Tag Archives: chicken

Chicken and Lemon Summer Salad

If you are looking for the perfect summer salad, look no further. This tasty Chicken and Lemon Summer Salad is a gem – it’s crisp and refreshing, great to bring to a BBQ, and won’t leave you with the remorse of having indulged in one too many hot dogs.

Preparing this dish is a lot of fun – the zesty yellow lemons, bright and cheerful peppers, and aromatic cilantro all scream summer. Not to mention, all those fresh ingredients make the kitchen smell great without having to even turn on the stove!

I found the original recipe in a cookbook I picked up called Cooking Light Chicken Tonight! and I didn’t change much except added more cilantro (seriously, I’m obsessed) and included orange peppers to the vegetable mix. Helpful hint: to yield more juice from the lemons, microwave them for 30 seconds before juicing.

Chicken and Lemon Salad

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Cooking spray

Salad:

  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup each: red, yellow, orange bell pepper strips
  • 1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. To prepare chicken, combine the first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag, and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally.
  2. Prepare grill.
  3. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Cool completely; cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  4. To prepare salad, cook peas in boiling water 30 seconds. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Drain. Combine peas and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl; add chicken, tossing to combine.
  5. Place 1 3/4 cups chicken salad on each of 4 plates. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
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Chicken Rolls with Asparagus and Mozzarella

The other day I walked into Fairway and right in front of me were these petite asparagus spears – they looked perfect for the chicken rolls that were dancing around in my head and with that, an impromptu recipe was born.  After picking up some thin chicken cutlets, I was ready to cook – I had everything else at home, making this an easy weeknight recipe that takes little thought, effort, or preparation.

CHICKEN ROLLS WITH ASPARAGUS AND MOZZARELLA

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken cutlets, pounded thin and evenly
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • salt and pepper, for seasoning meat
  • whole wheat bread crumbs

    Chicken rolls w/ asparagus and mozzarella!

Directions

  1. Sautee asparagus in olive oil until bright green. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Pat chicken dry and lightly season with salt and pepper.
  5. Lay out chicken breast, arrange asparagus on top, and sprinkle with mozzarella.
  6. Roll chicken around asparagus and cheese; place seam down in baking dish.
  7. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
  8. Sprinkle whole wheat bread crumbs on top of chicken.
  9. Cook for approximately 25-30 mins* or until chicken registers 160/165 degrees with a meat thermometer.

That’s it – veggies plus protein in one fell swoop and a nice way to switch up chicken and vegetables! I suggest serving this with brown rice or cous-cous as a side to round out a nicely balanced meal that makes for a yummy, crowd-pleasing dinner and great leftovers.

This is also a solid base recipe – you could switch out asparagus for mushrooms or another veggie, use a different type of cheese, or even make mini flank steak roll-ups using the same concepts. Happy eating!

*October 31, 2012 update: It might take a little longer than 10 minutes to cook your chicken depending on the strength of your oven, size of cutlets, etc. Never consume raw or undercooked meat – always rely on a good meat thermometer to let you know when food is done!

*November 11, 2013 update: OK, OK, I have heard you all loud and clear – I changed the cooking time from 10 mins – I must have a magical oven or be totally inept at keeping time. Originally, I only cooked these for about 10 mins but the cutlets I used were really, really, really thin. So don’t eat raw meat, cook it long enough, and plan ahead accordingly.

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Light & Healthy Chicken Marsala

My grandmother, a well-seasoned cook and fantastic baker, has always talked about how much she loves reading cookbooks. It wasn’t until recently, when I started cooking regularly for myself, that I understood what she meant. Not only is it a great way to learn new cooking techniques, but so many cookbooks hold information that goes well beyond the recipe. Little nuggets like conversion tables, tips and tricks about which types cookware to use, and basics like the best way to measure certain ingredients grace the pages of the better cookbooks.

So, when my grandmother recommended “The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook,” I took her suggestion pretty seriously – she is not quick to refer someone to a bad cookbook. I thumbed through it at her house and fell in love. It was full of such great information about everything from cookware to product reviews to amazing recipes. On my next trip to Barnes and Noble, as I perused the cookbook section, I came across “The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook” – it had all of the great information in the traditional version but all of the recipes were light and healthy! Sold! (Not all of the recipes are “clean,” but I figured I have lots of clean cookbooks and it couldn’t hurt to add something different to my collection.)

I started to make a list of what I wanted to make out of the book – turned out to be basically everything. I settled the “Spa Chicken” and low-fat “Mushroom-Marsala Sauce.” Some Marsala sauces and recipes end up laden with calories – from breaded chicken to heavy cream in the sauce itself. This was a huge turnoff to me, so until now I had considered it an occasional treat to order when eating out rather than something I could whip up at home.

Not anymore! I couldn’t have been more pleased with the recipe came out – I don’t think I would change anything about it! And, to boot, this was the first time I made poached chicken as a main dish and not as part of a soup. In stark contrast to my last recipe experiment, I followed the steps on these recipes exactly. Both recipes below are from “The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook” – check them out at http://www.americastestkitchen.com/.

MUSHROOM-MARSALA SAUCE

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons EVOO
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced thin (I used 10 oz. because I love mushrooms!)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

    Marsala sauce underway!

