Stir together 1/2 cup coconut milk, garlic, 1 teaspoon curry powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper until the sugar has dissolved. Toss marinade with the chicken, cover, and marinate for at least 2 hours.
Bring 1 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon curry powder, peanut butter, chicken stock, and 1/4 cup brown sugar to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and soy sauce; season to taste with salt.
Preheat a grill for medium-high heat.
Thread marinated chicken onto skewers, then grill 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Serve with warm peanut sauce.
Jennings is well-known in the food industry. He’s been nominated five times for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef of the Northeast. He and his wife, Kate, a pastry chef, ran two highly praised restaurants in Rhode Island and Boston before closing the latter in July 2018 to focus on Jennings’ culinary consulting agency. According to the chef, Full Heart Hospitality is devoted to culture, people and bringing wellness into the restaurant business.
And there’s a reason Jennings has truly put his full heart behind it.
When Jennings visited his doctor in 2016, he showed signs of pre-diabetes, had high cholesterol and was suffering from acute anxiety disorder. Severely overweight, he spent his days and nights in a fast-paced kitchen, often tasting food behind the scenes and quickly losing track of how much he was actually eating.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is that food can be an addiction. Like any good addict, I had my gutter moment,” Jennings told TODAY Food. “I walked home and into my kitchen and told my wife, it’s time to change my life. I had to get healthy for myself, my wife and my kids.”
This decision came with Jennings’ realization that somewhere between being a “creative, curious, very active” kid and the stresses of adulthood, he’d lost himself and what it truly feels like to be healthy.
“Once you’ve decided wellness — most importantly feeling healthy — is of central importance in your life, then and only then will you make progress in physically changing your life,” Jennings told TODAY.
Eating healthy, the chef says, isn’t just about food. It’s also about mental, physical, emotional and even spiritual health. Food — especially for a chef — is, of course, a big part of the equation.
“These days, I’m focusing on eating lean proteins, very vegetable heavy, grains. I like balance, I like flavor and I like simplicity,” Jennings added.
He showed the TODAY anchors how to make one of his favorite healthy, yet hearty, dishes: fish cooked in a paper bag with potatoes, olives and herbs. Said Jennings, “I love this recipe because it’s simple, clean, fresh, healthy and delicious. Plus, clean up is as simple as folding up the bag and throwing it away!”
But eating less was just one of the tools Jennings used to help him lose 200 pounds. In 2016, he chose to undergo a sleeve gastrectomy, a surgical procedure in which the stomach is reduced in size. But the chef is adamant that bariatric surgery isn’t an easy fix, but rather a serious procedure designed to help people who are very overweight start on the right path better health. Keeping weight off after the surgery, the chef says, involved major lifestyle changes.
However, Jennings has advice for anyone looking to lose weight, or simply trying to eat healthier to feel better.
“By making small changes in your diet, focusing on high quality foods, eating more frequently, smaller amounts throughout the day, these are all things that will add to the ability for you to take your health back,” Jennings said.
He continued: “When I look back at photos of the past … I see someone who didn’t even have the chance to pick his head up from the work he was doing to recognize the ability he had within himself to save his own life.”
CHEF MATT JENNINGS’ DIET HACKS FOR LIFE:
Hydrate the hunger. Drink plenty of water every day. Jennings drinks up to 1/2 gallon.
Whole grains are great.Whole grains make your body work harder and help prevent blood sugar spikes commonly seen after the consumption of highly processed starches.
Pigments are a plus. Seek out a variety of color when planning your meals, particularly with vegetables. In addition to macro and micro nutrients, phytonutrients are quickly gaining recognition among researchers as being beneficial.
Set a timer. Use phone or watch alarms to alert you when it’s snack time. If you’re super busy during the day, you might forget to enjoy a little something and end up overeating at the next meal.
Bad eating day? Don’t panic! We all mess up so it’s important not to beat yourself up about minor setbacks. Stay positive, make a game plan for the next day and get back to it!
Check out of more of Matt Jennings’ favorite recipes:
Nachos get a New England twist with fresh lobster meat. Fresh baked tortilla chips, smoky crema, creamy avocado and homemade pickled jalapeños make this game-day staple extra special.
15 yellow corn tortillas
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing baking sheets
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups chopped cooked lobster tail
2 cups diced avocado
1 cup diced cucumber
3/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 dash freshly ground black pepper
1 dash cayenne
1 teaspoon agave
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
8 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Queso fresco, crumbled
For the chips:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush two large baking sheets with olive oil.
