Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Italian Turkey Burgers with Pesto

I like simple, clean, and whole foods.  I don't use ingredients I cannot pronounce and rarely take a long time to prep meals.  Although this is one of my more involved foods,  it's worth it.  It can be used as a prep meal, or to impress a dinner party.  I used it as a prepped meals,  which gave me 6 ready made meals.  I served mine bunless, or topless if I am being funny (I am always being funny).   I ate mine with a cup of roasted sweet potatoes with chopped chives on top.  Not that exciting, but easy.

Italian Turkey Burgers with Pesto
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients for Burgers:
1 pound ground turkey,  I prefer not Shop Rite brand
1 cup of Roasted red peppers
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp Oregano
1 tbsp Parsley
1 tbsp Thyme
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
 1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 Egg
1/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs 
6 ounces of Fresh Mozzerella
6 slices of Tomato (Hot House, Jersey)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil for cooking

Ingredients for the Pesto:
4 Garlic Cloves
2 cups of Fresh Spinach
1 cup of Fresh Basil
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Pine Nuts
1 tsp salt, and more to taste

1. First,   preheat your cast iron skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until water scatters on it.
2.  As the  skillet is heating, put your turkey in a large bowl you can mix with your hands.
3.  To the turkey add all of the spices, 1 egg, and panko bread crumbs.  Do not mix yet.
4.  In a food processor put 1 cup of roasted red peppers and 3 garlic cloves.  Process on medium high until the mixture is soupy,  but kind of still chunky.  Pour in the bowl with the turkey.
 5.  Mix the turkey mixture with your hands and form 6 4 ounce patties.
6.   Put 1 tbsp of oil of choice in the skillet and immediately put in the patties, to reduce smoking of the oil.
7.  Preheat the oven to 300.
8.  Allow to brown on each side,  about 7 minutes.  You want your burger to have a nice crispy crust.
9.  Once the burgers are browned on each side place into the 300 degree oven to finish cooking,  about 8-10 minutes.
10.  While the burgers are in the oven,  start on your pesto.
11.  Pesto is super easy--- put all of the ingredients in the food processor, except the oil.
12.  Process all of the foods while slowly adding the oil.  

13.  Process until your mixture is thick,  but scoopable.  Add oil to loosen,  and salt to taste.
14.  Once the burgers are cooked through,  switch the oven to broil and move the rack up close to the heat. 
15.  Add one tomato slice and one ounce of cheese to each burger.  Broil for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.
16.  Top each with a tbsp of pesto and serve :)



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Greek Chicken and Golden Greek Quinoa

There is a short list of things I love in this world.
1.  Animals
2. Craft Beer
3. Garlic

If I had to expand the list Talia, Meghan, Santino, Brutus, Chris, Mom, Dad and Peachie O's would be on the list too.   Sorry guys,  but if I am keeping it real Peachie O's would be at the top of the list.  I can't buy them though, I'll eat an entire 2lb bag and throw it up.  No because I eat and throw my food up, but because I think eating 2lbs of sugarie peachie o's causes your body to convulse and purge.

 But none the less,  I love Garlic (that's how I started this blog right?)  All kinds of Garlic--roasted, marinated, whole, etc.  I have become obsessed with this quinoa.    I have to say I stole part of this recipe from Lisa Curl,  when she took the quinoa I made and transformed it with garlic chunks.  My whole life I've been mincing garlic.  This recipe allows you to cut garlic in half and just throw it in.  You can make any kind of quinoa variation of this,  as long as you start with butter and garlic.  This specific golden quinoa is Greek, to pair well with this chicken.

At work Tuesday night I was discussing with some people that instead of making a salad on my own I'd be willing to pay 15 dollars for someone else to make it.  I hate getting all the ingredients together and chopping.  It's not for me.  Pat's Pizzeria makes a mean Pat's Cup Salad and every diner this side of the Mason Dixon line makes a fabulous Greek Salad.  This meal is inspired by he classic diner Greek Salad.

Greek Chicken and Golden Greek Quinoa
Prep: 20 minutes, 3 hour marinating
Cook: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients for the Chicken:
1 lb chicken breast, cut into chunks
1/2 tbsp Oregano
1/2 tbsp Thyme
1/2 tbsp Parsley
1/2 tbsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tbsp Onion Powder
Pinch of salt
2 tsp oil, divided

Ingredients for the Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
6 garlic cloves,  peeled and cut in half with the ends removed
2 tbsp butter pads, divided
1/4 cup, or about 8 pitted Kalamata olives cut in half
Spray Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
Feta cheese for serving
Lemon for Garnish

