The clouds above the Greater Seattle area—in an evil attempt to create a “gag gift—” shaped themselves into one gigantic dark bladder that has burst forth all over the place for days on end. The meteorologists have called this event an “atmospheric river,” which sounds nice, but even the salmon are waterlogged. This atmospheric river has made the surrounding area so dark that I’ve resorted to holding oranges up in the air to try to desperately make my home look and smell like a sunny day in an orange grove in the far-off land of Florida.
“It’s not working!” I cried out, exasperated. “Nothing I do seems to be bringing forth light—much needed light!”
Nate, though, has an app for that on his phone. He hooked up the light system to some kind of app on the phone, which helps change the colors of the lights in the living room. When he heard my cries of desperation, the lights changed from white to yellow to green to purple—anything to make me stop holding different oranges up in the air and waving flashlights around for “greater” effect.
“I know what we need!” Nate said. “We need something for dinner that has lots of vegetables and healthy things in it.”
“Don’t I do that every night?” I asked.
“Yes, but now I want you to do what you do every night—but with more intensity.”
My heart stood still. Was Nate challenging me to a kind of “throw down?” If so, it was on! So on! I would stuff so many vegetables and citrus-like things into a bowl that the overactive cloud-bladder above would have no choice but to move out of the way.
So, here’s what I came up with. The steps for creating my Citrus and Veggie Chicken Bowl of Healthy Loveliness (CVCBHL) are listed below:
Serves 3-4 people
I cup of brown rice
1 ¾ cup of broth: veggie, chicken, or beef
½ cup of green onion, chopped—divided
1 teaspoon of grated fresh orange peel (save the orange)
1 teaspoon of grated fresh lemon peel (save the lemon)
2-3 large chicken breasts (boneless, skinless), cut into strips
1-2 tablespoons of a salt-free lemon pepper seasoning, such as Mrs. Dash (or: use freshly chopped garlic (teaspoon) + 1-2 teaspoons of fresh lemon peel + 1 tsp of ground black pepper)
1 cup of broccoli florets
½ cup of thinly sliced or shaved carrots
½ cup of garbanzo beans
½ cup of shredded cabbage/slaw mix
½ cup of sliced cherry tomatoes
½ cup of chopped cilantro
¼ cup of oil and vinegar dressing—either homemade or bottled
Rice: Rinse the brown rice in water until clear. Let the rice sit for 15 minutes in the broth. Then, cover the rice and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 40 minutes. Finally, remove it from the heat so that it can rest, still covered, for five minutes. NOTE: These were basically the instructions on the package of rice, which I followed. At the end of this process, the rice was still somewhat crunchy, and the liquid was not absorbed. I ended up boiling it all again for another 10 minutes and letting it sit for another 5 minutes. It was better after that, but still not as soft as I wanted it to be.
–Once the rice has absorbed the liquid and the granules are done, add ¼ cup of the chopped green onion and the teaspoons of orange/lemon peel. Mix together with a fork and set aside.
Chicken: Sprinkle the chicken breasts with the salt-free lemon pepper seasoning and bake at 450 for 10 minutes or until completely cooked through. Then, chop the strips of chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Putting everything together: Start with a half cup or so of the rice as a base for a bowl. Then, arrange the carrots, slaw, broccoli, chicken, garbanzo beans, and tomatoes on top. Use the leftover orange and lemon to squeeze just a drop or two of the juice onto all of the ingredients. Then, use a tablespoon or two of the dressing to pour over the top. Garnish with the cilantro—and the remaining green onions.
Results: Everyone devoured this dish. No one came up for air. The clouds sucked in their bladder and the actual sun—not an orange valiantly trying to masquerade as the sun, but rather the actual sun—came out the very next day.
Your Turn: What is your “go-to” meal/food/favorite snack when the weather has been consistently gloomy for a while?