Sleepy Chicken can put you to sleep — permanently! Don’t try this ridiculous TikTok trend

Phil Lempert, who bills himself as the Supermarket Guru, is a long-time observer of the food scene. I regularly watch his podcasts and check his site (we also knew each other from our days of covering the same food conferences, etc.). I was stunned by one of his recent posts, about a TikTok food recipe called Sleepy Chicken.

Apparently, Sleepy Chicken has been out there for a while and is endangering anyone who tries it. It calls for marinating chicken in NyQuil and then cooking it for only 30 minutes.

Sleepy chicken — put this recipe to bed, permanently.

There are so many things wrong with this; the NyQuil can harm you when it heats up, apparently, and the chicken will likely be severely under-cooked, leaving open the possibility of salmonella and other food-borne illnesses that could kill you.

“Simply put, this is absolutely not a safe way to consume either chicken or cold and flu medication,” Eatthis.com reports a nutritionist warns.

Do you know what 2,000 calories look like? I’m guessing no, so read on

Everyone has likely seen it somewhere, either on a food label or on a restaurant nutrition page — portions and everything else to do with our daily nutritional intake are calculated on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet. But I doubt most people realize just how few calories that is compared to what average Americans eat every day.

The FoodNetwork.com meal plan involves a lot of food in bowls, not sure why. Photo by Polina Tankilevitch:

So here’s a great piece to read from FoodNework.com, What Does 2,000 Calories Look Like? Use it as a companion piece to something I wrote, Picturing 1,500 calories a day; it’s not much. Generally, women are advised to eat 1,500 calories a day while men get 2,000.

The FoodNetwork.com piece has menus that will put you at the 2,000-calorie mark, whether you eat meat or not, which is handy if you cook for a family with members on different diets.

There’s a lot on these menus I wouldn’t touch, but hopefully you’ll find some items you like and can add to your recipe list.

Pork Chops? Yes, they can be low-salt, low-fat too

Pork chops are not normally something I cook at home but I when I recently saw some on sale at Whole Foods, I decided to see if I could create a low-salt, low-fat pork chop dish.

The chops themselves had only 3 grams of fat per four-ounces, an acceptable amount. But with meat that lean, you need to add flavor. Most pork chops in stores don’t have nutritional labels. Because these were branded, however, they did, which helped me decide to buy them.

For flavor, I turned to LocalFolks salt-free, low-sugar barbecue sauce, a favorite ingredient of mine.

You can watch how I prepared them in the video below.

If you prefer reading it, simply oil a pan with olive oil, add the pork chops, baste them with the sauce and cook until an internal temp of 145 degrees.

The temperature you cook at will depend on where you’re cooking these, in an oven or on an outdoor grill, so I use internal temp as the indicator they’re done. Normally you would aim for 375 to 400 degrees as a cooking temp.

Warning, never eat pork if it is still red or pink in the middle, that means it still needs more cooking.

July 4th’s gone, but Labor Day is jsuta round the corner — here are some Labor Day side dish ideas

You can tell I’ve been holding onto this piece for a few months, 4th of July Sides from CookingLight.com. It’s early August as I write this and Labor Day is looming at the next big family cookout day, so why not take a look at some of these for that meal?

A simple approach, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and wonderful olive oil.
A simple side dish, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and wonderful olive oil.

As always, be careful about salt, fat and sugar content. Just because a dish makes it into a magazine that’s talking about “light” cooking, whatever that is, does not mean it is watching salt, fat or sugar content.

A recipe like Creamy Black Pepper Coleslaw has fat and salt in it. Not a lot you might say. But think of it as one part of your larger meal, the salt and fat can add up fast at a traditional American cookout.

I’m more likely to make sides with things I’ve grown during the summer, like tomatoes and green beans. Check out these side dishes I’ve written about in the past.

Who to watch for food info on TikTok

TikTok is doing more than dance videos these days, apparently. A new study by online review platform Meal Delivery Experts has pinned down the top food influencers on TikTok.

Emily Mariko

The number of followers each of these have (see the table below) is truly impressive. The rankings were determined by the number of followers and likes each has.