1.  First clean and cut your chicken into chunks.
2. Place into a ziplock bag.  Place all herb ingredients into the bag with the chicken and add 1 tsp of olive oil.  
3. Seal the bag and shake well mixing the chicken around.
4. Place the bag into the fridge and marinate for 3 hours or over night.
5.  About a half hour before you plan to serve the chicken cook the Quinoa according to the package directions.
6.  Once the quinoa is done, move into a a separate bowl.
5.  Using the same pot you cooked the quinoa in turn the heat to medium high and melt 1 tbsp of butter.
6.  Throw in the garlic and stir frequently, to keep it from burning.
7.  Throw in the Kalamata olives and continue to mix.
8. Once the garlic and olives have mixed well together and softened, about 3-4 minutes, put the quinoa back into the pot.   
9.  Melt the remaining butter into the quinoa and Greek mixture, allowing the quinoa to get golden brown as it continues to cook.  Remember to keep stirring so that it does not burn, but turns a golden brown color.  This could take about 10 minutes.  Time intensive, but well worth it!  When done,  remove from heat and put  a lid on the quinoa to keep it warm.  This quinoa is best served warm, not hot as hell.
10.  For the chicken,  spray olive oil or coconut oil in a cast iron skillet and heat over medium high heat.
11.  Allow the pan to heat for about 5-7 minutes until searing hot.
12.  Throw the chicken in, and do not move it.  Allow it to get brown each side,  about 5-7 minutes.  The less you move it the more it will have that seared crunchy seared crust that we love about diner chicken.  Add the remaining tsp of olive if needed,  to loosen the chicken up.
13. Serve four ounces of chicken, with 1/2 cup of quinoa.  Garnish quinoa with lemon and sprinkle with feta cheese.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Cajun Cod, literally the worlds easiest fish dish

This is by far the easiest recipe you will ever get me to post.   It's so simple,  I feel like my best friend Holly could make it.  The again,  you should see what she does to potatoes when she tries to roast them.  This is my go to "I don't friggan feel like it meal".  Super quick and easy, and requires little effort or give a damn. 

Cod fluctuates when it goes on sale in super markets.  If it's $8.99 a pound at Shop Rite,  then it's $5.99 at ACME.   Then, it will flop.  The next week it will be $5.99 at Shop Rite and $8.99 or so at ACME.  Get it when it's on sale.  Cod is a rather bland fish, so you need to jazzzzzzieeee it up.   Don't hold back with spices for cod,  go all festival food on it.  You know,  get jazzzzzyyyyy with it.

When I was a kid, my dad rarely served fish.  We sometimes had nights where he'd get fried shrimp from the local fish monger (what's that even mean?) and we'd chow down on those bad boys.  When he did make fish, it was cod or flounder.  And it was made almost exactly like this.

Cajun Cod
Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time:  12-15 minutes
ingServes: 2

1 pound Cod, or other light white fish
1 whole lemon, jucied
1 1/2 tbsp Cajun Seasoning (I prefer McCormick or Mrs. Dash)
1 tsp Paprika
1 1/2 tbsp butter, divided
Salt and pepper for seasoning

1.  Turn your oven onto broil, on high.
2. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, for easy clean up.
3. Completely dry your cod with paper towels.
4. Juice one whole lemon over the cod once it's on the baking sheet.
5.  Mix paprika, cajun seasoning, and salt and pepper pinches in a bowl.
6.  Season entire fish.
7.  Cut butter into chunks and spread out on top of fish at various locations.

8.  Broil for 12-15 minutes.  Garnish with lemon and serve :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An Interview with a Crossfitter

     An Interview with a Crossfitter: 
 Meet Justin Vee

    Aside from posting recipes, and antidotes about Zombies I'd like to start interviewing people who inspire me.  I'd like to start with the person who is has been one of the most influential people in my Crossfit career.  Meet,  Justin Vee. 

Born:  May 31, 1989

Hometown: Swedesboro,  NJ
Employment:  Godwin Pumps, Crossfit Solstice (Crossfit Solstice Website)
Most Resembles:  Rich Froning

     The reason I chose to start with Justin is because no matter what, he is nothing but enthusiastic toward his fellow Crossfitters.  We could do a serious burner of a workout that would make the devil run back to hell,  and while everyone is assed out on the mats Justin is walking around panting giving everyone fist pounds and telling them good job.  He is the go to person when looking to have a movement broken down, because he simply does not get frustrated.  When I was trying to figure out double unders, he stood there with me for 2 hours.  When I felt like screaming F this, he'd tell me to take a break and start over.  He never gets frustrated or gives up-- which is admirable since I give up on myself daily .  He just breathes and teaches.  I learned double unders and squat cleans from him (which happen to be my new addiction).

    Now before we get too far into this,  he's taken ladies.  His girlfriends name is Julie and she is an absolute doll.  So put your fangs away....

I'd like to introduce, Justin Vee, in his own words.

Q: How long have you been involved in CrossFit?  

Justin: 6/27/2011 was my first wod, which oddly enough was 3 years ago today! {responses written on date}

Q: What made you join CrossFit?


Justin:  I was a typical bodybuilding gym rat back in the day. I had just got hired at my new job at Godwin Pumps where I met my coworker Ron Orbin. Both being into fitness, Ron would tell me about CrossFit and I would occasionally get to see him do some “wods” in our local gym. They looked brutal, but I was up for the challenge.  A few weeks later I had my first wod in his buddy’s garage near where I lived (Adams Griscom's house-- Co-owner Crossfit Solstice) and I was hooked ever since.

