participants ate breakfast. No information is given about what was eaten.

In contrast, articles that were proponents of breakfast talk about high protein breakfasts, or low glycemic index breakfasts, and the effects on the participants. This website provides a list of studies addressing the importance of breakfast, if you’re interested: Breakfast Studies

I used to be a poptarts kind of breakfast girl. When I got into calorie counting, I nixed those, and breakfast all together as everything I considered to be a great breakfast ended up being most of the calories I would allot myself for the day. I don’t know what you eat for breakfast, but my typical breakfasts might have been:

– Poptarts on the go

– pancakes with syrup

– scrambled eggs with muffins

– eggs over easy with toast

Carb-laden goodness with a side of butter and sugar of some sort!

A Google image search for “typical American breakfast” pulls up pictures that have eggs, bacon, pancakes (with butter and syrup), a glass of juice, and a glass of coffee.

I did a poll on Facebook to see what some of my peers were eating, and some responses included:

– green smoothies

– oatmeal with peanut butter and/or banana

– chicken

– cereal

– a ham sandwich

– toast with peanut butter and banana

– just coffee

– And the closest response to the American “classic” : two eggs, an english muffin with butter and jam, and apple juice

The Case for a Better Breakfast

I used to fall asleep in class. I used to start my day with a sugar/carb laden breakfast, then a healthy-ish lunch, and I would still feel exhausted by 2. or I would skip breakfast and have a heavy lunch. Same result. Even if I had a “healthy-ish” breakfast – for a long time greek yogurt with fresh fruit and a squirt of agave was my go-to healthy breakfast!- i still ran out of energy and felt tired through out the day.

Then I was challenged to eat protein and VEGETABLES for breakfast. Gross, right? It really was, the first week. Once I got myself out of my American way of thinking about breakfast, it really changed how I approach my meals.

This website shows Breakfast Around the World, and I was surprised to see some veggies make a cameo on the breakfast plate!

Long story short, for the last few months I have been eating breakfast daily, and I typically eat a protein and a vegetable. I have more energy, feel better, and my weight has been creeping down. Just eating a good breakfast won’t guarantee weight loss, but it is a strong way to start the day — with the right nutrients so you have energy and can crack down on those cravings!

For ideas on how to add veggies into your morning meal, you can see what two of my favorite breakfast go-to’s are, as well as peruse Buzzfeed’s 29 Ways to eat More Vegetables at Breakfast.

Breakfast 1: Slowcooked Chicken with Snow Peas and BlueBerries 

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This breakfast eases the stress of morning food prep – I throw the chicken into the slow cooker the night before, and when morning comes around, I am awoken to the delightful scent of savory chicken. Throw it on the plate with some veggies and some blueberries, and you are all set!

Any slowcooker chicken recipe will work, but one of my favorites is below. It makes plenty for multiple meals, which is also a bonus!

1 can tomatoes

2 chicken breasts, 3 thighs

1/2 onion

1 tspn garlic powder

1/2 tspn onion powder

1 tspn italian seasoning

salt and pepper to preference

Toss in the slowcooker on low over night, and VOILA! Done!

Breakfast 2: Brussels Sprouts Power Bowl

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Okay, clearly my over-easy egg needs a little help. Gordon Ramsay?  Personal Lesson?  Just kidding! (but not really!) I’ll keep trying and if I get a better picture, I’ll edit this. 🙂

This delight is a little more work intensive, but it’s worth it!

2 ounces lean ground beef (or turkey!)

1/2 cup brussels sprouts, sliced into thin rounds (that’s the irritating part, but worth it!)

1 tspn coconut oil

1/4 onion

1/2 tspn paprika

1/2 tspn oregano

1/2 tspn red chili flakes

1/2 tspn garlic salt

1 egg

pepper to taste

Saute onions and all seasonings in coconut oil until tender. Add meat, cook until nearly done. add brussels sprouts. Saute 5 minutes. While sauteeing, cook an over easy egg. Serve egg on top. The yolk will taste so rich and delightful when it oozes out all over your breakfast!

Cooking for People You Love

I don’t like cooking for myself very much. If I’m left to my own devises (cough cough college) I will largely eat microwave popcorn and apple sauce (something salty, something sweet, something soft, something crunchy). Yeah, I know. VERY nutritious.

