9 Chicken Recipes that Make it Much Easier to Keep Your New Year’s Diet Resolution
Whether it's basted with honey glaze and cooked on a rotisserie or breaded and fried to a perfect golden-brown crisp, there's no denying that we love chicken. Americans alone eat about 60 pounds of the bird per person every year, making it the most widely consumed protein in the United States. However, some of our favorite chicken recipes are, well, less than healthy (remember that honey glaze and that breading). And plain grilled chicken breast — though often praised by dieters as a great way to eat more low-calorie, muscle-building protein — is boring and near tasteless. So how do we enjoy one of our favorite foods without completely blowing off New Year’s weight-loss goals?
One of the best ways to make a delicious and diet-friendly chicken dish is to take advantage of full-flavored ingredients that don't add extra calories or fat. Freshly squeezed (and no sugar-added) citrus juices, vinegars, and mustards can add a tremendous amount of flavor to chicken. As an added bonus, they help break down the proteins in the poultry so that it’s more tender. Throw in some flavorful herbs or dried spices and you're well on your way to a tasty dish that is low in calories and high in protein.
Cooking your chicken with (or alongside) vegetables is another way to add lots of delicious flavor without creating a diet-bombing dish. A number of dishes start with a French mirepoix (a simple mix of aromatic celery, onion, and carrots); it’s an easy way to start building flavor. Other similar flavor bases include the Cajun “Holy Trinity” of onion, celery, and bell pepper; Latin cuisine’s purée of onions, peppers, cilantro, and garlic known as sofrito, and the Italian version of sofrito — soffritto, made with onion, carrot, celery, fennel, garlic, and parsley.
Whatever your technique — spice rubs, marinades, or aromatic vegetables — there are lots of healthy ways to make chicken taste amazing. Now, serve your chicken alongside some oven-roasted vegetables and you’ve got a hearty and delicious meal that will keep your stomach full and keep your New Year’s diet resolutions on track.
Baked Mustard-Lime Chicken
This quick and easy recipe for baked chicken breast has tons of flavor thanks to the homemade citrus and mustard marinade. If you don’t have limes on hand, substitute an equal amount of freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice.
Click here for the recipe.
Blackened Chicken with Toasted Couscous
This fragrant chicken dish (made with fresh sprigs of thyme, ground cinnamon and turmeric, and sautéed onions and garlic) will fill your kitchen with the most amazing aroma, making it hard to wait for dinner to be done.
Click here for the recipe.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.