One-Pan Lemon Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

 

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One pan chicken and Brussels sprouts, with a side of roasted butternut squash.

A big thank you to Sara Wallace for inspiring this meal!  Sara and I met as freshmen on the Williams College rowing team, and became fast friends during our first Winter Study together.  She has a thirst for adventure and has the energy for any fun, new diversion!  Somehow, we have yet to cook together, but in a recent email she told me she regularly makes one-pan chicken and Brussels sprouts.  I found a recipe online on a lovely gluten-free cooking blog called “So… Let’s Hang Out“, and made minor modifications to the ingredients.  I added butternut squash to my meal because I have been loving the roasted squash flavor lately.  Chili powder adds another layer of flavor to the naturally sweet butternut squash – the combination is so good that I find myself “taste-testing” straight from the baking sheet!  The chili powder/squash concept comes from “The Whole30 Cookbook”, by Melissa Hartwig.

Alex and I shared this one-pan wonder for an easy weeknight meal.  He had his chicken over leftover brown rice, which soaked up the lemon juice and chicken broth.  I am still following Whole30 most days, so I just increased my Brussels sprouts pile for extra carbohydrates.  The great thing about this meal is that you will have 30 minutes of down-time while the chicken and Brussels sprouts finish in the oven, and cleanup is a breeze.  I used pre-cut butternut squash and Brussels sprouts to speed up the process, and thanks to that shortcut, this dinner took about 45 minutes to prepare from start to finish.

Recipe

One-Pan Lemon Chicken and Brussels Sprouts – serves 2 to 4

We experimented with using both chicken breasts and thighs in our first pan.  You can also use skin on, bone-in chicken, but if you have large pieces, use a meat thermometer to make sure chicken is fully cooked.  Cast-iron works especially well for this meal, because it makes your chicken nice and crispy.

You will need:

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  1. 1 large butternut squash, or one container of pre-cut squash (thank you, Whole Foods!)
  2. 1-2 T olive oil
  3. 2 t chili powder
  4. 2 t salt, 1 t pepper
  5. 1 T coconut oil
  6. salt and pepper to taste
  7. 2 pounds of chicken breasts or thighs, or both
  8. 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  9. 1 T olive oil
  10. juice of one lemon
  11. 1/4 C chicken stock

Optional: serve over brown rice.

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine butternut squash pieces with olive oil, chili powder, salt and pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring at least once to make sure pieces are not sticking to the baking sheet.
  4. While butternut squash is roasting, prepare your Brussels sprouts.  Wash and halve sprouts, and combine with olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Mix thoroughly to coat, set aside.
  5. Heat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (the butternut squash can handle the heat for a little while!).
  6. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel, and season with salt and pepper to taste, on both sides.
  7. Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium to medium-high heat, and add coconut oil.
  8. When oil is hot, add chicken to your pan in a single layer, and do not move for 6-8 minutes.  You want the chicken nice and browned on the bottom before flipping.
  9. When the first side has browned, flip chicken and continue cooking.
  10. Next, add Brussels sprouts, lemon juice and chicken stock, stirring to combine.  Scrape the bottom of your pan to loosen any browned bits.
  11. Carefully place your pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Your butternut squash should be done around the same time, but if it is starting to get too browned, you can remove the sheet pan so the pieces do not burn.  Simply return the pan to the oven when the chicken and sprouts have just a few minutes left to cook.

Sources:

Gina Marie. “One-Pan Crispy Chicken Legs & Brussels Sprouts {Gluten-Free & Paleo}.” So…Let’s Hang Out. N.p., 16 Apr. 2015. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.

Hartwig, Melissa. The Whole30 cookbook: 150 delicious and totally compliant recipes to help you succeed with the Whole30 and beyond. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. Print, page 65.

Baked Chicken Parmesan with Roasted Vegetables in San Diego

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Liz and I enjoyed preparing this meal together, and comparing notes.  Not pictured: the banana bread that we baked the day before!

