The Simply Luxurious Life®: Kitchen Therapy  

February 2, 2010

Kitchen Therapy

We’ve all heard and been advised that letting stress build up without releasing it is unhealthy in a variety of facets in our lives.  It can affect our heart, our emotional stability, or even our ability to find a  peaceful state of mind.

So what are some healthy ways of releasing it, letting it go in a productive manner?  Hopefully you have many avenues that you can choose from when a stressful day, situation or time presents itself. One of my “therapists” shall we call them, is exercise.  I just put on my walking shoes and walk like a woman on a mission.  Not only does this relieve my stress, but it makes my dogs’ day – a twofer! 
Something else I find that helps is yanking weeds out of my yard.  Just that motion of aggression, which in this context is a positive action, creates such a healthy release of stress. 
And one of my favorite “therapists” that not only helps my budget at times, but also lowers my stress level is cooking.  The satisfaction that is derived from creating a meal from scratch is a simple, yet cathartic pastime to partake in. 

(Courtesy of Raghill Social)
Yes, making the decision of what to prepare can sometimes be an obstacle that is irritating, but once the decision is made, the rest is utterly enjoyable to me, even the grocery shopping.  Now I am one of those people who in the creative stages envisions the most decadent meal and imagines the end product of what I am about to concoct in my kitchen to rival that of the revered Julia Child.  This, I must confess, (I’m about to shock you, I know) is still only in the dream stages, but it is enough to inspire me and propel my grocery cart around the store, looking for just the right ingredients that will create the most succulent flavor and savory smell my palate has ever enjoyed. After all, if I can have control over the meal I am creating, at least I am in control of something! You get the idea.

Just last night, I was craving comfort for no other reason than I was exhausted, good exhausted mind you, but exhausted all the same. Hoping to also come up with a meal that was somewhat healthy, I reached for a recipe I could depend on. 

Just this last summer I happened to be watching Rachael Ray’s talk show, and she made the most creative, yet simple dish that I just had to try.  Chicken Caesar Pasta. Yumo!

This is a dish that is all inclusive – carbs, veggies, protein and probably a bit more fat than is desired, but remember what part of the objective was – comfort food!   I have served it warm and cold, and both are just as tasty.  And quick . . . oh my goodness, less than thirty minutes and you have yourself a meal for at least four people. 

Just out of curiosity (because we can never have enough ways to de-stress) what are some of the best ways you’ve found to unburden your worries?  I would love to hear from you. Hopefully this day is full of appreciation for all that you do, because we all know it feels good to hear a genuine thank you. What not get the ball rolling by letting, pay it forward so to speak. Here’s to a wonderful day!
Ingredients
  • Salt
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigano Reggiano
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, finely chopped
Preparation
Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring up to a boil to cook the pasta. Once at a boil, add some salt and the pasta, and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Right before draining, remove and reserve 1 cup of the pasta-cooking water. Drain pasta thoroughly, return to the pot and reserve.

Step

While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Season the chicken with salt and ground black pepper, and cook in the pan until golden brown and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside. When cool enough to handle, chop into bite-size pieces.

Step

While chicken is cooking, place the egg yolk, Dijon, Worcestershire, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor with some salt and pepper. Pulse the processor while drizzling in the canola oil. Add the sauce to the pan of cooked pasta along with the Parmigiano Reggiano and reserved cup of pasta water.

Return the pan to medium-low heat and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the pasta is coated in sauce, about a minute. Remove from the heat, toss with the lettuce and chopped chicken, and serve.

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3 Comments:

At February 3, 2010 at 6:43 AM , Blogger escapade said...

This sounds delicious + loved your stress busting tips! (will have to put some to use!)

 
At February 3, 2010 at 11:26 AM , Blogger Struggler said...

Would never have thought that the Caesar concept could be a hot dish! Comfort food indeed!
Like you, getting out in the fresh air is a wonderful de-stresser. I love to run, but walking's fab too. Also, soothing music, lazy baths, even just curling up in a favorite spot with low lights and a favorite magazine will work for me. Oh yep, I go to yoga too, but to be honest, I do that more for the stretching than the de-stressing.

 
At April 19, 2010 at 4:57 PM , Anonymous Frances said...

Oh so loved your stress relievers...well, maybe not busting a move in walking but certainly in the garden and in the kitchen. Wonderful wonderful blog! Thank you.

 

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