What’s the ‘healthiest’ way to eat MEAT? + a recipe!

I am all for cooking up an ample carcass of protein and gelatinous bone goodness, (cue the smell of lamb shanks, osso buco and roast chicken to name but a few) but in this contemporary state I am in at the moment (you too? Get out!) Sometimes slow cooking meat on the bone isn’t feasible

especially when you get home and you want dinner stat.

This is where my creativity with chicken breasts is put to work – like most Australians (I recall Masterchef stated we ate 45kg per person per YR!) I find chicken massively convenient and easy to impart well-known flavors upon. My main priority when cooking meat in a hurry, is to ensure I cook it without charring it to within an inch of its life.

Barbequing on the whole isn’t the best method of meat consumption every day– as the very nature of ‘charring’ your meat produces cancerous Hydrocarbons and Amines that cause massive oxidative stress on your body. That being said- I will NEVER say no to a good barbecue. How UN- Australian 😉

In order to combat any worries of potential ‘cancer causing’ agents- I get my hands dirty.

Really dirty.

And massage my meat with an awesome marinade.

…marinating not only boosts flavor but also reduces the formation of these Amines and Hydrocarbons – quite significantly.

Interestingly some scientists at the Food Safety Consortium project at Kansas State University have discovered that herbs of the Lamiaceae family (Basil, Mint, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, and Sage) used in marinades reduced the formation of free radicals rather well.

So when it comes to quick meat dishes in a flash here are

3 RULES

1.  Marinade– Delicious and easiest way to avoid cancer-causing compounds. Some research even shows that marinating for 30 minutes can reduce the formation of these compounds by 90%!

2. Lean Protein Cuts – Cuts of meat with less fat are less likely to drip fat and flare the BBQ flames all over your juicy steak.

3. Don’t burn the S*&t out of your meat – tone it down please.

And with that said – here is my chicken marinade, using turmeric, the humble spice with amazing anti-inflammatory properties and even shown by the Cancer Research Centre in Hawaii to reduce cancer causing Amines by a half!

… for an extra side of delicious, my peanut free satay sauce. One word. YUM.

Chicken Marinade INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tablespoons tamari

1 1/2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric

2 garlic cloves, crushed

500gm Chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

METHOD

Mix your marinade ingredients together and rub into your chicken breast

Let stand for 30 minutes or overnight

Heat up your pan with some coconut oil and over low heat, cook your chicken until done!

Satay Sauce INGREDIENTS

2 cm piece fresh ginger, chopped

1 brown onion, chopped

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon macadamia or coconut oil

1 teaspoon good quality curry powder

1 tablespoon tamari sauce

¼ cup almond butter or tahini

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon stevia (or 2 teaspoons of honey)

1 cup coconut milk

METHOD

Process together the ginger, onion and garlic in a mini food processor.

In a pan on low heat, fry the above mixture in coconut oil for a few minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add curry powder and tamari and stir well before adding almond butter, stevia and chilli flakes.

Add coconut milk to almond sauce and stir thoroughly until the sauce is smooth. Cook on low heat for 2 minutes – remove from heat and serve with your chicken!

Don’t forget some veggies. 😉

 

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Creamy Curry Chicken Salad

Photo Credit: Natalie Maynor

I am not a massive fan of the stringy, bitter green salads somewhat in vogue at most cafes in Sydney now- a- days.

I beg to differ when I see those urban hipsters, munching on raw, bitter greens and waxing lyrical about how good bitter foods are for your digestion. Ok – so I can not contest that bitter foods stimulate your digestive juices, but I am quite sure my digestion screams to a massive halt if I dare to digest shoots and leaves en masse.

Which is why you won’t see me sparingly dressing a bunch of dandelion leaves and chickweed and convincing you its the latest taste sensation.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE salads – but  I need to eat ones that love me back. This means, salads, properly dressed in a good quality fat to help me assimilate all its nutrients. In fact in a recent study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, fats were demonstrated to be necessary for the absorption of nutrients from fruits and vegetables. Those poor ‘lab rats’ who were fed fat free salad dressings, absorbed far less of the phytonutrients and vitamins than their full fat consumers.

Move over vinegar, come hither Mr. E.V.O.O.

I haven’t always loved a good creamy salad dressing. Often they were redolent with cheese ( I really can’t stand the stuff – childhood phobia that I can’t grow out of) and looking at the ones on offer in the supermarket most are filled to the brim with canola oil, a processed oil, high in pro-inflammatory omega-6’s and laced with too much sugar and corn thickeners or gums. It wasn’t until I mastered the simple art of home made mayo, that I relished the creamy taste sensation that is a good quality whole egg accompaniment.

With my own home made mayo on hand, I know I can assemble this simple chicken dish in a flash. This is seriously easy, super nutritious and can be made from a random assortment of goods in your fridge. I usually poach some chicken breasts at the beginning of the week, shred them up and have these on hand to throw into a salad come the lunch hour. Feel free to experiment with different vegggies, I have added some steamed fennel before, left over bits of broccoli, macadamias for crunch

…whatever floats your boat.

Once again- this is more an assembly of food rather than a meal laboured over for hours- after all- that is what satisfyingly, simple and healthy food should be, right?

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Ingredients

Basic Salad Elements

120g of Chicken breast, poached and shredded

1/2 cup chopped celery

Handful of butter leaf lettuce or cos lettuce

Dressing

1 tbs of homemade mayonnaise

1 tbs of greek yoghurt

1/2 tsp of liquid stevia

Scant tsp of good quality mild curry powder (optional but good for a variation and adds a lovely colour!)

Method

Place all your salad ingredients in your serving bowl of choice.

In a separate cup, add your dressing ingredients and whisk around with a fork until mixed well

Add a small dash of hot water to the dressing in order to create a good runny consistency. Only a little please!

Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients, toss to amalgamate all the flavours and textures.

Serve immediately.

..how easy was that!?

This dressing alone is so good that I usually make a large batch of it at the beginning of the week – in fact it was so good that my mum- a woman of few words- rang me up to rave about the left over dressing I had kept in her fridge after mothers day. According to Mum it is lovely over some Roast beef!

So tell me – what’s your favourite Salad assembly?