My sister, Liz, and I enjoy spending time in the kitchen together, whether we are at home in Delaware, visiting one another at our apartments in Seattle or San Diego, or simply connecting by phone and FaceTime.  We like to compare notes on recipes and reminisce about our childhood favorites that we could recreate sometime.  Liz also recently introduced me to Daphne Oz’s cookbook, “The Happy Cook”, and we followed her banana bread recipe together on my first day in San Diego.

After the rainiest Seattle October on record, it was luxurious to step out of the airport in San Diego and shed a couple layers.  Even better was getting picked up by Liz and Jay and being greeted by their dog Gracie (she remembered me!).  While in San Diego, we enjoyed meals out and a special dinner with Robin and Maria, but we made sure to make time to cook dinner together.  We used a recipe from SkinnyTaste as inspiration for our chicken parmesan prep, and consulted “Cook Yourself Thin” for the roasted vegetable steps (you can find that recipe on Food.com as well).

Recipe

Baked Chicken Parmesan – serves 4 to 6

I like using thin-sliced chicken breasts for this meal because that can increase your surface area for breading, sauce and cheese.  You can buy thin-sliced chicken breasts or slice them in half carefully at home.  When Liz and I made this meal, we found out that we accidentally had vegan cheese, which did not melt readily but still tasted great.  At home, I replicated the recipe with shredded mozzarella on top.  I have also started using foil to line the baking sheet for this recipe, because the topping and cheese tend to adhere to your baking sheet otherwise!

You will need:fullsizerender-16

  1. cooking spray
  2. 2 T butter
  3. 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thin-sliced)
  4. 3/4 C breadcrumbs (preferably Italian breadcrumbs)
  5. 1/4 C shredded parmesan cheese
  6. 1 C marinara or other pasta sauce of choice
  7. 3/4 C shredded mozzarella

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with foil.  Spray sheet lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter in the microwave for about 30-60 seconds.
  3. Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan in a large bowl.
  4. Brush both sides of the chicken breast with butter and dip in the breadcrumb and parmesan mixture, generously coating each sides.  Repeat with remaining chicken.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes for thin-sliced chicken breasts, or 25 minutes for thicker pieces.
  6. Remove from the oven and flip chicken breasts with tongs.  Top each piece with a spoonful or marinara and a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.  Bake for another 5 minutes.

Recipe

Roasted Root Vegetables – serves 4 to 6

The original recipe calls for these veggies to roast for 30-35 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you make these with your chicken parmesan, keep an eye on the vegetables and check and stir them after 20-25 minutes.

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  1. 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  2. 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  3. 2 yukon gold potatoes, sliced
  4. 1 t parsley, chopped
  5. 1 t dried chives
  6. 1-2 T olive oil
  7. salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Combine sliced vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Drizzle 1-2 T olive oil over top and add salt and pepper and dried spices.
  4. Spread vegetables out on baking sheet in an even layer without too much overlap.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes and then shuffle the vegetables around on your baking sheet.  You may need to roast for an additional 5 to 10 minutes; check potatoes for tenderness and then bake an additional minute or two for crispy potato skins.

 

Sources:

Diva, Mommy. “Turkey Mini-Meatloaves With Roasted Root Veggies Recipe – Food.com.” Recipe – Food.com. N.p., 2009. Web. 01 Dec. 2016. (online resource for roasted root veggies)

Homolka, Gina. “Baked Chicken Parmesan | Skinnytaste.” Skinnytaste. N.p., 12 Sept. 2012. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.

Lifetime Television.  Cook Yourself Thin: Skinny Meals You Can Make in Minutes. New York: Hyperion, 2009. Print. (print resource for roasted root veggies)

 

Coconut Milk-Poached Chicken with Roasted Red Peppers

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Half of our roasted red peppers, ready to be covered in foil to steam and cool.

For the past week, my training partner, Jess, and I have been fortunate to stay with a host family near Sarasota, FL, while we train for the upcoming Olympic Trials.  Because Trials begin on Thursday, I am blogging a day early!

