Coconut Curry Crusted Chicken Salad with Mango and Honey Mustard Dressing

Coconut Curry Crusted Chicken Salad with Mango and Honey Mustard Dressing

This summery coconut curry chicken salad with mango and honey mustard dressing is made with Growing Roots new organic coconut and seed bites, which packs tons of flavor and crunch into oven “fried” chicken tenders! You’ll love the easy homemade honey mustard dressing paired with the sweet-tart juicy mango, fresh greens and spicy chicken!

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Noodle Bowl with Lemongrass Chicken and Peanut Sauce

Noodle Bowl with Lemongrass Chicken and Peanut Sauce

This noodle bowl with lemongrass chicken and peanut sauce can be prepped in less than 30 minutes! Perfect make ahead lunch for the weekend! Serve lemongrass marinated chicken over a bed of brown rice noodles, chopped fresh veggies, tons of herbs and a store bought peanut sauce!

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Spring Vegetable Coconut Couscous with Harissa Chicken

Spring Vegetable Coconut Couscous with Harissa Chicken

Make this spring vegetable coconut couscous with spicy harissa chicken! Mix in any vegetables you like in this easily adaptable dish! Takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish to whip up this coconut infused couscous with tons of spring vegetables, that gets a kick of spicy flavor from harissa roasted chicken.

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Crunchy Salad Mix + Three Easy Lunch Salads

Crunchy Salad Mix + Three Easy Lunch Salads

Try this easy idea for meal prep! Make this crunchy salad mix, packed with tons of different vegetables, and use it as a base to make these easy lunch salads that utilize leftovers and pantry ingredients. In this post, I provide three ideas for chicken tortilla salad, curried lentil and sweet potato, and harvest salmon salad. 

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Sheet Pan Ratatouille and Chicken

Sheet Pan Ratatouille and Chicken

Looking for an easy and healthy chicken recipe you can prep in less than 15 minutes? Make this sheet pan ratatouille chicken! Throw ratatouille vegetables, olive oil and bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs on a sheet pan and roast until the chicken is crispy and the vegetables are caramelized. It's so simple and perfect for those late summer nights! 

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Miso Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Sriracha Mayo

This miso grilled chicken sandwich with sriracha mayo is a flavor bomb of spicy, smoky, and fresh flavors!

The past few months, the hubs and I have been hard at work FINALLY landscaping our backyard after living in our house 5 years. So far, we've got a new brick patio, a simple (aspirational) vegetable garden, and coming soon...more grass than weeds! Once he makes me the farmhouse table I've been dreaming of and we figure out how to get rid of all the mosquitoes, we're good to go for backyard grilling parties. I was outside covered in bugspray for only 30 minutes and got bitten 36 times!! If zika is in South Carolina, I'll let you know soon.

I just looked back at my most recent recipe posts and realized everything I've shared has either been grilled or Asian food. Whoops! Didn't realize I was in such a rut! Well with this post, I'm getting all the Asian and grilled food out of my system then I promise I'm moving on to something new with a yummy Mexican appetizer on Thursday!

This sandwich is a major flavor bomb. It's spicy, smoky, crunchy, creamy, fresh and umami - basically all my favorite things! When the backyard is finally done, I think this may be our inaugural meal :)

Miso paste is one of my favorite pantry staples. It's a condiment made by fermenting soybeans to create a salty, savory paste. It's also a great source of those beneficial probiotics that make your tummy happy. There's so many other uses than miso soup (although miso soup is quite delicious!). Whisk into marinade like I did for this chicken, use it to make a glaze for roasted vegetables, blend into vegetarian dishes for umami flavor, or whisk into dressing for a probiotic boost.