Q: What made you want to become a Certified CrossFit Coach?

Justin: I honestly had no intentions on becoming a coach, Adam and Ron were full force with starting Solstice (Solstice Website)  and they needed another coach to fill in the time gaps  for a full schedule. I was very nervous and wanted to coach as little as possible. A lot has changed since then; today I can honestly say coaching is what I am most passionate about even over training. My certification was one of the best things to ever happen to me.

Q: What makes you continue to CrossFit?


Justin: The pursuit of excellence, I just want to be better all the time. Whether it’s running, lifting, conditioning or coaching. When I get done doing something I always think about how I could have done it better. I am my own worst critic and that keeps me working.

Q: What gains or changes have you seen in yourself since beginning CrossFit?


Justin: The physical gains are a given, I am the strongest I have ever been and my conditioning has increased dramatically, though I have a LOT of work to do, I look forward to the journey. Looking past the physical stuff, CrossFit has had the biggest effect on my work ethic. I have done things I never thought I could do, I am a firm believer that you can achieve damn near anything if you work hard enough.

In the article “Crossfit: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” author Mark Rippetoe  states “CrossFit is a random exposure to a variety of different movements at different intensities, most of which are done for time, i.e. as many reps as possible in a stipulated time period or a stipulated number of reps done as fast as possible.  As such, it is Exercise, not Training, since it is random, and Training requires that we plan what we are going to do to get ready for a specific task.” (Source: http://www.t-nation.com/training/crossfit-the-good-bad-and-the-ugly)

Q: How would you respond to this? Do you feel the members at your gym are

trained and given a purpose for a workout before completing one?


Justin: The programing at CrossFit Solstice is designed to improve the 10 general physical skills (Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance and Accuracy). Having said that, programing can be fine-tuned for those who have specific goals, so someone looking to improve their 5k time could benefit from different programing then someone looking to prepare for a strongman competition, and we are here to help them achieve their goal, that’s what it’s all about. So whether you are looking to just get in shape or you are specifically training for an event,  CrossFit Solstice can help.

In this same article Rippetoe cites “Any organization which grows this fast will have problems. Among the more serious problems that CrossFit has are the injuries. Shoulders, Achilles tendons, rhabdomyolysis, and all the other things that are the potential result of overtraining an athlete who cannot continue to adapt to randomly applied and sometimes very intense physical stress. These are potentially life-altering exposures to needless trauma that can be prevented by  not doing stupid shit to people who don't know any better than to do what they're told.” ((Source: http://www.t-nation.com/training/crossfit-the-good-bad-and-the-ugly)

Q: What would you say CrossFit Solstice does with its members to avoid these

injuries from happening?


Justin: It comes down to the coaches. The coach needs to be able to find the fault in not only the movements but they need to be able to measure the 10 physical skills of an athlete before presenting them with a task. The first coaches of Solstice spent a lot of time in the CrossFit world before opening Solstice, pulling as much information from other resources as possible. We have learned a lot and continue to learn every day. Today we are fortunate to have our own members who became so in love with  CrossFit that went and got there CFL1 {certification} and are now parts of our coaching staff. Each new coach spends a few weeks shadowing classes where we break down the fundamentals of coaching and scaling for our members. I believe this is the best way to keep these injuries from happening, having knowledgeable and passionate coaches.

In the article: “Crossfit: Too much of a Good Thing is Definitely Bad” the author Ken Reed says”There's that infamous CrossFit group peer pressure. It's almost a cult-like phenomenon, and I think a lot of members don't want to rock the boat by saying anything against the program for fear of looking weak. Others have simply swallowed so much grape Kool-Aid that they can no longer think objectively, in my opinion. (Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ken-reed/crossfit_b_4666040.html )

Q: What would you say to the critics claiming CrossFit is a “Cult”?

Justin: It is like a cult, and if you don’t like cults then it’s probably not for you.

Q: A lot of people who support CrossFit speak about the community which comes along with being a member of a CrossFit Gym—what does community look like in your gym?

Justin: It’s so great to follow up with someone after they try a free class or there first onramp session and hear them say “the people are awesome “.They truly love this stuff and they cannot wait to share it with someone else. It’s incredible to watch people meet for the first time, do a few wods together then a few weeks later they are damn near best friends. I have witnessed so many relationships build at Solstice, I am just so happy to be a part of it.

Q: What would you say to someone who was interested in trying CrossFit for the first time:

Justin: Christmas Abbot said once “just give it a try and if it doesn't work out then I am a firm believer that you try it again just in-case.” I like that.

Q: Can anyone join CrossFit?


Justin: Yes absolutely, BUT it’s not what everyone is looking for and that’s OKAY. CrossFit is for anyone, but not for everyone.

Stay Tuned for my next interview:  Talia Giordano,  Crossfit Novem (Philadelphia, PA)