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt; cook until browned.
  3. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Whisk in the broth and Marsala and bring to a simmer.
  5. Whisk the water and cornstarch together and then stir into the sauce.
  6. Simmer until the sauce is thickened and measures 1 cup, about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

SPA CHICKEN

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed, pounded if necessary
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, parsley, cilantro, or tarragon

    Healthy chicken Marsala ready to eat

Directions:

  1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine the water, garlic, thyme, and soy sauce in a 12-inch skillet.
  3. Add the chicken and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. When the water is simmering, flip the chicken over, cover, and continue to cook until the chicken registers 160 to 165 degrees.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a carving board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Slice on the bias into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  7. Sprinkle with parsley and cover in Marsala sauce and mushrooms to serve.
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Clean Breaded Chicken Cutlets

My dear friend Christina and I call one another Chicken, in only the most endearing way, because we heard the following conversation nearly a decade ago and thought it was hilarious:
Little boy: “You’re a chicken!”
Little girl: “Well, You’re a turkey!”
Little boy: “No, you’re a flamingo!”
Ever since then, we have both been known as “Chicken” (and it’s not very original given that we stole the joke from two little kids). I should also mention that our maturity levels drop drastically as soon as the other is in view… and this makes everything we do way more fun while annoying the crap out of everyone around us. More often than not we are the only two people laughing in a movie theater or being asked to stop dressing up in aprons and taking pictures of one another at Anthropologie. Just yesterday we were throwing around poultry-inspired names for a fictional business venture like Chicka Chicka Bawk Bawk and Chicken Coop. We have no ideas or business plans for either, except that the later would probably involve none other than Cooper (the dog). To make a long story short, we now have yet another joke that’s probably only funny to us.
 
So, to honor this long-standing and special friendship, I wanted to share my favorite way to cook chicken (the meat, not the person). Instead of frying the cutlets in oil, they are breaded with clean ingredients and baked. Enjoy!
 
Clean Breaded Chicken Cutlets
 
Ingredients
  • 4-5 chicken cutlets, about 1/4″ thick
  • 1 cup almond meal (sub out whole wheat flour if you are allergic to nuts!)
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg whites
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • cooking spray

    Clean breaded chicken w/ veggies

 
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. One by one, coat cutlets in almond meal, egg whites, and bread crumbs.
  4. Arrange in one layer on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink in the middle.
  6. Sometimes I serve the chicken plain, but I also have some variations that I use to keep things interesting: I top it with hot sauce and crumbled blue cheese; incorporate it into pasta dishes in lieu of fried cutlets; put it in a whole wheat wrap with tomato, basil & mozzarella – the possibilities are endless!
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Party Spread Defense

No matter what the occasion, I get a little anxious when I go to a party without knowing what kind of food I’ll find in the party spread. I hate eating for the sake of being polite, especially when it’s something outside of my diet, but also don’t want to offend my family or friends by passing on something that they prepared. With the Superbowl coming up, that means lots of tempting party spreads, so I thought I’d share some defense tips from my own game plan and recipes to help keep your Superbowl experience clean and lean: buffalo chicken chili and Greek yogurt veggie dip!
  1. Contribute a clean, healthy dish. Not only will contributing a dish mean less work for the host, but it also helps assuage some of my anxiety since I know that there will be at least one thing I will eat without guilt. 
  2. Extra Workouts. It’s hard to say no to everything, so throwing an extra workout into the mix helps me offset some of the calories and makes me feel a little better about sneaking a couple extra pigs-in-a-blanket (which can pack a whopping 70 calories and 5g of fat in ONE BITE!).
  3. Sharing My Goals. When I’m vocal about my health and fitness goals and tell family and friends how hard I’ve been working, it helps to keep my health top of mind (and politely lets them know that I won’t be upset if I miss all the cheesy dip).
  4. Pre-Eating. Going to a party on an empty stomach is more dangerous for me than going grocery shopping hungry. I try to fill up on clean standards like veggies and grilled chicken or an egg white omelette  before I leave the house.

Enjoy the recipes below!

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Chicken wings are one of my biggest weaknesses in life. To me, the best ones are the least healthy: fried, covered in blue cheese, and served with a beer. Since beginning my clean eating journey, I’ve been on a mission to find a suitable alternative to the bar menu standard and I think I’ve found it in this buffalo chicken chili – it’s easy, healthy, AND delicious.

Topped with greek yogurt and voila - a lean, healthy, hearty chili!

Ingredients
1 T. olive oil
2 lbs. ground chicken breast
3 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 ribs celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T. paprika
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup hot sauce
15 oz. tomato sauce (no salt added)
15 oz. diced, fire roasted, crushed or stewed tomatoes (no salt added)
Greek yogurt
 
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, breaking it up, until no longer pink.
  2. Add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, paprika, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft.
  3. Add the chicken stock, hot sauce, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes (or longer).
  5. Remove bay leaf and serve.
  6. Top each serving with Greek yogurt to give your dish a protein boost.

Many thanks to The Well-Fed Newlyweds blog, where I originally found the chili recipe via Pintrest.

Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip

Ingredients
12 oz. plain Greek yogurt
Low-sodium onion dip mix (I recommend Goodman’s)

Directions

  1. Mix together Greek yogurt and a couple pinches of onion dip mix.

That’s it. No, seriously… you don’t have to do anything else. A little bit of dip mix will go a long way – if you want to ramp up the flavor, add more mix a little at a time so you don’t overdo it.

Happy cooking and… go team!

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