I am pinching myself in disbelief as I write. What an honor it is to be a part of such an amazing and talented editorial team. For someone who didn’t even know how to crack an egg until the age of 20 and relied on foods that came in cardboard boxes for sustenance, I sure have come a long way. I am now on the road to becoming a RD (starting my 10 month internship in August!!) and spend most of my free time cooking and sharing recipes on my blog. Healthy and mindful eating literally saved my life so how could I not be passionate?
The feature I will be covering each month is “Make-Ahead Meals.” Although it’s just my husband and I, because we only dine out once a week, it always feels like I’m cooking for an army. I do most of my prep work and cook at least 2 main dishes on Sunday to rotate through during the busy weekdays. In the beginning, getting into the habit of menu planning, grocery shopping, and cooking in advance was extremely daunting and time-consuming. However, after a couple of months, it became part of my routine – familiar and natural. I’ve also become more efficient, and now come Sunday, it’s easy to confuse me for a robot, chopping, boiling, sautéing…and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I mean I enjoy kicking back with a bowl of cereal every now and then, but there’s nothing that comforts me more after a long day than a nourishing and satisfying home-cooked meal that can be prepared in less than10 minutes. I can do it and so can you!
When meal planning, I pick 1 (or 2) dish(es) that can serve double or even triple duty during the week. This past week, I made Chicken Bulgogi.
If you are not familiar, bulgogi, grilled marinated beef, is one of the most well known Korean dishes. Instead of beef, I marinated chicken as my husband and I are trying to cut back on red meat. I used a combination of chicken breast and thighs, skinless of course. If you prefer beef, the two most popular cuts used are sirloin and ribeye. Here’s a tip: Freeze the meat several hours prior to slicing as this will make it easier to get thin, even slices.
As for the marinade, it couldn’t be simpler - Throw all the ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Kiwi is added to tenderize the meat and to provide natural sweetness.
In a large bowl, add the chicken, marinade, sliced onions and carrots. While the addition of carrots is far from traditional, it’s a must for me. Massage everything thoroughly. The more love you give, the more you shall receive. That’s how it usually works, right? I wear a glove for this, as I’m not a fan of touching raw poultry. Either that or I thoughtfully hand the duty over to my husband.
At this point, all that’s left is to let the meat marinate in the fridge for 30min-4 hours, and then you’re ready to grill! Here’s another tip: Double the recipe and you can freeze what you don’t cook (with the marinade and all) in individual freezer-safe ziploc bags to enjoy in the future.
Here are some suggestions as to how you can enjoy this savory and sweet, freezer-friendly, Korean classic: You can make lettuce wraps for a low-carb meal. Or combine with whole grains. Here I made quinoa bowls with veggies that desperately needed saving.
You can also add it to make burritos, quesadillas, pizza, salad…told you this was a versatile recipe! Make the bulgogi ahead of time, and once cooked, it stays good in the fridge for up to a week. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my husband and I do .
- 1 Ib. chicken breast and thighs
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tbs sugar
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ kiwi
- 1 med yellow onion (1/4 used for the marinade, the rest slice thinly)
- 1 Tbs mirin
- 1 Tbs sesame oil
- 1 med carrot, julienned
- Green onion for garnish
Slice chicken thinly and evenly. Combine marinade ingredients in blender (or food processor) and puree until smooth. In a large bowl, add chicken, marinade, onion slices and carrots. Massage meat thoroughly, cover, and marinate for at least 30 minutes in fridge.
Preheat skillet or grill pan over med high heat. Cook chicken and veggies until cooked through and caramelized. Be sure to add more marinade if the pan gets too dry (in the end, the marinade should be all used up).
Garnish with chopped green onion when serving.
Serve as lettuce wraps, over quinoa with veggies, as the filling for burritos or quesadillas, or a topping for pizza or salad.