January – Lemon Chicken

January – Lemon Chicken

Remember that lemon cofit I made back in November of last year? It was really just sliced lemons slowly braised in olive oil. The oil is infused with lemon and makes marvelous salad dressings, or brush it on meat or potatoes before roasting. Anyway, to get on with things, it makes the most amazing and easy chicken breast recipe I have come across in a long time. I am not normally a big chicken breast fan, I much prefer the juiciness and taste of dark meat. But this one recipe has changed my mind. And it is easy (did I already say that?) and quick as well as delicious. There are really only 3 ingredients (4 if you count the salt). If you don’t have lemon confit on hand, not to worry. Just use freshly sliced lemons and olive oil, or lemon olive oil if you have a bottle stashed somewhere. Because you are going to eat the skin, it is best to get organic lemons if you can. Otherwise, scrub them well to remove any wax coating.

Confit Meyer Lemons in Olive Oil

For the best flavor, start this is the morning so it has time to marinate.

Without further ado, here goes…

Ingredients for 2 people, easily doubled:

  • 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts

and either

  • 1/4 cup oil from the lemon confit plus some lemon slices

or

  • 1 lemon, sliced about 1/4 inch thick (prefer organic if available)
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

plus

  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (less if you are using regular or sea salt)

Method:

  1. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels (don’t wash them) and place in a clean zip lock bag or bowl.
  2. Add the lemon slices, olive oil, and salt. Close and seal the bag if using one.
  3. Massage the chicken breasts, evenly coating them and the lemon slices with oil. You can use clean hands if the chicken is in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
  4. When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Heat an oven safe non-stick pan on the stove top using medium high heat. Add the chicken breasts and sliced lemons to the skillet, don’t wash off the oil. Cook on each side until brown (about 4-5 minutes).
  5. Place the pan it in the oven, cook for 10-15 minutes. This will depend on the thickness of the breasts and how well you like them cooked. My own were done in 10 minutes but my oven runs slightly hot.
  6. Carefully remove the pan from the oven, the handle will be very hot. Transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
  7. Serve with the caramelized lemon slices. They are amazingly sweet and delicious.

Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

i roasted some asparagus in the oven at the same time and served them both with a fresh green salad from the garden. A perfect low carb and delicious meal.

You could make a sauce by adding a bit of butter and chicken broth to the pan, boil it down until thick. But the chicken really didn’t need it. If not watching what you eat this January, roast or boil some potatoes and coat them with any leftover lemon oil when they are finished.

Lemon Chicken, Roast Asparagus and Green Salad

Good for phase 2 of the Fast Metabolism Diet.

I am bringing this to Fiesta Friday #259. Come on over the Angie’s blog and take a look at all the fabulous food and crafts this week. The co-hosts this week are Ai @ Ai Made It For You and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook

 

February – Fast Metabolism Week 4, phase 3

February – Fast Metabolism Week 4, phase 3

Here we are, in the last few days of the four week cycle. I admit that I veered off the program last night. We sold our house in Oakland this week and friends wanted to celebrate with us, I had some wonderful champagne (and then, with resolve weakened, some chocolate). Under the circumstances I don’t think it was a horrible mistake, I am almost at my goal weight. My thought is to go another week to make up for the cheats, probably not exactly at the end but after a week’s break.

I will continue to post recipes that are appropriate to different phases of the diet, and link them to the appropriate phase. My hope is to make it easier for anyone who follows to find food that is easy, delicious and appropriate. Search through my categories for Fast Metabolism to find the full listing of the various weeks, menus, and recipes. Then follow the links to find the recipes and menu ideas.

Phase 3 is a treat after the restricted high protein days of phase 2.

Breakfast – sprouted wheat toast with avocado, red onion, smoked salmon and cucumber.

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Breakfast – phase 3

Snack – 1/4 cup walnuts

Lunch – thinly sliced turkey breast with a smear of hummus, then wrapped around a cucumber spear. Blueberries.

Snack – 1/4 cup almonds

Dinner – roast chicken with brown rice and roasted vegetablesIMG_7115 2

Monday night we will de-brief and see how everyone did. Look for that post with my summary and comments.

Meanwhile, we consider this diet a great success. We all lost weight. But even better, we all have a new appreciation and approach to food. Although it seems complicated, the diet was easy to follow. And, we didn’t die of boredom.

January – Week 4, phase 1

January – Week 4, phase 1

Here we go again, only one more week. A friend made an interesting comment about this diet. He said that even though it sounds complicated, it is actually easier. It’s easier because you don’t have to stick with any one way of eating for months on end. On this diet you have your high carbohydrate days (2 if them), you have your low carbohydrate days (2 of them), and then you have 3 days of, what I would call “intelligent eating”. What does that mean? Healthy fats and lots of vegetables, moderate meat and carbohydrates. I know it’s the way I should eat most of the time. Once the diet is over, I will add a little dairy (I miss cheese, especially goat) and a little wine (I miss that as well). But, the defining word is “little”. I have gone without them for over 3 weeks and lived! I don’t miss sugar (I know that makes some of you shake your heads) but that is probably the only one of the five items (caffeine, alcohol, wheat, dairy, sugar) that I will not add back into my diet except on a very rare occasion.

So what has today looked like?

Breakfast – sprouted wheat toast and raspberries

Snack – mixed fruit and herb tea (I met a friend at a cafe)

Lunch – sprouted wheat tortilla, toasted in a skillet with sliced chicken, tomatoes, onion, and arugula

Snack – tangerine

Dinner – Fast Metabolism Buddha Bowl – 1 cup brown rice, steamed Brussels sprouts, roast winter squash, steamed to reheat deli rotisserie chicken (take out). Yes, I do take out…deli chickens are a wonderful convenience especially if you know the chickens are organic and came from a good source.

