2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow)- sliced ¼ inch thick
4 jarred pepperoncini (drained & thinly sliced)
1 15-oz can of crushed tomatoes
½ tsp dried oregano
A pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Sprinkle the steak all over with ¼ tsp salt. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak & sear until browned, about 2 mins per side. Transfer to plate
Add garlic to skillet. Once it sizzles, add the onion & bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally until they soften slightly (roughly 4 mins). Add pepperoncini, tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes & ¾ cup of water. Stir to combine. Bring to a rapid simmer then nestle the steak in the sauce & simmer, turning once, until medium rare (roughly 7 mins).
Transfer the steak to a cutting board & let it rest for about 5 minutes. Continue simmering the sauce until thickened (roughly 3 more minutes)
Thinly slice the steak against the grain & divide among plates. Top with sauce & parsley.
Don’t get lost in chicken monotony! If you are like me, you find that chicken dishes make it to your plate 10x more than any other meat! I actually just recently saw a news report that suggested chicken has taken over as America’s meat, replacing “Beef, its whats for dinner.” Well, folks, today is the day to dive into the red meat in a new & fun way! I mean who doesn’t love a warm, juicy, sirloin??! A lot of people try to avoid red meat due to myths that it is not good for you. This just isn’t true. Red meat provides nutrients like iron & zinc that can help you maintain energy. It also supplies protein & amino acids that repair small muscle tears (aka- a great choice for all you athletes out there!) Red meat also is very helpful in raising your HDL cholesterol, which is cardioprotective & helps lower your bad cholesterol
What are you supposed to think when you wake up and half of your face isn’t working? That was the question one of my patients recently had to ask herself. When she smiled in the mirror, only the left side of her mouth went up. When she tried to close her eyes, only the left eye closed. And when she tried to lift her eyebrows, only the left eyebrow worked, and only the left forehead wrinkled. She brushed her teeth and tried to swish out her mouth and the water went spilling out of the weak side of her mouth. Stroke? Fortunately not, although when in doubt it’s always best to get immediately to the ER.
One clue that this was Bell’s palsy and not stroke was the lack of movement of the right forehead. When a stroke is the cause, the forehead is usually spared and still moves (wrinkles) on both sides – we won’t get into the whole reason for that – but with Bell’s palsy it doesn’t.
So what is this stroke-mimicker that affects only the face? Bell’s palsy is an acute affliction of the facial nerve. It results in rapid paralysis or weakness of the facial muscles on one side of the face, usually progressing over up to 48 hours. The cause still isn’t definitively known. It can happen at any age, but its peak prevalence is in 40-49 year olds.
Along with the one-sided facial paralysis, there may be altered taste and loss of tear production on the affected side. There also may be pain around the ear and sometimes vision is blurred on the affected side.
Treatment involves first making sure it’s Bell’s palsy and not a stroke. If the symptoms aren’t clear-cut, a cat scan or MRI of the head is sometimes done to rule out tumor or stroke. Steroids are the preferred treatment and antiviral agents may sometimes improve outcomes slightly as well.
The good news is that in 80-90% of cases, the symptoms slowly clear over a few months’ time. In the meantime, the affected eye needs to be protected with frequent lubrication, and sometimes taped shut overnight to avoid drying out and damaging the cornea. Facial physical therapy is sometimes used but hasn’t really proved to make a notable difference in the rate of recovery. Various surgical procedures are used only rarely to aid eye closure in those cases where the paralysis proves permanent.
So, while Bell’s palsy certainly beats a stroke, it’s no picnic and can be very slow to resolve, or rarely, may not resolve fully. And as we said at the beginning, always best to get to the ER immediately with any sudden paralysis or loss of function.
Andrew Smith, MD is board-certified in Family Medicine and practices at 1503 East Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville. Contact him at 982-0835
My hunny originally made this with a side of spaghetti squash for Valentines day and it was SO yummy! We made it again last week with a side of asparagus. He chopped up onions and peppers before and sautéed them in coconut oil on the stove before adding them as toppings! We had leftovers and it reheated well for lunch the next day! Who said chicken has to be boring?!
Author: The Amercia’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
3 cups tomato sauce (one 24-26 oz jar or homemade)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast (6-8 oz each), trimmed (we cut ours in half to bake)
Salt and Pepper
2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)
4 oz mozzarella, shredded (1 cup)
2 oz pepperoni (preferably nitrite/ preservative free)
*optional: sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, other pizza toppings of your choosing
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread the tomato sauce in a 9x 13 baking dish.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Spread the Parmesan in a shallow dish, then coat the chicken with Parmesan. Lay the chicken on top of the tomato sauce and bake for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle the mozzarella, pepperoni and other desired toppings over the chicken. Increase the oven temperature to 475 and continue to bake (~5 minutes) until the cheese melts and the chicken is 160 degrees on an instant- read thermometer (can purchase online or at a local grocery or anywhere with kitchen supplies)
Apple and Natural Peanut Butter sandwich ( we want nut or seed butters to be the nut or seed and possibly salt only. No sugar or extra oils)
“Carbmaster” Yogurt from Kroger
Turkey Pepperonis (beef ok too! Prefer nitrite/ preservative free)
Cheese cubes (for one. The other doesn’t like cheese)
Do you pack your kid’s lunches or yours? What “real food” items do you send?
P.S. I love my containers! They come in packages of two. You can get them online here or I bought mine at our local grocery. They are leak proof, easy to open for my girls, and easy to wash!! And they save on cost and waste from so many plastic baggies!