And by “kind of,” I mean that they have my money and I have a link to a training program. I guess that’s mostly fair.
That program is exactly as long as as I have until “my” marathon. And is supposed to be exactly as long as it takes a normal person to learn how to run 26.2 miles. Only I’m not really normal. But I did run a mile and a half the night before letting my friend talk me into it (but it’s Disney!).
I’m such a sucker. And a newly-crowned Disney addict. (And potentially on my way to divorce court after I tell Jason what I’ve done.)
But it gets me back to The Happiest Place on Earth where I will perform what could be The Most Miserable Activity on Earth for a chance at The Greatest Fitness Accomplishment on Earth.
And there’s no better time to start training for a marathon than in Houston in June.
What does all this have to do with that queso-doused sandwich up there? Nothing. I have few rules. Most of them involve how to not make a margarita or leaving lights on when you leave a room (I am now officially my mother). But rules that don’t end with a stay in the pokey are just begging to be broken.
And that’s really why my favorite cheesesteak is made with chicken and not beef. Only now, it comes topped with a generous scoop of queso (not the Wiz) and pico de gallo. And nobody will put me in Dinner Jail when I throw in grilled jalapenos like they used to serve at Texadelphia on Memorial (RIP).
To make that beauty, you need to do three things:
1. Make this chicken cheesesteak sandwich, only forget the cheese and mustard blend.
2. Have leftover queso from the night before.
3. Have a garden that turns out more tomatoes and peppers than you know what to do with… and then make pico de gallo with that.
And just like that, dinner for the next 2 nights is done.
Today should be “Garden Friday” where I show you how I somehow managed to make it another 7 days without killing the green things growing in my backyard. But it’s raining outside. Like, “you shoulda’ built that ark” raining. So instead of showing you our first zucchini, or telling you about my peach tree dropping all but 6 fruit [sob], and that the beast Juliet tomato plant is loaded with almost-ready-to-pick tomatoes… I’ll just show you what I did with my recent kale overload.
I made salad.
I have introduced you to my favorite salad before. And this is its one-course-dinner cousin.
It’s what happens when strawberry season meets I-can’t-believe-I-went-30-days-without-goat-cheese meets holy-crap-I-planted-way-too-much-Kale. So like nearly everything else on my menu, it meets the requisite 2 parts desperation.
The salad is a perfect host for the beautiful strawberries that are coming out of the markets (and my backyard) right now. And the strawberries-goat cheese combo?
Nearly as perfect as chocolate and peanut butter.
Because I had leftover chicken in the fridge, I used that to top the salads for a quick, light dinner. Or, for you Honey Boo Boo watchers, a “multimeal”
Don’t have two pots full of kale on your back patio? Use spinach instead! And don’t forget, this is a “cold salad” – the quinoa has to be cooked and cooled before so it doesn’t turn your kale into a bowl full of sad, wimpy greens.
Kale and Quinoa Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese
Fresh strawberries, kale, quinoa, and goat cheese come together for a perfectly light spring or summer dinner. Just add leftover chicken to make it a little heartier.
For the salad
2 cups cooked and chilled quinoa (from 1 cup uncooked)
3 oz kale, chopped (about half a bag or clam shell)
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
Leftover grilled chicken, optional (I used this wet rub)
For the dressing
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
1 Tbsp spicy brown or dijon mustard (I use Creole)
1/3 cup olive oil
In a large bowl, add the chopped greens, cold quinoa (it must be cold so it doesn't wilt the salad), crumbled goat cheese, and strawberries.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, shallot, and mustard.
Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking and add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Before serving, toss the dressing with the salad and serve topped with sliced chicken.
Leftovers will keep a couple of days covered in the fridge.
We’re in the Whole30 home stretch! When we started this thing 4 weeks ago, I imagined Day 31 to be a monstrous carb fest: a deep-fried french fry sandwich in a tortilla.
(Possibly battered and deep fried again.)
But here we are, 29 days later and I’m all like “Eh.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be really nice to have a tortilla on fajita night. But what I really want:
Goat cheese. (I’ve already pulled it out of the freezer!)
In place of tortillas, we’ve been having “lettuce wrap” fajita nights. Or just grabbing a knife & fork and forgoing the wrapping vehicle entirely.
We’ve relied pretty heavily on our go-to TexMex chicken marinade/wet-rub these last 28 days. Because when your mind already knows something is missing (like tortillas), it’s really easy to start picking things apart, looking for other “flaws.” But the wet rub is super flavorful and requires zero resting time – and almost impossible to find something to complain about.
Lettuce Wrap Chicken Fajitas
A lighter twist on chicken fajitas that doesn't skimp on flavor.
For the wet rub:
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ancho chili powder (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
For the fajitas:
1 lb chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
1 onion, sliced in 1/4-inch rounds (rings left in tact)
2 bell peppers, sliced in 1/4-inch rings
Whole romaine or butter lettuce leaves
Heat grill to high.
Place a piece of foil over half the grill and drizzle with olive oil.
Add the onions and peppers and cook for ~8-10 minutes before flipping/stirring. Remove when the veggies are nicely charred.
Whisk the wet rub ingredients together in a bowl. Add the chicken, turning to coat on each side.
Place the chicken on the grill and cook ~6-8 minutes per side, or until juices run clear.
Let chicken sit 5 minutes before slicing.
Serve chicken with whole lettuce leaves, topped with grilled vegetables.
We’ve eaten some pretty good stuff over the last almost three Whole30 weeks (hello, fire-sale King Crab legs!) but our favorite meal (besides the crab) has been this a baked sweet potato half topped with barbecue “pulled” chicken, served along side something green.
And not just because it’s an incredibly budget-friendly meal… but that helped, because I totally end-of-the-world hoarded me some crab legs last week. It’s delicious, insanely filling, and we haven’t minded eating it for lunch and dinner several times.
Jason, he’s a barbecue sauce junkie. You know how you use sriracha? How 6-year olds use ketchup? And how I use ranch? That’s how he uses barbecue sauce. And because his favorite sauce is thick and wonderfully overloaded with way too much brown sugar and molasses, he hasn’t eaten any of it lately.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The Whole30-approved barbecue sauce that I made isn’t the barbecue sauce we’re used to. I thought I was going to have to toss the whole batch at first but it was much better the next day. I’ve since discovered if you add a few dates to simmer in the sauce and then blend it in the blender, it’s even fine the first day.
And if you’re not Whole30-ing it up, just use your favorite barbecue sauce.
BBQ Chicken Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes
Tangy pulled barbecue chicken tops a baked sweet potato.
1 medium sweet potato, halved
Olive or coconut oil
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
Green onions, for serving
Chopped red onions, for serving
For the barbecue sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
15 oz can tomato sauce (or tomato puree - it is thicker and reduces cooking time)
3-5 small dates
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce (the individual cups are perfectly portioned)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1 Tbsp creole mustard
1 tsp Tobasco
2 tsp chili powder (I used half chipotle, half regular)
1 tsp paprika
Preheat the oven to 425.
Lightly brush oil over the cut halves of the potatoes and bake 30-35 minutes, until fork tender.
While the potatoes are baking, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Cook garlic just until it begins to brown.
Add tomato sauce, dates, apple sauce, vinegar, coconut aminos, stirring to combine.
Whisk in the mustard, tobasco, chili powder, paprika, and cloves.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for ~30 minutes (10-15 if using tomato puree).
Transfer the dates and about half the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth, then return to the pan and stir.
Will keep at least a week in a jar in the fridge.
Toss the shredded chicken with a few generous spoonfuls of sauce.
Serve the chicken on top of the sweet potato halves, with additional sauce, red onions, and green onions.