Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Advocare Challenge Day 7: BBQ Chicken and Sweet Potato Wedges that Will Make You Forget the Word "Diet"

Day 7.  Done. Kicking ass and taking names.

After the "Blender Fiasco of 2014" yesterday, I wanted something a little more simple.  And since it was 80 degrees out today and the smell of a charcoal grill makes me happy, I fired up the grill to make a spicy BBQ Chicken.  I also roasted off some sweet potato wedges to have with the red pepper and asparagus from yesterday.

And before you ask - yes, this BBQ Chicken is diet/cleanse friendly.  And yes there is a recipe with hipster-like photos for you to enjoy. Because what pseudo-food blog would be a pseudo-food blog without photos? Like every other one out there.

Before I get to all of that, here's a summary of what I ate.  Not sure why I'm feeling the need to share that with you.  Probably because I've done it for 6 days now, and also probably because I want to show you that with what I'm doing, you can eat real food on a cleanse.

Suck it cayenne pepper, lemon, maple syrup, and water Master Cleanse.  Suck it hard.

Breakfast:  What else? A MRS on my way to work.  In my half-asleep state, I also managed to mix 24-ounces of water with Spark instead of my normal 8-ounces.  So I was even more hydrated than normal today.

Mid-Morning Snack: Small peach with a handful of mixed nuts.

Lunch:  Leftover salmon burger from last night, and the sweet potatoes and green beans from Sunday's dinner.

Afternoon Snack: Banana

Dinner:  Spicy BBQ Chicken and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with last night's veggies.

Evening Snack: Nada. I ended up eating super late and wasn't particularly hungry for a snack.

How I'm Feeling: Still have crazy energy.  Unfortunately my knee was bugging me today so I didn't get out for a jog.  Instead, Roux and I went for our normal afternoon walk and then I decided to do some yoga at home with the lick-happy Roux.  Bummer, too, since it's so nice out and I was looking forward to running (read: flailing around) with her.

Just like the last few days, nothing new to report so I'll keep this short and sweet.  On to the recipes!

Spicy BBQ Chicken
Any time I can use my grill, I am all for it.  It means less dishes to wash, and I get to spend some time outside enjoying the weather and (usually) listening to music.

This BBQ Sauce isn't exactly like your typical BBQ sauces.  It's spicy and a little more on the "chunky" side (appetizing, right?).  Since there is minced shallot, garlic, and a little pineapple, while the flavor absorbs with the spices and liquids in the sauce, you can see the the bits in the sauce.  Also, the way I made it (below) gives a lot of heat on the back end, but if you're not all for heat, scale back on the horseradish and cayenne pepper.

You can actually use any protein that you'd like.  I managed to snag a great deal on a package of chicken breasts, so we used that; however, if you'd like to slather this on pork or beef, be my guest.  Plus, the remaining chicken in the package will be used for another meal later in the week.

1 c. beef stock
6 oz. tomato paste
1/4 c. shallots, minced
1 T. Dijon Mustard
3 cloves minced garlic
2 T. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 c. fresh crushed pineapple

1. Mix beef stock, tomato paste, shallot, Dijon Mustard, Garlic, white wine vinegar, cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, horseradish, red pepper flakes, and pineapple in a saucepan over medium heat.

2. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring until well combined. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Baste your chicken (or the protein of your choice) with the sauce 3/4 of the way through the cook time and once more when serving. (Since it decided to start storming as I was about to start basting my chicken on the grill, I had to move the operation inside and finish off the cooking in my oven)

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges
I'm a classic meat and potatoes kind of girl.  It's the midwest in me.  And I love sweet potatoes.  I first discovered them when I made the short-lived switch to Paleo a few years back.  Since then, when I go out to eat and sweet potatoes are on the menu, I will hands-down select them over regular spuds. Curious about the nutritional differences?  The Cleveland Clinic has a pretty good breakdown here.

Potatoes do have nutrition, but just like everything, you need to watch portion sizes and the fat you're using to cook your veggies.  Instead of slathering the potatoes with honey, cinnamon and brown sugar, baking them in a mound of vegetable oil or deep frying to crispy deliciousness, I went a lighter route and roasted them in the oven with a tiny bit of sea salt (let the natural flavor come through, yo) and some thyme.

2-3 uncooked sweet potatoes, peeled, rinsed and patted dry
1 tsp. olive oil
Salt-free seasoning blend of your choice
1 tsp. dried thyme

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.  Cut each potato into 8 lengthwise wedges and place on a nonstick baking sheet.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the seasoning blend and dried thyme.

2. Roast for 15 minutes, remove from oven to toss and flip your wedges.

3. Continue to roast the wedges until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes more (mine took a little longer since my oven is about as old as Moses).  If you're a "burnt potato" kind of person and you like yours a little more done, pop them under the broiler for a few minutes to get crispy.

Here's a photo of the whole shebang all finished.  It's not the prettiest plate at the prom, but it's good and it absolutely satisfies the "I need to grill out and eat potatoes" craving without leaving you feeling guilty and depressed.

That's all to report for now.  I'm really excited about taking food I'd normally have and figuring out a way to make it a little more healthy without compromising flavor.  Sure I haven't had butter since I began this whole thing, and my salt intake is way down, but by adding other spices, using olive oil (sparingly), and experimenting with ways to cook stuff, has been super fun.

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