April 17, 2009

Chicken with Tomato Mint Salsa

Some people have asked me why I'm on WW since I don't really look like I need to lose weight. Here's the honest to blog truth - left to my own devices, I'm a terrible eater. I'll pick a heavy cheese-loaded carby something over a better-for-me healthy choice and I will eat way more than 1 serving. I never had a good sense of what a proper serving size was. It's not like I grew up in a house with poor eating habits. We actually were pretty healthy as a family! It's just that I got used to a higher metabolism throughout college. All through my early 20's I just ate what I wanted, when I wanted, with little to no consequence. Suddenly, I hit 28 and my body practically changed overnight. Nothing fit. Food and I developed a really bad relationship. I started looking at it as a comfort, like "Oh, I had a bad day. I deserve ice cream" or "I'm bored. I need a snack." Not exactly the healthiest way to see food. And this was hard because I really love to eat! Factor in the Lupron (endo medication) hormone deprivation and I was all out of sorts. So I turned to WW to learn how to have a better relationship with food. I wanted to fix this before it totally grew out of control.

Now, I really understand how to make healthy choices. I always knew that clearly, vegetables are better for me than Cheetos, but it was my mentality of "one time won't hurt" that got in the way because it turned into "all the time." I now know what a proper serving size is and I can stick to it. I can have that slice of pizza if I want it, but I won't have two, and I'll eat vegetables as a side dish instead of french fries. And I am much more confident in the kitchen. Before WW, it was like I was frozen with fear when it came to cooking. How much do I eat? How do I know it's good for me? Is it okay for me to have pasta? Am I going to feel too full after eating this? Now I have a whole arsenal of healthy recipes and I understand easy substitutes for cooking. It's not that I'm denying myself anything, I'm just making choices that are better for me and my health.

I'm still not 100% there yet. I will have days where the old mentality creeps back in and before I know it, I'm snacking on my old favorite trigger foods, without really thinking about what I'm doing, because, ya know, it's just "one time." A stomach-ache later, I regret it and beat myself up about it. Food and guilt don't mix, and that's a slippery slope I don't want to go down! This is a process and a lifestyle change, but it's worth it.

That's where this recipe comes in....

After 6.5 days of super-heavy Passover foods and matzah, I needed to get back on the healthy track. I just felt sluggish and out of sorts. If you just came off the 8-day matzah binge, you know what I mean! I had this recipe bookmarked from a while ago, and decided to give a whirl. It's good, with a few tweaks. I added a lot more mint than it originally calls for and a few more splashes of white wine vinegar. I also let the salsa sit for a while before serving to let the flavors meld.

I made some quinoa to go along with this, but only made enough for Alex to have. I wasn't really in the mood for it, for some reason. Usually I like it, but the smell seemed to put me off. Oh well! The chicken and salsa were really good on their own! However, don't make the mistake I did by putting in a whole onion. Way too much!

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 small jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded and minced (do not touch seeds with bare hands. I used a pair of gloves for this because I've learned this lesson the hard way.)
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 1/4 tsp table salt, or to taste, divided
1 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste, divided
1 tbsp mint leaves, fresh, chopped
1 spray cooking spray, lemon-flavor recommended (I've never seen this. Do they even make it?)
1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1/2 medium lemon, cut into 4 wedges

To prepare salsa, in a small bowl, combine tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper; sprinkle on mint and set aside.
Coat a large heavy-bottomed ridged grill pan with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat for 1 minute.
Sprinkle chicken with remaining teaspoon each of salt and pepper; place in a single layer on prepared pan. Cook until chicken turns white around edges, about 1 to 2 minutes; flip chicken and grill until chicken is cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes more.
Arrange chicken in overlapping slices on a serving plate; spoon on salsa and garnish with lemon wedges. Yields about 3 ounces of chicken and 1/2 cup of salsa per serving.


Valerie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Matt and I made this last Passover, actually! I remember it being quite delicious, and now I have a craving for it. Thanks for sharing your story and your wonderful meals!

Anonymous said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

First visit to your blog. Love it and love you! You're amazing, Bats. :)

Joelen said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

That addition of mint in the salsa sounds fantastic!