Boloco: Make Your Own Bowl or Burrito

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If you live in New England, Boloco is probably already on your radar. Its burritos come in flavors inspired by many cuisines—you could call them wraps, really, since only a couple of the choices are typical Mexican fare. Their menu has many options for those trying to avoid heartburn.

The best option for GERD is to make your own bowl or burrito. Walk down the ingredient line to see what’s there, as it can be tough to find all of the options just by reading the menu. My most recent bowl (pictured here) featured quinoa, baby kale, broccoli, chicken, black beans, corn salsa, carrots, cilantro, and cheese. I also recommend the roasted mushrooms, butternut squash, carnitas, celery, pinto beans, beets, cucumbers, and brown rice.

I didn’t put a sauce on this particular bowl because the ingredients have so much flavor. The Thai peanut and tikka masala sauces are both delicious, but you’ll want to order them on the side and use sparingly to spare your throat.

Sometimes I order a mini burrito so I can save room for a shake. The Jimmy Carter (peanut butter, banana, and yogurt) is my favorite, but the seasonal pumpkin shake is a welcome treat as well. Boloco is a restaurant WIN in many ways!

Schoolhouse Pizza: Chicken, Artichoke & Pesto Pizza

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Trying to eat less pizza has been a struggle since I started meal planning to prevent heartburn. As a native Chicagoan, I used to eat pizza many times each week. Now the acidic tomatoes, pungent garlic, and high-fat cheese make pizza a GERD problem. Still, I refuse to stop my experiments.

I thought I had figured it out. Schoolhouse Pizza in Quincy has a surprisingly highbrow menu for the South Shore of Boston. I haven’t found any other neighborhood joints with arugula, grilled pears, and truffle oil as toppings or salad fixings. I thought the CPA pizza would be perfect: pesto, artichoke hearts, grilled chicken, and a bit of cheese.

I miscalculated on this one, however. I expected a light smear of pesto on the crust, but instead, the pizza came with red sauce and with a generous helping of pesto. There must have been a half-cup of the green stuff on this pizza, and it oozed oil everywhere. Check out the leftovers on my plate.

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Sadly, I have to label this meal a restaurant FAIL for heartburn. However, I recommend Schoolhouse Pizza to anyone who’s not trying to prevent GERD. You won’t find better pizza or salad in the neighborhood. This one caused me GERD grief, but it certainly tasted great.

Chicken, Butternut & Basil Stir-Fry

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Butternut squash isn’t a traditional ingredient for stir-fry or Chinese food, but it works so well here. The starchy consistency means you don’t need rice, and that makes the meal a lot easier to put together. Also, I can’t get enough winter squash during this time of year.

A down side to the dropping temperatures is that my basil plant needed to be retired. The leaves were getting brown edges, and I knew the first frost could happen anytime. I stripped off every leaf, even the pea-sized babies. This translated to 1 cup of leaves and inspired me to add a basil explosion to this stir fry. Thank you, basil plant, for your contributions this year! I will be purchasing one of your cousins in the spring.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • salt
  • 6 chicken tenders or 2 small chicken breasts
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 heaping tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel the butternut squash and chop it into small pieces.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Arrange squash evenly on the sheet and coat with cooking spray. Roast at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
  3. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the surface with cooking spray.
  4. In a small bowl, mix oregano, thyme, onion powder, and a pinch of salt.
  5. Dice the chicken into 1-inch pieces. Coat with the spice mix. IMG_4793
  6. When the pan is very hot, add the chicken in a single layer. Lower the heat to medium. Add the ginger, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce and stir to coat evenly. Cook until chicken is just cooked through, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  7. When the squash is done, immediately add it to the hot pan along with the chicken. Add the basil leaves and olive oil and stir to coat. Serve immediately (before the basil wilts too much). IMG_4799
Serves 3 to 4.

Sesame-Ginger Chicken Salad

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I fell off the reflux-diet wagon this past weekend in a very bad way. The first day of fall football was so exciting that I indulged in beer, chips, chocolate, and even spicy buffalo dip! It was fun while it lasted—but ouch. It’s time to get serious about digestive health again.

Salad is the easiest way to soothe my burning throat and stomach. The trick is to dress it very lightly and to make up for that with strong flavors. This quick, easy dinner does all of that. The chicken marinade excludes the traditional garlic, hot peppers, and (almost all of the) vinegar—but it has lots of ginger and sesame flavor. The grated ginger also gives the sauce some substance.

Serve this chicken over greens and stop kicking yourself for the last time you caved and ate “bad” foods. Whatever dietary plan you’re trying to follow, it’s not too late to get back into it!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 large chicken breast, diced
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 12 baby carrots, halved
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix the first 6 ingredients in a zip-top bag. 
  2. Dice the chicken, add it to the bag, and coat chicken in marinade. Let chicken sit for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
  3. Transfer chicken to the counter, and heat a nonstick pan over medium-high. Add chicken to the pan and stir-fry until cooked through.
  4. Arrange spinach and carrots on 2 dinner plates. Drizzle with vinegar and oil, and top with chicken.
Serves 2.

Oven-Fried Chicken

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What a difference it makes to soak chicken in milk! I tried this classic frying technique for baking, and wow. I’ve never had chicken so moist! This means a lot coming from me, who always overcooks meat.

This recipe is meant to replace fried chicken in the GERD diet, as deep-fried food is one of the absolute worst items for reflux (along with carbonated beverages, caffeine, and chocolate). For me, who has never tried to deep-fry anything, it’s a way to finally cook a tender piece of chicken.

The dried spices add a lot of flavor here. It’s still a mild dish, since I can’t slather it with spicy mustard—but my husband eats it that way and loves it. Try this chicken on a salad (lightly dressed with 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar and 1/2 tbsp olive oil) or as a main dish with a side of roasted veggies and potatoes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • cooking spray
  • scant 1/2 cup plain or whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • sea salt to taste (I used 5 turns from a grinder)

DIRECTIONS

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  1. Remove visible fat from the chicken. Then slice into each breast horizontally to make cutlets. (I started with extra-large breast pieces, and after cutting each one, I had a perfect-thickness piece and a thin, flimsy piece. I cut the perfect-thinness pieces in half and chopped the flimsy pieces to use later.)
  2. Put chicken in a baking dish in a single layer and cover with the milk. Cover and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil, and put a cooling rack on top. Spray the rack with cooking spray. Put in oven and preheat to 400 degrees.IMG_4316
  4. Arrange an assembly line of 3 shallow dishes. In one add the breadcrumbs; in one add the egg white and soy sauce, lightly beaten; and in one mix the flour and spices.
  5. Pick up each chicken piece and allow the milk to drip off. Dredge in flour, dip in egg, and roll in breadcrumbs. Place on the preheated baking sheet and spray the tops with cooking spray.
  6. Cook for 11 minutes at 400 degrees, flipping once. Cut into the largest piece after 11 minutes to ensure that it’s fully cooked.

 

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Serves 2. Adapted from http://kosherfood.about.com/od/kosherpoultryrecipes/r/schnitzelnofry.htm