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.

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