My son is taking a foods class in school and in between cooking “experiences” (because it is an experience to cook with a group of 7th graders!) they’re watching Food Inc. As with most kids his age, our best conversations seem to be in the car. Here’s how yesterday’s went.
The boy child: “Guess what mom? I was watching Food Inc and they reached inside a cow’s stomach and there was all this undigested corn. It was gross!
Me: “Yeah, cow’s are meant to eat grass, so the corn actually causes them to become sick.”
The boy child: ” I know, that’s why they put antibiotics in their feed. How about they just don’t feed the cow’s corn? Duh! Anyway, it was seriously gross mom. But I just kept eating my apples. The girls thought I was weird because I could eat and watch the gross cow stomach at the same time. But I was hungry. And, my apples are organic. Am I weird mom?”
To which I teasingly replied “Of course you’re weird. You’re a teenage boy!”
He started texting his psychiatrist after that….
The truth is that he went on to tell me how cruel the workers were to the animals. He was especially disgusted with the ways the chickens were kept in tunnels, with hundreds of overly large breasted birds that couldn’t even move, being kept in a space that is the same size as we keep our 5 spoiled hens.
It’s seriously validating when one of my kids “gets” something that I’ve been harping on over the years! Now, if they’ll only give up the junk they get at school….
We continued to talk about what he’d seen in the movie and his thoughts on the various farming practices and why they were in place. I brought up the fact that even though I only buy meat from sources I know and trust, that most restaurants serve the very meat that he was seeing in the movie… factory farmed meat.
We both like to eat out and know that being 100% stringent about never putting factory farmed meat into our bodies isn’t realistic. So we talked about places where we could make some changes.
Because I’m gluten free/Paleo and my daughter is sensitive to dairy, if we eat out as a family it’s usually Thai or Teriyaki. We both agreed that most teriyaki restaurants have pretty bottom of the barrel meat, and that instead of going out for teriyaki, we could make it ourselves.
I took a cooking class specifically to learn how to make better-than-restaurant TASTING teriyaki, tweaked the chicken teriyaki recipe to my families desires, and voila, we now have yet another quick and easy weeknight dinner that the entire family can enjoy! If you’re a beef teriyaki fan, then feel free to replace the chicken with beef.
A huge plus is that it’s totally freezer friendly. I double or triple the sauce recipe and keep it in the fridge (freezer works too, but it lasts a long time in the fridge). I then grill extra chicken thighs, let cool, and freeze those as well. If you don’t already know it, cooked rice is also freezer friendly, so make extra and throw that in the freezer too! No need to thaw, simply place the chicken in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes (or until heated through), heat the sauce in a small pan or microwave, and do the same for the rice. Add a veggie, and dinner is ready in a matter or minutes!
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½ cup Japanese sake
4 cloves minced garlic
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
3 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. gluten free soy sauce
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 pounds boneless chicken thighs with skin intact
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a rolling simmer.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until a syrupy consistency forms.
Strain the sauce to remove any bits of garlic and ginger (I save this and put it in my homemade salad rolls- yum!)
Set aside until chicken is cooked and ready to serve.
Salt chicken thighs generously with Kosher salt at least half an hour before cooking.
Heat gas or charcoal grill and grill chicken thighs until they reach between 160-165 degrees F.
Remove to a plate and tent with foil.
Let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the chicken to come up to 165 degrees F and to absorb its own juices.
Putting it all together:
Remove skin, and cut chicken into bite sized strips. If there is much "juice," set in a strainer over a bowl for a couple of minutes.
Add chicken to a clean bowl, pour half of teriyaki sauce over chicken and toss to coat. Add more sauce as needed.
Serve over rice or chop finely and serve in lettuce cups.