I love coming up with new recipes to feed my family -- and I love blogging about them, photographing them, and sharing them with you. Nothing gives me a sense of satisfaction like making one of our standard lean proteins into something new, different and interesting. That's the feeling I got when I made and blogged about Island Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Salsa a couple months ago. Ahh, what a refreshing summer flavor -- and healthy!
That night, Courtney ate hers (the whole thing!!!), but without the salsa. And of course she didn't hesitate to share her two cents about the meal.
Courtney: "This is SOOO good. It tastes like hot dogs."
Me: "Uh...(stammer)....wha....(gasp)...HOT DOGS?!?!"
I think my heart skipped a beat, and not in an "excitement" kind of way. HOT DOGS?! I mean, seriously, I'm aspiring to make "gourmet" food healthy. Hot dogs are the polar opposite of gourmet. Right?! But it sort of did taste like a hot dog without the salsa.
So for the next month, I smiled and nodded absently when Courtney asked for "Hot Dog Chicken." Of course she didn't mean it as an insult. She really loved it and wanted me to make it again. Hot dogs. Ahhh! Not really what an aspiring foodie wants her food to be compared to.
Then last week, PBS aired Food, Inc. I admit, I haven't been all that focused on organic food, sustainable agriculture, etc. I've focused my time and energy on cutting calories and fat and focusing on lean proteins, whole grains and lots of veggies. It didn't really matter to me where it all came from. But Food, Inc. really shed some light on things. Wow. So I'm paying a lot more attention now. Not only for the health of our planet, but for the health of my family!
I've always known that processed food is bad for us. Day-glow "cheeze" powder can't be natural. And the salt! Needless to say, it's a constant battle with the kids.
Courtney: "Can you PLEASE be 'Vacation Poopsie' again this weekend?!" (Keith affectionately calls me Poopsie, and now, so do the kids...I can't believe I just told you that. "Vacation Poopsie" was the person who ate everything in sight and let the kids go a little crazy with the junk food for a week.)
Me: "No, 'Vacation Poopsie' is only for vacations. You've got regular Jenny back now. And Jenny wants to feed you wholesome food that fuels your bodies." (All of a sudden, I'm referring to myself in the third person.)
Courtney: "But I'm known for my junk food! I have a reputation to mutate!" (We're embracing her growing vocabulary. SO CUTE.) "Can you PLEASE make Hot Dog Chicken?!"
OK, hold on. What did she just say? She thinks my chicken recipe is junk food. And it tastes like hot dogs, which are the ultimate junk food. We've all heard about what goes into a hot dog, so I won't go into detail. But I'm over being offended about the comparison. In fact, I may be a genius! And so what if hot dogs aren't gourmet? The point isn't to be a food snob, anyway! And I'll admit, I do like a hot dog every now and then. Who doesn't?
So Hot Dog Chicken it is! Served with a side of Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower (recipe forthcoming) that Keith says tastes sort of like French fries. Taylor agreed. Um....either I have food makeover super powers or I've effectively brainwashed all of them. Either way...
I did some Googling, and found out that the main two spices listed in the typical hot dog's flavor profile are coriander and garlic. OK! So now I know why my Island Grilled Chicken tastes like hot dogs. I'll be keeping that in mind the next time I read a recipe showcasing those ingredients! However, if you have a picky eater, a ball park junkie, or just love hot dogs, I encourage you to try this recipe. It's really fast, really easy, and REALLY healthy. And now, every time Courtney craves a hot dog, I can feel good about it. Enjoy!
Hot Dog Chicken Marinade
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Mix all ingredients and marinate boneless, skinless chicken breasts in mixture for at least 2 hours. Discard marinade and grill chicken until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees.
And that's that. I want to feel good about what my family is eating, and with each new svelte recipe, it gets easier and easier. They're starting to trust me more, and Taylor even said that she was craving healthy food this weekend and looking forward to my cooking! And I guess my chicken tasted like a hot dog this time, but I'm over it. At least it's adding some variety to the ho-hum chicken breast and Courtney's eating! Enjoy!
For more svelte recipes, order The Svelte Gourmet: A Month of Main Courses cookbook at www.thesveltegourmet.com/products.html.