Chicken, Chicken, and More Chicken
If you are like me, then some days you feel like you might just sprout feathers you eat so much chicken!!!! Chicken is a staple in the diets of most healthy eaters. There is no doubt why, since chicken breasts are a good source of protein and are low in fat and sodium. Chicken breasts provide zero grams of carbohydrate, so they are a low-carb food. The estimated glycemic load of chicken breast (skinless, boneless, and raw) is zero. Since chicken breasts are so versatile they are easy to incorporate into a healthy diet.
Beware of the calories in your chicken. The size of the chicken breast will affect the calorie count. A single serving of chicken breast is about three ounces or the size of the palm of your hand. Often, commercially packaged chicken breasts are much larger than that. So, if you eat a single breast, you’re probably eating more than a single serving. I combat this by mostly purchasing chicken tenders.
A 3 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast provides 102 calories, 19 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 46 milligrams of sodium.
The trick is coming with up with new ways to keep your healthy chicken dinners new and creative!! Here are a few lightened up recipes to add some variety to your meal planning!!
Lemon Chicken Piccata
(One of my very favorites.)
|2 small lemons, cut into thin rounds|
|1½ teaspoons sugar|
|4 garlic cloves, halved|
|4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to ¾-inch thickness|
|½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided|
|½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper|
|1 tablespoon olive oil, divided|
|2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided|
|1 teaspoon grated shallot|
|½ teaspoon grated garlic|
|1 oregano sprig|
|1 thyme sprig|
|1 cup unsalted chicken stock|
|1 teaspoon all-purpose flour|
|1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained|
|2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf|
- Combine lemon slices, sugar, and garlic in a medium bowl.
- Sprinkle chicken with 3/8 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Place chicken on a plate. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add lemon mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until lemon slices are lightly browned, turning occasionally. Return lemon mixture to bowl.
- Wipe pan with paper towels. Heat pan over medium heat. Add 1½ teaspoons butter to pan; swirl until butter melts. Add shallot, ½ teaspoon grated garlic, oregano sprig, and thyme sprig; cook 1 minute. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt, stock, and flour to pan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about ⅔ cup. Remove pan from heat; discard oregano and thyme sprigs. Stir in remaining 1½ tablespoons butter and capers, stirring until butter melts. Return chicken and any juices to pan; turn to coat with sauce. Top chicken with lemon mixture. Sprinkle with parsley.
Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 332, Fat 13 g, Carbohydrates 7 g, Protein 38 g, Fiber 1 g, Sodium 576 mg.
Teriyaki Chicken and Brown Rice Bake
|¾ cup low-sodium soy sauce|
|½ cup water|
|⅓ cup packed brown sugar|
|1 tablespoon honey|
|¾ teaspoon ground ginger|
|1 teaspoon olive oil|
|½ teaspoon minced garlic|
|2 tablespoons corn starch|
|2 tablespoons water|
|1½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts|
|32 oz frozen mixed vegetables (no added sauce)|
- 1 cup drained canned pineapple tidbits or chunks (packed in juice or no added sugar) (I am not a big fan of pineapple with meat, so I leave this out)
- 3 cups cooked brown rice Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
- Combine the soy sauce, the ½ cup water, the brown sugar, honey, ginger, olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan and cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove lid and cook for one minute once boiling.
- While waiting for the sauce to come to a boil, stir together the corn starch and 2 tablespoons of water in a separate dish until smooth to form a slurry. Once the sauce is boiling, add the slurry to the saucepan and stir in to combine. Cook for another minute until the sauce starts to thicken and then remove from heat.
- Lay the raw chicken breasts flat in a 9 ×13 casserole dish and pour about a cup of the sauce over top of the chicken. Place the chicken in the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes until breasts are cooked through. Remove the dish from the oven and shred the chicken right in the dish using two forks.
- While the chicken is cooking, steam or cook your frozen vegetables according to package directions.
- When the chicken is shredded and the vegetables are cooked, add the vegetables, pineapple, and rice to the casserole dish with the chicken. Add most of the remaining sauce, reserving a bit to drizzle over the top when finished. Stir everything together in the casserole dish until well combined. Return the dish to the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the remaining sauce and serve.
Serves 6. Each serving contains Calories 321, Fat 3 g, Carbohydrates 43 g, Protein 26 g, Fiber 4 g.
Make at Home General Tso’s Chicken
|2 tablespoons soy sauce|
|2 teaspoons rice vinegar (or white vinegar)|
|1 tablespoon honey|
|1 to 2 teaspoons garlic chili sauce|
|½ cup chicken broth|
|3 teaspoons cornstarch, divided|
|1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets|
|1 pound boneless chicken meat, cut into 1-inch pieces|
|Freshly ground black pepper|
|1½ tablespoon of cooking oil|
|1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely minced|
|1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced (or grated on rasp grater)|
|4 stalks green onion, chopped|
|1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds|
- In a bowl, make the General Tso sauce: Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic chili sauce, chicken broth, just 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch. Set aside.
- In a wok or large sauté pan over high heat, add ½ cup water and bring to a boil. Add broccoli to the pan and cover. Steam for 2 minutes or until broccoli has turned bright green and is crunchy-tender (just shy of cooked through.) Remove broccoli from pan, drain and rinse with cool water to stop cooking. Set broccoli aside. Empty water from wok or pan and dry well. Return wok or pan to stove.
- In a medium bowl, add chicken, remaining 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, salt, and pepper and stir to coat chicken evenly.
- Heat the wok over high heat. When very hot, add cooking oil and swirl to coat. To get a nice crust on the chicken, you’ll cook them in a single layer, giving them plenty of space to brown. Add half the chicken to pan in a single layer. Let cook undisturbed for 1-2 minutes, until the bottom of chicken is browned, flip chicken, cook until other side is browned. The chicken should be halfway cooked through. Remove the half-cooked chicken pieces to a plate to set aside. As you take chicken pieces out, continually add in more of the raw chicken to the pan to cook.
- When all the chicken has cooked, turn heat to medium. Let the pan cool a bit before adding the rest of the ingredients (so they don’t burn). The pan should still have some cooking oil left from the chicken. To the pan, add the green onions, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Control your heat so that the ingredients don’t burn.
- Pour in the General Tso’s sauce to pan and bring mixture to a simmer. Return the chicken and broccoli to the pan, toss and cook for 1 minute. The sauce should thicken and the chicken should be cooked through completely. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.
Super Simple Healthier Parmesan Chicken
|¾ c. bread crumbs|
|¼ c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish|
|1 tsp. garlic powder|
|1 tsp. Italian seasoning|
|2 large eggs|
|¼ c. buttermilk|
|4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts|
|Freshly ground black pepper|
|1 (32-oz.) jar marinara|
|1 c. shredded fresh mozzarella|
|¼ c. thinly sliced basil|
- Preheat oven to 400° F. In a medium bowl, mix together bread crumbs, parmesan, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Pat breasts dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Dip into egg mixture and then dredge in breadcrumbs, making sure all sides are coated. Place in a baking dish and bake until lightly golden and crispy, 20 minutes.
- Pour marinara over chicken breasts and top with mozzarella. Bake until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes more. Garnish with more Parmesan and basil and serve immediately.
Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 398, Fat 25 g, Carbohydrates 14 g, Protein 28 g, Fiber 2 g, Sodium 525 mg.