There are basic factors recipes must meet in order to be the Makeover Monday Meal:
It has to have a fairly short prep time, and the meal or dish should come together in less than an hour.
The ingredients have to be easy to find in your grocery store, freezer, or fridge. The use of pantry items is a plus.
The recipe has to be adaptable, even traditional meat recipes.
It should be healthy
This week’s recipe for Cast Iron Baked Ziti comes from America’s Test Kitchen. This is a wonderful weeknight meal that comes together quickly and is easily adapted for a vegan/vegetarian or gluten-sensitive diet. The sauce is a combination of fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, basil, mozzarella, and grated parmesan cheese. Moreover, as good as it tastes when you first make it, the leftovers actually taste better overnight in the fridge.
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup) (vegan cheese like Daiya Provolone or mozzarella shreds are quite good)
Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Heat 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Toss tomatoes with oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Add tomatoes to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred and blistered, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Off heat, coarsely mash tomatoes using a potato masher.
Stir in pasta and water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to vigorous simmer, cover, and cook, stirring often, until pasta is tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
Stir in Parmesan and adjust sauce consistency with extra hot water as needed. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Transfer skillet to oven and broil until cheese is melted and spotty brown, about 5 minutes. Serve.
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New York is the home of great cheesecake, bagels, and pizza. Baltimore’s seafood and crabcakes are worth writing home about. While Chicago is home to great steak, distinctive hotdogs, and deep-dish pizza. New England is known for lobster, lobster rolls, calamari, and chowder.
As a New Yorker, I do love Manhattan-style clam chowder with its tomato base, but I do enjoy a creamy bowl of chowdah. It’s just the right mix of brothiness from the clams, with a hint of smoke from the bacon, soft pillowy potatoes, and cream. It’s delicious.
This recipe comes from a small newspaper out of Maine. I’ve had it for some time now, and the newspaper’s title has faded. I wanted to share this recipe with a few substitutions to fit different dietary needs.
We’ve included the recipe for clam-less chowder, which is a vegan version that uses mushrooms in place of clams. The use of the liquid from soaking dried mushrooms gives the soup an umami punch. We tried to make sure there is something for everyone to enjoy, especially on a cold day with oyster crackers.
New England Clam Chowder
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes Hands-On Time: 45 minutes Yield: 8 to 10 servings
2 medium-size white potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for gluten-sensitivities use gluten-free all-purpose flour, white or brown rice flour)
4 cups bottled clam juice, divided
1 pound chopped fresh clam meat, with juices
Kosher salt to taste
3 cups light cream (2 1/2 cups 2% milk plus 1/2 cup half-and-half, or 1 3/4 cups fat-free milk plus 1 1/4 cups half-and-half) (non-dairy: light coconut, soy, or rice milk) **
1 teaspoon white pepper
Set a 4- to 6-quart pot over medium-low heat. Add the bacon and cook, turning occasionally, until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the bacon, leaving the fat in the pot, and crumble into small pieces; set aside.
Add the butter, onion, celery, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot. Cook, stirring often, until onions are tender and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.
Return the bacon to the pot and stir. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the potatoes.
In a 2- to 3-quart pot on high heat, boil the diced potatoes in salted water until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Turning back to the onion/bacon mixture, increase the heat to medium-low.
Add the flour gradually, stirring continuously, until thick paste forms. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium and slowly add the bottled clam juice, 1 cup at a time, incorporating it into the mixture before adding more.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the potatoes and clam meat with its juices. Keep stirring for 5 minutes, until the clams are tender.
Add the cream slowly; then stir in the white pepper.
Discard the bay leaves before serving. Serve hot.
** If you’re using non-dairy milk, use three additional tablespoons of flour
** If you are lactose intolerant, you can use lactose-free milk
New England Clam-less Chowder
1 ½ tablespoon vegetable or Canola oil
4 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter
1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 rib celery, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
2 medium-size white potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
16 ounces of dried Porcini mushrooms, chopped (cover with hot water and let soak for 30 minutes, reserve the liquid)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for gluten sensitivity use gluten-free all-purpose flour, white or brown rice flour)
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
¾ pounds of sliced mushrooms (shitake, oyster, or portobello mushrooms are great choices)
Kosher salt to taste
3 cups light coconut, soy, or rice milk
1 teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon liquid hickory smoke (optional)
In a 2- to 3-quart pot on high heat, boil the diced potatoes in salted water until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Set a 4- to 6-quart pot over low heat. Add the vegetable oil and butter.
