Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Olives, and Fresh Herbs

When they eat chicken, most people prefer chicken breasts. But the real flavor is in the dark meat.

Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Olives, and Fresh Herbs is an inexpensive meal that’s packed with flavors.

Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Olives, and Fresh Herbs

Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Olives, and Fresh Herbs

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only, chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only (no stems)
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup black kalamata olives
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • freshly cooked pasta

Combine oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and fresh herbs in large mixing bowl. Add in chicken thighs and stir to cover. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Transfer thighs to greased baking pan. Arrange olives and tomatoes around thighs. Pour any remaining marinade over thighs, olives, and tomatoes. Bake 30 minutes, and then increase temperature to 425°. Bake for another 10 minutes, browning chicken.
Serve thighs over freshly cooked pasta, spooning sauce over chicken.

Quick-Fix Chicken Enchiladas

Last night I was in a pinch for time. I had 30 minutes to prepare dinner for my family and get out the door for a meeting. I quickly threw these tasty enchiladas together and had them in the oven in less than 20 minutes.

Because they rely on prepared foods, these homemade enchiladas can be assembled fast yet still have a fresh, savory taste.


Quick-Fix Chicken Enchiladas

  • 1 15-ounce can Hatch Chile Green Enchilada Sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed
  • rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, shredded

Combine enchilada sauce and sour cream in small bowl until blended. Place a ladleful of sauce mixture in the bottom of a greased 11×7 baking pan.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place a warmed tortilla on work surface. In a line along one side of the tortilla, place filling ingredients: shredded chicken, onions, and shredded cheese. Roll up and place seam side down in baking pan. Repeat with all the tortillas.

Cover enchiladas with sauce mixture. Top with shredded cheese and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve hot.


Spicy Teriyaki Chicken Buddha Bowl

Our doctors tell us over and over to eat healthfully. One part of that is eating fresh. Here’s a low-fat, lots-of-veggies, quick-fix dinner that’s full of flavor.


Spicy Teriyaki Chicken Buddha Bowl

  • 2 cups white or sushi rice
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into 3 pieces each, flattened
  • 2 Tbsp Sriracha (more if you want it spicier)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 3-inch piece of daikon, grated (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

For marinade: Combine Sriracha, soy sauce, honey, and Mirin. Place chicken pieces in marinade.

While chicken is marinating, combine rice and water in medium saucepan and bring to a boil; cover and simmer exactly 20 minutes. Set aside.

To prepare chicken: Heat vegetable oil in large skillet. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and add to skillet; discard marinade. Cook chicken, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 15 minutes. While chicken is cooking, boil or steam broccoli and carrots; drain.

To assemble: Place a serving of rice in bowl, top with broccoli, carrots, daikon, and chicken. Top with sesame seeds, if desired. Serve hot.


Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli & Pine Nuts

A late meeting forced a late dinner this evening – and I didn’t feel like spending a long time cooking. So I threw together this quick chicken and pasta dish that’s surprisingly fresh and flavorful.


Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli & Pine Nuts

  • 1 package angel hair pasta
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 7-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 head broccoli, cut and steamed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • shredded Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta according to package directions; drain and place in a large bowl. Separately, boil broccoli until just tender. Drain and rinse with cool water.

In a large skillet, sauté chicken pieces and garlic in olive oil. As chicken cooks, add fresh thyme. When chicken is cooked through, add butter and pine nuts. When butter is melted, add broccoli and lemon juice and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour sauce over pasta and stir to combine. Serve hot with shredded Parmesan cheese.


Treating the Flu with Homemade Chicken Soup

With schools canceling classes and off-the-chart hospital admissions all across the nation, Winter 2018 has been tough on families because of the flu. Sometimes bed rest and a good pot of soup are what the body needs most.

Here’s a recipe for flavorful chicken soup to help warm you up.

Chicken Soup

Homemade Chicken Soup

For the broth:

  • 1 whole chicken, rinsed
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper
  • 4 sprigs of fresh parsley (optional)

For the soup:

  • Shredded chicken
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small bag frozen peas or 1 can of peas, drained
  • 2 cups uncooked rice or one bag egg noodles
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To make the broth:

A soup is only as good as its broth.

Place carrots, onion, celery, pepper, and parsley in the bottom of a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and then cover the chicken with cold water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer covered for one hour. When the chicken is cooked through and tender, remove it to a large mixing bowl. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken by hand into bite-size pieces.

To make the soup:

When the broth has cooled somewhat, using a strainer, transfer the broth to a large saucepan or Dutch oven, straining out the vegetables and small pieces of fat and meat. Bring the broth to a boil, and then add the carrots and shredded chicken and return to a boil. Add the peas and return to a boil. Slowly add rice or noodles, returning toboil. Turn down heat and simmer about 20 minutes, or until the rice or noodles are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and serve.



Forgiveness Is Freedom


Forgiveness is freedom. It’s the greatest gift you can give yourself. You will be free of resentment, bitterness, and anger and free to live and love fully again.

Forgiveness is simply accepting what happened in the past and not letting it destroy your present. It’s a beautiful thing.

