Flavorbomb Chicken Breasts (Paleo/AIP/Whole30)
I work with many women who can not bear to eat another boneless, skinless chicken breast. They burned out on them, probably as 20-something, health-conscious women eating chicken breasts as a steady source of lean protein.
Because they ARE a great source of lean protein. And they’re fast to cook and are incredibly versatile.
But I get it.
I too have consumed many, many overcooked, bland chicken breasts (in my own kitchen, not just at wedding receptions). In our fear of undercooked chicken, we’ve taken to incinerating it into rubber.
Let’s not do that anymore!
I shared one trick for making fast, flavorful, tender chicken breasts on Instagram a few weeks ago and several of you prepared them and sent me notes about how delicious they were.
That’s a much better outcome.
I batch cook both of these recipes so that I have chicken to reach for when I’m pulling together a quick salad or to top off a veggie bowl with rice or caulirice. Of course, feel free to add a kickass condiment for maximum kablam.
There are four tricks to the first recipe – Lemon-Caper Chicken – none of which are very tricky:
First is to Tarzan the thickest part of the breast with a meat mallet, just a bit so that the breast is equal in thickness. It cooks much more evenly that way and you have a better chance of snatching it from the heat before it turns bouncy.
Second is to fry lemon slices and capers in a bit of oil before sautéing the chicken – this step is important, it’s where the flavor comes from.
Third is to cook the breasts low and slow, until just done, and let them rest for a few minutes.
Fourth is the most unusual step – the capers and even the lemon are sliced up into the chicken, using a serrated knife, so that everything gets shredded up together. If you’ve never eaten fried lemon slices before, you’re in for a treat.
The second recipe is totally hands off. Season chicken breasts with salt, nestle them in a Dutch oven, cover with dried herbs, sliced onion, and sliced garlic, add a bit of water to the pan, and into the oven it goes.
No browning, no pounding.
What emerges is very tender chicken, easily shredded right into the flavorful pan juices so that the chicken stays juicy in the fridge.
I thought you’d appreciate a couple of lighter options after July 4 feasting! Yes?
How are you feeling after the holiday?
Summer is weird, because the food is potentially lighter – fresh from the farmers market or garden or CSA box – but the weeks are crazy busy and include lots of parties and so what you hoped would be healthier eating turns out to be…not.
If you’ve struggled to stick with healthy eating goals, or an elimination diet to figure why you feel bloated, fatigued, and/or achey from the foods you’re eating, I have good news for you. I only open Project Vibrancy Coaching plus Project Vibrancy Meals a few times/year and right now is one of those times.
We have a blast meeting online each week to share goals and hold each other accountable and you know what happens?
Healing and change.
I so hope that you can soon be having fast, delicious meals each night and making progress on the health goals you’ve wrestled with for years. #vroom
I know that there are 1000 different voices out there shouting about how to eat and improve your health. Where do you begin?
I get asked that question a LOT, so I recorded this video today talking about my Top 10 Tips for making your way through what I call the “health maze.” I hope it can help you get the ball rolling! Now is the PERFECT time to start – small changes add up fast and even a month from now, you’ll be so glad that you did. (Catch the video you YouTube right here.)
OK friends! Batch cook some flavorbomb chicken breasts (not an oxymoron, at least not here) and have a great weekend.
Note: This recipe can be easily doubled.
1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
1/2 lemon, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon (drained) capers
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded lightly until even
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Add oil to a 10-inch skillet set over medium heat. When oil is hot, add lemon slices and capers. Fry until lemon slices are browning, about 4 minutes. Turn the lemon slices over and stir the capers around. Fry for another 3 minutes then remove both to a plate. Set aside.
Return pan to heat and turn to medium-low. Generously salt both sides of the chicken breasts, then add chicken and thyme sprigs to the pan. Saute gently for 3-4 minutes, then turn chicken breasts. Place thyme sprigs on top of chicken. Saute for another 4-6 minutes or until breasts are just cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.
Remove thyme leaves from their stalks and place on top of chicken. Add lemon slices and capers on top of chicken. Using a serrated knife, very thinly slice/shred the chicken breasts and the capers and lemon too. Season with additional salt if needed and stir to gently combine. Serve warm or refrigerate in a glass container with an airtight lid.
Braised Chicken Breasts
Note: It sounds crazy to braise boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but they do emerge incredibly tender and easy to shred. It’s also nice to pop them in the oven and forget about them for awhile. The seasonings here are basic and can be changed to suit any number of flavor profiles. Stick with oregano alone and add cumin and a couple of dried chiles if you’re making tacos (skip cumin and chiles for AIP). Skip the oregano, thyme, and nutmeg and add fresh ginger and a few tablespoons of GF hoisin sauce (skip for AIP) if you’re thinking Asian lettuce wraps.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of nutmeg (or mace for AIP)
1/2 small yellow onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1/3 cup water (or chicken broth, feel free to sub in a bit of wine or sherry)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Generously salt both sides of chicken breasts. Place chicken in a Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Sprinkle chicken with herbs. Scatter onion and garlic slices over chicken. Pour in the water.
Cover pan and place in oven. Braise for 1 hour. Using a fork and knife, shred chicken in the pan, into the pan juices. Season with additional salt if needed. Serve warm or refrigerate chicken in pan juices in a glass container with an airtight lid.
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