When you think about healthy eating, the protein that seems to come to mind first is chicken. It’s lean and full of protein and good for you. And often it is dry and tasteless and you feel like up are suffering, so you have to load it up with sauces and marinades and other things [...]
When you think about healthy eating, the protein that seems to come to mind first is chicken. It’s lean and full of protein and good for you. And often it is dry and tasteless and you feel like up are suffering, so you have to load it up with sauces and marinades and other things that override the health factor, or you suffer and feel like you are eating healthy. Well, with this recipe you get the best of both worlds…great flavors and low fat. I will note that chicken thighs do have 10g of fat to 5g for breasts (per 3 oz. serving according to Livestrong.org), but the amount of protein is comparable, and the fat content is less than most beef and pork dishes. If you are on P90X, you can use this as your serving of fat (which is actually 13.5g in 1 Tbsp of olive oil).
As with some of my other recipes, I got the baseline approach from Bon Appetit magazine. From there I adapted it to add some more flavors that I like, and make it a little more P90X appropriate. The trick to this one is to be sure that you follow the times…don’t worry, you won’t burn or dry out anything!
Deck’s Roasted Chicken Thighs with Pan Sauce
- 4 Bone-in, Skin-on chicken thighs (do NOT get skinless)
- 1 lemon, sliced thin
- 2 Tbsp shallot, minced
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- Fresh Rosemary or Thyme (can substitute dried, but fresh offers more flavor)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 475. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large skillet (cast iron if you have it) over high heat.
Step 2: Rinse and pat dry chicken thighs. Season with salt and pepper. Also consider dry herbs like oregano and dill (optional).
Step 3: When pan and oil are hot (almost smoking) place thighs skin side down in skillet. Cook on high rendering the fat. Move the chicken around in the pan to make sure that it all cooks evenly (some parts of the pan may heat differently), but keep it skin side down. After about 5 minutes, turn the heat down to medium-high, but continue to cook for about 12 more minutes.
Step 4: Take the slices of lemon and fresh herbs and place under the chicken in the rendered fat. Then place the entire pan in the oven and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Finally, flip the thighs over and finish cooking for 5 more minutes.
Making the pan sauce
Step 5: Remove the pan from the oven and move the thighs to to a cutting board to rest. Pour off the chicken fat that is left in the pan (leaving just what remains stuck to the sides), and throw out the lemon and herb sprigs.
Step 7: Pour in the white wine, and cook until reduced by about 2/3. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Step 8: (This is an optional step, but recommended for P90X) Remove and discard the chicken skin. Pat bottom of thigh lightly with paper towel to remove excess fat.
Step 9: Arrange thighs on a plate, and pour the pan sauce over the top. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- 2 Protein
- 1 fat
- 1 condiment
- 1 vegetable (when served with snap peas as in the picture below)
In a seemingly rare alignment of stars, schedules and other supernatural powers, the Dining Diva and I found ourselves with an open Friday night and a little bit of energy. So we decided to take advantage of this and check out one of the Seattle restaurants that was on our list…Golden Beetle. Golden Beetle is [...]
In a seemingly rare alignment of stars, schedules and other supernatural powers, the Dining Diva and I found ourselves with an open Friday night and a little bit of energy. So we decided to take advantage of this and check out one of the Seattle restaurants that was on our list…Golden Beetle.
Golden Beetle is Maria Hines’ newest restaurant down in Ballard and squeezed in amongst many of the other shops. If you haven’t been there, or aren’t paying attention, it is easy to miss the light blue front with the copper sign. Inside, the walls are painted in various shades of blue, and adorned with pictures of her trip to the Middle East to learn about the cuisine (I learned about this one by following her on Twitter). All of the tables are dark wood with a single candle in the middle. When you walk in, there is a narrow walkway that leads up to the host station from which you see the dining area on the right and the bar to the left; there was almost as much seating in the bar area as the dining area. We checked in with the host for our 8 p.m. reservation, and ended up waiting about 10 to 15 minutes before we were shown to a seat in the bar area…apparently people enjoyed lingering after their meal.
Once we were seated, we briefly glanced at the drink menu, and then moved on to the food. Thanks to the P90X, I’m not drinking right now, though the menu looked very interesting. Things like a Wandering Gethsemane which consists of Olive Oil Infused Gin, Black Pepper Syrup, Lemon, Dill or the Swashbuckling Sangaree which is Flor de Caña Aged Rum, Simple Syrup, Lemon, GB Spice Bitters, Port. Once I finish the program, I might have to go back and check out some of these drinks and see why Golden Beetle already has a reputation as one of the better cocktail bars in Seattle. The food menu was equally interesting, and the Dining Diva figured she’d give the tasting menu a try…until we found out that they ask that everyone at the table has to get it. P90X strikes again as the tasting menu just had a bit too much in carbs and potentially fat for me to order. Not that it was really bad, but since I’m still early on in the program, I really want to make sure I stick to the diet as closely as I possibly can. So, being kind and supportive, she decided to order a la carte, allowing me to get a carrot soup and albacore tuna.
