Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

January 9, 2014 · 6 comments

Ahh…that’s better. I don’t know about you, but to me it’s always somewhat of a relief to return to normal after the holiday crazies. A typical routine, no reason to wear heels and an absence of egg nog. It was fun while it lasted. And now it’s over. Yes, this is what the doctor ordered.

As I’m settling back into our version of “normal,” I am slowly returning to habits that get me through a week of packing lunch boxes and putting nourishing meals on the table. Earlier this week, I stocked up on staples – chicken breasts, bananas for smoothies, greens for salad (and smoothies), avocados. These are the foods of “normal.”

I roasted four large bone-in chicken breasts with skin (more flavor) so we’d have plenty of lean meat for the week. I rubbed the chicken breasts with a couple tablespoons of this savory herb blend moistened with a bit of olive oil. Then I lined a baking sheet with parchment, set the chicken on it and popped it in the oven for 25 minutes at 425 degrees. When cool enough to handle, I removed the skin and pulled the meat from the bones (which were then bagged and frozen for my next batch of chicken stock). If you prefer to work with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poaching is your best bet. I’ve outlined how to do that here.

With a few cups of moist, perfectly cooked chicken breasts on hand, the options are many. A few of my favorites:

  • Tacos (pictured above) – so easy you don’t even need a recipe. Warm flour or corn tortillas. Top with chicken and anything else you like: thinly sliced red onion, avocado, black beans, sour cream (I use Greek yogurt), cilantro, a sprinkle of ancho chili or pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika). Add a squeeze of lime and serve. Smile.
  • Salads – lean strips of chicken round out almost any salad and make it a meal. Add chicken to this quinoa salad for a protein-packed punch or add it to Amanda’s radish and pecan grain salad.
  • Soups – add shredded chicken to soup after all other ingredients are cooked. Heat through and serve. Try this coconut lime soup or chicken soup with wild rice.
  • Casserole – okay, I hate the word casserole. It reminds me of gooey, cheese-laden dishes served at a church potluck. I might hate the work potluck even more than the word casserole. Anyway, if you have cooked chicken to spare, ignore the nomenclature and consider this chicken and orzo casserole.
  • For the lunch box, stuff strips of chicken inside a whole grain pita with a few leaves of lettuce and the condiment of your choice. Or roll them up in a wrap with crisp veggies and salad dressing.

Wishing you a balanced, happy and healthy 2014!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Marlene January 9, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Made your beautiful citrus pomegranate salad for christmas dinner and it was gorgeous and everyone ate it all up! I was fortunate to obtain pomegranates from a friend’s tree, so that made it even more special! By the way, did you know the easiest way to get the arils out? Fill a bowl with water, then cut the fruit in half, and work out the seeds under the water. Still takes some time, but it’s not messy! The white pithy part more or less floats on top and the seeds sink to the bottom. Easy peasy!

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Alicia January 9, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Hi Marlene! Happy new year! I’m thrilled to hear that your crowd loved the salad (and that you were able to get the fruit from your friend – lucky!). I didn’t know that trick. I’m going to try it next time. Briliant.

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Queen Bee Aggie January 10, 2014 at 11:09 am

I knew that trick and had put the arils in the freezer but forgot to get them out when you were here. I’ll add them to tonight’s salad,1

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Alicia January 13, 2014 at 3:06 pm

I didn’t know you could freeze them. I guess why not?

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Lise January 10, 2014 at 3:22 pm

How timely! I’ve been making rich bone broths with whole chickens, and midway through the long cooking pulling out the breast meat to shred and save for later use. Tonight I’m doing both tacos and enchiladas with the meat; I’m going to spice the chicken up with some green chiles. I’ve also been craving some warming soup with coconut milk, so I’ll be trying the Coconut Lime Soup from the next batch of bone broth I make. Thanks!

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Alicia January 13, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Sounds warming and soothing. I want to come to your house, Lise. Happy new year to you!

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