Zero Effort Chicken For Dinner

Between the humidity coming up from a storm in Mexico and the temperature gauge hovering around the century mark, cooking is the last thing I want to do, but with my surgery date now 10 days away, I know¬†that I will be making very few meals for the family due to movement restrictions, so I’m doing the deed today. ūüėČ

The pressure cooker is definitely a cook’s friend on days like this!¬† With this recipe you get a bonus of 2 recipes in one!¬† The chicken, plus a bonus flavorful chicken stock that I am using as the base for my cabbage soup.¬† Yum!

chicken-on-cutting-boardChicken is the universal meat from which can spring any meal.¬† My Mom’s go-to was the Zacky Farm’s Cut up Whole Fryer, seems like a good place to start, so that’s where I’ll start.¬† I’ll make it early today and then the¬†mood I’m in about an hour before dinnertime will determine how it ends up being served.

Zero Effort Pressure Cooker Chicken + Yummy Chicken Stock

  • 1 – 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lb fryer chicken (cut up)
  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil
  • Zatarain’s Cajun Spice Mixture (Seasoned Salt)
  • 1/2 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 1 – Large Poblano Pepper
  • 5 Cloves Garlic

It should only take you 5 minutes to get all of the ingredients into the pressure cooker.¬† After that it’s pretty much set it and forget it!

  1. Set your pressure cooker to the “Brown” setting.
  2. Pour the Olive Oil into the pressure cooker pan
  3. Cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds and veins, then cut into about 1″ chunks and place into pan
  4. Peel and chop the onion into roughly 1″ chunks and add to pan
  5. Peel the garlic and add to pan
  6. Sprinkle the Zatarain’s seasoning on both sides of the chicken
  7. Place each piece of the chicken, skin side down (or on edge so skin is in contact with the sides of the pan) into the pan on top of the vegetables
  8. Allow the chicken to brown, undisturbed for about 20 minutes, then close the lid of the pressure cooker and set to cook under pressure for 30 minutes
  9. When cooking cycle has ended, allow the pressure to return to normal naturally

At the end of the keep warm cycle, release the lid and remove the chicken from the cooker to a large bowl.  It should be falling off the bones.  I take the time to remove the bones, skin and cartilage at this point and use a fork to do a gentle separation of the meat.

Leave the remaining vegetables and garlic in the pan with the meat drippings.  Skim ant visible fat and allow to cool.

If you aren’t using it immediately in another recipe, move the cooled Yummy Chicken Stock to a sealable container and refrigerate (up to 5 days) or freeze until ready to use.

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Cleansing Ginger Chicken Soup


Food’s not forbidden on The Prime, but I am not particularly hungry (a good thing) so this recipe for a light soup from the January 2012 issue of Bon¬†Appetit Magazine,¬†with ginger, whose¬†anti-inflammatory properties my body is sorely (pun intended!) in need of,¬†as one of its key ingredients, is definitely on tonight’s menu.¬† After reading the reviews I made a few of the suggested additions and it made a really tasty soup.

Cleansing Ginger-Chicken Soup

  • 1-2 TBLS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 4¬†Celery Stalks, Chopped
  • 3 Large Carrots, Peeled and Chopped into 1″ Pieces
  • 8 oz Unpeeled, Scrubbed Ginger, Cut into 1/2″ Pieces
  • 5¬†Garlic Cloves, Crushed
  • 1/2 Large Lemon (seeds removed)
  • 2-3 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 – 3lb Whole Organic Chicken, Cut into 7 pieces (2 Breasts, 2 Legs w/Thighs Attached, 2 Wings, 1 Back)
  • Cilantro Leaves
  1. In a large heavy pot, place chopped yellow onion, and the chicken, skin side down, in 1 to 2 TBLS Olive oil and cook long enough to brown slightly and pull the fat out of the skin.
  2. Add the garlic and continue to cook over low heat for about 5 minutes then add the celery, carrots, ginger, lemon, pepper and 5 quarts of water (preferably filtered or spring water); bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover with lid slightly ajar.
  3. Reduce heat to low; simmer  uncovered, until broth is fully flavored, about 2 hours.
  4. Remove chicken from broth. When cool enough to handle, coarsely shred meat; discard skin and bones.
  5. Place a fine-mesh sieve over another large pot; strain broth, discarding solids in strainer (you should have about 8 cups broth). Season with salt if needed.
  6. Rewarm soup.
  7. Divide chicken among bowls. Pour hot broth over, dividing equally. Garnish soup with cilantro leaves, if desired.

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Cleansing Sucks. Prime Tea Makes it Better

17 Days until surgery is going to land me on my butt for 12 weeks and I have started the cleanse process.¬† It’s hard but I’m not feeling as rotten as when I did the Nektar Advanced Juice Cleanse in June to prep for my vacation.

PrintI read some great reviews on about a book by Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary, an Integrative Neurologist who found a way to combine the modern medical advances of Western taught Neurology with the centuries old wisdom of Ayurveda.

Despite the title, The Prime¬† Prepare and Repair Your Body for Spontaneous Weight Loss the book isn’t selling or even really talking about¬†a diet.¬† That, far and above, was what appealed to me.