Tilth, Maria Hines’ first restaurant, is really known for it’s clean, simple flavors; allowing the ingredients to shine. And there was definitely that underlying theme with the carrot soup. The flavors were clean and sweet and light. But the difference is that at Golden Beetle, the spices are ramped up and the flavors are a little more complex. There was a spice blend added to the soup that added a bit of almost “woodiness”, and that left a little bit of heat dancing on the back of my tongue that was nicely cooled by the little swirl of cream. It was different than I had expected, but it was definitely a good start to the meal.
Shortly after we had finished off our first courses and the first bottle of water (yoga leaves me feeling pretty dehydrated), the entrees arrived. It was a very simple presentation that highlighted the tuna, cucumber and sauce. And like the soup, the simple clean flavors were there, but then brought up a notch or two. The albacore was beautifully cooked, just lightly seared all the way around and raw in the middle. There was a light spice crust that added a lot of flavor, and the sauce reminded me a little of a tzatziki in its cool creaminess; though it was more lemony and acidic which really complemented the fish well. The cucumber was light and fresh, and the rice was nice and earthy. This didn’t have the heat that the soup did in the back of the throat, but the combination was definitely unique and pleasant.
While it would have been nice to try the tasting menu, I still had a very nice dinner. I may have gone a little over on my condiment and fat allotment, but it was well worth it. The flavors were definitely more complex than I remember at Tilth, but there was still the foundation there in every bite. It was a little different than anything that I’ve had…most of my “middle Eastern” cuisine has been Greek influenced…but it was definitely very enjoyable. I will confess that I had been there once before after a basketball game last year, and tried a lot of the bar menu happy hour dishes (which were excellent), so I had an idea of what to expect.
We are both obviously big fans of Maria Hines (double bonus to see her back in the kitchen). We were starstruck when we saw her at the Chef’s Table last year, and had probably the best meal in Seattle at Tilth. And with Golden Beetle, she delivered another winner.
Final Verdict – 4.5 Stars
When I made this dish, I hadn’t planned on providing a recipe which is why there are no pictures. And it’s hardly a complicated recipe worth writing down. But when I took the first bite, I was so excited that I felt like I had to share it. It is a perfect P90X meal, and [...]
When I made this dish, I hadn’t planned on providing a recipe which is why there are no pictures. And it’s hardly a complicated recipe worth writing down. But when I took the first bite, I was so excited that I felt like I had to share it. It is a perfect P90X meal, and it has honestly been one of the best meals that I’ve had since I started.
I only recommend this recipe with fresh tuna. You can substitute ahi for the albacore is you want. And I can not stress this enough…do not cook the tuna all the way through. Ever! EVER! In fact it should always be raw on the inside.
Deck’s Seared Albacore Tuna
- 1 pound fresh ahi or albacore tuna, cut into 2 equal pieces
- 2 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dill
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
Step 1: Heat a heavy bottom skillet over high heat (if you have cast iron, this is preferred).
Step 2: Mix all of the spices together. Rub all over tuna steaks coating evenly.
Step 3: Add olive oil to the skillet and heat until almost smoking.
Step 4: Sear tuna on each side. You should only need to cook for 30 seconds to a minute. The goal is to have it cooked just enough that you can see about a cm worth of cooked fish round the outside (see the picture at the end).
Step 5: Let the tuna rest for about 5 minutes, and slice about 1/2 inch thick.
For me, I served this over some couscous with some sautéed Swiss chard for a deliious low carb, low fat, high protein meal. You do a simple balsamic reduction to add just a touch more flavor without adding fat.
- 2 1/2 protein
- 1 carb
- 1 1/2 vegetables
After being on the road for awhile I finally found myself back in town for a couple weeks. So, I took the opportunity to give my friend Rob a call to meet up for dinner. After a little bit of debating, we decided to meet at Mamma Melina’s near U Village which was right in [...]
After being on the road for awhile I finally found myself back in town for a couple weeks. So, I took the opportunity to give my friend Rob a call to meet up for dinner. After a little bit of debating, we decided to meet at Mamma Melina’s near U Village which was right in between the two of us. Normally, an Italian establishment is not the type of place to go to when on Phase 1 of the P90X nutrition program when you are looking for low carb and low fat options (the love of pasta and olive oil make it difficult…). But after a menu check, I found a couple things that looked like they would be ok. So we went for it.
The original Mamma Melina’s was located in an older building in the U-District. It was small and intimate with opera singers and piano players and all the ambiance. Or at least that’s what I’ve been told as I never actually made it there. But, when they saw an opportunity to move down closer to U Village (a decidedly more upscale type neighborhood), they took it. The new Mamma Meilna’s is in a large, open space on the bottom floor of the Merrill Gardens at University building (which is actually owned by the company one of my good friends works for). Interesting side note…Merrill Gardens specializes in retirement communities, and in fact all of the living spaces above the retail locations are retirement apartments. However, with places like Mamma Melina’s, Urbanity clothing, Shun Japanese restaurant, etc. the retail environment is definitely younger attracting the college student and young professional at the same time. I find it to be an interesting, but effective, dichotomy (and yes, I plan on charging him for that little promotion…).
Anyway, back to Mamma Melina’s. The space is wide open wilth plenty of seating on the patio for the seemingly rare nice day. There are large garage doors that open allowing a cool breeze to pass through. The seating and decor is very modern, but on the ceilings you find artwork that is a bit more of a throwback. Rob and I took a seat in the bar at one of the high and narrow tables. He had already eaten so decided to just partake in the vino (which he reported was very good), and I ordered my water with lime…regular water, no more tonic or club or bubbly stuff. For dinner, I had to skip over all of the delicious looking pizza and pasta dishes, as well as the lamb shank with a gorgonzola polenta (I will be back for that!) to finally land on the Pollo Ai Carciofi. I threw in an order of sautéed spinach to try and get my green vegetable level up.
The Pollo Ai Cafciofi is a chicken breast served with artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes. It also came with two pieces of asparagus and a roasted red pepper…I think more for color to liven the presentation than anything else. Looking at the dish, I could tell that the was a fair amount of oil used, so I would just have to do my best to not lick it off the plate, but still enjoy my meal at the same time. And I will say, it was good. The chicken was nicely cooked…just short of being overcooked, just past perfect. It was still moist though. And both the artichoke and tomato added a bit of a sharp, slightly acidic bite to the dish that really made the flavors a lot more vibrant. Getting too much or not enough of the accoutrements threw it off a little, but when you got that perfect balance of tomato, artichoke and chicken, it was excellent. As for the spinach…it was wilted nicely, and as long as I left the bottom layer which had absorbed most of the oil, I was doing ok staying within my diet.
We ended up staying for a little while, just catching up, relaxing and people watching. The location is definitely nice, and the food was good. Sometimes there was just a little too much artichoke, and there was definitely a lot of olive oil used, but the flavors were nice and vibrant. I can say for certain that had I not been on P90X, or even if I was further along into the later phases where a few more carbs are allowed, I wouldn’t have selected what I did. But I did enjoy my meal, and my time spent out, and would recommend that if you find yourself shopping at U Village to take a short walk and check it out.
Final Verdict – 3.5 Stars
That’s it! As of 6:59 this evening, I had finished my last Child’s Pose of the night and completed Phase 1 of P90X! What a sense of accomplishment. Physically, I haven’t put myself through anything like this since those two-a-days in Junior High Football (yes, I’m going back to Jr. High…I played baseball in high [...]
That’s it! As of 6:59 this evening, I had finished my last Child’s Pose of the night and completed Phase 1 of P90X! What a sense of accomplishment. Physically, I haven’t put myself through anything like this since those two-a-days in Junior High Football (yes, I’m going back to Jr. High…I played baseball in high school instead). In just 3 weeks, I’ve definitely seen some results. I’m doing more pushups than I did on day 1. I could actually pull off a few crunchy frogs in the Ab workout. And I’m holding my poses a little longer in Yoga. Now it’s on to a Recovery week. By the way, “Recovery” is code for “you are still going to get your ass kicked, but without resistance work”.
But, the end of Phase 1 of the workout program does not mean the end of Phase 1 of the nutrition plan. It will keep going through the recovery week, and slightly into Phase 2. That means another 9 days of low carb and high protein meals. Not that it’s bad, as I’ve lost some weight. Just that it is quite challenging. This portion of the program is definitely about commitment and willpower.
Each week, the decision that gets more and more difficult involves carbs. Do I want to have a tortilla or an English muffin in the morning? What about a sandwich at lunch? If I do that, then all my dinner will be is meat and vegetables…am I ok with that? Who knew that I would sit down and think so much about bread?? So far at the start of each of these four weeks, I’ve sat in front of my iPad going through these questions as I try to put together some sort of meal plan for the week, trying to mix up when I get my carb. This past week I did a couple mornings of pancakes with fresh fruit spread, couscous in the evening, and one sandwich. Also, if I know there is a chance I am going to go out to eat, which I did on Friday, I save my carbs for dinner.
The other thing that is getting challenging is variety. I’m one that likes to have something different things for all of my meals. But in order to hit my portion goals, I’ve actually limited some variability. For breakfast during the week, it’s pretty much an egg white scramble with turkey bacon or a protein shake. For lunch there has been a lot of salad. Fortunately I’ve been able to do quite a bit with dinners to at least add a little spice. But, I’m getting tired of salad. So this week, I took the time to make up a whole pot of roasted red pepper soup (the recipe is coming), and just mixed in some unflavored protein powder to make a different combination of vegetables and protein.
But despite these challenges, I’ve managed to stick as closely to the meal plan as possible, even subjecting myself to a fairly flavorless lunch today because I didn’t want the cup of teriyaki sauce that would have been necessary to add some semblance of flavor to the Mongolian grill “stir-fry” I got. Fortunately I was able to end my night with a delicious seared tuna over couscous with some wilted greens (another recipe that is coming). I guess the one thing that has definitely been good has been the opportunity for me to really focus on learning to cook my food well and not over-rely on sauces or anything like that to add flavor.
I’m looking forward to this next week of soup, sandwiches, and dinners, but what I’m really looking forward to is Phase 2 when I can have 3 servings of carbs and don’t have to spend so much time thinking about bread!