Even though the days are staying lighter longer, each day seems to fly by faster than the ones before.
To add insult to injury, my workouts lately…they’ve been a struggle, to say the least. Historically, my first mile running is always my slowest. Why? I haven’t a clue. I get “warming up”, but during a 3-mile run, 1 mile is hardly a warm-up. By the end of mile 1, I’m ready to walk. But I don’t…and I push through. Lately, miles 1.5 to 2.25 have been tolerable, and then the final 3/4ths of a mile either feel great…or absolutely terrible.
I have to give myself a serious pat on the back for sticking to my 5 weekly workouts. This slump has been going on for about the last 2 weeks, and I hope I can ride it out and return to enjoyable runs.
Sometimes, what gets me through a run after work is thinking, “The sooner I get home, the sooner I can make dinner…and eat, and shower, and settle in for the night.” How sad. This is like time management to the extreme…or my reaching very deep for every excuse not to walk during my runs.
As trivial as a few minutes sounds, it makes a difference. But even more so than running faster…quick dinners can make my evenings feel longer…and more enjoyable.
I fell in love with basil in meat and soup dishes in Thailand. Basil outside of Italian is something everyone should experience. There’s something about the blank slate of chicken that takes on flavors so well. For the basil lovers like myself, this is a winning decision. Maybe I should have planted 2 basil plants this year…
Outside of being quick as is, you can prep everything ahead of time for this meal. Even rice! Make a huge batch of rice and freeze using this technique. As much as I love brown rice and brown basmati, it takes the better part of an hour to cook. This somewhat defeats the point of a quick weeknight meal, unless you opt for a quick-cooking rice which is absolutely fine, too.
My plan is:
- Try to enjoy my workouts more – even if that involves walking from time to time. It’s important to listen to my body…and to not hate exercise.
- Find more meals that are quick, easy, or can be prepped ahead of time.
- Continue finding meals that are cost-effective. My grocery bill was $55 this week and that included a $7 watermelon (!) and $10 in tomatoes, as well as a $4 bouquet of flowers just because. Not..,too…shabby!
Spicy Basil Chicken from Cooking Light
2 tsp canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp fish sauce
4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp chile garlic sauce
2 tsp water
2 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup basil leaves, sliced
1 1/2 cups dry brown basmati rice
Prepare rice according to package directions.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots and garlic to pan; cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add chicken to pan; cook 13 minutes or until chicken is done.
Whisk fish sauce and the next 5 ingredients (through cornstarch) together in a small bowl. Add fish sauce mixture to pan, and cook for 1 minute or until mixture thickens, stirring to coat chicken. Remove from heat. Stir in basil.
Yield: 6 servings (3/4 cup rice with 5 ounces chicken)
Nutrition Information (per serving): 361 calories; 4.3 g. fat; 73 mg. cholesterol; 725 mg. sodium; 41.5 g. carbohydrate; 1.3 g. fiber; 38.3 g. protein
Result: Quick & great flavor! I double up on the sauce and upped the chicken some. I think both choices were good. I love that this meal is under 400 calories, carb-controlled, low in fat, and high in protein. The basil adds so much flavor, it gives this dish a unique, Thai-inspired flavor. Enjoy!
Money Matters: Chicken is the most expensive ingredient ($3.99/lb). Basil is $1 a bunch, and brown basmati calculated to $1/cup ($1.50). The remaining ingredients estimated to $2.60. The total cost of the recipe comes to $13.08 and $2.18 per serving.
I’m teaching and then heading out of town for the night. More on that soon, I promise!