2. In a small bowl, mix the oil and lime juice together. Brush the mixture on one tortilla, making sure to cover the entire surface. Stack another tortilla on top and brush on oil mixture. Continue until you get have about 7 or 8 tortillas in a stack. Cut tortillas in half. Cut each half into small triangles. Set aside. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
3. Arrange tortilla pieces on the baking sheets in a single layer (they can be lined right next to each other as they’ll shrink once baked). Sprinkle salt all over the tortilla pieces.
4. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the chips are golden (depending on the size of your baking sheets, you may need to bake everything in two batches).
5. Let the chips cool before assembling nachos. Store chips in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.
For the lobster salad:
Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
For the pickled jalapeños:
Combine the vinegar, water, garlic, sugar and salt in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add jalapeño slices, stir and remove from heat. Let sit for at least 8 minutes then use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the jalapeños from the pot to a jar. Cover with the brining liquid to fill the jar. Store in the fridge for up to 2 months.
For the crema:
In a bowl, whisk all the ingredients together until fully incorporated. Set aside.
Pile the nachos on a large serving plate and scatter the lobster salad over the chips. Drizzle with crema and garnish with pickled jalapeños, queso fresco and cilantro leaves.
Erica Chayes Wida is a New York City-area based journalist and food writer obsessed with culture, poetry and travel. Follow her work on Contently.
Sick of the same old Buffalo wings at every tailgate, party, really any social gathering? Change the game with these better-for-you, more complex-tasting but simple-to-make grilled chicken wings — no frying necessary. They’re so packed with flavor, you’ll forget why dipping sauce was ever invented.
1 gallon water
1 bottle (approx. 20 ounces) agave syrup
1 cup kosher salt
2 fresh bay leaves
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
4 pieces star anise
3 tablespoons juniper berries
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 head of garlic, whole cloves, peeled
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 dozen chicken wings, wing tips removed
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or sunflower oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Coarse black pepper to taste
Zest of 3 limes
Juice of 3 limes, plus juice from 2 additional limes
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons raw honey
3 tablespoons grade B amber maple syrup, plus 2 tablespoons additional syrup
Kosher salt to taste
Make the brine a day ahead: In a small sauté pan, combine peppercorns, star anise, juniper berries, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Toast the spices together in the pan over medium heat until aromatic. In a medium sized pot, add these toasted spices to the gallon of water, kosher salt, agave syrup, bay leaves, garlic cloves and fresh thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn heat off immediately. Set aside to cool.
When brine is cool, submerge the chicken wings in the brine, and leave overnight in your refrigerator. The next day, take the wings out of the brine and pat dry well with paper towel.
Once dry, toss the wings in a large stainless steel bowl with the flaxseed oil, salt, cracked black pepper, lime juice, honey and maple syrup.
On a hot grill, in batches, cook the wings. Once fully cooked through, in an additional stainless steel bowl, toss the wings with the additional lime juice, lime zest and seasoning. Add the cilantro and additional maple syrup. Toss well. Serve immediately.
The experts have spoken: Not all toilet paper is made equal!
By Tracy Saelinger
Toilet paper. Everyone uses it, yet most of us automatically buy the same toilet paper month after month, without giving it much thought. So, we recently got to wondering: What would a germ expert do?
We turned to a bonafide germ expert, Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., a professor and program director at the University of Arizona, who specializes in public health research, and picked her brain on what you should be thinking about when you buy — and use — toilet paper.
Here’s what we learned: It’s all about the barrier.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST TOILET PAPER
“Theoretically, the more barrier you have between your hands and the contamination you’re wiping will have an impact on reducing the chance of germs getting on your hands,” Reynolds told TODAY. “So, in that sense, two-ply is better. But, you could also use one-ply — you’d just have to use more.”
She does caution, though: “It takes a lot to make a complete barrier, so theoretically, you can’t use enough toilet paper to block everything that might be present.”
Even if you folded the toilet paper 10 times, Reynolds added, the “toilet paper itself is probably contaminated” from germs in the bathroom. (Yikes!)
EVEN WITH THE BEST TOILET PAPER: WASH YOUR HANDS
No matter what kind of ply you use, you should also probably pick up some anti-bacterial soap. You have to really scrub those hands: “You can’t avoid washing your hands if you want to avoid contamination,” Reynolds said.
CHOOSE THE TOILET PAPER YOU LIKE BEST
If you’re concerned about sustainability: Most toilet paper nowadays is designed to biodegrade, Reynolds noted, though some companies may use more sustainable manufacturing processes than others.
At the end of the day, “it’s really a personal preference,” Reynolds said. “Aesthetically, what you like, in terms of scents and softness.”
