Spicy Pineapple Chicken

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When life gets crazy, sometimes you just have to step back and breathe. And a great, simple dinner always cancels out a hectic, Manic Monday.

From the time I walked in the door yesterday at work, it was NON-STOP gogogogogo. I unlocked my office door to be greeted by 4 voicemails. I didn’t know anyone knew my extension other than my boss…who knew? Two voicemails were from the same person (who was long-winded to say the least), one was a consult for a patient in the hospital, and the other was someone in finance with a question about some bills I had submitted. The to-do list began.

I was hungry and running low on coffee. The phone wouldn’t stop ringing and my 9am patient was there before I knew it. My 9am appointment lasted an hour and before I returned to the kitchen, I responded to the consult in the hospital. An elemental tube feeding…kind of unique.

When I got back to the kitchen, I was informed that the cheesy cauliflower soup “didn’t taste right”. After a very small, but terrible taste, it could be determined that the soup had been scorched and tasted like a mouthful of campfire…in all of the wrong ways.

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I quickly calculated the nutrition information for the cafeteria’s lunch menu before making a grocery list and heading out to the local grocery store and unfortunately, Walmart, too. I was purchasing ingredients for Biscoff Cookie Truffles (they are more evil than they sound!) that the doctors enjoyed at their bi-monthly meeting last night, as well as the ingredients to make Goat Cheese, Spinach, and Tomato Quiches, along with baked cranberry oatmeal recipe (that will be in my cookbook!) for the diabetic cooking class I’ll be teaching on Wednesday morning in recognition of World Diabetes Day!

Why did I wear heels? Why did I not wear a jacket? Fail. x2.

I spent my lunch sitting in my office chair…in the middle of the kitchen, rolling said Biscoff Cookie Truffles. After baking all day Sunday, my plantar faciitis is rearing its ugly head and my pups were barking…LOUDLY. We finished up the truffles (can we say “spoiled medical staff”?) and my 3pm appointment had arrived. A follow-up gestational diabetic due in 3 weeks! She brought her 2 year old son who was super cute and really ticklish.

I got back to the kitchen in time enough to balance the drawer, answer emails, and read through the recipes for last night’s second parent-child cooking class. The cooking class was another success (3 weeks to go of the 5 week program!) and the calls continue to flow in with more and more people in the community learning about this great program. Awe-some.

I headed off to hockey for my 8:15pm game and made it home around 10:30pm. Dinner was a sandwich…nothing awesome like this meal.

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Days like yesterday make me appreciate days like today all the more. And though I wanted to spontaneously comburst into tears over being stressed and overwhelmed, I am thankful every day for a job I love, that keeps me busy, and that I feel was made for me. Where else would I be able to make sinfully delicious truffles AND meet with diabetics out-patient while still seeing in-patient consults for nutrition support? Probably next to no where…

But sometimes, life doesn’t have to be complicated and crazy…it can be simple and so good. While we dream up the options of what to feed the providers, what they asked for was sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and pork tenderloin. So simple and sometimes over-looked.

This meal reminds me of that — nothing too extraoridinary, but definitely a combination that was just right. I think it’s the pineapple. Nothing over the top about this ingredient list, but I promise, you’ll enjoy every…last…bite.

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Spicy Pineapple Chicken adapted from Elly Says Opa, Jenn’s Cuisine, originally from Epicurious

juice from 1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks in 100% juice (reserve pineapple chunks) 1 Tbsp chili garlic paste such as Sambal Oelek 1 Tbsp white vinegar 1 Tbsp sugar 2 tsp low -sodium soy sauce 1 1/2 Tbsp water 1 tsp cornstarch

1 cup dry minute brown rice 1/4 cup cornstarch 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced width-wise 2 tsp olive oil 1/2 medium onion, diced 2 small sweet bell peppers, cut into strips 3 cloves garlic, minced pineapple chunks from reserved juice (above) 3-4 green onions, sliced, for garnish

Directions:

Whisk together all ingredients for the sauce; set aside.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and stir in rice. Bring to a simmer; stir, cover with a lit, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or according to package directions.

Toss the chicken with the cornstarch until well-dusted. Add oil to a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook on both sides, until completely cooked through. Remove from the skillet.

Add the onions to the skillet and saute for about 2 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper and garlic and cook about 1 minute. Stir in the sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, until thick, adding the chopped pineapple during the last minute.

Remove from the heat and add the chicken back in, tossing to coat. Top with green onions and serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings (~1/2 cup rice and ~1 cup chicken and vegetable)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 370 calories; 4.0 g. fat; 55 mg. cholesterol; 237 mg. sodium; 56.5 g. carbohydrate; 4.0 g. fiber; 28.8 g. protein

Result: This was a delicious, sweet & spicy meal that was ready in less than 30 minutes…including prep time. It also reheated really well. The pineapple with the soy sauce and chile garlic paste is a treat. This meal is very low in fat and calories while being plenty filling thanks to the protein and fiber. Enjoy!

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Work, workout, cook!

Be well,

Comments

  1. says

    I agree with your comment about how the crazy days make you appreciate all the rest. I’ve definitely had a few where I didn’t even get a chance to think… I was just “doing”. Luckily, deadlines have been manageable as of late. Crossing my fingers this trend continues through the holidays…

  2. says

    Ah, a job you love – I don’t think I have ever been able to say that – you are lucky Nicole!

    And while that looks delicious, just can’t do pineapple with chicken for some reason! Happy Tuesday!

  3. says

    Hi Nicole! This really isn’t in regards to the recipe (although it looks delicious!), but I had to leave a note as I just discovered your blog. I was so excited to find a fellow RD blogger! I just wanted to let you know I love what you’re doing with it, and your story is awesome :) Keep it up!

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