But cooking for people I love… I LOVE doing it! And I love concocting new recipes!

Today, I concocted some for my sister.

I made cilantro lime chicken thighs with skillet corn and green beans.

Here are the recipes 🙂

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:
2 chicken thighs, skin removed, bone removed optional depending on how you like it
1/8 cup chopped cilantro
1 Lime
1 tspn Honey
1 tspn salt
1/2 tspn Pepper
1 tspn Adobo (optional)
1/2 tspn chili powder (optional)
1/8 cup olive oil

Mix olive oil, cilantro, juice of 1 lime, honey, salt, pepper, adobo, and chili powder in a bowl. Place skinless thighs in bowl, and cover with the marinade. Let sit for atleast 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake for 30 minutes.

Green Bean and Corn Skillet

Ingredients:
2 ears of corn
1/2 lb of green beans
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbspn cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 tspn salt
2 tspn honey
2 tbspn butter

Cut the kernels off of the corn and place in skillet. Cut the ends off of the green beans, and chop green beans into bite sized pieces (I always cut them into thirds). Place in skillet. Add water, broth, and cider vinegar to the pan. Bring skillet to a soft boil (bubbling but not violently bubbling over), and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until beans are tender. The liquid should cook off. If it cooks off before the beans are cooked, add a little more water. Once the beans are done, drain off any excess liquid. Add the butter, honey, and salt. Stir around. Taste, and add more butter/honey/salt until it suits your fancy!

This meal was delicious! I finished it off with a slice of whole grain toast. 🙂

Mama’s Karahi

SO.. studying for the bar…it’s very vital to have good brain food. And by brain food I mean food that is delicious so you look forward to your study breaks, but that is still fresh and healthy and doesn’t give you that sleepy after-eating feeling.

So I asked my mama for her Karahi chicken recipe.

And I thought I’d share both Mama’s Karahi Chicken and my own vegetarian take on it. (I’m not vegetarian but I find that feeding both me and Jonathan meat meals for lunch and dinner gets pretty expensive! Plus, I love me some veggies!)

So here it is!

Mama’s Karahi Chicken (exactly as Mama emailed me):
Hey Girl,
First brown two medium onions in vegetable oil until golden brown.
as they are browning, get all the spices ready to add and chop one medium tomato.
crush or chop together two small cloves garlic, one small piece of ginger( about equal to garlic) one small chili pepper.
For spicy, (Dad spicy) 3/4 tsp chili powder, pinch gara masala, 1/2 tsp cumin powder.
Once onions are golden brown, add powdered spices and stir for about 30 seconds, add garlic, ginger,chili pepper, stir for about 30 seconds, add tomato and stir it all together.
Add chicken at this point and stir all together. If everything is sticking to the pot add tiny amount of water until tomato get liquidy.
Cook stirring every 5 minutes or so until chicken cubes are done. You can add small amounts of water as needed to keep it from sticking and to get the gravy to the consistency that you want.
Add fresh coriander on top for looks and flavor, stir once and then turn off.

With chicken breast should not take more than about 20 minutes once chicken is added. Also add salt to taste when you add all the other powdered spices. If you do not have the individual spices, you can just use 1 1/2 tsp of chicken curry spice.

Thanks, Mom!

Here is my vegetarian take, which is simmering on the stove to be packed up for my lunch as we speak:

Ingredients:
1 can chick peas / garbanzo beans, well rinsed
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
1 onion, chopped into half moons and then chopped into thirds
1 tomato, diced
same spices as above ( 3/4 tsp chili powder, pinch gara masala, 1/2 tsp cumin powder) … feel free to adjust to taste
1 tsp oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
Equal amount of grated ginger to garlic

Brown onions in 1 tsp oil, throw beans in there while the onions are browning.
Once onions are brown, throw in the spices and stir for 30 seconds. Throw in garlic and ginger, stir for 30 seconds. Add a splash of water to keep from sticking if necessary. Throw in tomatoes and let cook down for about 2 minutes. Throw in garbanzo beans. Cook on medium heat until beans are cooked. Add water as necessary to keep it from sticking and to keep it as liquid as you want it.

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My Veggie Karahi

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The tiny bit of Mama’s Karahi Chicken leftover from last night. Yum!