Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Baked chicken won't keep you in the kitchen all night

Running after work has put a bit of a dent in my weeknight cooking. I’m pounding out anywhere from three to seven miles after work, smelling everyone else’s dinners as I run through the neighborhood, so by the time I get home I’m starving.

Not wanting to wait until midnight to eat, I’m trying to do a better job with planning for and preparing quick, not-too-complex meals.
Here’s something I put together on the fly the other day, using ingredients already in my fridge and cabinets.

Baked chicken with mushroom and chilies
Three chicken breasts, butterflied and separated
8 ounces brown mushrooms, quartered
7-ounce can Ortega diced green chilies
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 cup chicken broth
Cooked white rice (I like about a cup per serving)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place mushrooms in bottom of 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish, topping mushrooms with chicken breast pieces. Pour broth over chicken before adding chilies.
Bake, covered, for 30-40 minutes until chicken is cooked. Serve over scoop of rice, using spoon to add mushrooms and chilies to the dish.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

All this running is making me hungry

I’ve got a doozy of a birthday coming up in November, and decided a while back that I wanted to conquer 26.2 miles before tackling the big 3-0.

Chris and I run the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon in June. I ran my first half marathon back in 2005 (that's me, at right, after the 2009 Shamrock'n Half Marathon), but up until a couple weeks ago 13.1 miles was the longest distance I’d covered. Now I’m at the point in my training where my long runs are in the teens and I’m running more than 30 miles each week.

What’s great about amassing all this mileage is that it’s a hall pass of sorts, because I’m burning enough calories to justify eating all kinds of goodies. But I’m also more conscious of what and when I eat, especially as it pertains to my long runs. It’s one thing to slog through a four-mile short run after work when you’re still a little full from lunch, but a huge plate of nachos doesn’t really going to feel so hot when you’re running for a couple hours.

I’m still experimenting with what I eat before my long runs, but have done well with a slice of wheat toast smeared with peanut butter, or a banana, 30 to 60 minutes before lacing up my Asics. On the trail I’ll eat an energy gel (current favorite flavor is Gu Energy Gel’s Jet Blackberry) roughly every 45 minutes, and I always run with water.

Once I get home, stretch, take a couple swigs of Gatorade and clean up it’s time to do some serious damage. On weekends, when I tend to knock out my long runs, a big fat breakfast really hits the spot. Sometimes I like to scramble up a couple eggs with a dash of pesto and a little bit of turkey deli meat. Other times it’s an omelette with lots of fresh veggies. Eggs, in any form, tend to hit the spot, especially when paired with a couple strips of turkey bacon and some toast with strawberry jam.

On weeknights, the runs aren’t as long but I’m still ready to inhale dinner post haste. A quick bowl of pasta always does the trick, and I feel a brown rice kick coming on.

What are your pre- and post-workout food favorites? I’m always looking for suggestions.

Curry in a hurry

I’m just now feeling human again after a nasty cold that rendered me useless for nearly two weeks. My diet no longer includes copious amounts of cough drops and Nyquil, and I’ve regained my senses of smell and taste.

I plan on tackling more complex recipe in the coming days, but wanted to share this quick, flavorful dish I zipped through the other day. One trip to Trader Joe’s will knock out your shopping list. We had some leftover cucumber salsa from a meal earlier in the week in the fridge, and it added some nice color and flavor to the plate.

Tofu Masala
1 15-ounce jar Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce
14-ounce package firm tofu, cut into half-inch cubes
2 cups edamame, steamed
Steamed brown rice

Simmer tofu, sauce and edamame in frying pan over medium heat and covered with lid, roughly 10 minutes, long enough to thoroughly heat tofu and edamame. Serve over brown rice. Enjoy with warm naan (we opted for Trader Joe’s Tandoori Garlic Naan).

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Firing up the barbecue? Try these burgers

It was a beautiful early spring evening, and I was determined to do some grilling. Good thing I had ground turkey in the fridge and a produce drawer full of flavorful goodies. These burgers ended up quite flavorful, with a nice little kick from the spices and the chipotle cheddar.

Spicy Turkey Burgers
1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Chipotle cheddar or pepper jack, one slice per burger
1 strip cooked turkey bacon per burger
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons hot sauce
Red bell pepper, sliced
Avocado, sliced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
4 Kaiser rolls, sliced open and toasted
Salt and pepper, a dash each

Whisk mayonnaise and hot sauce in small bowl and place in refrigerator.
Combine turkey, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in bowl. Form four patties and place on plate. Place patties on grill, cooking roughly five minutes on one side before flipping over. Add cheese to each patty and cook for another five minutes or so, until cooked through.
Place burger on half of bun. Spread mayonnaise on top half of bun. Garnish each burger with a slice or two of avocado and red pepper, a pinch of chopped cilantro and strip of turkey bacon (tear or cut it in half first).