Add onion, celery, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot. Cook, stirring often, until onions are tender and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-low. Add the flour gradually, stirring continuously, until thick paste forms. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium and slowly add the reserved mushroom liquid, followed by the vegetable broth 1 cup at a time, incorporating it into the mixture before adding more.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the potatoes, sliced mushrooms, and liquid smoke, if using. Keep stirring for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.
Add the coconut milk in slowly; then stir in the white pepper.
Discard the bay leaves before serving. Serve hot.
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When it comes to comfort meals, pasta is right up there at the top of the list. Spaghetti, ziti, rotini, fusilli, linguine, cavatelli, and Fettucine are just a few in a vast number of shapes. They are served in a variety of delicious sauces or gravies, depending on who you ask, but the bottom line is, the sauce feels and tastes like love.
With a plethora of responsibilities at work and at home, taking the time to make pasta and a Bolognese sauce during the week isn’t something that aligns with most schedules. However, if you want to treat your family, friends, and yourself to something wonderful, this recipe for homemade pasta and Bolognese sauce is for you.
Homemade pasta is a snap. It can be made with an old-fashioned pasta machine. If you have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, you can buy the pasta attachment. Both are reasonably priced and make for a good investment.
This recipe has been adapted for:
Gluten-Sensitivities or Celiac Disease
Fresh Whole Wheat Homemade Pasta by Love and Lemons adapted by Still A Chick Lit
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus ½ cup white whole wheat flour, spooned and leveled (gluten-free all-purpose flour)
3 large eggs (Just Eggs liquid vegan egg replacer or ¾ cup silken tofu pureed with ½ teaspoon baking soda)
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Place the flour on a clean work surface and make a nest. Add the eggs, olive oil, and salt to the center and use a fork to gently break up the eggs, keeping the flour walls intact as best as you can. Use your hands to gently bring the flour inward to incorporate. Continue working the dough with your hands to bring it together into a shaggy ball.
Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes. In the beginning, the dough should feel pretty dry, but stick with it! It might not feel like it’s going to come together, but after 8-10 minutes of kneading, it should become cohesive and smooth. If the dough still seems too dry, sprinkle your fingers with a tiny bit of water to incorporate. If it’s too sticky, dust more flour onto your work surface. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Dust 2 large baking sheets with flour and set aside.
Slice the dough into four pieces. Gently flatten one into an oval disk. Run the dough through the pasta machine three times on level 1 (the widest setting).
Set the dough piece onto a countertop or work surface. Fold both short ends in to meet in the center, then fold the dough in half to form a rectangle (see photo above).
Run the dough through the pasta roller three times on level 2, three times on level 3, and one time each on levels 4, 5, and 6.
Lay half of the pasta sheet onto the floured baking sheet and sprinkle with flour before folding the other half on top. Sprinkle more flour on top of the second half. Every side should be floured so that your final pasta noodles won’t stick together.
Repeat with remaining dough.
Run the pasta sheets through the pasta machine Repeat with the remaining dough. Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes.
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
2 carrots, chopped fine
1 medium sweet or yellow onion, chopped finely
3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons, fresh basil, chiffonade-style
2 tablespoons, fresh parsley, chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound ground beef (Vegan Ground Meat)
¼ cup tomato paste
1 can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed,
¼ cup red wine
1 ½ teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Pepper
Virgin Olive Oil
In a large pot, heat olive oil over a medium flame until hot. Add the celery, carrots, and onions. Turn the heat down, and sauté for six to eight minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook until it begins to darken and begins to caramelize. Add the ground beef and cook through. Add the red wine, followed by the tomatoes, herbs, salt, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer on low for 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally and taste to adjust seasoning.
Most of the country has been enjoying a longer Indian summer than usual. However, fall is beginning to make its presence known with temperatures beginning to dip all across the country. Although many are sorry to see the warmer temps go, I enjoy the cooler temperatures. Sleeping weather is also a perfect time to enjoy a nice bowl of soup.
Squash is available year-round everywhere, but there are seasons when certain varieties are more plentiful. I love the hearty gourds like acorn and butternut squash. Both are versatile and can be used in many recipes. This Makeover Monday puts the spotlight on butternut squash soup.