The main focus of The Prime is to eliminate the effects of stress, inflammation and toxicity on the body.  The effects can manifest as:

  • Bloating and Tiredness after eating
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Mental Cloudiness
  • Weight Gain
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Dr. Chaudhary sought out complimentary¬†Ayurvedic treatment options for her patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease and discovered that some of those patients were able to begin cutting back on the traditional pharmaceutical options that she (and other doctors) had been prescribing to them and they were seeing greatly improved quality of life.¬† It wasn’t any religious chanting, no special oils or anything other than a concentration on¬†regaining¬†the balance in their digestive system which then would allow their other internal organs and systems to detoxify so that the treatments they were receiving could have their maximum effect.

The best thing I read (by page 14 no less) was that a very simple adjustment to refresh the way the body digests food was resulting in:

  • Sharper and clearer mental focus
  • Skin regained elasticity, wrinkles began disappearing, skin brighter
  • Excess weight began falling away, puffiness disappearing
  • 10 pounds gone with no additional exercise and no diet changes
  • Energy returned
  • Less pain in joints
  • Fewer sleep problems
  • Fewer memory issues
  • Cravings for sugar and other foods that can lead to weight gain all but disappeared in addition to cravings for excessive sugar, alcohol and caffeine
  • Cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure levels returned to normal

Since there seemed to be so many pluses to this approach and it’s a very easy to follow cleanse that allows me to eat whatever I feel like eating, I¬†gathered the herbs required and brewed my tea today.

Prime Tea

  • Boil 4 to 5 Cups of Water in a Pot
  • In a Tea Ball (Mine is aluminum mesh) combine
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds (I got my herbs¬†at Sprouts but know that my Albertson’s has them in the spice aisle¬†too)
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds

Additional Options:

  • 1/2 tsp Manjistha Powder.¬† If you are particularly bloated (if your socks leave marks on your ankles when you take them off, your rings leave dents in your puffy fingers, etc.) you can add this to the steeped tea afterward (it’s a powder)
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds – if you are gassy
  • 1/2 to 1 inch Peeled Fresh Ginger – if you want to really get the digestive fire started

theprimeLet your tea steep in the boiling water at least 10 minutes, get rid of the seeds in the tea ball (you can leave the ginger in if you like)¬†and drink it warm all day – finish by 6 so you’re not up peeing all night.

I made the tea today and have had no problem drinking it at all.¬† It’s got a pleasant kind of nutty flavor with a hint of the ginger.¬† I am going to the bathroom a lot more than I do taking my prescription Hydrochlorathiazide (water pill), so I think it’s doing the job.¬† I haven’t been hungry all day so hopefully it’s doing that job too. Fingers are crossed!

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Prepping For an Unexpected Surgery

Sesamoiditis14 1/2 years ago I underwent a procedure to repair a broken sesamoid bone in my foot that had gone untreated, although I had sought help, for roughly two years.¬† When I finally had the source of my pain identified it resulted in a screw being inserted in my foot but the doctor was a bit aggressive in his treatment, his expectations of recovery, and then difficult when the treatment and surgery proved unsuccessful.¬† I had issues/side effects from medications he prescribed that resulted in weight gain that I still haven’t been able to shake¬†and my foot¬†hasn’t healed properly!

The pain finally sent me to a different surgeon and the x-rays told a story that is not going to have a happy ending without another, more invasive, surgery and 8-12 weeks down afterward.

Of course it needs to happen ASAP, but I have lasted this long, what’s 3 more weeks?¬†¬†I’m already canceling a trip to St. Lucia, missing the first 8 weeks of home and road USC Trojan football games and another planned short trip, but I dug my heels in when it came down to my 2 sets of Guns N Roses tickets for the 18th and 22nd of this month.¬† I can watch football on TV, but I have waited too long, and spent too much money to miss these shows.¬† The doctor said he wouldn’t let me go to either if we did it before those dates, so we are scheduled for the 25th.

That being said, I am amping up my fruits & vegetables, cutting back on carbs and boosting my intake of fish and chicken since I’ll be sitting on my butt for 8 weeks following surgery, unable to put any weight at all on the foot, I’ll be severely limited for at least 4 weeks after that, and then I’ll be right in the middle of holiday season.¬† I feel my jeans getting tighter already!¬† UG!!!

Apple-Cider-Vinegar-and-HoneyTo try and get ahead of this, the plan is to drink¬†this concoction twice daily for the next three weeks¬†to start flushing the anti-inflammatories (which thin my blood) and any other toxins out of my system, increase my hydration by trying to drink at least a gallon of water a day¬†and stick to protein shakes for the 2 days immediately preceding the surgery.¬† I’m going to show my husband how to make this drink for me so that I can flush the medications and anesthesia out of my system¬†after surgery so I can start feeling better as quickly as possible.

The flush consists of:

  • 8 oz Hot Water
  • 2 TBLS Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 TBLS Honey

Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) are said to be great for your health because:

  1. They act as a method of cleansing waste from your colon;
  2. Both are high in potassium, which regulates the amount of sodium and breaks up mucus in your blood which clears the lymph nodes and helps normalize blood pressure;
  3. Both high in magnesium which also assists with lowering blood pressure by reducing the amount of pressure on blood vessels;
  4. ACV boosts healing properties of the skin;
  5. ACV flushes environmental toxins from the liver;
  6. ACV increases energy levels;
  7. ACV lowers blood sugar;
  8. ACV suppresses your appetite & slows fat accumulation, so you might lose a few pounds;
  9. ACV, when mixed with an equal amount of warm water and gargled, kills the bacteria that causes colds, sore throats and sinus infections;
  10. ACV kills bad breath bacteria;
  11. Diluted ACV (mixed into water or juice) help settle that stomach.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: