Here are lots of different ways that you can easily make your chicken more exciting. Eating healthy can be so much more exciting than eating plain chicken with a side of boring salad. It’s also a huge myth that it takes a lot of effort and time to make a delicious meal. You can do it in minutes, save yourself some cash by eating at home instead of grabbing fast food on the way home, and reap the health benefits of eating better 😀
Part 1: Chicken
- Get some fresh chicken breasts. Place in a baking pan.
- Turn your oven on to 375
- Season your chicken (see options below)
- Stick it in the oven and bake for 30-45 min depending on how many you have and if you are baking potatoes too (takes longer, the more stuff you put in the oven)
Option 1: Salsa! From hot tomato salsa to mango or pineapple salsas, these sauces will add some serious flavour to your meat. Choose one that’s made with fresh ingredients that you can spell and is low in sugar (salsa tends to be surprisingly high).
Option 2: Chicken broth. Add enough to make those chicken breasts swim a little (about an inch deep works well). This will ensure that your chicken comes out tender and juicy 😀
Option 3: Marinate. This one requires some forethought the morning or night before. Coat your chicken in your marinade (store bought or homemade) while it’s in the pan. Cover and place in the fridge to let the flavour soak into the chicken. Take a few hours later when it’s ready to bake and you’re off to the races! Just make sure you let the cold baking dish warm up before sticking it in the hot oven – often sticking a really cold glass dish in a really hot oven = ka-bang!
Option 3: Curry. If you love spicy food, this option is for you. Curries are a blend of spices that traditionally go together in certain styles of cooking. Interestingly, every cook will have a slightly different version but for those of us who are not up to speed on all the spices needed to make a rockin’ masala or korma chicken on our own, there are easier option.
- A) Curry powder – use as a rub on your chicken or add to meat with some coconut milk or olive oil
- B) Curry pastes – same as above 😀
- C) Curry sauces – these vary in their quality and taste. President’s Choice makes a few that are relatively healthy and taste pretty good, but I recommend looking at the list of ingredients to see what is actually in there, as well as the nutrition info and serving size.
Option 4: Honey or Dijon Mustard. Dump it on, spread it, and done 😀
Option 5: Lemon juice + Lemon pepper seasoning. Splash and sprinkle.
Option 6: Herbs & Spices. Getting a little more involved here but it really doesn’t take that much time to sprinkle some dried herbs and/or spices onto your meat. Little efforts for big payoffs cause really, who likes plain Jane chicken? Most people just don’t know what goes together. Try these simple combos:
- Rosemary & thyme
- Basil & oregano
- Ginger & garlic (I know it’s not a herb but it’s awesome)
- Cilantro & red chili peppers & lime juice
- Chili powder, cumin, & cayenne pepper (spicy!)
*Money-saving tip: pick up new dried spices and herbs in small quantities at the bulk store or bulk section of your grocery store so that if you’re not a huge fan you don’t end up with a ton of wasted spice and cash you’ll never see again. Those fancy jars at the supermarket are ridiculously priced – get some little jars at the dollar store, or better yet, you may find an entire spice rack that someone didn’t want as a wedding or housewarming gift on Kijiji or Goodwill.
**Being awesome tip: grow your own herbs! This can easily be done on a sunlit windowsill, balcony, deck, or in your own garden. All you need are some basic gardening supplies, some sweet tunes, and away you go! Basil, oregano, mint, cilantro, rosemary, and thyme are all readily available and easy to find. They also grow well and require little effort on your part. Save money and improve the quality of your cooking in one fell swoop!
Part 2: Healthy Starches
Option 1: Potatoes or yams.
- Wash. Stab multiple times with fork. Stick in oven on rack alongside chicken. Done.
- Wash, peel, cut, boil in pot with water. Mash or don’t. Add a little garlic, salt, and pepper, and a touch of butter if you really feel the need.
- “Fries”. Wash, cut into rounds or strips and bake on a cookie sheet (lightly oiled with olive oil). Sprinkle with salt, cinnamon, or curry powder.
- Mini potatoes. Shelack with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, & thyme. Bake on a cookie sheet. So yummy!
- Blue potatoes. If you haven’t had these, you are missing out! They have a fresh, sweet flavour that is a true delight.
Option 2: Brown Rice or Quinoa
- Brown rice takes a while, so start cooking it before your chicken goes in the oven. Use a pot or a rice cooker (rice cookers are AMAZING – no more burnt rice on the bottom of the pot!). My absolute favourite variety is whole grain Jasmine rice from SunRice (they have it at Superstore in London). It tastes like white Jasmine rice but it’s got all the goodness and fiber of being a whole grain. Thank you Australia 😀
- Quinoa is really easy to cook and takes way less time to cook than brown rice (they are cooked the same way). It can be kind of bland, so try cooking it with garlic or chicken stock.
Option 3: Garlic Mashed Cauliflower. A lower carb option that tastes almost as good as mashed potatoes. You really need to boiled the heck out of the cauliflower to make it mash well. Add some garlic cloves while your boiling the cflower and they will mash too (saves from having to chop and adds lots of flavour).
Part 3: Veggies!
This will be very individual, depending on what you like. Try a simple salad, some boiled green beans, broccoli, asparagus, or even something random like celery sticks. There’s no right answer!
Enjoy your chicken!