15 Minute Chicken and Broccoli. (GF/DF)

All the flavors of the classic dish, but on the table in under 15 minutes!

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This recipe is for all of you who are super busy but want a quick, easy meal on the table in 15 minutes at the end of the day.
Read: EVERYONE.
AmIright?!
I thought so.
So here’s the deal: with a tiny bit of alacrity, you definitely CAN have this recipe done in under 15 minutes start-to-finish.
Promise!

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I’m slowly getting over my fear of making Asian-inspired dishes. This one was super simple and turned out really well, especially considering how quickly it all comes together. In order to get this done in 15 minutes or less, you’ll have to multi-task a little bit. But that’s okay, because you’re a kitchen rock star and can totally handle it.
Here’s how easy it is to do:
The chicken gets chopped up into bite sized pieces and cooks on medium-high heat. The higher heat will help it stay really moist and tender. Bonus: it also cooks faster! 5-6 minutes is probably all you’ll need to have it cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, you’ll whisk up your sauce.
Now, if you’re like me and want to have plenty of sauce to mix into the broccoli/rice, you’ll be happy to know I doubled the original amount.
There’s nothing worse than a dry dish, ya know? We can’t have any of that going on here.

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Speaking of broccoli, you have some options as far as how you want to cook it:
#1) You can add it to the pan once the chicken is done cooking.
Pro: Same pan! No extra mess!
Con: It will take longer to cook and this will become a 20 minute dinner.
#2) You can steam them in a separate pot.
Pro: It can steam away while the chicken cooks. Yay multi-tasking!
Con: More clean up because of the extra pot.

Either way works, it just depends what your priority is: dinner on the table ASAP or as little clean up as possible.

For a complete meal, serve the chicken and broccoli over some rice (hello, 10-minute boil-in-bag rice!) and enjoy!

15 Minute Chicken and Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 1lb chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into cubes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Broccoli florets

For the sauce:

  • 6 Tbsp GF Tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos
  • 4 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

1). Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink.

2). While the chicken is cooking, whisk together the sauce ingredients. Set aside.

3). If steaming broccoli in a separate pot, bring water to a boil and place in the steamer basket. Alternatively, you can add the broccoli to the pan with chicken and cover to cook for a few minutes.

4). Once the chicken is cooked through and the broccoli is crisp-tender, add the sauce mixture to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until it begins to thicken. Garnish with sesame seeds (optional), and serve over rice, if desired. Enjoy!

Servings: About 4. Recipe adapted from here.

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Easy Paleo Almond Chicken Tenders. (GF)

These chicken tenders are coated in almond meal and baked for a healthy take on traditional chicken fingers!

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Ever want a no-fuss dinner that you know everyone will love?
All the time, right?
Add this one to your weekly rotation.
Oh yes, I said weekly.
If you know me well, you know I RARELY cook anything twice, but I’ve already made this dish numerous times because it’s such a crowd-pleaser.

I mean, everyone loves chicken tenders, right?
Exactly.

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Thankfully, these are much more heart-healthy than what you’d order in a restaurant or buy at the store because they’re breaded in almond meal instead of flour, and they’re baked, not fried.

Let’s be honest, usually when something is baked, that’s code for “not-as-good-as-fried”, but this chicken turns out perfectly cooked and amazing. Plus, it’s so much easier than frying since you just stick the whole pan in the oven at once and you’re done!

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Before baking, I dipped the chicken in a beaten egg and then in a spicy almond meal mixture. A lot of fun spices come together here like cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. There’s a bit of heat from the pepper but it’s not overpowering.

I used Trader Joe’s almond meal for the breading. Depending on what brand you use, you may have different results. 1 cup of almond meal is perfect for 2 pounds of chicken. Your chicken should be perfectly cooked in about 25 minutes, making this a great weeknight meal option your whole family (even picky eaters) will love!

Easy Paleo Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper (use 1/2 tsp if you don’t want it spicy)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • cooking spray

1). Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a pan with foil for easy clean-up if desired, and spray with cooking spray.

2). Cut the chicken breasts into long strips about 1-2″ wide.

3). In a small bowl, beat the egg lightly.

4). In a larger bowl, combine the almond meal with all of the spices.

5). Dip each piece of chicken in the egg, letting the excess run off. Then dip into the almond meal mixture, coating well. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with leftover chicken. Tip: don’t overcrowd the pan! For crispy chicken tenders, there has to be space between them for the air to circulate. 

6). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. Enjoy!

Servings: about 8. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 214 Carbs: 4g Fat: 11g Protein: 28g Fiber: 2g Points+: 6 Recipe adapted from here. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

 

 

Chicken with Mustard and Prosciutto. (GF, DF)

An elegant French-inspired chicken dish easy enough to make on a weeknight, and show-stopping enough to serve to company!

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See that?
That’s pure culinary enchantment, friends.  And a perfect Valentine’s Day dinner idea. Because French food is automatically romantic and inviting.

This is an adaptation on a French classic: tender chicken nestled into a savory mustard and herb sauce. With prosciutto. A very Italian ingredient. Sooo, this is really more of a French-Italian fusion dish, but the prosciutto is important–it’s salty character really brings out all the flavors of the dish. Don’t have proscuitto? No worries, use bacon or pancetta instead.

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If you like the flavor of mustard, you will really enjoy this dish because it uses both a classic dijon and a grainy mustard. The chicken gets coated in it and it’s also used in the sauce. Don’t worry, it’s not overpowering at all, though!

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Thyme is another main ingredient here. I don’t cook with thyme very often, mostly because I never have it on hand, and because the dried version is overbearing to my pallette. In this case, the fresh thyme blended beautifully in the sauce, so if you have any reservations about using thyme, leave those aside and try the recipe as-is. I think you’ll love it!

A few more important notes about this dish:

  1. There are a few steps involved, but none of them are difficult, so don’t let the somewhat lengthy instructions below derail you from making this recipe. It’s a lot of “cook this in the pan, remove it, now add something else, remove it, now add it all back together”.
  2. I used a mixture of both chicken breasts and boneless skinless chicken thighs, but you can use what you want.
  3. You will need a skillet with a lid for this dish.
  4. Cooking nerd here, but one of my favorite steps in this recipe is deglazing the pan! It allows you to get all of the flavor off the bottom of the pan and into the sauce.
  5. If you can tolerate dairy, add 2 tablespoons at the end right before serving for a creamier sauce. Honestly, I didn’t miss it and don’t think it needed it, but I’ll leave it up to you!
  6. This dish is best served HOT and fresh!

Chicken with Mustard and Prosciutto

Ingredients:

For the chicken “marinade”:

  • 2 lbs chicken (I used breasts and boneless, skinless thighs)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (or sweet)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup diced prosciutto (or bacon, or pancetta)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth (low-sodium)
  • 2 Tbsp grainy mustard

1). In a large bowl, combine the chicken “marinade” ingredients well.  Add the chicken and coat evenly in the mixture. Set aside.

2). Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced prosciutto, stirring frequently until it starts to crisp up and brown slightly. Remove from the skillet and put in an empty bowl.

3). In the same pan, add 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and stir until soft and translucent. Add the thyme and after a minute, remove from the skillet to the bowl with prosciutto.

4). To the same pan, add the other 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken for a few minutes until browned on one side, then flip and cook a few minutes more. Remove from the skillet onto an empty plate.

5). Time to deglaze the pan! Add the broth to the hot, empty pan and scrape all of the crispy brown bits off the bottom of the pan using a flat edged wooden spoon. Add the chicken, onions, and prosciutto back to the pan. Cover and cook on medium-low for 15 minutes. Be sure to turn the chicken a few times. Check to make sure it is cooked through before proceeding to step 6.

6). Remove the chicken from the pan to stir in the grainy mustard into the sauce. Add the chicken back to the pan, give it a few quick turns in the sauce, and serve!

Servings: 6. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 246 Carbs: 2g Fat: 11g Protein: 38g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 1g Points+: 7 Recipe adapted from here. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

A gluten-free copycat of a restaurant favorite that’s full of bold flavor!

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Even before I had to begin eating gluten-free, I always loved lettuce wraps. They’re light, crunchy, and (mostly) healthy. When I came across this recipe, I was hopeful it would be a successful Asian dish I could make at home. The verdict? Definitely a keeper.

I broke down and bought a new-to-me ingredient for this recipe: mirin. I did a lot of research trying to figure out a way to get around purchasing it, but none of the replacements were any more convenient. I used to shy away from cooking Asian dishes because of the long list of ingredients I didn’t have in my pantry. About a year and a half ago I broke down and finally bought some of those staples, and I’m so glad I did! Now I have a little corner in my pantry dedicated to those types of ingredients. They last quite a while, so if you’re wondering if you should invest in those specialty ingredients, do it!

Ok, back to this awesome recipe.

After the small pieces of chicken breast are coated in a mixture of corn starch and GF soy sauce, the go into a hot skillet until cooked. The cornstarch helps give the chicken an amazing texture when it cooks. The last step is to let the chicken and zucchini/garlic simmer in a perfectly sweet-and-spicy sauce, giving each bite tonsssss of flavor. We both thought it was pretty spicy (in a good way!), so be ready for it!

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I used gluten-free soy sauce but you can use regular if that’s not an issue for you. If you aren’t a fan of lettuce wraps, you can also serve this over rice! Thanks to the quick stir-fry method, this came together really quickly, making it a great weeknight meal. I hope you’ll try it!

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Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 1lb chicken breasts, chopped very small
  • 3 Tablespoons GF tamari or soy sauce, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Sriracha
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoons + 1 tsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped small
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • Lettuce leaves (I used butter lettuce but iceburg or baby romaine work well too)

1). In a large bowl, combine the chopped chicken breast with 1 Tablespoon soy sauce and 1 Tablespoon cornstarch. Make sure each piece is evenly coated.

2). Add the other 2 Tablespoons of GF tamari/soy sauce, mirin, sriracha, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and sesame oil together in a bowl.

3). In a small separate bowl, stir the water into the remaining Tablespoon of cornstarch, THEN stir into the soy sauce mixture (from step 2). Set aside for later.

4). Heat 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan (or wok, if you have one) over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink. Remove from pan to a plate and set aside.

5). Add 1 tsp vegetable oil to the pan and add the zucchini. Stir fry until crisp tender. Add the minced garlic and stir fry for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.

6). Add the chicken back to the pan along with the sauce from step 2. Let it simmer for a few minutes until it reduces slightly.

Servings: 5. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 177  Carbs: 11g Fat: 7g Protein: 20g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 1g Points+: 5 Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.

Baked Pesto Chicken.

Thinly sliced chicken breasts are baked with my lightened-up pesto, then topped with mozzarella cheese! Few ingredients, lots of flavor.

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Last week I shared with you my homemade lightened-up, nut-free basil pesto. One of our favorite ways to use it is on top of chicken! Chicken breast alone doesn’t have much flavor, but the pesto takes care of that little problem. Top it with mozzarella or parmesan cheese and you have a delicious (and easy!) weeknight dinner. If your pesto is already made, you can certainly have this on the table within 30 minutes.

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I served this with a kale chickpea salad (recipe coming soon!), but it is great with just about anything you can think of: pasta, roasted veggies, a big green salad, couscous–whatever you’ve got, it’ll probably work! Leftovers can be reheated as-is, transformed into a sandwich, or cut into bite sized pieces and added to a salad. Get creative!

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This is arguably one of my husband’s favorite dishes, and I love it because it’s so simple to prepare! The lightened-up pesto tricks you into feeling like you’re really indulging, but you’re really not. It clocks in at just under 160 calories, only 6 grams of fat, and a whopping 27 grams of protein!

Baked Pesto Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 thinly sliced chicken breasts, about 1 lb
  • 4 tsp lighter basil pesto
  • 4 tbsp reduced fat mozzarella cheese (parmesan could work well too)
  • salt and pepper

1). Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides before placing them in the baking dish.

2). Carefully spread about a teaspoon of the basil pesto on each chicken breast. Top with 1 tablespoon of mozzarella cheese and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

Servings: 4. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 159 Fat: 6g Carbs: 1g Protein: 27g Points+: 4

Recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

Crock Pot Greek Chicken (for pitas & salads!)

Like many of you southern readers, we’ve been snowed in the last couple days! Thankfully neither my husband nor I got stuck overnight in the horrendous traffic that ensued. Instead, we have thoroughly taken advantage of our snow days by building fires, baking these banana chocolate chip muffins, watching movies, and enjoying these easy Greek chicken pitas!