Miso Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Sriracha Mayo

Serves 4

Ingredients

Chicken: 

  • 2 large chicken breasts or 4 thighs (about 1 lb total)
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

Sandwich: 

  • 8 slices whole grain bread, toasted
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 of a cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sprouts or microgreens

Sriracha Mayo: 

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in a zip top bag and pound flat with a meat mallet to 1/4-inch thickness
  2. Whisk together miso, sesame, soy sauce and ginger. Pour marinade into the ziptop bag with the chicken. Place in the refrigerator and marinate 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Oil grates of the grill and heat grill on medium-high heat. When hot, grill about 4 minutes per side until lightly charred and cooked through. Remove to clean plate and set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Toast the bread. Whisk together the mayo and sriracha. If using chicken breasts, cut each in half. Top the bread with avocado, cucumber slices, grilled chicken and sprouts. Drizzle with sriracha mayo and top with other slice of bread. Serve immediately.

More summer recipes for grilling: 

Grilled Chicken Burrito Bowl with Homemade Guacamole
Grilled Chicken Burrito Bowl with Homemade Guacamole
Grilled Zucchini and Guryere Panini
Grilled Zucchini and Guryere Panini
Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Dip with Tahini
Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Dip with Tahini

Grilled Chicken and Peach Kebabs with Honey Mustard Glaze

Grilled chicken and peach kebabs with honey mustard glaze would be perfect for your Fourth of July cookout! 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Heavenly Organics. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Avocado A Day possible! 

Happy (almost) Fourth of July!

I hope you have some exciting plans for the weekend. We'll be spending the day poolside. Yay for friends with pools in their backyard! Perks of adulthood ;)

July Fourth is one of my favorite holidays, I think because I associate it with with reunions and friends. Growing up, my dad threw a big backyard pool party for his college fraternity buddies every year on the fourth. It was really cool to see a group who had been friends for so long go out of their way to consistently see each other every year. The idea of using the fourth as an excuse for a reunion has always been appealing to me. I'm happy to say that's what we've done for most Fourth of July celebrations since college and I hope to keep the tradition going well into the future!

And of course, the food is just the best. There's the perfect ratio of rich and decadent dishes and fresh, bright summer flavors. There's always smoky ribs or hamburgers and gooey macaroni and cheese. But there's also perfectly ripe summer fruit salad (never with bland honeydew for filler!), and juicy spears of grilled corn on the cob. It's balance, holiday style!

For today's Fourth of July friendly recipe, I am SO excited to be partnering with Heavenly Organics to highlight their incredible honey. I'm always excited to share delicious things with my readers, but I'm even more excited when those delicious things come from a company that is doing so much good in the world.

Heavenly Organics was started over a decade ago by Amit Hooda, who grew up near a conflict zone in northern India. The experience stayed with him, and as an adult, he wondered what he could do to help eliminate conflict in these areas. With the help of his father, a renowned agronomist, he created Heavenly Organics, makers of high quality raw honey, cane sugar and the yummiest chocolate honey patties. They help small farmers in conflict areas in India support their family, while preserving sustainable, traditional farming methods. Their business model is all about promoting peace by bringing profit. How cool is that? Today, Heavenly Organics supports over 600 family farmers with a goal to increase to 5,000 farmers in coming years.

Plus, their honey is seriously incredible. If you've only tasted what comes out of that little brown bear, you are in for a treat. Their honey comes from naturally occurring, wild beehives found in remote areas making it exceptionally pure. The neem honey (which I used) is rich and robust, while the acacia honey is fruity and herbal, perfect for lighter dishes. Because the honey is kept raw and only lightly filtered rather than the heated, ultra-filtered honey you usually see on the market, their product still contains live enzymes, pollen, vitamins and minerals. This means it's more flavorful and it maintains it's antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Oh, and how pretty is their package?

For July Fourth, I wanted to create a delicious grilling recipe that highlights summer produce and let's the flavor of Heavenly Organics honey shine through. Here in South Carolina, we have the absolute best peaches in the world. While they're perfect fresh and raw as a snack, their sweet and tart flavor is a tasty addition to grilled chicken kebabs. Also, I think you'll love this honey mustard glaze! If you make a lot of fresh salads or snack on crunchy raw vegetables, you'll want to make extra to use as a dressing.

