Easy Shredded Chicken + 10-Minute Healthy Stir Fry

I went on my first real date when I was 15. I was a Freshman in high school, he was a Junior and we went to Panera. I’d been to Panera before, but that didn’t stop me from obsessing over the menu for hours before he picked me up to decide what to order. Can’t go with my usual Sierra Turkey – too many onions, DUH. Do girls really order salads when they go on dates? If so, how do you avoid the inevitable lettuce-in-your-teeth dilemma?

I went with the chicken salad sandwich. I mean, what? I can’t remember what my reasoning was. I’d probably had chicken salad twice before in my life. It immediately fell apart as I went to eat it. I basically spent the rest of our date scooping chicken salad off my plate and into my mouth with my fingers. Just reeked of mayo.

Do you know those moments in life that forever make you cringe? Like that time you waved at someone who was actually waving at the person behind you? Or that time you tried to impress someone by pretending to also like that band they like, but then you butchered the name?

I have those moments daily. But that first date stuck with me for a very long time. Couldn’t eat chicken for close to a year because of the cringing it induced.

Fortunately, chicken and I are friends again. Especially the shredded, coconut-infused variety.

This chicken pairs well with literally everything – put it on salads, in (Thai Coconut Curry) soup, stir fry. But it pairs especially nicely with a glass of white wine while you bask in the fact that you are now a sophisticated adult who does significantly fewer cringe-worthy things. But not none. It will never be none.

Shredded chicken ON a salad. (Not chicken salad, thank God.)

Shredded chicken ON a salad. (Not chicken salad, thank God.)

Easy Shredded Chicken

Makes two 4 oz servings

What you need:

-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken (breast or tenders, up to you – I prefer tenders)
-1 tsp coconut oil (or preferred oil, but it’s awesome like this)
-1 tsp garlic salt
-3/4 cup water

What you do:

1. Lay your chicken on a flat surface and sprinkle liberally on both sides with garlic salt.

2. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium-large nonstick skillet. When oil is hot, add chicken to pan.

3. Cook chicken on one side for 5 minutes, then flip to the other side and immediately add water to skillet so the chicken is mostly covered, with just the tops poking out. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes.

4. Remove chicken from pan and put on a plate to cool. When you’re ready to use, it can be easily shredded with a fork or pulled apart with your fingers. Put it in whatever you want! Or add it to… stir fry! Recipe below.

Quick Stir Fry

10-Minute Healthy Stir Fry

Makes 1 serving

What you need:

-1 tsp sesame oil
-1 cup raw kale, stems removed, chopped into bite size pieces
-3-4 oz shredded chicken
-1/2 cup raw shiitake mushrooms
-1/8 cup green onion, chopped
-1/4 of a large red bell pepper, chopped
-1-2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
-1 tbsp Kikkoman teriyaki glaze
-1 tbsp sriracha

What you do:

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium-large skillet. Add kale and cover pan for about 3 minutes to steam and soften slightly.

2. Add chicken, mushrooms, green onion and bell pepper all at once, stirring constantly. Add soy sauce, continuing to stir for about 3 more minutes.

3. When soy sauce has reduced slightly and all veggies are mostly softened, add sriracha and teriyaki glaze, stirring for another minute or two.

4. Immediately remove from heat and serve, topped with some additional green onion or cilantro if you have it.

Enjoy this dish with a side of the fact that you are not 15 anymore.

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Sweet Potato BBQ Turkey Sliders

Finger foods are hard for me. I’m the girl at your party posted up by the plate of sliders, deviled eggs, lil smokies, pigs in a blanket… etc. etc. If it’s tiny and can be eaten with my hands, I’m not talking to anyone. I’m sitting there stuffing my face. I start to feel competitive about eating all your finger food, glaring at anyone who dares infringe on my territory. And before you know it, I’ve put down half your platter and made no friends. Don’t invite me anywhere.

