After last week's escapades in fast food drive-throughs, I found out a couple of things. First, it's expensive. Yes, I realize this is a no-brainer, but it is a serious wake-up call to see the dwindling numbers in my checking account. Second, I hadn't had any personal experience with healthy, home cooked food preventing illness... until this week. I started feeling sick on Monday,after eating out from Wednesday through Sunday. I had the tickle in my throat, stuffy nose and slight ringing in my ears. Today, I'm hacking a lung at least twice an hour and my head is going to burst. Well, that's a slight exaggeration, but I don't feel well at all. Typically I get this two or three times during the winter, but it wasn't until last night that I realized that this is the first time this winter I've been sick, other than maybe feeling a little "off" for a day or two. I could explain my illness and my lack of nutritious food as coincidence, but I'm choosing not to. I truly believe that eating whole foods will promote better health for me and my family. This is just one more reason to hold myself accountable.
Now, since I wasn't feeling the best, last night would've been a perfect time to order a pizza or run through McDonald's and grab some dollar burgers and call it dinner. I decided against it though, since eating that junk helped me get in this position in the first place. I needed something pretty easy and relatively quick. I picked a new recipe off my menu plan for Teriyaki chicken. The original recipe is from allrecipes.com, but I changed it a little (surprising, huh?) The recipe called for 12 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs. I didn't have them and that sounded like a lot if I didn't like it, so I used 6 chicken breast tenders, which is equal to 2 chicken breasts.
1/4 cup sugar (recipe called for 1/2 and even with 1/4 it's on the sweet side, I'll cut it a bit more next time)
1/2 cup soy sauce (still using up my old bottle, but I'm looking for an organic version)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic minced (I used the jar kind and what I put in probably equalled 2-3 cloves)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. warm water
Mix everything but the cornstarch and water in a ziploc bag or large bowl. Place chicken in to marinade for 30 min-1 hour. Remove chicken from the marinade an place in a shallow baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes, turning and brushing with the marinade after every 10 minutes. Keep in mind, if you are using bone-in chicken, the cook time will be much longer. During the last few minutes of baking, pour the marinade into a saucepan and bring it to a boil (remember you are killing nasty chicken bacteria). Mix the cornstarch and warm water in a small cup or glass. Pour the cornstarch mixture, a little at a time, into the marinade/sauce. Whisk it in and continue cooking to thicken. When sauce is thickened, remove from heat. Depending on what sides you are serving, the sauce can just go over the chicken or it can be integrated into the dish. For this meal, I prepared brown rice and steamed some broccoli. I cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces and mixed it with the rice, sauce and broccoli. What I ended up with was a super yummy stir-fry casserole. The girls and I each had 2 helpings. Little Man once again was unimpressed, but he did pick the chicken out and eat that. Keep offering healthy foods, right?
Time-wise, the marinade took 2-3 minutes to make, add the chicken and throw in the fridge. An hour later I came back and started the brown rice in the pressure cooker while the oven was preheating. Then I tossed in the chicken and helped the oldest with her homework while basting the chicken every 10 minutes. A few minutes before the rice was finished, I threw the broccoli in the microwave steamer and got it going-listened to younger daughter read her nightly book. Next, I thickened the sauce, drained the broccoli, chopped the chicken and stirred it all together. Dinner and both girls' homework was done in 40 minutes.