The Monday Motivational

Happy Monday all. Contrary to what Wall Street seems to be saying today, we’ve got a great week in store here on Jersey Bites. Later this week, we’ll be hearing from my partner in crime, Peter, who will be sharing with you his advice on what grown ups should and should not do when it comes to Beer in “The 5 Don’ts of Beer.” We also have a special “Kids’ Review” on a new bottled water called “Wat Aah” and finally a recipe taken from Cooking with a Jersey Girl by Joyce Ann Staples.

But first, let’s get to our Motivational Monday. Is everybody ready for a little dose of motivation? Don’t growl at me. Am I too perky for you this morning? Maybe its because I just fit my almost 43 year old butt into the Lucky jeans that I bought 3 years ago. This was my original goal for the whole thirty day challenge. Lofty, I know. Did I mention I’m very shallow? So, I’ve already met that goal. Time to reassess I guess. When I started this challenge my body fat percentage was 23%. Not bad “for my age” I am told. Anyone who knows me knows I HATE that caveat. So, my new goal is to get the body fat down below 20%. Not sure if it’s possible in time for my birthday, but this is supposed to be a fit for life kind of effort. No dieting and then going back to the old ways just to gain all the weight and more back.

So far, the results have been so good for two reasons. 1. The eating plan. It’s not difficult at all. It’s just good “clean” food. No processed junk from the freezer section. Correct ratios of fats, protein and carbs and keeping my blood sugar stable by eating every 3 to 4 hours. 2. Learning how to exercise the right way to really burn fat. Walking for an hour or an hour and a half keeping my heart rate between 105 and 125. Lifting weights every other day, hard, accompanied by 30 minutes of cardio. If I have motivated you enough to want to learn more about proper nutrition and exercise you may want to reach out to Susan from Fitness Together. Susan Keenan does nutritional counseling over the phone in addition to being my personal trainer. I like to say she is freakishly strong, and she is. The woman knows what she’s talking about when it comes to building an awesome body. 732-292-1333

In keeping with the prescribed eating plan, this recipe only involves good fats (olive oil), good carbs (long grain slow cooked rice and broccoli) and lean protein (chicken.) The original recipe came from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and calls for a Tablespoon of butter, which is not missed in the sauce. It also calls for flouring the chicken before pan searing. I don’t think that is necessary either. This recipe was delicious and extremely easy.

Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts

1/2 cup all purpose flour (optional)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. If using flour, spread in shallow dish. Pound the chicken ends of the breasts as needed (I sliced them lengthwise and then pounded. They were very thick) Pat dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper. If using flour, dredge in flour and shake off excess.

Heat oil in 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. (Mine was probably 7 minutes) Transfer chicken to plate and keep warm while making sauce.

Roasted Red Pepper Relish


1 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Shallot, minced
1 Garlic clove, minced
2 Roasted Red Peppers (or one 12 ounce jar) chopped fine (1 cup)
2 Tbs. Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tbs. minced fresh basil
Salt and Pepper

Add oil to the skillet chicken was cooked in (leave all the yummy bits for the sauce) and return to medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the roasted peppers and vinegar and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Off the hat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Spoon over chicken and enjoy. (If you would rather leave the tablespoon of butter in as the original recipe called for, include butter in with the oil in the beginning.)

I know you’ll enjoy this recipe. The book lists a whole bunch of pan sauces, so look for some more in the future.