Jess and I have been staying with Steve and Pat Roach, and I was delighted when they accepted my offer to share a dinner that I prepared with them in mind.  Steve and Pat have taken us for a tour of Anna Maria Island (see pictures below), and made us feel at home in their house.  To thank them, Jess and I worked on this dinner to share.  We also have enjoyed getting to know Kahlua, a shy cat who is not pictured, and Poundcake, the 9-month old golden retriever puppy (pictured below).  Jess and I have been sticking to healthy meals during most of our training time together, and appreciate the guidance of Georgie Fear, a registered dietitian, board certified specialist in sports dietetics and co-owner of One By One Nutrition.  We knew we wanted to include roasted red peppers, and to build a balanced meal.  One thing I thought we were missing was something green!  We rectified that situation the next day when we had leftovers on top of a leafy spinach salad.

I separated the roasted red peppers into their own recipe, because they are fantastic to make on their own as an appetizer, topping or side.  Enjoy peppers on their own, with cheese and crackers, over salad or on a sandwich!  Happy National Garlic Day!

 

Recipe

Coconut milk-poached chicken and cinnamon, cayenne steamed carrots – serves 4 to 6

You will need: IMG_3978

  1. 1 package of quinoa
  2. 1 can of coconut milk, full fat, unsweetened
  3. 3 cups of chicken broth, low-sodium, plus more if using for quinoa
  4. 4 chicken breasts
  5. 8 large carrots
  6. ½ T cinnamon
  7. 1 t cayenne pepper

Steps:

  1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions, using either water or half/broth half water as your liquid.
  2. Place chicken breasts in a large pot or pan.
  3. Combine coconut milk and broth over the chicken, and set heat to high to bring liquids to a boil.
  4. After your liquid boils, reduce heat to low and cover for 8 minutes.       Check chicken for doneness after 8 minutes, and continue to simmer on low for up to 15 minutes.
  5. While chicken is simmering, peel carrots and dust with cinnamon and cayenne. Place in a microwaveable dish with a cover, and microwave for 6-8 minutes.
  6. Serve chicken breasts over quinoa in a bowl to soak up the coconut milk sauce.

Recipe

Roasted red peppers – serves 4 to 6

You will need:IMG_3977

  1. 4 red peppers
  2. 2 cloves of garlic
  3. 2 t dried parsley

Steps:

  1. Rinse 4 red peppers and pop them on a baking sheet.
  2. Set oven to broil on high, and set baking sheet inside on the highest rack.
  3. Use tongs to rotate peppers a quarter turn every 5 minutes. It is okay for peppers to blacken.
  4. Meanwhile, chop garlic cloves.
  5. When peppers have broiled on all sides, remove from oven and place in a large bowl covered with a lid or foil. Wait at least 10 minutes for peppers to cool to the touch, then remove skin, stem and seeds.
  6. Slice or tear peppers into strips and toss with garlic and parsley.
  7. Enjoy peppers on their own, with cheese and crackers, over salad or on a sandwich!

 

 

Cashew Chicken with Vegetables

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Checking broccoli tenderness

This week I tested out a recipe for cashew chicken with vegetables, which I have been craving since I made the “Asian Chicken with Peanut Sauce” from Racing Weight.  Jess took me to the Pacific Beach Farmers Market before we went to the grocery store, and it was a treat to shop outside! We bought organic broccoli that had been picked earlier that day from JR Organics, and used it for this dinner.  We also bought some fascinating cauliflower heads from Suzie’s Farm (see gallery) that I cannot wait to experiment with.

This recipe satisfies my craving for a spicy weeknight meal that balances protein, veggies, carbs and fats.  I made this dish for Jess and her mom last night, at her mom’s home in PB.  Even without red pepper flakes, this dish had some heat! For those who do not like spicy food, consider leaving out the sriracha from your sauce.

 

Recipe

Cashew Chicken with Vegetables – serves 4

The sriracha, fresh ginger and garlic in this recipe provide plenty of heat!  If you like things extra spicy, I would consider adding 1 teaspoon of hot red pepper flakes to the sauce.  When I visit my parents, I cook gluten-free recipes for my mother; to make this recipe gluten-free, use equal parts Tamari sauce in place of soy sauce.  If you do not have peanut flour on hand, you can use 2 T peanut butter, or cashew butter for your sauce.

