Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mango-Ginger-Citrus Chicken

Food and cooking are my first passion in life. My mom taught me how to cook when I was 10. Olive oil was always a staple in my house, thank goodness and my mother was and still is at the age of 92 a fabulous cook and cooks for herself most of the time. I learned so much about mostly Italian cooking. My mom grew up in Texas, the second daughter born to 8 children . Her parents were wheat farmers during the great depression of 1929.  Mom met dad who was an Italian boy from Brooklyn at a USO Dance in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1943 when she was 19 years old. Dad went off to war overseas in England and they kept in touch with each other with writing letters back and forth and on June 4, 1945 they were married at the Ambassador Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. My mom learned how to cook Italian food from my father's mother, Anna, who was an incredible cook apparently. Mama Joy is also a wonderful baker and she cooked up a storm every night of the week. She gave us the best of both culinary worlds as kids growing up and boy did I love to eat! I was pretty chunky most of my life. I started "dieting" at a very young age. It truly is my love of food that kept me overweight and I still struggle with my obsession with food. I did change the ingredients to healthier versions, just to feel better and I do believe you are what you eat and I am no longer a giant portion of pizza and a meatball sub!
When I began my fitness journey in 2005, I was compelled to change my diet and do that for the rest of my life. I was tired of losing the same 20 or 40 pounds and regaining it plus some. So, when I was 47 in the body of a 54 year old and a size 16+, I took drastic measures to change myself. As I reflect upon how strict I was on myself, I wouldn't do the diet any other way. It was necessary for me to cut way back on carbohydrates. My quick trick for weight loss to this day is, "No Carbs after 3". It really works for me. 

Chicken, rice and veggies became a mainstay in the house and I have come up with probably at least 50 versions by now. I always use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I love to have a couple of big bags in the freezer and dinner is done in no time and the poultry hasn't a chance to go bad waiting to get cooked. I usually choose brown rice (I love the microwave brown rice that cooks in 3 minutes, even though it may not be as nutritious as the stove top rice) and in this recipe, I used frozen green beans. Dinner was done in 30 minutes! hmmm...sounds like a popular cooking show!

3 T olive oil,divided
2 T shallots, minced
1/2 C chicken broth
1.5 C fresh or defrosted mango puree
2 Tsp ginger powder
2 large, boneless skinless chicken breasts (frozen)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Heat medium skillet on medium heat
Add 2T olive oil and heat up
Add minced shallots and saute until clear, add chicken broth to deglaze the pan and reduce a bit
Add mango puree and stir and simmer for a minute
Add frozen chicken and cover pan
turn frequently and stir sauce over chicken to keep moist
cook 20-25 minutes until chicken is fully cooked, basting frequently
Add the lemon juice and zest and simmer for another minute.

In another heated skillet, add 1T olive oil (or coconut oil)
add cooked rice to heated pan and stir
Add cooked green beans to the rice and heat through.
Add some fresh herbs such as dill or a mixture of spices to taste
Serves 2

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