To connect with Heavenly Organics Honey:

Istagram: Heavenly Organics

Facebook: Heavenly Organics

Grilled Chicken and Peach Kebabs with Honey Mustard Glaze

Serves 4

Ingredients

Marinade: 

  • 1/4 cup Heavenly Organics neem honey
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Kebabs:

  • 1 1/4 lb chicken breasts
  • 3 peaches
  • 1 red onion

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt and black pepper. Cut the chicken breasts into 1 1/2 inch chunks. Scoop out about half of the honey mustard into a small bowl and reserve for serving. Toss the chicken breast cubes in the remaining marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, spray grill with oil and preheat on medium high. Cut peaches in half around the pit then cut each half into 6 chunks. Peel onion and cut into 3/4 inch chunks. Alternate skewering onion chunks, peaches and chicken on a metal skewer or wood skewer soaked in water for 30 minutes.
  3. Place kebabs evenly on the hot grill. Baste top with remaining marinade from chicken. Cover and cook five minutes. Carefully flip and cook 3-4 minutes more until chicken is cooked through. Serve with remaining honey mustard.

More Honey Recipes:

Honey Kefir Coconut Ice Cream 

Honey Kefir Coconut Ice Cream 

Roasted Strawberry and Coconut Popsicles
Roasted Strawberry and Coconut Popsicles
Honey Bourbon Barbecue Tempeh
Honey Bourbon Barbecue Tempeh

Romesco Chicken with Kale Mashed Potatoes

This romesco chicken with kale mashed potatoes looks complicated, but only takes 45 minutes to make! This thick and tangy sauce is sure to become a new favorite! 

Popping in with a quick recipe post while Scott and I are exploring the northeast before my little brother’s wedding weekend in Boston. The hubs and I just spent the past few days road tripping through New Hampshire and Maine to Acadia National Park. I plan to share a recap next week or the week after, but until then, follow along with my adventures on Instagram!

This recipe for romesco chicken was adapted from a recipe by Rachael Ray. Is it just me or do her 30 minute meals take more like an hour and a half? I feel like there is some major false advertising in the Rachael Ray empire.

This dish took about 45 minutes, which is close enough for me, and it tastes and looks much more complicated. The quick romesco sauce adds such a unique flavor. Romesco is a Spanish tomato and pepper sauce thickened with breadcrumbs. It’s also really tasty with roasted asparagus, potatoes or tossed with whole grain pasta. This dish is pretty saucy, so you could always use half the romesco for the chicken and freeze/refrigerate the rest for later. Having yummy sauces on hand is such an easy way to dress up meals. Speaking of which, did you check out this post I wrote for Luvo on my favorite freezer sauces? Might have to add this romesco to the mix!

Romesco Chicken with Kale Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

Kale Mashed Potatoes:

  • 1 ½ lb Yukon gold or other waxy potato, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt

Chicken & Romesco:

  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ¼ lb chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups whole grain panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • ½-1 cup chicken broth
  • Chopped fresh parsley, to serve

Instructions

  1. Cover potatoes with a few inches of water in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil 7 minutes until starting to get tender. Add kale to the water and continue to boil until potatoes are tender and kale is wilted. Drain, then pour potatoes and kale back into the hot pot over the stove. Add broth, yogurt, salt and freshly cracked black pepper and mash. Set aside until ready to eat.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sided skillet on medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with smoked paprika, salt and black pepper. Add to hot pan and cook, flipping every so often, until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Carefully wipe pan clean with a paper towel. Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and set on medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add panko and almonds, stir, and cook until toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape panko mixture into a food processor. Add roasted red peppers, tomatoes and sherry vinegar. Blend until pureed. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add sauce back into skillet and set over medium heat. Add chicken and broth to thin to desired consistency (it should still be thick).
  5. Scoop mashed potatoes in a large serving bowl. Using a spoon, make a large well in the center. Pour romesco chicken into the center. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Chicken Burrito Brown Rice Bowl Bowl with Homemade Guacamole

This chicken burrito brown rice bowl with easy homemade guacamole is the perfect clean out the fridge meal, made with frozen corn and peppers, salsa, and a little leftover cheese!

Hi guys! Apologies for no new post on Monday. I'm kinda a scatter brain with all the travel I'm doing this month. Also, after 8 hours driving back home from Virginia after being away for over a week, quality time with the hubs > glancing at my to do list.