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To make the chicken, I threw it in the crock pot with chopped onion, garlic, and Greek seasoning. I made a homemade Greek seasoning blend and used only about 1/4 of it for this recipe, so I saved the rest for another use. (Tip: make sure to put it in a sealed container and label it with what type of seasoning it is and the date you made it!) After everything was cooked, I shredded the chicken in my kitchen aid mixer, but using 2 forks would work too. Here’s what it looked like after:

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This made a quite a bit of chicken, so if you have a big family you can rest assured there will be enough for everyone. And probably leftovers. But that’s a good thing, right?! Because it does make more than a couple servings, one day I piled some chicken on a Greek salad while my husband enjoyed it in a pita. Instead of dressing I used tzatziki sauce. So much flavor! Here’s my recipe for fat-free tzatziki sauce if you’re interested in trying it. You could also switch things up by using hummus as well. Play around with it and see what you like best! Add olives, feta, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, or any combination of those ingredients as you like.

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If you do NOT own a crock pot (or if you’re low on time), you can also make this by mixing the chopped chicken/onions with 1 tbsp EVOO and the seasoning in a baking dish. Bake it for about 40 minutes at 350F, like the picture below! This recipe is really versatile!

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Crock Pot Greek Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1.5-2lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Greek seasoning

For the Greek seasoning (this makes MUCH more than you need; only use about 1/4 cup of this!):

  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp onion pwder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp thyme
1). Mix together the seasoning ingredients. Reserve a scant 1/4 cup of seasoning.
2). Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Layer chopped onions, garlic, and chicken. Sprinkle evenly with seasoning and add water. Set on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
3). Once chicken is cooked, remove the chicken/onions from crock pot and shred chicken using 2 forks or my kitchen aid mixer method. Add some of the cooking juices to keep chicken moist.
4). Serve on pitas or on a Greek salad with tzatziki sauce or hummus. Enjoy!

Serving size: 4 oz shredded chicken. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 184 Carbs: 0g Fat: 3g Protein: 34g WWPoints+: 4
Recipes adapted from: http://www.heandsheeatclean.com/2013/06/clean-eat-recipe-make-your-own-greek.html 
Adapted recipe courtesy of Audreysapron.wordpress.com.

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

If you are feeling under the weather or just trying to keep warm in this crazy winter we’re having, this crock pot chicken noodle soup is for you! It is hearty, chunky, and so much better than the canned version. I’ve made chicken noodle soup on the stove before, but this recipe came together one day when I was feeling sick, about to run out the door, AND had only a few hours before we needed to eat dinner. Enter the wonderful invention of the crock pot!

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For your convenience, I’ve included 2 ways to cook this soup. If you don’t have 6-7 hours to let the crock pot cook everything for you, you can speed up the process by sauteing the onions, carrots, and garlic in a small pan and then adding them to the crock pot along with the other ingredients. This will reduce your cook time to 3 hours on high. If time is not an issue, you can just throw it all in the crock pot and everything will be perfectly cooked and ready by the time you get home!

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I used brown rice pasta (which, surprisingly, my husband and I BOTH loved!), but you can use egg noodles or regular pasta. If you are gluten-free, you’ll obviously need to use some sort of gluten free noodle. The particular brand we enjoyed was De Boles Rice Plus with Golden Flax Spirals. They were awesome!

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Also, I should let you know…I really dislike celery in soups, so I didn’t include any. If you like it, feel free to chop some up and add it in!

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 lb carrots, chopped (I used half a bag of baby carrots)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (if sauteing vegetables first)
  • 3 – 15 oz cans low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed, finely crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice pasta for GF (or regular egg noodles)
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional-I didn’t have any)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional-I didn’t have any)

1). Spray crock pot with cooking spray.

2). To speed up cooking: in a medium skillet, heat the 1/2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic  and cook until soft. Otherwise, add to slow cooker (do not add oil).

3). Add the chicken, carrots, onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, celery seed, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Set on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

4). Once chicken is cooked, remove from crock pot and shred with two forks or with my kitchen-aid mixer method. Return the chicken to the crock pot.

5). Increase crock pot temperature to high. Add the pasta of your choosing to the crock pot and cook for about 10 minutes. Add parsley and lemon juice, if using.

Servings: about 6. Nutritional information per serving (this will vary depending on your brand of noodles): Calories: 242 Carbs: 30g Fat: 3g Protein: 23g Fiber: 1g WWPoints+:6

Recipe adapted from: http://www.cookingclassy.com/2013/11/slow-cooker-chicken-noodle-soup/