Chicken is Clucking Great

via the Music City Hot Chicken Festival--must. go. to. Nashville!

via the Music City Hot Chicken Festival–must. go. to. Nashville!

I’ve told you how much I love to eat, but haven’t really talked about it that much. So here we go, my first food post… and it’s dedicated to chicken!

As far as I’m concerned, chicken breast is the best thing you can eat if you’re trying to get in shape. Besides the fact that it’s delicious, it’s good-for-you lean meat (very low fat-to-protein ratio), and it’s really versatile. By itself, it’s fairly bland, but it’s a really good vehicle for spices and sauces. You can also add it to otherwise meatless dishes without changing the flavor of the dish to boost the protein content, which is good for muscle recovery and growth, and will keep you fuller longer (promise!).

I, for one, do prefer to eat healthy–but I refuse to stick to a diet, and if something super tasty but unhealthy is within reach, chances are very high I won’t think twice about how many calories, or how much fat–I’ll just eat it and feel no remorse. With chicken, you don’t have to decide between healthy or delicious, and it’ll make you feel virtuous after your meal.

This is chicken and waffles from Little Chef Counter in San Jose's San Pedro Market. Hands down the best post-race meal I have ever had.

This is chicken and waffles from Little Chef Counter in San Jose’s San Pedro Market. Hands down the best post-race meal I have ever had.

Honestly, very little makes me cringe more than the thought of a plain chicken breast sitting alone, with only some brown rice for company. No matter how “healthy” that may be, you’re not going to want to eat it! So if you get creative with your seasonings and sauces and consistently make dishes you like,  it’ll be way easier for you to not eat like crap. It’s also really, really easy to cook up a whole bunch of chicken at once and then rotate the sauces; it saves time and you can focus more energy on the tasty part of the dish!

Good, healthy chicken recipes

My mom bought me the American Heart Association No-Fad Diet Cookbook quite a few years ago, and I’ve basically torn the spine to shreds because I use it so much. They have a lot of great chicken dishes, and all of their recipes are healthy; you can also find a bunch of recipes on their website. I’ve added a recipe at the end of the post: Chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese, dates, and spinach (one of my favorites and in the regular rotation).

I’m also totally obsessed with a dish from a blog called The Smitten Kitchen: espinacas con garbanzo. It’s a spanish dish that is, in and of itself, very healthy. This recipe is a perfect example of adding chicken to a non-meat dish; I usually quickly cook up a chicken breast on the stove, shred it, and mix it in, and you would never be able to tell it wasn’t part of the recipe to begin with. Bonus protein, yay!

Lastly, you can never go wrong with a chicken stir-fry or chicken tacos. Both have great flavor given the spices they have, and are generally very good for you, incorporating lots of vegetables and not a whole lot of fat or calories. They’re also crazy easy to prepare–just chop everything up, throw it in a pan, and cook it up. Throw the stir-fry on top of rice, and the taco in a tortilla, and you’re good to go!

My philosophy is that, if I’m going to take the time to cook something, it might as well be healthy. I’m a fan of quick, easy, and tasty, and am always on the lookout for new recipes. Speaking of which, I just saw a recipe for spicy chicken shwarma that I am dying to try.

Do you have any good recipes? Leave them in the comments 🙂

Chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese, dates, and spinach

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 oz. soft goat cheese
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
4 dried dates, pitted and chopped
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 tsp paprika

Preheat the oven to 425* F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Discard all visible fat from the chicken. Place the chicken with the smooth side up between 2 pieces of plastic wrap; lightly flatten with a rolling pin or a meat mallet.

Place the chicken breasts smooth side down on the baking sheet. Spread 1 Tbsp, leaving a half-inch border. Sprinkle with cayenne and dates. Top with the spinach, maintaining the border. Beginning at the narrowest end, roll each piece up, jelly-roll style. Place with the seam side down on he baking sheet. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for 20 min. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 min.


One thought on “Chicken is Clucking Great

  1. The chicken with goat cheese, dates and spinach sounds amazing! Nommms. The chicken shawarma is super easy and I usually have enough left over for lunch the next day. Bonus points!

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