Anyway, thought it would be fun to share a recap of my week up in Virginia/DC with you all, since I packed a lot of friends, good food and work into the trip. My trip to Virginia was half social/half work. The first weekend was my little brother's finance's bachelorette, then the end of the week, AlexAnne and I were getting together to wrap up work on our Joyful Eating program. Since my dad and stepmom live outside DC, I packed up the pups, hit the road and used that as an excuse to work remotely for the week!

The bachelorette party was an absolute blast! I didn't know any of my future sister-in-law's friends before this trip and I had such a blast getting to know them and hanging out with my SIL more, since we've never been in the same city. We rented a row house in Capitol Hill and there was a ton of fun places to go out nearby. Friday we had really tasty dinner at Smith Commons (lobster fried quinoa for the win...) before going out. Saturday, we attempted to be mature and do a walking tour of DC, but really we just ended up taking dorky pictures with the souvenir vans, waiting in a really long line to pee at Washington Monument then giving up and getting bottles of Cava with strawberries at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Hey, we tried!

Dinner at Smith Commons
Dinner at Smith Commons
Touring DC!
Touring DC!

Before heading to my parents in Virginia, I visited two of my friends to see the new house they bought in DC just a couple days before. We ate breakfast at The Royal, this really cute coffee shop with latin inspired breakfast options. Their egg arepa with avocado and chimichurri was super tasty but super messy - glad my friends don't judge! Afterwards, we walked around their neighborhood and they indulged my love of historic homes by dropping in an open house, where we pretended to be the kind of people who could afford a 1.9 million dollar home (ahem, we can't). Also, stumbled across this clearly haunted stunner - anyone want to invest a few million into my opening a B&B in the city? Anyone??

The rest of the week was pretty packed with work. Was hoping to see a bunch of my friends from home, but I completely lost my voice over the weekend. Wish I could say it was from having too much fun but I had a sore throat from allergies on Friday and it just got worse and worse all weekend! Since we were recording the audio lectures for our online intuitive eating program, I ended up having to cancel a few virtual appointments, which I felt awful about since I've never canceled appointments before, but I needed the voice rest. Still, I managed to squeeze in a visit with one of my two best friends from high school and her curly headed cutie! Can you get over these ringlets??

One Wednesday, Anne, Alex and I launched our 6-week online intuitive eating program, Joyful Eating, Nourished Life then spent Thursday and Friday wrapping up the program. It was so great to see each other in person again versus google hangout. Thursday we worked from my parents house so my dad could play instagram dad and take pictures of us for the website - poor guy was a trooper! Then Thursday we worked from Anne's house in Arlington, stopping for an extended lunch break with a really tough yoga class at Edge Yoga followed by salads at Sweetgreen. If only they would come to Columbia!

After a TOUGH yoga class
After a TOUGH yoga class
Salads at Sweetgreen! Mine was the umami bowl with baked tofu, quinoa, spicy sunflower seeds and more!
Salads at Sweetgreen! Mine was the umami bowl with baked tofu, quinoa, spicy sunflower seeds and more!

As we were going through last edits of our program, I couldn't help but get SO very excited for how wonderful it's turned out! We were able to squeeze in so much information about intuitive/mindful eating, sustainable nutrition strategies and enjoyable fitness in a usable, but not overwhelming way. We're really pumped about the number of signups so far, so if you're hoping to join the first group starting June 20th, be sure to sign up soon because we might actually reach our cap (knock on wood!).

Here's a sneak peek at our photo shoot:

Over the weekend I took it easy since it had been a pretty hectic week. I visited with one of my best friends from high school who was also my roommate for a couple years at Clemson for a walking date. She had just gotten engaged a couple weeks before so it was fun to celebrate! She's one of the absolute kindest people I know so was thrilled to see her so happy! Then for Mother's Day, went out to brunch at Silver Diner with my dad and stepmom. We used to hangout there in high school and get burgers and fries, so I was really impressed that the menu had become so locally focused with a ton of flexitarian options, like my roasted vegetable huevos rancheros.