This soup has been on my fall and Thanksgiving table for many years. The recipe is very simple, and you can adjust the ingredients according to your flavor palate. It’s a wonderful combination of roasted butternut squash, sweet onions, and ginger. To make it even easier, you can buy butternut squash that’s already prepped. It’s a time saver.
This recipe is vegan/vegetarian, low-carb, and gluten-free.
Total Time: Approximately 1 hour
Active time: 15 minutes Estimate
Inactive time: 45 minutes
Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup
2 large butternut squash (Cut in halves and seeded) (or 2 packages of pre-cut butternut squash)
4 medium sweet onions, rough chopped
1 small fresh ginger root (peeled and minced)
3 tablespoons Canola oil
Virgin Olive Oil
4 ½ – 5 cups Unsalted Vegetable Stock
Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
Split the butternut squash in half and take the seeds out. Line a large sheet pan with foil. Place the squash on the pan, skin down, and drizzle olive oil until the squash is coated. Place it in the preheated oven and roast it for 45 minutes to an hour. When you can easily pierce the squash with a fork, take it out and let it cool to room temperature. Once it’s cool enough to handle scoop the softened squash into a bowl.
In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onions. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are soft, then add the minced ginger, and cook until the onions are translucent.
Add 1 cup of the vegetable stock and the squash. Using an immersion blender, blend the onions, ginger, and butternut squash. Add the remaining vegetable stock, one cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Cover, and let simmer on low heat for ten minutes. How thick or thin the soup is up to you. If you like a thinner soup, add more stock, if a thicker soup is to your liking, add less.
You can save money buying fresh butternut squash and cubing it yourself. Split the squash in half, and then into quarters. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin, then cut into medium-sized chunks.
You can use unsalted or low salt vegetable broth
You can also use unsalted chicken stock or broth to add a little more depth to the soup
How much ginger you use is up to you. Remember, you can add more ginger, but you can’t take it out. If you use a bit more than intended and it has a little too much bite, you can a little applesauce to add a bit of sweetness and tamps the spiciness down.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a blender. Be careful to do it in small batches, and make sure the mixture isn’t too hot to avoid making a mess.
You can store the soup in the fridge for up to 11 days
This soup freezes beautifully in an airtight container for up to three months.
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This Monday meal is just right for autumn and football season. When the temperatures drop, this chili will warm you up without weighing you down. It also comes together fairly quickly. Serve the chili alone, topped with cheese or over rice. It also goes well with guacamole and chips.
This is a family pleaser and perfect for Monday Night Football.
The recipe includes adaptations for vegetarians and vegans. It’s also gluten-free and high protein.
Chicken Chili by Still A Chick Lit
4 small or 3 large sweet onions, diced (Vidalia or Texas sweet)
2 green peppers, medium-diced
3 red peppers, medium-diced
1 orange pepper, medium-diced
1, yellow pepper, medium-diced
1 can low-sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can low-sodium pink kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of unsalted chicken stock or broth
3 cans Campbells tomato soup
3 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
1 pound ground chicken (or ground turkey)
1 pound ground chicken breast (or ground turkey breast)
3 tablespoons Canola oil
Add Canola or vegetable oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add your diced onions and peppers. Saute for 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground chicken and chicken breast in, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cover and let cook through, stirring occasionally.
When the chicken is no longer pink, add the chili powder and stir well. Add the beans and tomato soup. Mix well. Lower the flame and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
2 Packages of vegan ground meat
1/4 cup to 1/2 unsalted vegetable stock or broth
To Make Using a Slow Cooker
Cook the ground chicken separately in a skillet until cooked through. Set aside. Clean the skillet and add the onions and peppers. Cook until the vegetables are just beginning to soften. Remove from the heat.
Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a slow cooker with the beans, tomato soup, seasoning, and chicken stock.
Cover and cook on high until chili has thickened, about 4 hours. Or cook on low for 6 hours.
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We are always on the lookout for delicious recipes to start your week off right. To that end, we came across this lovely recipe by the Real mom Kitchen for an unstuffed peppers skillet. Many of us know and love a version of stuffed peppers made by our moms or grandmothers. The presentation was always as delightful to the eye as it was the palate. Laura Powell’s unstuffed recipe is a great take on this classic.
