Today I am just loving that grill! So thank you my dear Michael for getting one that doesn't make me feel like I'm about to catch fire while lighting it!
It's no secret! Eating healthy takes planning and preparation ... but don't let that hold you back. Make it easier on your self to keep your desired commitment to eating clean, nutrient packed food each day by preparing in advance the weeks lunch/dinner. If grabbing a fresh salad with grilled chicken or fish is just as convenient as grabbing a bag of chips ... chances are you will hold fast to your goal of making healthier choices for you and your family.
Lunch meals are a struggle for me. My mid day meal seems to get lost in the shuffle of preparing food for my boys and managing all the tasks and events we have set for the day. Often times I find myself eating their left over scraps, grabbing a handful of nuts, or if I'm lucky I squeeze in a protein & green smoothie. What I have found during my times of cleansing is that I feel so much more energized and stable when I have a wholesome lunch. I am a happier, energetic, emotionally stable mom on those days, and well, that is just good for everybody!
So with that in mind, this week I chose to set myself up for success! I marinated and grilled five chicken breasts, and prepared a large salad to be enjoyed throughout the next few days. Seriously, we do this often in our household, and not only does it help me out, but my husband is then able to easily prepare a wonderful lunch to bring to work, and my kiddos have healthy options readily available for their meals as well.
So what to do...
Here's the thing: when I cook I do not like to measure ingredients. Seriously, it is so much more fun to cook when you are not controlled by a recipe! Be brave ... give it a try. The only down side is if your dish is completely awesome, you may never be able to recreate it! (sigh) That is my husband's biggest complaint. He will take a bite of something and express how delicious it is, and then look at me and say, "You have no idea what you did, do you!" "Uhhh...Nope!".
Ok, so welcome to my do it fast and healthy, organic, GMO, allergy-free kitchen!!!
(I will put an approximate measurement, but seriously just pour and shake what ever your taste buds tell you to do. For example, do you like citrus? Put on more lemon juice or orange juice. Do you prefer a smokey heat? If so, add more chipotle pepper. Feeling the desire for depth and spice? Add more cumin. Want it a bit more basic? Focus on chili powder and paprika. And when it comes to salt, pepper, and garlic ... shake in about how much you would add if sprinkling it on a piece of chicken, and multiply it enough for each breast! Remember, if it is easy to do ... you are more likely to do it! So.. get shaking!)
Step 1: Prepare the Grilled Tex/Mex Chicken
Rinse 4 or more organic chicken breasts. Use a stainless steal meat tenderizer to beat them down to an even thickness. Stab each breast with a knife multiple times to allow the marinade to penetrate. (Sounds brutal!) Place the breasts in a large container. Now add the following ingredients...remember, be brave...trust your taste buds, skip the measuring and own it: Oil 1/4 cup (avocado, olive, canola, or coconut), lemon juice 1/3 cup, orange juice 1/3 cup, coconut vinegar (or white wine vinegar) 1/4 cup, chili powder 1 1/2 tsps., paprika 1 tsp., cumin 1 1/2 tsps., chipotle pepper 1/2 tsp., garlic 1/2 tsp., dried cilantro 1 tsp., salt, and pepper. Put the lid on the container and SHAKE! Allow the chicken to marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator. (I think I waited only 45 minutes this time and it was fabulous!)
Step 2: While the meat is marinating, Make a Large Salad
I use a large rectangular Rubbermaid container to make and store the week's salad. The base of your salad should be some nutritious mixed greens, focusing more heavily on spinach, kale, and arugula. As far as the other veggies, your call. For me, my salads tend to have some of the following: mixed greens, spinach, arugula, kale, red onion, tomato, carrots, beet sprouts or roasted beets, raisins or cranberries, fresh berries, pumpkin seeds, olives, cucumber, bell peppers, fennel, fresh cilantro or rosemary, and roasted asparagus.
Today's salad was a mix of these lovely ingredients: mixed salad greens, spinach, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, olives, blueberries, red onion, and the oh so divine AVACADO. (I have a deep love for the avocado! So delicious! So nutritious! I have one just about every day. Give up cheese and grab this green beauty...you'll be happy you did!)
Step 3: Grill the Chicken
I am no grill master, but I am experimenting and learning. Typically my hubby does the grilling, but with this new grill I am trying things out and gaining some confidence in this culinary skill! So my instructions are pretty basic : Light the grill and keep it on high to do some preheating for about 5-8 minutes. Once preheated, turn the temperature down to low-medium and place the chicken breasts on the grill. I got a little distracted while breaking up a serious Lego war between my boys, so my chicken stayed on the grill for probably like 10 minutes or more before flipping, and is a little charred. You typically need only 8 minutes, flip the breasts and grill 7-8 minutes more, or until no longer pink. Every flame is different, so just keep an eye on it.
Transfer the grilled chicken to a bamboo cutting board. Slice what you will use and package the remaining breasts for future meals. (Typically I use 1/2 a breast for one serving.)
Step 4: Create your Lunch!
Fill a plate with your desired amount of salad. Add your chicken, and if you want to kick it up a notch... a sliced avocado. I typically slice the avocado, and top it with some lemon juice, salt, and garlic ... think un-mashed guacamole! Drizzle on some fresh salad dressing (olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, agave/honey). Enjoy!
Step 5: Create your Kiddos Lunch!
You are modeling a healthy lifestyle, so share your awesome food with your kids! Most certainly your children are not screaming for a salad, but you can use your salad fixins to create a nutritious lunch for them without adding much more work for yourself.
- Cut the chicken breast into small pieces and stick in a tooth pick. My boys think everything is more enticing with a toothpick!
- While you are making the salad, cut strips of peppers, carrots, and cucumbers that can easily be picked up with little fingers.
- Use half of the avocado from your salad to make a quick, basic guacamole-like dip. Just mash the unused half and add a little bit of lemon juice, salt, and garlic. Let them dip their veggies into it. Dipping is fun and with every dip they are ingesting amazing healthy fats to fuel those growing bodies and minds.
I hope you enjoy your lunches this week as much as I will!
Wishing you health, happiness, and healing ... Laura G.