Now on to the recipe. This burrito bowl was (obviously) inspired by the bowls at Chipotle. People always ask me what food I get when I'm on the road and if there's a Chipotle nearby, it's always a brown rice bowl, usually with their sofritas (tofu) or chicken. But it's such an easy dinner to make at home too. While this one took a bit longer with the marinated meat and homemade guac, it can be super simple. Just top precooked brown rice with canned black beans, salsa, cheese, sautéed frozen peppers or spinach and a dollop of store bought guac. If you know how to prepare plantains, that's also a really delish topping!

Chicken Burrito Brown Rice Bowl Bowl with Homemade Guacamole

Serves 4

Ingredients

Chicken: 

  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Guacamole:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

Burrito Bowl:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 1-lb bag frozen peppers and onions
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • Cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, first prepare rice. Bring 2 cups water and 1 cup rice to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook 40-50 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes, then stir in chopped scallion and fluff with a fork.
  3. Next prepare guacamole. Scoop fresh out of the avocado and into a bowl. Add lime juice, cilantro, and red onion. Add salt and mash with a fork to combine.
  4. Heat grill on medium high. Place chicken cubes on a skewer. Grill about 4 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium skillet. Add corn and cook until corn is lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from skillet, wipe clean, and add 2 teaspoons oil to the skillet and heat. Add peppers and cook until tender and lightly charred, about 7-9 minutes. Remove from skillet. Season both with salt and pepper.
  6. Divide rice between bowls. Top with chicken, corn, peppers, a healthy scoop of guacamole. Top with cheddar, cilantro and drizzle with salsa verde.

Scallion Cornbread Waffles with Spicy Chicken and Homemade Ranch

These scallion cornbread waffles with spicy chicken and homemade ranch are a fresh, healthier take on classic chicken and waffles! 

God bless the wonderful soul who decided fried chicken and waffles have a place together on the dinner table. Random, yes, but somehow the combination of crispy fried chicken and sweet waffles makes comfort food heaven. Food combinations can easily go wrong, as my little brother once discovered when he decided to float croutons in his chocolate milk. Chicken and waffles however, is unexpected magic.

Normally, I would leave a dish like this to the pros (aka Kiki's Chicken and Waffles or The Oak Table), but I was stuck with this idea for chicken and waffles with fresh flavors from bright, juicy tomatoes and a tangy buttermilk ranch dressing. Plus avocado for obvious reasons.

To make the crispy chicken, I did a classic triple dip method that yields a super crispy crust. First dip in flour spiked with lots of spices, then spicy buttermilk, and finally whole grain panko. You could make these crispier first by pan frying and finishing them off in the oven, but I skipped that step to save myself another dish to wash.

I first made this ranch dressing for my crispy barbecue cauliflower salad. I really don't love ranch dressing, but this mayoless version with a bright tangy flavor is pretty fabulous. Although pictured here, I used kefir instead of yogurt because that's what I had on hand and it turned out a little too thin for me. Lesson learned.

These cornmeal waffles are worth making on their own! I might make a batch and top with a fried egg, avocado and some hot sauce for breakfast. They freeze great too!

Scallion Cornbread Waffles with Spicy Chicken and Homemade Ranch

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

Ranch Dressing: 

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, buttermilk or kefir
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Chicken: 

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk or kefir
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1 cup whole wheat panko
  • 1 1/2 lb chicken tenders
  • Olive oil spray

Waffles: 

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cup buttermilk or kefir
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced

Instructions

  1. First, whisk together ingredients for ranch dressing. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, garlic, cayenne, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. In another medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk/kefir, egg, sriracha. Place panko in another medium bowl.
  4. Spray baking sheet with olive oil spray. Dip chicken tenders in flour, then buttermilk mixture, then panko. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken. Spray chicken with olive oil spray. Bake 15 minutes until golden and cooked through, flipping halfway.
  5. Next, make waffles. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, oil, honey. Whisk wet into dry. Whisk in scallions.
  6. Heat a waffle iron. Pour about 1/3 cup batter into the iron and cook until crispy and golden. Carefully remove from skillet and set aside.
  7. Top waffle with chicken, tomatoes, avocado and drizzle with ranch.