These kind of bowls are very easy to put together for either phase 1 or phase 3. All you need is a grain of some sort (brown rice in these examples), something green (broccoli or Brussels sprouts in the pics), and something contrasting in color and texture like sweet potatoes or winter squash.

Steamed Brussels sprouts only take 4 – 5 minutes, the delicata squash was roasted with a spray of olive oil (sorry it was a minor cheat), deli chicken, brown rice…an entire dinner in a bowl. Tamari for flavor.

Here is a picture of the phase 3 bowl:

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Phase 3 dinner bowl

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Phase 1 dinner bowl with tamari

These are perfect dinners, easy if you have any extra steamed rice and veggies on hand. Remember that steamed rice freezes well and reheats in the microwave in glass containers or plastic bags. Why pay exorbitant prices for frozen brown rice at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods? Simply make more than you will need and freeze the rest in serving sizes that are appropriate for your family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This bowl was a phase 3 dinner, I used a spritz of olive oil when roasting the squash

 

January – Phase 3, Fast Metabolism

January – Phase 3, Fast Metabolism

This is the last day of week 3, only one more week to go. I missed posting about phase 2 this week. I find phase 2 the most challenging, and frankly boring. Eating just lean protein and greens is “ho hum”. Phase 3 food seems positively decadent after phase 2, allowing moderate amounts of  “healthy” fats such as avocado, nut butter, hummus,  and coconut milk.

In phase 2, I frankly don’t care much about food. I eat because I have to, not because I am interested in what is on my plate. In fact, one day last week I forgot to eat entirely. Not good actually according to the diet. But I was super busy and occupied, I forgot to take food with me, and eating never occurred to me. That is until it got to be dinner time and I was at a friend’s house. By then I was hungry, really hungry. I did ‘cheat’ and have some phase 3 salmon and raw almonds because that was what was there. Really, I had to eat something!

My new scale is supposed to arrive today. Because my old one was rusted and corroded, it was a victim of our downsizing. After my friend (who has lost over 9 pounds in three weeks and feels amazing) raved about her new digital scale, I broke down and ordered one from Amazon.

I am not going to be able to tell you how much weight I have lost because I didn’t weigh myself at the beginning. I will tell you that my clothes are loose and my stomach is flatter. For me the weight loss was secondary to the overall reset. It’s a reset of habits, of taste buds, and overall approach to food. After three weeks I can tell you that I consider that part of the diet a success, the next week will only cement it. My friends who joined me on this adventure say the same thing.

So, what does my last day in phase 3 for this week look like?

Breakfast – fresh raspberries, sprouted wheat toast with almond butter

Snack – raw almonds

Lunch – Buffalo Chicken Chowder from Dishing Up the Dirt, (modified by using coconut oil instead of ghee and a sweet potato instead of russet); with celery sticks on the side and a tangerine. You can follow the link to the recipe, I found it had good flavor but the sweet potato didn’t thicken the chowder the way a russet would have. IMG_7093

Much to my surprise, on doing some research on the wild wide web, I came across another recipe which is very close to how I modified it. They used rice flour to thicken it a little, a good idea. I may like this one better from the blog Easy and Delish, Buffalo Chicken Chowder. I will try it this week and let you know. Changing the chicken breast to thighs would add more flavor (unless cooked sous vide I find chicken breasts too dry). The Frank’s Hot Sauce in the Dishing Up the Dirt recipe was good, keep that if you like spicy things.

My husband wanted something a little more substantial and added a can of pinto beans and some baby spinach. That is also a good option but it is coming closer to something else (chili?) and further away from Buffalo Chicken. IMG_7095

Look for a post, later in the week. Sometime when I am closer to phase 3 again, I will combine the two into something I a bit more to my own taste.

Snack – raw walnuts

DinnerSpicy Lamb Soup-Stew with Garbanzos 

Follow the link if you would like the recipe.

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January – Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

January – Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

My family is very fond of what I call soup/stew. It’s not really a stew, more like a very substantial soup. it’s a soup that is a full meal, and it perfectly describes this Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash. You could serve it with a salad or throw in some baby spinach to wilt just before serving. Ta Da greens., nothing more needed.

This is a phase 3 dinner, 2 cups equal one serving.

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Lamb, Winter Squash and Chickpea Soup/Stew

Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

4 servings – 8 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin or cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamon, or cardamon seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander or coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper plus more to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more as needed for taste
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 teaspoons grape seed oil
  • 1 medium red onion, half diced and half sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large delicata squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 3/4 inch cubes; or other winter squash – about 4 cups
  • 1 can of garbanzo (chickpea) beans drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, low sodium
  • optional – handful of golden raisins or roughly chopped dried apricots
  • For garnish – chopped cilantro, flat leaf parsley, mint, or chives…or combination of all

Directions:

  1. Combine the cumin, cardamon and coriander in a small heavy skillet and toast until slightly brown. This will happen quickly if using ground spices. Watch carefully. If whole spices, cool and grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. IMG_7099
  2. Heat the grape seed oil in a large skillet or pot on medium heat, add the ground lamb and brown (drain if there is a lot of fat and return to the skillet or pot).
  3. Add the onion, garlic, and spices. Stir until blended and smelling aromatic, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the bell pepper, squash, garbanzo beans and stock.
  5. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and flavors blended. Add the optional dried fruit, taste for salt, and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
  6. If not on the Fast Metabolism Diet, I would recommend the optional dried fruit.

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    Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

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Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

This recipe is adapted and modified from one in the NY Times.