Chicken and Collard Greens

Whew.  It’s been a rough few days with a trip out of town for a funeral. I stayed at my mom’s house, and over the course of 3-4 days, lots of comfort food was consumed.   Two days ago, attempting to eat a bit healthier and avoid fast food, we decided to go to the grocery store & cook.

The closest grocery store was …. well… different from where I usually shop.  Let’s just say it was lacking in the types of things I like to cook and eat. Organics?  Ha!  Nope.  But don’t worry, there’s plenty of high fructose corn syrup, in every color of the rainbow!   And it made me a little mad.  Yeah, ok, it might not be a super fancy area.  But lots of the area is still zoned agricultural!   There’s an old guy selling collard greens down the street, from the side of the road.  This store could be a great location to buy local produce…. why not?  Instead, you can get plenty of processed junk food.  Yuck.

I am certain there are grocery stores in Miami that are just as much of a nutrition wasteland, but I guess I haven’t been to one in a really long time, because I forgot how little “real food” a store can contain.  At this point in the evening, it was glaringly apparent that I have become an insufferable food snob.

So, what did we find to cook (quickly)?  We settled on a big ol’ mess of collard greens, ears of corn, and chicken breast fillets.

Corn: Mom shucked and boiled the corn (no, corn is not “paleo” but I personally don’t experience any issues with it, and so I enjoy it on a limited basis when it’s fresh and in season).

Chicken: I had intended to “bread” it in a little coconut, and then bake it. The food-desert grocery store had NO unsweetened coconut.  It had no coconut flour. It only had stuff sugary enough to go inside an Almond Joy candy bar.   I got sliced almonds instead, and smashed them up. I added some seasonings, and then dredged each fillet in egg, and the almond crust, and baked them.  Not bad!

Collard Greens: The collard greens, I washed extra well (since they weren’t organic). I sauteed a chopped onion in a little butter and olive-oil blend, and mixed in the greens to wilt/steam a bit, covered.  My little brother makes collard greens & hog maws that take hours in the slow cooker. They’re a crowd favorite, but my “quick greens” only take a few minutes and work for me.  And the leftovers are good for a frittata.

So, what was learned from this experience?  1) Cooking food at home is more comforting than fast food.  2) Semi-healthy food can be purchased and enjoyed, even in a grocery store that thinks their clientele want access to a rainbow-variety of Fanta and frozen mystery-meatballs, and little else.  3) Collard greens, mmmmmm…….

Also, funerals are hard, especially funerals for people who are still young (yes, 69 is young), and vibrant. Love all of your loved-ones while you have the chance.

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