INSTANT POT BBQ CHICKEN GRAIN BOWLS
Prep time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes Servings: 6to8
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Black pepper, to taste
1¼ cups barbecue sauce, plus more for topping
1 cup quinoa
1 avocado, sliced
1 large mango, cut into small cubes 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (remove seeds for less heat)
4 radishes, thinly sliced Chopped fresh cilantro, for topping
1. Combine the chicken, garlic, onion, ½ teaspoon salt, a few grinds of pepper and ¼ cup water in a 6-quart Instant Pot. Pour in the barbecue sauce.
2. Put on and lock the lid, making sure the steam valve is in the sealing position. Set the pot to pressure-cook on high for 15 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the steam valve to the venting position and release the remaining pressure. Unlock and remove the lid, being careful of any remaining steam.
3. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl and shred with two forks. Set the Instant Pot to sauté on high and cook the sauce until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the sauce to the chicken and toss.
4. Meanwhile, bring 2¼ cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low; simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
5. Scoop ½ cup quinoa into each bowl. Top with the chicken, avocado, mango, jalapeño, radishes and cilantro. Drizzle with more barbecue sauce.
Breakfast has long been called the most important meal of the day. It’s the first opportunity to fuel your body after an overnight without food, basically a fast. In addition, with the variety of options to eat, it’s an ideal chance to give your body its first dose of most, if not all, food groups, and the nutrients they provide.
Ready-to-eat cereal has been on American breakfast tables since the late 1800s. It’s shelf-stable, can be a good source of a variety of nutrients itself, but is also an ideal vessel to which milk and fruit can be added, thus boosting its nutrient-quotient. That’s not to say every type of cereal earns a spot in a healthy eating plan. Some cereals are notoriously high in added sugar, and/or low in nutrients.
Fortunately, with breakfast cereals taking up nearly an entire grocery store aisle, there are plenty of healthy options from which to choose.
Look for those with at least four grams of fiber to get you started on your recommended 28 grams a day. Aim to limit added sugar to no more than about 6 grams. That’s the equivalent of a teaspoon and a half of sugar. Keep in mind — the recommendations are no more than six teaspoons a day for women and nine teaspoons a day for men.
Before coronavirus arrived, Manish Mallick’s trips to the South Side had been limited to attending graduate classes at the University of Chicago.
Now Mallick is a South Side regular — and a popular one. He regularly arrives in Englewood bearing food from his Indian restaurant several miles to the north at 736 W Randolph.
“Thank you, sugar, for the meals. They’re so delicious!” one woman recently shouted to Mallick outside a South Side YWCA. He recorded her response on his phone to share it with his staff.
“God bless you!” she added, raising her arms for emphasis.
Mallick has personally delivered thousands of meals cooked and packed by his staff — among them, chickpea curry and tandoori chicken with roasted cottage cheese, sweet corn, peas and rice. Volunteers from neighborhood organizations then take them to children, retirees and the multitudes who’ve been laid off or fallen sick during the pandemic.
“We all need to help each other,” Mallick says. “That’s the best way to get through a crisis.”
His restaurant, ROOH Chicago, is one of more than 2,400 eateries, from New York City to Oakland, California, working with the non-profit World Central Kitchen to provide meals to the hungry. Traditionally, the organization has set up kitchens to feed people affected by natural disasters, such as Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in 2017.
Now the organization is focused on this current and enduring crisis and is paying restaurants $10 for every meal they provide to those in need. It is part of a larger effort bolstered by food banks and other non-profits, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is buying produce, meat and dairy products from farmers for its growing food box program. Many U.S. children also have been receiving meals provided by a large network of public and private sources at school pickup sites.
World Central Kitchen is among those that provide meals to schoolchildren. But its leaders are worried about their ability to sustain the effort in an extended crisis.
So they’re lobbying Congress to provide federal emergency funding to help bring the restaurant model to every state. The idea is to help not only the hungry, but also restaurant workers and farmers, who’ve been hard-hit by the impacts of the coronavirus.
“It’s a domino effect of impact,” says Nate Mook, CEO of World Central Kitchen, which was founded by chef Jose Andres and his wife, Patricia. They’ve tagged this latest response #ChefsForAmerica.
Mook says the longevity of this crisis requires federal aid, and he and others anticipate food insecurity worsening in the months to come as unemployment benefits end for some.
“We feel like this is the calm before the storm,” says Sherrie Tussler, executive director of the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee.
Tussler also is frustrated with the sometimes chaotic nature of donations in this current climate and the difficulty — partly due to social distancing — of determining the nature of people’s food emergencies. Rather than the government distributing food boxes, for instance, she supports increasing food stamp assistance, also known as SNAP, to ensure that those most in need are fed.
Either way, Verna Swan, a retired nurse who lives in Englewood and volunteers to deliver meals from ROOH and other restaurants, says the service is greatly appreciated. She and her 14-year-old nephew, Israel Swan, took meals to seniors in their neighborhood in recent days.
“We’re family. We look out for each other,” says Verna Swan, a volunteer for I Grow Chicago, an organization that serves the neighborhood, where she moved when she was 13 years old.
She says these meals also have connected the residents with new people and cultures. Several had never tasted Indian food before.
This is not how Mallick, a longtime tech executive, had envisioned things going last year, when he first opened ROOH, which specializes in what he calls progressive Indian cuisine. But he pivoted, first delivering meals to hospital staff when Chicago cases skyrocketed in the spring.
To survive, he has turned a parking lot next to his restaurant into an outdoor dining patio and beefed up delivery services. And he’s looking to grow his mission with World Central Kitchen, which also has enabled him to hire more kitchen staff.
“It’s a blessing,” he says.
With breakfast cereals taking up nearly an entire grocery store aisle, there are many varieties to choose from. Seek out healthier options whenever possible.
ROOH executive chef Sujan Sarkar prepares part of the 450 meals that owner Manish Mallick will deliver via I Grow Chicago in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.
Manish Mallick, owner of the Indian restaurant ROOH, poses for a portrait outside the West Loop restaurant in Chicago in July.