Sunday, June 30, 2013

Recipe: Any Day Chicken with Lemon Scented Carrots and Snap Peas

There's some days where you just don't feel like cooking, are uninspired, tired, or otherwise just not excited about being in the kitchen. Today was one of those days for me. But, we still have to eat and as a post-op, still need to have a reasonably healthy meal.

This is one of my go-to dinners when I need something quick but don't want to go through a lot of fuss. All of the ingredients are regularly in my pantry. The only plan-ahead would be defrosting the chicken if I don't have any fresh in the refrigerator (tip: freeze breasts individually in Food-Saver bags - perfect portions for a post-op plus 1 or 2 others).  The process of flattening the chicken breaks up some of the muscle fibers which makes for a more tender piece of meat, something that can make chicken easier to handle for many post-ops.

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs - plain or Italian seasoned
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil - divided
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 medium carrots
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup water
 Prepare chicken breast by pounding it out to 1/2 inch thickness. There's a couple ways to approach this. Place chicken between 2 pieces of wax or parchment paper. If you have a meat mallet with flat side (vs. the nubby side), put some muscle behind it and pound the meat with a slightly outward motion. The idea is to spread out the breast while making it thinner (rather than just smashing it down).  If you don't own a meat mallet, a heavy bottomed pan can also get the job done - I've been known to use my cast iron skillet - that will flatten it instantly!  Cut flattened breast into serving sized pieces - my very large one pound breast was cut into 5 pieces, roughly 3 oz each.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Peel carrots, then slice thinly on a diagonal - about 1/8 inch thick. Trim ends and any strings from sugar snap peas. Saute carrots for 2 minutes, then add peas, saute for another 2 minutes. Add zest from the lemon, then it's juice along with 1/3 cup water. Cover and simmer over medium low heat while preparing the chicken.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Pan is ready when oil begins to shimmer.

 Pour milk into a shallow dish or plate. Using paper plates for easy clean-up, put flour and bread crumbs on their own plates. Working one piece at a time, dip chicken in milk then press into flour on both sides. Shake off any excess. Dip again in milk, then press into bread crumbs on both sides, again shaking off any excess. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as you place them in the pan. Saute until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.

Nutritional information: Chicken: 3 to 4 oz serving - 197 calories, 6g fat, 10g carbohydrates, 28g protein. 

Nutritional information: vegetables - 1/4 recipe - 92 calories, 4g fat,  13g carbohydrates, 6g sugars, 2g protein

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