Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: Easy Chicken Breasts with Chive and Mustard Sauce, Easy Homemade Ricotta
As I was lecturing about the Diet to a group of Malibu Beach Recovery Center clients today, one thing became very clear to me in a stronger way than I had ever felt before. Not everybody is crazy enough to hold a full time job, go to meetings, raise a family and still manage to spend one and a half to two hours every day in the kitchen.
This is my passion, and there is no denying that for me, cooking is a form of therapy that allows me to wind down and spend time with the ones I love — who evidently know that if they want to have my full attention, it has to happen in the kitchen. What is for me a ever changing source of pleasure and discovery can be, for many, the very thing that they will perceive as a huge problem.
The success of the recovery process requires that you continue to apply the principles that you have learned at the Malibu Beach Recovery Center and we are here to try and make it easier for you as well. Part of that is your ability to follow the guidelines of the MBRC diet that were given to you.
The best possible ally you can give yourself with this new lifestyle is to be prepared and to have a well-stocked refrigerator so that you are presented with a whole array of possibilities when you reach for food. If not, you will most certainly go for the fast food or the candy bar.
These are examples of what you can prepare for yourself and I will be happy to provide the recipes for you to follow:
- Instead of cooking just one chicken breast, cook 4 or 5. The family packages are usually cheaper, even with organic food and it takes the same amount of time to prepare. Eat one breast for this one meal, with a pan sauce from the cooking pan and refrigerate the rest. You can add diced chicken to a salad, cut it up for a sandwich or make a chicken salad with a little mayo and celery, and you can make a quesadilla for a quick snack with a whole-wheat tortilla and your favorite shredded cheese.
- The same can be said for salmon: Eat once fresh out of the oven and half the next day in a salad for a super gourmet meal.
- Stock up on your favorite sauces: Guacamole for the quesadilla above or with grilled whole-wheat pita chips, salsa on top of an omelet or on top of grilled salmon.
- Prepare your salad dressing ahead of time and keep a large quantity in the refrigerator. The basic one that will always be delicious on any salad goes like this: In a mason jar with a tight fitting lid, combine 1/3 cup Dijon mustard, 2/3 cups red wine vinegar and 1 full (3/3 cups) cup of olive oil. Close the lid, shake and voila! Keeps up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Have prewashed vegetables ready for a salad: cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, snap peas, sugar peas. You can either munch on them for a snack or toss them in your salad for a fuller portion.
- Make one batch of brown rice that you will have on hand as an accompaniment to your main dish without having to wait the whole cooking time. Also, cook your rice without salt, you will be able to add seasonings when you decide to eat it with meat or fish, but you can also heat it up in the microwave for 2 minutes with a little milk, a tablespoon of agave and a few blueberries as an alternative to oatmeal in the morning.
- Dice your vegetables (zucchini, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, red and yellow bell peppers) and quickly sauté them with a little olive oil. You will be able to incorporate them in a salad for a little more bulk or heat them up really quickly with your protein as a side dish. You can also buy the already portioned bags of baby vegetables that are easily microwaveable.
- Make your own trail mix with almonds, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Place ¼ cup of the mixture in zip-lock snack bags and have one in your purse or car at all times to fight the sudden cravings. Prepare for your friends when they come to visit as a great snack that keeps you in control.
- Have a loaf of sliced whole-wheat bread always available to make sandwiches or paninis and one in the freezer, ready to be popped in the toaster if need be.
- Make a batch of homemade ricotta. If you have kids, invite you to join you for a real easy science class. This ricotta is fabulous over a crostini, as a dip for fresh vegetables, over whole-wheat toast in the morning for added protein, or even on a pizza with a whole wheat crust. You will never buy ricotta in a store again.
- Keep the list of authorized foods on your phone to consult when you go food shopping. Do not guess. If you are in doubt, remember the DON’Ts on your list (potatoes, corn, melon, bananas, grapes, sugar, coffee and pork).
Most of all, recognize that food is your ally and not your enemy. Enjoy it and enjoy the process. Recognize food as the fuel that you are giving your body to speed up your recovery process, boost your immune system and enable all of your vital organs to service you better.
Click on Continue Reading” for the Recipes.
Chicken Breasts with Chive and Mustard Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Four 8-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2-1/2 cups homemade chicken stock, or store-bought low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat the oil in a wide, heavy-bottomed sauté pan until it begins to smoke. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels so there is no more trace of moisture. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the breasts to the pan and brown them on one side, 2 minutes until seared. Turn them over and cook them until well browned on the other side, about 2 more minutes. Place the pan in the oven to complete cooking, about 15 minutes. Bring the chicken out of the oven, transfer to a serving dish and tent with foil to let it rest
3. Add the shallots to the same pan and sauté until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Carefully pour in ½ cup of broth and scrape all the browned bits from the pan.
4. Add another ½ cup of broth to the pan, raise the heat to high, and bring it to a boil. Whisk in the mustard and let reduce for 1 minute. Pour in the rest of the broth and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.
5. Stir in the cream and bring just to a boil. Stir in the chives. Return the chicken breasts to the pan and simmer gently until the stock has reduced and thickened slightly, 4 to 5 minutes.
6. To serve, put 1 chicken breast in the center of each of 4 plates and spoon some sauce over the top.
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar
- Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.
- Pour the milk and cream into a stainless steel or enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar.
- Allow the mixture to stand for 10 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts(the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
- Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 25 to 30 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. Makes about 2 cups.
- Eat is as is on a piece of toast for an added source of protein in the morning. Add 2 finely chopped shallots, a teaspoon of old-fashioned French (grainy) mustard and a handful of chopped chives to make a delicious spread or a dip for raw vegetables.