It’s been nearly six months since the Safer at Home orders encouraged us to shelter in place. While so much has been lost, one basically universal benefit is we’re all getting tons of cooking/baking practice. I’ve been channeling my queen Julia Child, or at least pretending to as much as you can while eating dairy and gluten-free French food.
I love to cook. I have an Associate’s degree in culinary arts, have worked in multiple restaurants, and was even an Executive Chef of a meal prep company for 18 months. Food is life and my creative outlet. I’d venture to say my innovation or lack thereof in the kitchen rather accurately mirrors my level of mental health. I go through phases of inspiration and drought in the kitchen. I’m sure you do, too.
In needing some artistic assistance, I reached out to a few athletes to spice up my menu. They delivered. I can’t wait to try Falyn’s Crisp and Melissa’s Vegan Banana Bread for Christmas. I’m definitely trying Kyle Friend’s Asian Noodle Salad before summer is over. And for your sake, I’m including my favorite quarantine find.
Let’s start with breakfast and work our way through the day.
Mark Schuermann’s Breakfast Bowl of Goodness
The incredibly complex “recipe” I’ve chosen to bless you all with combines three of my favorite things; breakfast, leftovers, and chips + salsa. When I get up in the morning, I want coffee. Shortly after americano number two, I want to eat. But I DON’T want to think about it. So here ya go…
Gluten-Free (GF); Dairy-Free (DF); Soy-Free (SF); Nut-Free (NF)
Cook Time: 5-10 minutes
- 2-3 eggs
- 4-12 oz. of leftover meat from the previous night’s dinner
- Plenty of SPG (salt, pepper, garlic…always)
- 2 large handfuls of tortilla chips (preferably blue corn Trader Joe’s)
- A generous amount of Salsa (keeping 7-8 kinds in the fridge provides some nice daily variation)
- Half an avocado
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- Throw last night’s meat on a medium frying pan over medium heat.
- While that warms up, line a large cereal bowl with the tortilla chips. This is a perfect opportunity to use the bottom-of-the-bag crumbles. Full size, intact chips are not necessary.
- Once the meat’s had a good sizzle going for a couple of minutes, throw in the olive oil to prep the pan for eggs.
- Release the Kraken. I mean…crack the eggs into the pan. Add the SPG and scramble as you see fit.
- Scoop the glorious concoction over the chips, drizzle/cover with salsa, and finish with the avocado.
Serving Suggestion: Eat with a spoon. This helps ensure you get crumbled tortilla chips in every bite. You’re welcome.
Melissa Humana-Paredes’ Chocolate Chip Vegan Banana Bread
Banana bread was all the rage during quarantine and for a good reason! It kept me sane and happy; the process of baking is therapeutic. Put on some good tunes, whisk ingredients together and have a dance party while you wait for the banana bread to bake. Then treat yourself! Perfect for breakfast with a dollop of yogurt, great as a snack with some PB or in the evening with a cup of tea. Also, a great treat to gift to a friend. So versatile!
Vegan & GF
Serves: 12 people (6-8 athletes)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
- 1⅓ cups overripe bananas mashed (about 3 medium bananas)
- ¼ cup dairy-free milk of choice
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup nut butter
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons flax meal
- 1 cup gluten-free flour of choice
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup chocolate chunks or chips
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8.5” x 4.5″ loaf pan (you can also use a 9×5” pan) with coconut oil and/or line with parchment paper.
- Place bananas in a large mixing bowl. Use a potato masher or fork to mash them well. Add almond milk, coconut sugar, nut butter, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and flax meal, stirring to combine.
- Add oat flour, almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir until combined. Fold in chocolate chunks.
- Pour into loaf pan. Add a sliced banana and/or more chocolate chips on top.
- Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until a knife comes out clean. If your loaf looks like it’s getting too brown, tent with tin foil on top after 50 minutes. If you’re using a 9×5” pan, check on the banana bread after 40-45 minutes.
- Once done, let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
Kim Smith’s Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Mango and Guacamole
This meal revived my spirits. It’s so simple and undeniably delicious – I’ve made it for my family of 14, for a date night, and for myself to have leftovers throughout the week. It’s a marriage of some of my favorite ingredients and not too heavy a blow on the pocketbook.
GF; DF; SF; NF
Serves: 4 adults (2-3 athletes)
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 lb shrimp
- 1 cup of dry rice
- 1 mango (frozen if you don’t want to cut a mango)
- 1 avocado (tender, ready to mash. 2 avocados if you love them [like I do])
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4 limes
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder
- Cook your rice first by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil, add the rice, bring to a simmer, turn heat almost all the way down, stir occasionally, and leave the lid on until all the water absorbs.
