Chelsea’s Pantry

Just some background on me I am NOT a fancy person haha! I grew up on a farm and Luke (my husband) grew up in rural PA so we are very low-key, down to earth with our cooking.

I started a meal prep company in 2016 where I eventually served multiple gym facilities and was making over 200 meals per weekend by myself. So now my specialty is cooking dinner in “15 minutes or less” because I was always under pressure cooking so many meals by myself on the weekends. Once Luke and I moved to North Carolina, I stopped the meal prepping business and now do personalized nutrition coaching and personal fitness programming (@modnutrition_).

I have a degree in Business Administration and Marketing, I have my CrossFit Level 1 coaching certification, Precision Nutrition Cert, and Plant-Based Diet Cert. I have been meal prepping since 2016 but stated coaching in 2017 and fell in love with it instantly! I could coach nutrition for the rest of my life.

Luke cooks probably once a week and he is the take your time, fancy proteins and spices type of guy. Otherwise I am making dinner every night in 15 minutes or less. But I am also like this with most tasks in my life, always for time!


What’s the herb situation in your kitchen?

My mom would be disappointed in me. I don’t cook with any herbs besides cilantro, about once a week we make a “Chipotle” inspired rice with our dinner, maybe some flank steak or tacos with it. Luke also makes an amazing guacamole, so we always have cilantro on hand!

What about spices

  • Cinnamon – I use cinnamon every day whether it is in my coffee in the morning, in my greek yogurt after lunch, or in my oatmeal before bed. It is essential!
  • Taco Seasoning – I use this 1-2x per week depending – chili powder, cumin, paprika.
  • We have a special steak glaze we cannot live without which consists of brown sugar, paprika, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, sage, thyme, so a combo of herbs/spices.

What do you always keep on hand in your pantry?

  • Himalayan sea salt – This is huge in our house and used for almost every meal. For a while I was doing Himalayan salt with lemon in the mornings, on my eggs, and all veggies for meals. 
  • Kerrygold Butter – Luke won’t eat anything else. It truly is amazing butter. This will go in the pan for most meals, on our toast in the mornings, and rice or pasta for dinners. Mixed with the sea salt of course!
  • Teriyaki Sauce – We use this every weekend for our chicken on the grill, in the crockpot, or even on seafood. We love making a stir fry with it for our meal preps during the week too.
  • Frank’s Red Hot – I feel like everyone has to have this in their fridge! It can go on anything – but we usually use it for lunch or taco night. 
  • Eggs – Usually local farm eggs. We recently purchased chicks so we will have eggs by the end of the year. We can eat eggs any time of the day and if we don’t have some in the fridge there is a serious problem!

Who is influencing you in the kitchen these days? 

We love cooking shows on Netflix and most recently, David Chang has had us in the kitchen trying new recipes. Any Michelin Star chef from the Final Table and Youtube sensation Matty Matheson. We have been perfecting our fried chicken recipe thanks to these guys!

What is one of your most profound food memories? 

When I met Luke’s parents for the first time in the summer in rural PA, we started the evening sitting around a table in the backyard eating homemade bacon cheeseburgers. They gave me a HUGE burger right off the grill and was one of the best burgers I have had! A special time but also fun to get a taste of his family and their traditions. 

Does your family have any food traditions? 

My mom’s side is Greek, so we always do a Greek Thanksgiving to get a break from the classic heavy Thanksgiving. We eat Spanakopita – a pastry like appetizer with feta and spinach, Pastitio for the main course – a Greek lasagna, ziti pasta with ground beef, cinnamon, eggs, tomatoes, and cheese, and Baklava for dessert. We always have warm bread and a garlic, oil, and vinegar based salad as well!

My dad’s side of the family is very country – classic, old-fashioned cooking so we also have a huge traditional Thanksgiving with him. On Christmas morning, we always make homemade bagels, they are amazing! 

Do you like to listen to any specific music when you cook?

I love to listen to the Lumineers or Vance Joy. Many nights up until 1am, listening to them making meal preps but I still enjoy them so so so much!

Fried Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • pickle brine
  • buttermilk
  • flour, sugar, salt, pepper, honey powder, paprika, chipotle spice blend for dry rub
  • oil for frying
  • potato bun and pickles for serving

1. Soak 1 pack (usually 6 chicken thighs) in a bowl of pickle brine for 24 hours.

2. Take chicken out 1 hour before ready to fry and put in a bowl of buttermilk.

3. Gather dry ingredients for chicken fry – flour, sugar, salt, pepper, honey powder, paprika, chipotle spice etc.

4, Start heating your oil of choice in a frying pan on medium for 15 minutes.

5. Dip in your first chicken thigh in the dry rub and drop into the frying pan, frying for a few minutes and flipping only once. 

6. Keep each chicken thigh warm on a pan in the oven while cooking the others.

7. Chicken thigh then goes on a potato bun with pickles!

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