Racing to the kitchen

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Off-road racer Shelby Hall and her Ford Bronco. She’s competed in the famed Baja 1000, Mint 400, and Rebelle Rally. Photo courtesy of Shelby Hall

Off-road racer Shelby Hall fuels up with healthy dishes.

Shelby Hall is best known locally for her skills on the racetrack. The professional off-road endurance racer comes from a family of pro drivers — her father, grandfather, and uncle all competed in the sport — which inspired her to take the wheel and follow in their footsteps. She joined the Rod Hall Racing team in 2012, competing in numerous endurance races. In 2019, she became the only female driver of the Desert Assassins/Ford Performance Bronco R race team, and she became the first driver (male or female) to capture a win in the all-new Bronco line.

In addition to her love of off-roading, Hall also is a Renoreal estate agent at Truckee River Homes, and she has a passion for cooking.

“I cook at home for almost every meal,” she says.

Meal prep in advance is a big part of her routine. Favorites include fresh chicken and bison burgers. In summer, she keeps plenty of zucchini on hand as well.

“Spiralized zucchini is my ultimate go-to,” Hall says. “It takes three minutes to parboil, and then you can throw sliced chicken, lemon, garlic, and olive oil on top, or ground beef, vegetable marinara sauce, and a heaping pinch of Parmesan — it’s so easy, versatile, and healthy.”

Shelby Hall chops broccoli and cauliflower before roasting them in the oven

While the men in Hall’s family may have taught her how to drive, it was her grandmother who showed Hall the ropes in the kitchen. Hall says her grandmother, with whom she lived growing up, could make even simple lunches such as tuna sandwiches extra tasty.

“Our favorite cookbook is The Joy of Cooking, and we laugh together because you can tell our favorite recipes by how dirty the pages are,” she says.

The other influential person in Hall’s cooking ventures is her personal trainer, Bethany Pointer, who preaches healthy eating and balance.

“The balance comes into play by enjoying a piece of yummy homemade bread my grandma makes or the occasional wine pairing dinner,” Hall says.

Today, Hall cooks to fuel her athletic lifestyle with lean proteins and plenty of vegetables. She always has eggs, fresh vegetables, protein, and dark chocolate in her kitchen. For breakfast, she is a creature of habit: Every morning, it’s mild Italian pork sausage, an over-easy egg, and sautéed leafy greens, and on any given night, she’s throwing together something with ingredients from Whole Foods, where she likes to buy most of her groceries.

If you want to indulge in one of Hall’s go-to meals without making a mess, she suggests her Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs and Toasted Broccoli and Cauliflower.

“This is one of my favorite chicken dishes,” she says. “The chicken and broccoli both bake at 425 degrees F, which makes it a quick meal with minimal dishes to clean.”

Nora Heston Tarte is a longtime Reno resident. She enjoys searching out the best food spots, wine, hiking, yoga, and travel.


Cast-Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs and Toasted Broccoli and Cauliflower
(courtesy of Shelby Hall, professional off-road racer in Reno. Serves 2 to 3)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons dried garlic

5 to 6 chicken thighs

2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil (or avocado oil), or more to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Preheat a cast-iron skillet on stovetop over medium-high heat. While skillet and oven preheat, pat chicken thighs dry, then combine salt, pepper, paprika, and dried garlic. Sprinkle seasoning mix all over chicken. Once skillet is hot, melt oil (coconut or avocado) and place 5 to 6 thighs, skin side down, in skillet. Cook 8 to 10 minutes until skin is crispy.

While chicken cooks in skillet, prepare vegetables (recipe below) and place in oven.

When skin side of chicken is crispy, flip pieces over, then place the whole skillet in oven, next to the vegetables, for 15 minutes. When done, remove from oven, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve chicken with vegetables.

For vegetables

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray. Chop broccoli and cauliflower florets into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss vegetables with a drizzle of avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Place on baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Turn veggies and roast for 8 to 10 minutes more.

Nora Heston Tarte is a longtime Reno resident living on the south side of town. In addition to searching out the best food spots in Reno, her interests include wine, hiking, yoga, and travel. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism. Follow her local exploits and travel adventures on Instagram.


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