- While the rice cooks, dice your mango by cutting the skins off vertically, and then cutting as much tender flesh off (sounds so Silence of the Lambs, sorry), and dicing into small pieces.
- Mince the entire bunch of cilantro.
- Open the avocado and smash with a little salt, pepper, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice.
- When the rice is almost done, throw the shrimp on a skillet at med-high. Cook until pink.
- In a small blender, combine the cilantro, 1/3 cup of olive oil, and 3 limes. You may need more olive oil if it’s too sour.
- Pour roughly 2/3 the mixture in with the shrimp. Pour the rest in with the cooked rice. Fluff the rice with a fork and add salt, pepper, garlic, and maybe more lime juice to taste.
- Serve with all the elements separated on the plate for gorgeous color. Watch your friends salivate as they congratulate and celebrate your culinary prowess.
Kyle Friend’s Asian Noodle Salad
I love this meal because it is simple and easy to make. It just takes some time to chop all the tasty vegetables. I recommend starting your noodles and then chopping your veggies while they cook. I found this recipe during our recent heatwave, and I’ve been adding to it each time I make it. I wanted something cool and refreshing during these super hot days and this hits the spot! Make it vegan by removing the chicken and adding tofu or your favorite plant-based protein! Get your knives out and start chopping!
DF; NF; Can be made Vegan
Serves: 5 people (3-4 athletes)
Prep time: 1 hour
- 8oz brown rice (Ramen) noodles (OR spaghetti of your choice, I recommend chickpea or wheat)
- 1 1/2 lb chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- Red chili flakes to taste
- 2 cups finely shredded (red) cabbage
- 1 large carrot, Julienne peeled into strips/noodles
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 radish, thinly sliced
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1 diced cucumber
- 1/2 a cup of edamame
- 5 servings of ginger soy vinaigrette (see recipe below)
- fresh cilantro
- sesame seeds
- green onion
- Cook noodles according to instructions given, then set aside in a bowl.
- Set a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Once hot, spray with a little oil. Add diced chicken breasts. While the chicken cooks in the skillet, sprinkle in soy sauce, and red pepper flakes if desired. Toss the chicken and cook it through, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- To a large bowl, add the cooled and cooked noodles along with the ingredients for the salad. Gently toss and mix everything together.
- Add a little dressing (see below) and gently toss together. Add the chicken or any other protein you wish to use and toss together.
- For each individual serving, add more dressing to taste. WARNING: If you mix it all and do not eat it that night, your crispy veggies will get soggy.
- Garnish and enjoy!
Sweet & Spicy Ginger Soy Vinaigrette
10 servings – makes about 1 1/4 cups; 1 serving = 2 tablespoons
- 5 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar (or less/more to taste)
- 2 tablespoons sriracha (or red chili garlic sauce)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced or paste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger (or more/less to taste)
- 1 tablespoon honey (or agave or coconut sugar)
- 1/4 cup avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Juice from 1 lime
Falyn Fonoimoana’s Berry Crisp
This dessert has been in my family for a little over ten years. A family friend made one for us, and since then, we’ve made it for almost every holiday. It’s a combination of a sweet treat, healthy ingredients, and light on the tummy.
Serves: 6 people (3-4 athletes)
Cook time: 1 hour
- Graham Cracker Crust (store-bought is fine)
- Organic Butter
- Graham Crackers
- Organic Brown Sugar
- Frozen Berry Package (20-30oz of Blackberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, or a combo)
- Organic Flour (I use Almond Flour)
- Fresh Lemon
- Grab a large pan and put the stove on medium heat. Then drop one stick of the organic butter inside to melt. Once the butter is melted but not browned put the whole package of berries inside the pan.
- Stir the berries every couple of minutes until you start to see a juice form. Add one tablespoon of your flour to the berries. Continue to stir till you see that the berries have thickened. Add the lemon once the sauce thickens. Takes about 20 minutes
- Turn on the oven at 3500. Then throw the Graham Cracker crust inside the oven for about 8-10 minutes to brown.
- Grab another stick of butter and cut it in half. Then melt it in a pan. Grab about two packages of Graham Crackers which should be about 8 graham crackers. Put the Graham Crackers in a Large Ziplock and use your fist to roughly crush them to your liking.
- Now to make the topping. Grab a medium-size bowl and put in the Graham Crackers and butter. Make sure that the butter coats the Graham Cracker and then add a pinch of cinnamon.
- Keep your oven on at 350. Slowly put the berry filling into the Graham Cracker crust. you should have some room between the top of the crust to the top of the tin of the crust to add your Graham Cracker crust.
- Put the Crisp in the oven for 20 minutes, until you see the top crisp.
- Enjoy by itself or with some ice cream.