Friday Night’s Pizza Night

Every Friday we order North Beach Pizza, and watch the latest from Netflix. It’s become a tradition that I look forward to at the end of a busy week. Their North Beach Special (with tomatoes added) is the next best thing to Ciro’s in Folsom, which is my all-time favorite. Get the Mountain Top, if you’re ever in Sactown!

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Chicken Dinners for Days

Boiled chicken is not sexy, but it is healthy. I survey the talented women in my family about the best way to boil chicken. Basically, put a whole chicken (i.e. Foster Farms with guts removed) in a pot of boiling water with onions, herbs, or carrots and celery, and cook for at least an hour.

The first time I boiled a chicken, I cooked it with half an onion (chopped) for about 1.25 hours. It was so tender it fell right off the bone. Tonight we were hungry, so I took it out after 1 hour and picked off enough meat for burritos using a fork and knife, since it takes a few minutes to cool down.

Save the leftover broth! It helps tenderize the meat on days 2 and 3. Just simmer the leftovers in broth, with salt and pepper as desired. I’m sure there are other great recipes to be made, so feel free to send suggestions!

Chicken food safety is crucial, so wash your hands between steps! And throw away the bones, or boil them for stock. I keep the broth and meat stored separately too. Food poisoning is defintely not sexy!

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Veggie Detox

After a BBQ, burrito and burger binge in Austin last weekend, David and I are ready to eat healthy again. Here are some really simple ways to “detox” and up the antioxidants. Sorry, dripping cheese not allowed!

On weeknights when we are starving, especially post-gym, we start with fresh broccoli and hummus. Ranch is also delicious but requires more moderation. It’s surprising how satisfying this “appetizer” can be when you’re hungry.

Veggies pack a lot of nutrients for little calories, so tonight our plate was loaded with peas and rice, plus reheated chicken breasts. It’s nice to feel full without feeling guilty!

Of course, any chance to pack in more veggies is good. Pasta, soups, sandwiches…and I keep a freezer full of peas and corn for busy weeknights.

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Counting Down to Monte Cristo

No time to cook? Have milk, eggs, bread, deli meat, jam and cheese? I wax nostalgic (Disneyland’s Blue Bayou) and cheat my way through Monte Cristo sandwiches.

A Monte Cristo is a fancier version of French toast with a hearty center: turkey, ham or pastrami; jam, and cheese. Powdered sugar is optional.

My way is from memory and couldn’t be easier. Make batter from equal parts egg and milk. Fry enough soaked slices of bread to make two sandwiches. Meanwhile, warm the deli meat in the microwave, then serve along with melted cheese and jam between slices, et voilà!

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“Case of the Mondays” Dinner

With extra daylight peering through the windows, I was hardly motivated to spend a lot of time in the kitchen tonight. So I grabbed my go-to four cheese tortellini, frozen corn, and chopped pancetta from the market. (Don’t forget to recycle the plastic!)

To cut down on dish duty, I microwaved the frozen corn in a casserole dish filled 1/3 with water, while boiling the tortellini. After I drained and plated the tortellini (which cooks quickly), I use the same pot to warm the pancetta with a little olive oil over low heat (cooks even faster!). Mix all three together, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

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Sunday Dinner at the Beach

After a failed, sand-swept attempt to visit Ocean Beach this afternoon, David and I found ourselves at Beach Chalet, just in time for “Crab Week.” We cracked our way through incredibly fresh crab (in season!), served handsomely in its shell for $25. Although we left with messy hands, you can’t beat a dish-free kitchen on Sunday!

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Austin’s Green Sauce

Austin is probably the healthiest person I know. He regularly blends kale and other fruits and veggies into meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Time to quiz Austin on the secret behind his zesty “green sauce” recipe, which involves kale (or spinach), lemons, and curry among other things:

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In a blender, combine one whole tomato, a “huge ass” bunch of fresh basil (Austin recommends Whole Foods), juice of six lemons, a few seconds worth of olive oil from a bottle (half to 1/3 cup), a lot of sea salt (1/2 to 1 tablespoon), to taste, then two bunches of kale (leaves removed) or four pre-washed bags of spinach if kale is not available, and a “little kick” of cayenne pepper.

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To cook quinoa, bring a three-to-one ratio of water to quinoa to a boil, with curry, sea salt, and fresh garlic. Plus, if you have tomato, sweet potato, or edamame on hand – throw it in too! It takes a total of about 30 minutes.

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As a shortcut, use fresh-squeezed lemon juice in place of lemons.

The finished product will serve 6-8 people, or provides enough dinner for four nights. Now that’s what I call sustainability!

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