Lemon, Lime, Garlic Chicken

I love the Food Network. Of course I have my favorite shows and hosts that I watch. One of the coolest is Ina Garten. Right after the twins were born, my mom, husband, and I were getting our daily dose of the Food Network while trying to survive sleeplessness. She was preparing her Lemon Chicken and we all looked at each other and knew what to do…we had to get that in our bellies! My mom made it for us and we were blown away by the amazing flavor!

This recipe is inspired by Ina and my mom being a rock star and making her wonderful recipe. Mine is not quite Ina’s but it’s good…good enough to make again and again and again.

This recipe features chicken thighs. And you’re thinking “But why!? They aren’t as healthy as chicken breasts?” Well, they are much more budget friendly. Please do not think that you have to always choose chicken breast to be healthy. Chicken thighs are a better option than beef and if you buy boneless skinless they are surprisingly pretty lean!

 

Listen: I’d rather you eat healthy on a budget than eat poorly because you think you can’t afford it.

At any rate, I’m not sure if you like back stories and the narrative of how I cook it. Usually when a blogger posts a recipe and has soooo much to say I honestly flip right past and read the recipe. If you do like the narrative, comment and let me know but for now I’m going to limit that and just put up the recipe with notes.

Lemon, Lime, Garlic Chicken

Photo cred: Molly Statler Photography

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small onion diced (I actually used frozen green onions that I had saved)
  • 6 cloves of garlic…more if you love garlic
  • 1 lemon with zest
  • 1 lime with zest
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • dash of turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt to taste
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup water (in the crock pot)

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat combine oil, onion, garlic, lemon and lime zest, and the herbs and spices. Heat and then add the juice of the lemon and lime. Turn down to medium heat and add the honey when the mixture is simmering. Salt to taste (optional).
  2. Add chicken thighs to the sauce pan and allow the mixture to cover them. Cook for 1-2 minutes just enough for the coating to get on the chicken.
  3. Place chicken and all of the sauce in the crock pot and pour 1/2 cup of water over the chicken (if you are cooking it on low for 8-10 hours you may want to use 1 cup of water).
  4. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 8-10 hours.

It came out deliciously! I served it with cilantro lime rice and baby carrots.

Cilantro Lime Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (I love the frozen steamer bags in a pinch)
  • 1 lime zest and juice
  • 1/8 cup cilantro (or more if you love cilantro)
  • 1 tablespoon Earths Balance spread (you can use butter or another type of trans-fat free spread)
  • salt and pepper to taste

I hope you enjoy this as much as my family and I did. It was easy, simple, and pairs well with a lot of side dishes. Enjoy!

Smokey Chicken

This week my family (all 5 of us) were sick. We got a bad head cold and it ran through us like the plague! I hadn’t cooked all week because we were just surviving and who feels like cooking when you can’t taste it anyway, am I right? Finally last night I could kind of breathe again so I decided to make this delicious dish.

I found a recipe on Pinterest that looked really good a few months ago. What happens when I find recipes though, is I look for ways to “Amanda-fy” them…make them more of something that I’d like to eat, cook, or try out. This is one of those recipes that went from a Pinterest idea to something different.

Nutrition Lesson

Everyone talks about chicken breast and it being super lean source of protein. It really is BUT it can be more expensive than chicken thighs or drumsticks. Not everyone in the world has an unlimited budget that they can just willy nilly spend on food. I will be the first to tell you eating well does not have to be more expensive but there are certain tips and tricks I have in order to be able to say that with confidence. Like this chicken for instance. Although boneless skinless chicken breast is lean, chicken thighs and drumsticks aren’t as high in fat as most red meats.

I want us to be clear on what LEAN really means. When dietitians talk “lean meats” we are talking about the amount of fat in meats. For instance, haddock (the fish) is in the running for the leanest meat because it has a verrrrry tiny amount of fat in a 3 ounce serving (like about 1 gram of fat naturally). So when we say “lean” we are talking fat grams per 3 ounce serving. The leaner the meat the less fat it has, the less fat it has the less saturated fat (not so good for your heart fats) it has, the less saturated fat it has usually the less cholesterol it has (the stuff that can clog up your arteries), the less cholesterol it has usually the better it is for your heart and overall health.

Below is a nice little chart that shows how lean each meat is (I put them in order from least lean to leanest).

Meat Serving Calories Fat Grams

Saturated Fat

4 chicken wings 3 oz 426 35.9 14.1
Sausage links 3 oz 331 27 9.6
Prime rib 3 oz 276 21.6 8.7
Ground beef (80/20) 3 oz 230 15.2 5.7
Sirloin 3 oz 207 12.0 4.8
Bacon 3 slices 138 10.7 3.5
Ground beef (90/10) 3 oz 184 10.0 3.9
Chicken thigh (no skin) 3 oz 178 9.3 2.6
Ground turkey (93/7) 3 oz 128 7.1 1.8
Chicken breast (skin) 3 oz 156 7.0 1.8
Salmon 3 oz 144 5.7 1.2
Chicken drumstick (no skin) 3 oz 146 4.8 1.3
Pork loin or chop 3 oz 122 3.0 1.0
Chicken breast (no skin) 3 oz 122 3.0 0.7
Haddock 3 oz 95 0.8 0.1
Tuna 3 oz 99 0.7 0.2

Table information gathered from RD411, Calorie King, and Calorie Counter.

Yes. You read that right. Four wings. Not 6, not 12 but just 4. Regardless, the point of this blog is that skinless chicken thighs, drumsticks, and breast are all better choices than beef. Venison, grass-fed beef, buffalo, bison, and other wild game are in an awesome category of their own.

When eating well and eating on a budget needs to go hand in hand, stick with me and this blog. I won’t lead you astray!

Smoked paprika is the star of the show for this recipe. It’s not something I use often but it is good too have on hand, especially when you want to throw in a subtle hint of smoke and beautiful red color!

So here’s the recipe you voted for and were waiting so long to get your hands on!

Smokey Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 5 drumsticks (you can also use 2-3 breasts)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your love of spice)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place apple cider vinegar, canola oil, garlic, and all of the spices into an iron skillet (or oven safe pan). Heat until simmering.
  2. Place drumsticks with the skin removed or pulled down into the skillet. Cook on the stove top for 5 minutes on each side of the drumstick.
  3. Place skillet into the oven for 15 minutes or until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.

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NOTES:

  • For more drumsticks just double the recipe on the vinegar, oil, spices. Extra isn’t a bad thing!
  • For breasts make sure you don’t dry them out.
  • INTERNAL TEMPERATURE IS SUPER IMPORTANT! Get yourself a food thermometer ($5 at walmart) or a more fancy version (I have one that goes into the oven with the meat and tells me when it’s done).
  • For more smoke add more smoked paprika
  • I served my smokey chicken with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli…it was delicious!

How do you use smoked paprika?