Comfort Food Makeovers: 

Vegetarian Hazelnut and Cremini Mushroom Loaf with Gravy
Vegetarian Hazelnut and Cremini Mushroom Loaf with Gravy
Spicy Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spicy Spaghetti and Meatballs
Dairy Free Mac and Cheese
Dairy Free Mac and Cheese

Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Roulades

Bored of the usual bland chicken breast for dinner? Try my elegant and easy pesto and sun-dried tomato chicken roulades, made with only four ingredients! 

What's a more ubiquitous healthy weeknight dinner than chicken? It's simple to prepare, lean, and family friendly. Too bad it's usually bland and totally boring.

When I ask new patients about prior attempts at changing their eating habits, they often reply that they tried to eat healthy, but found it boring. When I dig deeper, it's because they went on what I unaffectionately call the "Baked Chicken Diet." Basically they can't think of anything healthy to make, so they default to baked chicken and vegetables, night after night.

Hopefully through reading this blog you've already seen that eating healthy is more than baked chicken and steamed vegetables. But that doesn't mean you have to ditch the chicken. It's super versatile as a protein, taking on many different flavors and cooking methods. There's a reason you get 190,000,000 results when you google "chicken recipes."

Break out of the baked chicken rut and try my tips for making a chicken recipe you'll actually get excited about:

  • Keep the skin on.  We all know it's the best part, but did you know it only contributes a measly gram of saturated fat to each serving? If you've been passing over the much more juicy and flavorful dark meat in favor of lean and virtuous white meat, you'll be pleased to know this chicken thigh only contains an additional 1.5 grams saturated fat compared to an equal sized serving of chicken breast.
  • Try big, spicy flavors with your chicken, like harissa marinated chicken or jerk chicken.
  • I prefer chicken thighs, but if I'm going to use chicken breast, I often stew it, which keeps it from drying out. For a weeknight braise, make sure the sauce has plenty of flavorful ingredients, since it won't be cooking quite as long.
  • On Sunday, roast a whole chicken and use the leftovers for dishes like tacos, chicken salad or to stuff baked potatoes.  And don't forget to save the bones to make chicken soup!
  • Ground chicken breast can be terribly dry, but there is a simple (and healthy!) remedy. Mix in diced or shredded vegetables, such as onion, zucchini and carrot, which release moisture as they cook.
  • If preparing a simple chicken dish, spend a few minutes whipping up a standout sauce. Chimichurri, Asian dipping sauce, and tzatziki all come together in minutes.
  • Invest in a few interesting, high quality spice mixes or try making your own blends.

The chicken recipe I'm sharing today looks incredibly fancy, but it takes no time at all, and only four ingredients. It's actually one of the first chicken recipes I remember preparing in college, so you know it's simple! I've switched up this recipe in so many ways, swapping out the filling for whatever combination of ingredients I have on hand. I've done a version stuffed with dried figs and blue cheese and another with proscuitto and goat cheese - yum! This recipe hasn't failed me yet!

Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Roulades

Serves 4

In keeping with the theme of simplicity, I served this with spinach sauteed with garlic and onions and 100% whole grain orzo tossed with fresh herbs and parmesan.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken thighs, boneless and skinless.
  • Pesto
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & freshly cracked black pepper
  • Your choice of seasoning (I used lemon pepper)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. If the chicken thighs are thick, place them in a large ziptop back and pound lightly with a meat mallet to about 1/4 inch thickness. Lay flat on a cutting board, Add a thin layer of pesto over the meat, about 1/2 tablespoon each and top with a few sun-dried tomatoes. Wrap each piece of chicken up, as if you were wrapping sushi. Place, seam-side down in a baking dish, holding together with a toothpick if needed. Brush each chicken thigh lightly with olive oil. Season the outside with salt, pepper and seasoning.
  3. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20-25 minutes until browned and cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Slice each chicken thigh into 1-inch rounds and serve.