You will need:

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  1. 2 T olive oil
  2. 2 broccoli crowns
  3. ½ large red onion, chopped into large pieces
  4. 2 red peppers, chopped
  5. 1 C brown rice
  6. 1 to 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped

 

For your sauce:

  1. 1.5 C veggie broth
  2. 1/4 C peanut flour – we used PB2
  3. ½ C raw cashews
  4. 1 T fresh ginger, chopped
  5. 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  6. 1 T sriracha sauce
  7. 1 T honey
  8. 1 T soy sauce

Optional: hot red pepper flakes

Steps:

  1. Chop peppers, broccoli and red onion and set aside. Chop garlic and ginger.
  2. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  3. Begin cooking by bringing vegetable broth to a simmer, adding liquid ingredients. Add peanut flour, stirring until combined. Add garlic, ginger and cashews. For extra heat, add 1t or more hot red pepper flakes.
  4. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Add red onion and sauté for two minutes. Add broccoli with ½ cup water and cover.
  5. Heat another pan over medium heat and add chicken and half of sauce, stirring to coat. By this point, the sauce should have reduced in volume by about a third.
  6. Add red peppers and remaining sauce to the veggie pan. Stir to coat and sauté for five minutes.  Meanwhile, stir chicken.
  7. Remove veggies from heat and add to large serving dish. Add chicken to serving dish and mix with veggies.
  8. Serve over rice.

 

Sauce inspiration: Fitzgerald, Matt, and Georgie Fear. “Asian Chicken with Peanut Sauce.” Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes. Boulder: Velopress, 2013. 230-231. Print.

 

Chicken and Broccoli: Slow Cooker Versus Stovetop

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Slow cooker versus stovetop.

My mother sent me a recipe for an Italian slow cooker meal recently, and Alex and I improvised with ingredients by throwing in whatever we had in the fridge.  The end product was a bit of a hodge-podge of flavors, but led us to crave this recipe – slow cooker chicken and broccoli.  We tested our new recipe by cooking half of our ingredients on the stovetop at Aunt Maria and Uncle Robin’s home in San Diego.  We then took their slow cooker and the rest of our ingredients over to Jess’s kitchen for the afternoon to test out the slow cooker process.  This week’s new recipe was truly a team effort!  The slow cooker version of my recipe was our favorite.

Recipe

Slow Cooker Chicken and Broccoli – serves 8 to 10

This recipe works well with fresh or frozen broccoli; the broccoli shreds as it cooks, so you do not need to worry about chopping your broccoli precisely.  If you have fresh broccoli, I recommend peeling and chopping the broccoli stem after you have cut off the florets.  That way you can use as much of the produce as possible in your dish, and the firm circles of broccoli stem add a nice crunch.

You will need: IMG_1547

  1. 1 yellow onion, chopped
  2. 4 small zucchini, chopped
  3. 5 oz baby bella mushrooms, halved
  4. 2 broccoli crowns, chopped – stems included
  5. 10 oz frozen peas
  6. 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1 C brown rice
  8. 1 C low-sodium chicken broth
  9. 2 T hoisin sauce
  10. 1 T soy sauce
  11. 14.5 oz can baby corn
  12. 2 8 oz cans sliced water chestnuts
  13. 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  14. 2 t black pepper
  15. 1 t cinnamon
  16. 1 t red pepper flakes

Optional: sriracha sauce for serving

Steps:

  1. Begin by prepping and chopping your first six ingredients (onion through garlic). Set aside.
  2. Next, add rice, chicken broth and 1 C water to slow cooker.  Add hoisin sauce and soy sauce.
  3. Add chopped and canned vegetables, including the liquid from the canned water chestnuts.
  4. Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, and add to the top layer of your slow cooker.  At this point, a 6-quart slow cooker would be almost completely full.
  5. Finally, season with black pepper, cinnamon and red pepper flakes.
  6. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.  Serve with hoisin or sriracha sauce on the side.