Wednesday, February 13, 2013

General Crack Chicken

Intriguing post title huh?  I will be getting to the life-changing, bone-shaking, mouth-watering  meal I made last night in a minute...


Do you ever have those days when you go to the gym and you're just not feeling it?  It happens to me every now and then, and it truly sucks because getting up at 5AM for a lame workout does not put a happy spin on my day.  I suppose I should be grateful that most of my gym sessions are balls-to-the-walls intense but leaving the gym Tuesday was a sad event after running out of time / wussing out of the tabata at the end.  I am not digging going in to work early twice a week because I refuse to get up earlier (anything before 5 is inhuman, sorry to the Coach who gets up at 4:15AM regularly), so I'm having to sacrifice my gym time.  Oh well, it's temporary!

So since I skipped out on my "assignment" Tuesday, I went in this morning with the goal of doing the whole tabata, as prescribed on the Coach's program.  So that's 20 seconds on / 10 seconds off alternating between battle ropes and rear-foot elevated split squats 6 times through, twice.  Ouch.  This is the end result:

It's probably hard to tell because of the dark shirt, but that is a serious full-body sweat right there.  As much as I hate these high intensity quick cardio sessions as they're happening, I know it's so worth it.  And I love how such a quick workout can be sooo intense.

At the end of most lifts I do some kind of complex or circuit in an interval format like today's tabata, known as a metabolic finisher.  It's an efficient way to jack up your heart rate and work harder for less time and get the same burn as hanging out on the elliptical for a while.  A metabolic finisher also allows you to take advantage of EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, also known as the "afterburn".  This basically means that your body will burn more calories afterwards, plus studies have shown that lifting weights and high-intensity interval training show significantly greater EPOC and can burn more subcutaneous fat than steady-state cardio.  So that's obviously pretty cool.  I got a lot of this information from badass fitness coach Neghar Fonooni--check out her post for more info and tips: Cardio Sucks!


OK now on to the good stuff.  I have made this General Tso's Chicken recipe before, but I made some changes last night and changed the cooking style up a bit and let me tell you, it was serious.  The Coach asked me if I put crack in the sauce (I didn't, but will now call this General Crack Chicken).  Told you: serious.  It did not make nearly enough food as the Coach probably would have liked, but as he told me, "quality over quantity".  It went like this:

General Crack Chicken
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced in to bite-sized pieces
cooking fat
1/2 cup coconut milk (from a can)
3 tablespoons low sodium tamari (aminos, soy, etc)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter
juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or sriracha if not limiting sugar)
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, grated with microplane

Heat cooking fat over medium-high heat in sauce pan, and saute chicken with salt and pepper.  Remember, don't move around the chicken too much--the more you let it stay put, the better it will sear and it will get a yummy brown crust.  While the chicken is cooking, get your sauce together in a separate bowl: mix together the tamari, vinegar, sunflower seed butter, lime, cayenne, garlic, and ginger (everything else except the coconut milk).  Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Next add the coconut milk to the pan and whisk it to get up the brown bits (it will bubble and sizzle).  Next add the sauce and whisk everything together and stir for about 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened.  Then just add in your chicken and mix together!  I steamed a bag of frozen broccoli and threw that in, but you could go with any vegetable you like.

Seriously, you must try this.  The sauce is salty and sweet at the same time with a really nice depth of flavor, considering the whole thing takes about 20 minutes to throw together.  I might have caught the Coach licking the pan.  Maybe.

Yay for us being halfway to the weekend!  We are enjoying some warmer temperatures in these parts (hit 40 today!) so I am getting excited that March is just around the bend...just a few more pesky weeks of Winter to survive until Spring!


  1. I see you always use chicken thighs and I curious why?

    1. Mostly because I think they taste significantly better. I have read that the thighs have more iron and zinc than chicken breasts, but the white meat has slightly more protein so it's a trade off. I also find that chicken thighs are much more forgiving in that if you overcook they're still edible, but I find dried out chicken breast really unappealing (and I find that it's often pretty dry). So for me, it's more of a flavor thing.

  2. I'm surprised not to see EPOC info courtesy of Julie Starr's rendition of cardiology...

  3. I made your crack chicken tonight for Brian. Very yummy, not a bite leftover! Thank you and keep the great dinner ideas coming!

  4. I'm glad you liked it! I realized that it doesn't really taste like General Tso's at all so I'm happy you enjoyed the fake out :)