To make this recipe a little more inclusive, we have adapted it for vegans and vegetarians too. Remember, you can season it your way. The seasonings used in Ms. Powell’s original recipe work nicely, but feel free to go with your own palate. It can easily be more Italian with the addition of dried oregano, basil, or parsley too. For an Indian flare, a little curry or Garam Masala might be nice. You get the idea, make it your way and enjoy.
Unstuffed peppers skillet recipe by Real Mom Kitchen adapted by Still A Chick Lit
3 bell peppers, diced (I used one green, 2 red)
1/2 onion, diced
1 lb ground beef or sausage (beef 80/20 or 85/15, 90/10) (Chicken: ½ pound ground chicken breast, ½ pound ground chicken) (Turkey: ½ pound ground turkey breast, ½ pound ground turkey)
(Beyond meat, ground, Gardein ground, Impossible Plant-Based Burger Ground, Farmland Protein, ground, Good and Gather, meatless beef style ground)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can beef broth (chicken or vegetable unsalted stock)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup uncooked extra-long grain rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Daiya cheddar cheese shreds or vegan cheese shreds of your choice)
additional diced peppers and/or green onion for garnish
3 tablespoons canola or olive oil, divided
In a large skillet with 1 ½ tablespoon of oil, add onion and peppers and sauté until tender. Remove from the skillet and wipe clean. Brown the ground beef or sausage until cooked through. Drain off any excess fat, then add the vegetables back in. * If you are using chicken, turkey, use 1 ½ tablespoon of oil to cook the meat thoroughly until no longer pink. For the vegan ground, you can cook the onions, peppers, and vegan ground together in the oil until the vegetables are tender.
Add garlic to the meat or meatless mixture and cook for a minute until fragrant. Drain off any excess grease (meat).
Add tomatoes, beef broth, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, Worcestershire, and rice to the skillet.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cover. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until moisture is absorbed and rice is tender. At 20 minutes check and give a stir and continue cooking if needed.
Once the rice is tender, sprinkle cheese over the mixture and cover to get the cheese melted.
Once melted garnish with chopped peppers and /or green onion and serve. Serves 4-6.
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It was a dark, cold, grey, January day in Manhattan. The city’s holiday shine had long faded away. Gone from the modern contemporary office lobbies across New York County were the trees, lights, and holiday decorations that made them sparkle. Now, they were more like a rich man’s trophy wife or girlfriend, beautiful to behold, but soulless and cold. At least that’s what went through fifty-three-year-old Clarissa Berman’s mind as she walked through the lobby of her office building on Lexington Avenue.
At 5’8, Clarissa wasn’t considered petite, but tall enough to be above average. A very curvy African American woman, she had big boobs, a generous butt, a smallish waist with a little more tummy than she’d like. Her long, curly, thick hair was a custom mix of Clairol light reddish and cedar red-brown, which played nicely off of the red undertones of her light brown complexion. To say Clarissa was a convert to the natural hair movement, was a bit of a stretch. She’d done so at the suggestion of Mary Ann, otherwise known as her mothership. A woman used to having her will be done, she now suggested things to her adult daughters who’d long discovered that her suggestions were the equivalent of mutton dressed as lamb, but it was still mutton.
From the moment Clarissa and younger sister Elena were able to understand their roles in the family, her mothership Mary Anne Stevenson made it clear that even when they became queens of their own domains, they’d always be the ladies in waiting to her. Growing up, the ‘I am the mother argument’ was the overriding element for almost everything. Everyone from her husband, family, and friends, were in the mothership realm, and therefore subject to her opinions, will, and advice.
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One of the very best things about summer is the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables. With fruits like blueberries, cherries, and blackberries in season, berries are wonderful on their own, on top of yogurt with a little granola, or baked up in a pie.
The same applies to the bounty of fresh vegetables. You can find zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, green beans, herbs, and tomatoes (which are technically not a vegetable) in many backyard gardens, farm stands, farmer’s markets, and your favorite market or grocery store’s produce section.
Summer corn is found everywhere. It’s so delicious this time of year and there are so many ways to enjoy it besides boiling or grilling it to indulge in its sweetness. When I came across this recipe by Simply Recipes, which was touted as their very favorite, I was intrigued enough to put aside a few other recipes I’d been eyeing to give this one a whirl. I wasn’t disappointed.