The only way to keep finger foods safe around me is if they’re made and served in individual portions. Like these mildly healthy sweet potato BBQ turkey sliders. So, so good. And I can make them in pairs. Much safer this way.

These pair well with tiny drinks and tiny sides.

FitMenCook Sliders

Sweet Potato BBQ Turkey Sliders

Adapted from FitMenCook, yields 2 sliders

What you need:
-1/3 of a large sweet potato, cut into four equal rounds
-1/4 red bell pepper
-4 oz cold cut turkey (I used Applegate Farms)
-1 oz Pecorino cheese (or mozzarella or any other cheese of choice!)
-2 tbsp BBQ sauce

What you do:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay your four sweet potato rounds down flat – these will act as the bun of your sliders.

2. Cut bell pepper into two equal pieces and place on top of two of your sweet potato rounds, then top each of those with 2 oz of turkey, 1/2 oz of cheese and 1 tbsp of BBQ sauce. Place the other two rounds on the top and use a wooden skewer to fasten them into place.

3. Place both on a baking sheet and coat with a tiny bit of canola oil. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-45 minutes.

If you make more than two, don’t invite me over.

Vegan Tomato Soup with Roasted Garlic and Jalapeno

My brother has been vegan for over a year now. He does it for all the right reasons – the industrialization of food has gotten out of hand, its sustainable, and humans are the only creature on earth that puts their most basic desires over the most basic needs of other creatures.

I’m totally down with the message. I tried it. It’s really hard. For now, I’m just trying to avoid eating other mammals. I figure I’m doing a bit of my part.

But occasionally I do make a super delicious vegan meal. And this one had a bonus cuz I had about 6 pounds of tomatoes from the past two weeks of my CSA boxes (community shared agriculture – its very trendy right now) that I needed to use.

Also, post-Labor Day has gotten me believing its Fall now. It’s still 75 degrees. But Fall is coming (eventually) and that brings brisk weather and brisk weather calls for warm tomato soup.

So we made tomato soup to freeze for Fall/Winter and we vegan-ized it! (Then ate a bowl of it in 75 degree heat with non-vegan toaster oven quesadillas for dipping and a big spoonful of Greek yogurt. Oops.)

IMG_2589.JPG

Vegan Tomato Soup with Roasted Garlic and Jalapeno
(Adapted from Cooking Light’s “Fresh Tomato Soup” recipe from October 2008, “Melanie’s Garden Tomato Soup” recipe from June 1999, and this Oh She Glows recipe – which I also intend to make.)

What you’ll need:
1 head garlic
1-2 jalapeno, mostly seeded and halved (I used one and there was very little heat)
1 large carrot (or 2 medium), chopped
3 tsp olive oil, divided
1 large onion (or 2 medium), diced
1/2-1 tbsp dried basil (or fresh if not intending to freeze)
3 pounds garden tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel loose skin from garlic, chop head off of bulb and place on baking sheet along with seeded jalapeno and chopped carrot, drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil. Roast for 35 min (take out jalapeno and carrot when tender, keep garlic in for full 35 min). Let cool 5-10 min, squeeze garlic from bulb and reserve (along with jalapeno and carrot).
2. In a large pot, heat remaining 1 tsp of olive oil and add diced onion, dried basil, and roasted garlic, jalapeno and carrot. Cook 4 min, stirring frequently.
3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable stock, and S&P and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; Simmer 15-20 min. Use immersion blender to blend smooth. (Or process in batches in food processor.)

Serve hot in 1 cup servings with 1-2 tbsp fat free Greek yogurt or sour cream(vegans omit, duh) and fresh basil. Pairs well with microwave quesadillas or grilled cheese and cheap wine.

If freezing, pour into quart-sized freezer-proof containers immersed in ice water. Stir to release heat, cooling slightly and immediately freeze. Will keep in freezer for 4-6 months.

(Side note: Sorry no pics again. I’m working on it.)