Some people struggle with forgiveness. They want to cling to past hurts — which in reality hurts only them, as the offender may have moved on and isn’t even troubled by the situation any more.

People lose huge chunks of their lives being angry and holding on to grudges, when all they need to do is forgive, or as Disney’s Princess Elsa sings, “Let It Go,” and as Taylor Swift sings, “Shake It Off.”

Steps to Forgiveness

If you’re having trouble knowing how to forgive, here are some tips on how to begin the process of forgiveness:

  • Commit to forgive.
    • Make the decision and do it.
    • Forgiveness is for you, not for anyone else.
  • Don’t replay grievances and hurts over and over in your head.
    • Clear your mind of the negativity.
  • Accept that you cannot change the past and you cannot change the person.
  • Know that forgiveness does not mean you have to say anything to the offender.
    • You don’t have to apologize to him or her.
  • Understand that forgiveness does not mean reconciliation.
    • You two may never get along.
    • But with forgiveness, you are no longer resentful, bitter or angry; you let it go.
  • Avoid taking things personally.
    • Most people are clueless in how they hurt others and often have little idea of the impact they have had.
    • Don’t give them that space in your head.
  • Focus on the present and what’s good and positive in your life.
    • Write those things down and check the list regularly.
  • Recognize the stages in the forgiveness process:
    • Begin with anger
    • Move to sadness
    • Progress to resignation
    • End with peace
  • Feel compassion for the offender and wish happiness for him or her.
    • You know you are at the stage of full forgiveness when you can do this.

For more on this topic and similar ones, please see Living WELL Aware E-Learning Course by Patricia Sulak, MD.

Funerals Are for the Living

Funeral card

Though my 83-year-old neighbor was a gregarious man, his funeral was sparsely attended. Maybe several dozen people were there – and many of those were family.

They sat in the first three rows. The next 10 or so rows were empty. I sat in the back, along with some of my neighbor’s elderly friends. I was one of only two nonfamily members there under the age of 70.

Young people don’t go to funerals. Middle-aged people rarely go either. I’m thinking that even old people don’t go any more.

And that’s wrong. Funerals aren’t for the dead. They’re for the living.


For the Family of the Deceased

Some people say they don’t go to funerals because the dead don’t know we’re there, or death is uncomfortable, or everybody handles grief in his or her own way.

They may be right. But that’s not the point. A funeral is a long-held human ritual that not only memorializes the dead but also brings comfort to the living.

Our presence at a funeral is a sign of support and consolation for the family. Here we as an extended human family grieve together. We confirm that the deceased family member mattered, made a difference, was valued and loved.

Like it or not, an empty church or a partially filled funeral home sends a bleak message about how little the deceased meant to us or how little the friendship of the family matters to us.

Attending a funeral – even if we do nothing but sit there –

  • Validates a mourning family’s sorrow
  • Acknowledges the value of the life of the deceased
  • Confirms that the friendship is important enough to us that we’ll take an hour of our day to grieve with friends or family
  • Conveys the metaphysical message that we’re willing to shoulder the burden of grief – that we are united as a human family and share in the sorrow of the passing of one of our own


For Ourselves

Going to funerals is beneficial for our own souls, too.

When a friend or family member dies, we’re faced not only with his or her absence, but also with the awareness of our own mortality.

At a funeral service, we can literally stare death in the face when we view a body in a coffin. Any way you look at it, we face the reality of death.

For most of us, that’s difficult. Dealing with death and dying are indeed uncomfortable. They bring about emotions we don’t want surfacing. But funerals are the right place to deal with these emotions.

The crying, the heartache, the overwhelming grief that come with acknowledging the temporariness of human existence are necessary emotions to experience on occasion. They’re cathartic. They help us avoid the detachment from one another that accompanies 21st-century life and instead serve to unite us and help us relate to each other in a shared bond of bereavement.

Funerals also offer us the opportunity to reflect on our own lives and the imprint we’ve made in this world ~

  • What will be said at our own funerals?
  • Have our own lives had meaning and purpose?
  • Are we creating good memories for our families, friends, and co-workers?
  • Are we reconciled with family, friends, and co-workers?
  • Have we left a legacy of good?

Funerals remind us to effect the change in our own lives that we need to make while we still can.


For Our Families

When mentors, teachers, or other adults who’ve invested their time in the lives of my children have died, I’ve taken my children to their funerals. Almost always, my kids are the only nonfamily children at the memorial services.

I’ve received a lot of criticism for taking my kids to funerals. People think it’s weird. Or inappropriate – “Funerals aren’t the place for children.”

Dead wrong.

The visitation, the hearse, the eulogies, the pallbearers, the burial service – all of these can be points of departure for necessary discussions with elderly parents, teens, or kids regarding the meaning of life ~

  • What is the purpose of life?
  • Why are we here?
  • What does it mean to live?
  • What does it mean to die?
  • Why do we die?
  • Is death forever?

If we haven’t thought about these things, we should. When we reflect and meditate, examine and discuss questions about life and death, we may find answers that enrich and enhance our lives and the lives of our families.


Next time you hear of the passing of a family member, friend, or co-worker, don’t pass up the opportunity to go the funeral. It can make a difference in a life.