Simply Recipes has this along with many other recipes that feature corn as the star of the show. Check out their website for more ideas to enjoy it to the maximum.
The recipe includes bacon and milk, which won’t work for vegans or vegetarians. I have adapted it so you can still enjoy this lovely bowl of soup.
Sweet Corn Chowder by Simply Recipes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter ( For the vegetarian or vegan chowder: 2 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter, plus 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin or virgin olive oil)
1 strip bacon, or 1 teaspoon bacon fat (omit for vegetarian and vegan soup)
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup small-diced carrot
1/2 cup small-diced celery
4 to 5 ears sweet corn, kernels removed from the cobs (about 3 cups), cobs reserved
1 bay leaf
4 1/2 cups milk, whole or low fat (soy or rice milk)
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and large (1-inch) diced (about 3 cups)
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
For vegetarian and vegan chowder, go straight to sauteing the vegetables in the vegan butter/olive oil)
Cook the bacon:
Place butter and bacon into a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Heat on medium heat until the bacon renders its fat, 3-4 minutes.
Cook the vegetables (except the corn and potatoes):
Add the chopped onions, red bell pepper, carrot, and celery, lower the heat to medium-low and cook until vegetables soften about 5 minutes.
Add corn cobs and bring to a simmer:
Break the corn cobs in half (after you’ve stripped off the corn) and add the cobs to the pot. Add the milk and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes.
Make sure the heat is as low as can be and still maintain a gentle simmer (on our stove we had to use the “warm” setting) to prevent scalding the milk on the bottom of the pan.
After 20 minutes, add the potatoes, salt, and thyme to the pot. Increase the heat to return the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain the simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.
Finish the soup:
Discard the cobs, the bacon strip, and the bay leaf. Add the corn kernels and black pepper. Again raise the heat to bring the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook for another 5 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender.
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It’s hard to believe that we are already more than halfway through the month of July. With summertime temperatures rising across the country, light, refreshing, and easy-to-prepare recipes are the order of the day.
In our search to find the best of light, healthy, and tasty, this recipe from Simply Recipes for Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing fits the bill. Moreover, we were able to adapt it to add protein to fit with vegetarian and vegan diets too.
This recipe fits the dietary requirements for:
Low Sugar or No Sugar diets
Keto-Friendly (don’t add corn or tortilla chips)
Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad by Simply Recipes adapted by Chamein Canton
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (2 medium ears) or frozen and thawed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1 package of extra-firm tofu, drained or 1 package seitan)
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix (low-sodium taco seasoning or your favorite taco seasoning in the packet or homemade)
12 corn tortilla chips
1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (Feta cheese or Cheddar cheese can be substituted) (For Vegans mozzarella or cheddar shreds are a good choice)
For the dressing
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Combine salad ingredients:
Combine the lettuce, red pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, and scallions in a large serving bowl. Set aside.
Char the corn:
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium or large heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the corn.
Season corn with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until blackened in spots and tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Season the chicken:
Sprinkle the taco seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon salt over the surface of the chicken, rubbing it in and coating it so the chicken is fully seasoned.
Cook the chicken:
In the same skillet used to cook the corn add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook until deeply brown along the bottom and the flesh turns opaque about halfway up the side, 4 to 5 minutes.
Flip the chicken and continue cooking, until brown on the second side and fully cooked through another 3 to 5 minutes.
Cut the chicken:
Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board. Once it is cool enough to handle, cut it into bite-sized pieces.
Make the salad dressing:
Place the lime juice, vinegar, honey, cumin, salt, pepper, cilantro, and olive oil into a blender and blend until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of water, if needed, to get the blender going.
Alternatively, make this dressing by hand. Finely chop the cilantro and place it in a medium bowl. Combine all salad dressing ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Finish and serve the salad:
Add the corn and chicken into the bowl with the salad ingredients. Crumble the tortilla chips over the top.
Add about two-thirds of the dressing and toss to lightly coat. Add more dressing and toss again, if needed. Divide salad into 4 bowls, top with crumbled Cotija cheese, and serve.
Notes for Vegan and Vegetarians
To replace the chicken, you can use extra-firm tofu or seitan instead. Prepare it as you would the chicken, being mindful not to crowd the pan when sauteing in the pan. To keep it from steaming, cook the tofu or seitan in batches.