“What is interesting is that each of them has a different style, and sometimes concentrate on very different topics. If Emily Mariko and Amaury Guichon are quiet, straight to the point and all about ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response, or basically, low-grade euphoria), Gianluca Conte and Dylan Hollis like it loud and funny, making sure there’s a creator for any taste – pun intended,” says a Meal Delivery Experts spokesperson in a release on the study.

Continue reading “Who to watch for food info on TikTok”

A summer grilling treat — Honey-Mustard Turkey Burgers

Turkey burgers are a great low-fat grilling alternative to high-fat burgers, especially if you look for the leanest possible ground turkey. This sounds like a tasty recipe for adding flavor, a honey-mustard grilled turkey burgers from EatingWell.com.

Turkey burger in a lettuce wrap with low-salt, low-sugar ketchup.
Turkey burger in a lettuce wrap with low-salt, low-sugar ketchup.

The details, along with my notes on how to further cut salt, fat and sugar:

Continue reading “A summer grilling treat — Honey-Mustard Turkey Burgers”

13 cucumber salad recipes just in time for July 4th

My grilled artichoke, along with corn, cucumber salad and tomato salad.
My basic cucumber salad.

Cucumber salads are a staple of my kitchen. You can find a variety of recipes for them on my No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar Journal. I thought I knew all the ways to make one until I saw this piece, 13 Easy Cucumber Salads on Eatingwell.com.

Cucumbers with avocado? It’s here. A Japanese cucumber salad? Here too.

One caveat, some of these recipes involve cream or other non-heart healthy ingrteidnetds. Avoid those. As always, avoid salt. fat and sugar. A wonderful, refreshing cucumber salad doesn’t need those to be tasty.

Happy 4th of July. Stay safe, Covid may be fading but it’s still among us.

Healthier Baked Goods? Possible, if you can do the math

Some holiday cupcakes I made last Christmas. One of my few times baking.

Baked goods like chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, eclairs, the list goes on, are the hardest thing for me to give up as I try to stay on a low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet. Truth is that, especially during the pandemic, I turned to cakes for solace. So I was intrigued by this piece offering a healthier way to bake.

The Cooking Light piece talks about how an award-winning chef reduced the sugar content of various cookies. There’s math and weighing your ingredients involved, but if done correctly you can cut half to 75% of the sugar a recipe calls for.

I find baking a little too much like chemistry, so I normally buy my baked goods already baked. But perhaps I can talk my wife into trying this and report back here. Stay tuned.

For our non-meat-eating friends — veggie fajitas

Fajitas have become a go-to recipe for me after discovering that Mrs. Dash offers a salt-free fajita spice mix. I’ve written about making turkey fajitas as creative use of Thanksgiving leftovers, for example.

Building our turkey fajitas.

So I enjoyed seeing his recipe for veggie fajitas on recipewonderland.com. It includes peppers and onions. Just substitute the Mrs. Dash for the taco seasoning called for in the recipe and you have a tasty dish that’s also low in salt.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 large bell peppers (any color), seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning (use salt-free Mrs Dash fajita spices)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 8 medium flour or corn tortillas

Cooking directions:

  • In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the sliced bell peppers and sliced onions. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Be sure to toss so everything cooks evenly.
  • Add taco seasoning, garlic powder, water and toss. Cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove from skillet and place on top of tortillas.
  • Serve with any desired toppings and sides.

I’d add a salt-free taco sauce, as you can see in my photo here.

A simple eggplant recipe to spice up your summer grilling season

Eggplant is a favorite of mine, although I would touch it when I was a kid in an Italian-American family that made it often, usually breaded and fried or baked. My tastes these days tend to like it grilled, as I’ve written about before, so this simple recipe from lovelyfoodblog.com seems a winner.

Another fun place for eggplant, pasta with tomatoes and eggplants

The ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper (leave off the salt)

Prep is simple as well:

  • Slice the eggplant into pieces
  • Combine the oil, vinegar, garlic herbs, salt and pepper. Let it sit to absorb the flavors for about 15 minutes
  • Brush eggplant with oil and herb mixture all over, ensuring that the herbs get distributed well.
  • Place on a lightly greased grill and grill for about 15-20 minutes, flipping half way through.
  • Mix with olive oil and garlic. Then let the flavors blend for about 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

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