Who doesn’t love chicken! Chicken is absolutely one of my favourite foods for its versatility, and of course it’s the perfect lean muscle building protein for those of us with haemochromatosis, with an average breast (100g) containing around 0.7mg iron (noting the daily intake for most adults should be between 10-15mg dependent on gender and age).
Chicken is also a good source of the natural amino acid “tryptophan” which is needed to produce serotonin – the “happy hormone”. It helps us sleep better, reduces anxiety and stress levels, aids in managing depression and, overall, makes us nicer people!
In our home, chicken is a staple and something we would eat 3 or so times each week. It does get tough thinking of new and easy ways to jazz up this protein however, so I’m always looking for tasty and inventive ways to create not only nutritional but also eye catching and taste bud tingling meals.
Chicken is also something we tend to eat during the week more so than on weekends, primarily as it is relatively quick to move from kitchen to table after a long day at work. Whether it’s a vibrant and tasty stir fry, yummy chicken steaks with sweet potato chips, chicken and vegetable kebabs or my “signature” herbed chicken schnitzel, one way or another we find ourselves relying on this adaptable “meat”.
At this time of year, its warm and satiating quick meals I crave after a long day’s work. However, whether you’re like me and experiencing the winter chill in Australia, or searing heat on the other side of the world, these three delicious and easy recipes will have dinner on the table in no time.
Piri Piri Chicken Thighs
I don’t know about you, but sometimes my inner senorita wants to break out and I crave the warmth and spiciness of chilli. At times like this, I look for a quick fix and nothing is better for satisfying my craving than a piri piri inspired marinade. I say “inspired” as whilst authentic piri piri sauce can have up to ten ingredients, my version is incredibly simple – chopped chilli, oregano, paprika, garlic and red wine vinegar for an acid hit.
- 6 chicken thigh fillets (halved)
- 2 small red chilli peppers (seeded and chopped finely)
- 1/2 tsp hot paprika
- 2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1. Combine all ingredients with the exception of the chicken in a bowl and mix well.
- 2. Set aside 1/4 cup of the marinade mixture.
- 3. Rub the balance of the marinade mixture into the chicken thighs.
- 4. Heat oil in a frypan or grill plate.
- 5. Cook chicken pieces until caramelised on both sides and cooked through.
- 6. Serve the chicken thighs drizzled with the reserved marinade.
- This dish is wonderful served with a grilled corn, tomato and coriander salsa.
A one pot wonder, chicken and corn soup really is nourishment for the soul. This is my healthy take on a takeaway favourite. Using fresh corn really does make a difference, adding a lovely crunch and freshness to the soup, whilst the ginger, garlic, turmeric and apple cider vinegar give us an immune system and antimicrobial boost. Best of all, this super healthy bowl of goodness can be made ahead of time and frozen for when you need it most.
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1/2 leek, white part only, sliced
- 1/2 sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 3 fresh coriander roots, washed and chopped finely
- 1/2 tsp dried coriander
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (or equivalent of fresh grated)
- 1 chicken breast
- 500ml chicken stock
- 2 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 corn cob (or 375g tinned corn), shaved into kernels
- Fresh coriander to serve.
- 1. Melt coconut oil in a large pot and add garlic, ginger and leek. Fry for 3 minutes.
- 2. Add diced sweet potato, carrot and celery and cook for 3 minutes.
- 3. Add coriander roots, fry for 1 minute before adding dried coriander and turmeric. Cook for a further 2 minutes, ensuring all vegetables are coated.
- 4. Add chicken stock, 2 cups water, tamari and vinegar to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
- 5. Add whole chicken breast to the soup and poach for 15 minutes.
- 6. Remove the cooked breast from the soup and finely shred the meat.
- 7. Add the corn kernels to the soup and cook for 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot.
- 8. Serve the soup in bowls, sprinkled with fresh coriander.
- This soup is wonderful served over shredded bok choy (no need to cook).
Don’t let the fancy name fool you, this is as simple as it gets! Cooking “en papillote”, or in a steam bag, ensures that none of the nutrients are lost during the cooking process and results in a juicy chicken breast full of flavour. You can add as many ingredients as you like to the papillote – carrot, celery, leek, tomato, ginger slices – the list goes on. You can also adapt this recipe for any fish or seafood you might fancy (just reduce the cooking time accordingly).
In this recipe I have kept things uber simple – a few fresh herbs and sumac, which is a Middle Eastern spice and can be used in any savoury recipe where lemon slices or juice would normally be used. You can also use paprika if you don’t have access to sumac. Steaming food en papillote is also a very simple, quick and clean way to cater for a crowd, especially on those scorching hot days when you just do not want to sweat over a stove!
- I tsp coconut oil
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 tsp fresh oregano
- 1 sprig lemon thyme (or normal thyme)
- 1/4 tsp sumac (or sweet paprika)
- 2 tsp verjuice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- 2. Combine all ingredients, with the exception of the coconut oil and chicken. Set aside.
- 3. Heat oil in a frypan and brown chicken breasts, 3 minutes on each side or until golden.
- 4. Place each chicken breast on 2 layers of baking paper, drizzle over the marinade.
- 5. Fold the baking paper to make a parcel and twist the ends tightly to secure the package.
- 6. Place the packages on an oven tray and bake for 20 minutes.
- 7. Rest the parcels for 10 minutes before opening.
- Serve with greens such as string beans or broccolini.