As women attorneys, many of us know “The Second Shift” all too well. We work all day then come home to spouses, partners, children and pets all expecting our attention and care. How often do we order a pizza on our drives home or throw some prepackaged meal into the microwave just to make sure everyone is full before bedtime. The resulting bricks in our stomachs, together with our cases up the next day, spin in our heads and lead to insomnia, weight gain, and compound our stress.
The attorneys and staff at my firm, as well as my family and friends, know I have embraced cooking as a way to clear my head and nourish both body and soul. Along the way I have found that nutritious cooking CAN actually be done easily, even during the week. This addition to the Catalyst may not be scholarly in nature nor does it delve into some hot legal topic – it even may ring of a bygone era when women dominated the realm of the kitchen rather than the courtroom. That said, the way I look at it is, we all still have to eat. So let’s eat well!
The following are a few quick and easy, but healthy seasonal recipes that have helped push through this cold and often incredibly busy time of year. They all happen to be complete meals that fit in a bowl!
Turkey Sausage & Brussels Sprouts
Heat 2 Tb of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Toss in onions, sliced into half moon shapes (thick or thin, your choice). At the same time add quartered Brussels sprouts. Smash a clove or two of garlic and toss it in the pan and season with salt, pepper or even Lawry’s season salt if you like. Let cook, stirring as needed to allow some browning of the sprouts. Turn the heat down if the onions start to brown too quickly. When the sprouts are about half cooked through, deglaze the pan with some splashes of chicken broth and white wine. Allow to reduce until the liquid is almost gone. Add sliced Turkey smoke sausage, stirring occasionally to allow for even browning. Remove the large chunks of garlic and serve hot sprinkled with some shredded provolone cheese.
Udon Noodle Soup
Heat 2 Tb of canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. In a separate fairly large soup pot, heat chicken broth to a slight boil. Season fresh raw chicken breast tenders with a little salt and pepper. Dice a small onion and toss in the pan. Toss the chicken and onion into the pan. Deglaze with a splash of chicken broth, soy sauce and a few squirts of Saracha chili sauce for heat. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside. If the broth is now boiling, toss in dry Udon noodles and turn the heat down a bit so it doesn’t boil too fast. . In the same pan you cooked the chicken toss in sliced mushrooms and fresh baby spinach and allow to wilt down. While the spinach and mushrooms are cooking, dice the cooked chicken and toss it back into the pan. Slowly add the chicken mixture into the broth add some chopped fresh cilantro and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Serve in big bowls and sprinkle with more fresh cilantro and raw bean sprouts for texture.
The next recipe can be made on a sleepy Sunday and eaten all week long! You can also toss all the ingredients in the crock pot, the night before and refrigerate. Then just turn it on LOW in the morning, let it simmer all day while at work and come home to scrumptiousness.
Slow Cooker Sweet & Sassy Turkey Chili
In a large skillet brown 1 lb ground turkey. (not too lean). Drain if necessary. You may want to use a little oil in the pan if the turkey is too lean. While browning, splash the turkey with a little spicy V-8 juice and season with salt, pepper garlic salt and chili powder. Not too much at this point! You can always add more but you can’t take it away!)
In a full size slow cooker, on high, stir together the following: 1 can spicy chili beans with the juice, 1 or 2 cans of black beans (drained), 1 can of diced tomatoes and 1 can of concentrated tomato soup. Stir in the fully cooked ground turkey. Add some spicy V-8 juice, but no more than a Cup. Let it cook on high for 2 hours. Stirring every now and then. After 2 hours, stir in ¼ C of brown sugar and turn the slow cooker down to warm. Test for seasoning and add more salt, pepper or chili powder to taste. For the really adventurous, add a little cayenne pepper. Cook for another hour or two until you just can’t wait anymore then dig in.
For a little something extra to go with the chili, I like to mix up some Jiffy cornbread mix as directed on the box and add real honey and some finely sliced jalapeños (seeded) right to the batter. Using a liquid measuring cup pour the batter into a mini muffin tin, leaving room for them to rise. Bake as directed on the box. When they come out, if you want to be a little bad, mix together some honey and real butter, microwave it for less than a minute, stir. Dip the muffins or pour the honey butter over right on top!