For those who don’t like Cilantro
You can use parsley to make the dressing in the same proportions.
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Like women, fine wines get better with time. Wines become more nuanced and complex with age, also like women. Our value increases as we age and come into our own. We are powerful. However, we’re vulnerable too. Many women who are north of forty have found themselves facing a chronic illness. It can put a damper on our health and affect our mind, body, and soul. The key is to take ownership of it, so we have the condition, but it doesn’t have us.
What is a chronic illness?
Chronic illnesses are defined broadly as conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both. Chronic diseases can include heart disease and autoimmune diseases like MS, Lupus, Epilepsy, and Diabetes. It also encompasses injuries sustained that affect your knees, back, or hips.
According to the CDC, six in ten adults are living with a chronic illness. Four in ten adults have two or more chronic conditions. The leading causes of death and disability are heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. The key risks for these diseases are tobacco use, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and excessive alcohol use (CDC 2020)
Ben Franklin wisely stated that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Many women who are north of forty and fifty-plus, are used to being the person who is counted on. Whether as a wife, mother, daughter, or sister, women tend to be natural caretakers and nurturers. All of us have a role we play in our families, and it’s something we take to heart. Nevertheless, we must realize that if we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will do it for us. We are our own best resource. So, find the time to take care and deal with your chronic condition.
The right doctor, nurse, or physician’s assistant is an essential part of your healthcare team. A doctor who is knowledgeable and has your full health history is an important asset in determining the measures taken to mitigate any issues of pain and discomfort that arise from your condition. Talk to them if you’re on medication and would like to add vitamin supplements to boost your health. Vitamins, like over-the-counter medications, can interact with doctor-prescribed medications. Also, if you’re on medication, and you lose weight, be sure to see the doctor particularly if you’re taking something for a condition like hypertension. Your doctor takes your weight and height into consideration when figuring out the dosage. If you lose a significant amount of weight, he or she may want to reevaluate it. The same goes for pain medication.
While your doctor has a lot to do with your well-being, you are always in control. Try to find activities that relieve stress. Low-impact exercises like walking and swimming, provide a workout that lessens stress on your joints if you have issues with your legs, knees, or back. Many things like yoga, pilates, and Tai-Chi, can be modified to accommodate your level of fitness and disability. If you don’t want to join a gym, you can go on YouTube where they have channels dedicated to different types of workouts. Fitbit, Peleton, and more have apps to assist you with finding an exercise program suited to your needs. Find a physical activity you can commit to. You’re more likely to keep up with it when it’s something you enjoy.
Design a diet that works for you
Moderation is the way
Think about your diet. No need to subscribe to any diet program with pre-measured food that comes in a box. Create a diet that works for you. Drastic changes like veganism or no-carb can be a shock to the body. Eating a healthy diet filled with vegetables, lean protein, fruits, and lots of water is a great way to go. Limit processed foods, salt, and too much sugar. That doesn’t mean you are going to graze and eat tofu for dessert for the rest of your life. The key is moderation. Before there were Weight Watchers, Nutri-System, Jenny Craig, or Keto-anything, there was moderation and portion control. Portions in the United States are larger than most countries. In France, they consume butter, cream, and cheese, but they have a low rate of heart disease. By eating smaller portions throughout the day, the French keep their bodies fueled efficiently. It makes a difference.
Focus on your likes and dislikes to come up with a diet that works for you and your lifestyle. If you can afford it, try a pre-made meal service that delivers weekly. If that doesn’t fit your budget, but you’re not crazy about cooking, keep it simple with recipes that require a minimal amount of ingredients and don’t take much time. Eating healthy is possible on a budget. Shop around to find the best deals and sales. Also, change things up with different cuisines. Or try new food. Variety is the spice of life, and it keeps mealtime interesting.
Lean on family, friends, or call a professional for support
We all need a support system. Many of us are used to being the one who is there for others. There are days when even the toughest and strongest of us need an ear and a shoulder to lean on. Allow your friends and family to be there for you. Moreover, feel free to talk to a professional about your feelings. A little talk therapy goes a long way. Then again when all else fails, try chocolate. This one-bowl chocolate cake recipe from King Arthur is low-fat, dairy-free, and a snap to make.