Point taken! Since a strong barrier can’t hurt, we took Reynolds’ advice to heart, and set out to find some of the thickest toilet paper out there. Who knew 3-ply existed?!
Here are some of the thickest, strongest, and best-reviewed we found:
THE BEST TOILET PAPER, ACCORDING TO GUIDANCE FROM OUR EXPERT
This three-ply toilet paper earned enthusiastic — and hilarious — reviews … more than 7,290 of them! One called it “the Cadillac of TP.” Another: “My bum felt like it was on a cloud.” Most importantly, people rave about how it doesn’t shred (an important consideration for households with pets and kids). It is also biodegradable, according to the company, and is made in accordance to standards of the Sustainable Forest Initiative. One tip: The supreme roll is too large for some TP dispensers, reviewers noted, so if you have the same issue, you may want to try the double-roll size.
2. Charmin Ultra Strong Clean Touch Toilet Paper, $30 for 24 family mega rolls, Amazon
Charmin Ultra Strong Toilet Paper, 24 Family Mega Rolls (Equal to 123 Regular Rolls)
This classic, two-ply workhorse gets solid Amazon reviews for its strength: “It doesn’t fall apart when the going gets tough,” one reviewer said. Charmin calls this version its “strongest two-ply toilet paper” with “washcloth-like cleaning and strength,” and claims it is septic-safe. Again, if the mega roll is too large for your dispenser, you may want to try the double-roll size.
3. Cottonelle Ultra Clean Care Toilet Paper, $25 for 36 family rolls, Amazon
Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare Toilet Paper, 24 Mega Rolls
If you prefer a ripple design to a quilt, then Cottonelle may be for you — the company says its Wavy CleanRipple texture “removes more at once” than the “leading brand.” It’s also septic-safe and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for its environment-friendliness. It’s one-ply, but don’t let that scare you off: Reviewers say “the toilet doesn’t get plugged up nearly as often,” with it, and it is “very soft, yet strong.” And, perhaps the highest praise: “It works like in the commercial.”
Kourtney Kardashian talks advocating for safe cosmetics
If you want to keep up with Kourtney Kardashian, you’re going to have to head to Washington, D.C. The mom and reality TV star joins TODAY to talk about how her push for new regulations on personal care products took her to Capitol Hill.
This is one of the features that give the Source an edge over all the other SodaStream, the mechanism that is used to snap the carbonation bottle in place is seamless and flows naturally for the Source.
Unlike the SodaStream Jet and Fizzi have a more tricky screwing mechanism.
The snap mechanism is a recent innovation and is patented by the SodaStream company.
5-Consistent Carbonation Every Time
Another great feature the Source has is that it gives you a consistent level of carbonation every time you use it there is no guesswork.
How it does so is based on the LED lights, which are illuminated when the water reaches a carbonation level, this allows you to know when to stop pressing the carbonation button and when to keep pressing.
Older SodaStream models have a lot of guesswork in play and with outdated waiting for buzzing sounds that are hard to hear and sometimes never happen.
This visual guide allows you to have more control over your SodaStream.
6-Doesn’t Use Electricity
The Source even though it has LED lights and so many features it still doesn’t use electricity so it won’t be sending your utility bill up.
Also because it doesn’t use electricity it won’t pose as an electrical hazard in your kitchen. This can be a potential risk since you are dealing with water.
Like all SodaStream the Source will help you to save money this is because it is usually cheaper to make your own sparkling water at home.
It works out to 0.25 cents for a liter of sparkling water if this is lower than the price of sparkling water in your area you will save money.
1-Slightly More Expensive Than Older SodaStream Models
The Source carries with it a slightly higher price than the SodaStream Jet or SodaStream Fizzi both of which are older SodaStream models that lack the LED Light and Snap-on Bottle System.
In my opinion, the extra features that the Source have are well worth the few extra bucks.
2- Cannot Use The Larger 130-Liter CO2 Cylinders
SodaStream offers two sizes of cylinders the 60-liter and the 130-liter.
The Source can only use the 60-liter cylinder which for me is the biggest drawback for the Source.
You see the 130-liter cylinder will last more than twice as long as the 60-liter, this means you won’t have to get refills as often.
The main reason why SodaStream designed the Source to only use the 60-liter is that they are trying to phase out the 130-liter cylinder.
This is because the 60-liter tanks are smaller and much easier to ship.
SodaStream is trying to build up a better logistical network for delivering SodaStream Cylinders, so the fact that they will only have one size of cylinder makes their systems more streamlined.
3-Can Only Carbonate Water.
The SodaStream Source like all SodaStream can only carbonate water if you do attempt to carbonate other beverages you risk making a mess and losing your warranty.