“Everything you do, if not in a relaxed state will be done at a lesser level than you are proficient. Thus the tensed expert marksman will aim at a level less than his/her student.” – Bruce Lee
It’s been one thing after another all day. Some jerk cut you off in traffic and you spilled coffee on your shirt on your way to work. An accident on the highway caused you to be twenty minutes late, and now your jerk boss is getting in your face. You’ve had to deal with jerk customer after jerk customer all day. One of your jerk coworkers ate half your lunch. Your jerk brother-in-law is a jerk with his jerk face. That guy over there, I don’t know that guy, what a jerk.
Take a moment, take a breath and try to step away from yourself. Re-examine your surroundings. Re-examine yourself. You’ve spent an entire day living inside a box within your own mind. You’ve expelled a plethora of precious energies on the minutiae of other people. You are bound by your emotional responses and your potential has not been realized. It’s not the others that held you back. They barely mattered. It was you. You are King Jerk.
To realize your potential, every day, you must master the art of the zen warrior. You must be in constant control of your emotional responses. Without practiced control, your emotions rise and take control of your decision making. Your decisions are made for you when made from a place of emotional distress. This is where stress eating or emotional eating stems from. Trapped in the box of your mind, in an emotional and stressed state, we place so much importance on the need to use the food we eat as a release from that mental prison. To realize your potential, you must first find release from your box through vigorous training instead of decadent feasting. To realize your potential, you must then practice never entering that box in the first place. If you train hard, then you fear less.
So now, take a deep breath, let’s turn our focus away from the negativity of other jerks, and instead focus on a more positive and in this case, tastier jerk: The Chicken. Chickens are my favorite kind of jerks.
The purpose of Eat and Lift is to create recipes that can be added with ease to your bulk cook or meal prep days. So there will be some important distinctions between a traditional Jerk Chicken and my meal prep version.
First, traditional Jerk Chicken is slow roasted and smoked, over pimento wood, for a few hours. If you have the time and the desire, this is going to make a far superior serving of Jerk Chicken. For the purpose of our needs, and our skill levels, we are going to remove the smoking process. Instead, we are going to cheat a little bit and add Liquid Smoke to our Jerk Seasoning. Liquid Smoke can be found near the BBQ Sauce in your supermarket. It will never be quite the same as actually smoking the chicken, but it gets the job done for what we need it to be.
Second, Jerk Chicken is spicy. Mine will be spicy as well, but traditional recipes include a bit of brown sugar to balance a slight sweetness with the spice. I’m not going to make a sugary marinade. We need to keep our daily sugar intake to a minimum. I always try to find a substitution or an alternative to just using straight up sugar. So, I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. We’re gonna get this chicken good and drunk. Sober chickens are sweethearts, but drunk chickens are notorious jerks. I did my research. Bunch of, downright, mean bastards when they hit the sauce. So my substitution for brown sugar will be a spiced rum. Not too much. Just enough. I’m no rum connoisseur. I stick with Whisky or Beer. So, I just went with simple Captain Morgan. No need to get fancy with it. If you know rum better than I do, and you want to use a different brand, go for it.
5 Lbs Chicken Breast
For the Marinade:
1 TBS AllSpice
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 TBS Liquid Smoke
2 TBS Ginger, Grated
3 TBS Spiced Rum
6 Scotch Bonnet Peppers, Seeds or not – it’s your choice
6 Cloves Garlic
2 TBS Fresh Thyme
6 Green Onion/Scallion
1/4 Cup, Lime Juice
2 TBS Lime Zest
1/2 Cup Braggs Liquid Aminos
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
For the Vinaigrette:
3/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup Pineapple
Juice of 1 Lime
For the Sandwich
Whole Wheat Bread
1/4 of a ripe Avocado
2 slices Tomato
COMBINE all ingredients in a blender and, you guessed it, BLEND. For the limes, you need to get about a 1/4 cup of liquid out of them but first use a grater and grate off the zest from the skin of the lime. Lots of great flavor from the oils you are releasing in the zest.
If you like spicy, and I do, then leave the seeds in the Scotch Bonnet peppers. That’ll give you a nice kick in the butt. If you leave the seeds out, you may notice that the level of heat is more of lingering tingle then a burning sensation. When it comes to spice heat, I like the heat to accentuate flavors. If the heat is so overpowering that I can’t feel feelings, much less taste any flavor, then what is the point.
POUR your well-blended marinade into a large stainless steel mixing bowl. I sliced my chicken breasts in half through the side of the breast, just to get a little more coverage for the marinade on each breast. This marinade smells so good. Don’t be ashamed if you get really excited by how good it smells. That is totally natural. Place the raw chicken into the marinade, and then go ahead and use your hands to TOSS the chicken around the marinade to get an even coating throughout. Wash your hands! Cover with tinfoil and place in the fridge to MARINATE for 12 to 24 hours.
Once the chicken is done marinating place the chicken on a baking pan, and use the remaining marinade over the tops of the breasts. Ideally, grilling the chicken over an open flame would provide the best results, so if you have a grill, set it to medium-high heat and grill the chicken about 8 minutes on each side. Otherwise, heat your oven to 405° and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Cut one open to make sure it is cooked thoroughly.
Meanwhile, prepare your vinaigrette. Throw the ingredients for the vinaigrette into the blender (wash out the Jerk marinade first) and blend. Oh hey, you just made a vinaigrette. Yes, it was that easy.
Set one breast aside for the sandwich. Leave the rest to cool. Once they are cool enough, portion into individual baggies and freeze.
Now, assemble the sandwich!
Controling your emotional response to negative stimuli and stress takes practice. You must commit to flexing muscle, mind, and spirit together. It can start with our 8-week challenge and I can show you the way: