Protein is an important building block of the body. In fact, a recent study shows that including protein in your diet is important to maintain muscle mass as you age.
Trouble is that most kinds of meat protein usually come with a corresponding fat content that could be harmful to your heart. White meat, like chicken, is well known for having less fat than red meat but the real secret to enjoying the health benefits of any meat is how you prepare it.
Here are some scrumptious chicken dinner ideas to get you started.
1. Cheap Chicken Dinner Ideas
For everyday dining, you don’t want to splurge on fancy ingredients and time-consuming meals. Here are two cheap and cheerful healthy chicken recipes to save you time and money.
Crispy chicken pieces are the perfect match for whatever sides you have on hand. They match well with salads and mash and they’re great on their own too.
Of course, fatty chicken dripping with oil from the deep fryer is not the best way to indulge in this dish. Rather opt for air fryer chicken which delivers all the taste of the original, with way less added fat.
Pre-smoked chicken is amazing in salads and sandwiches, making it the perfect staple to keep on hand for a quick bite. You can buy packs of ready-smoked chicken at your local supermarket or deli.
Smoking is a lengthy and gentle way to cook meat that eliminates fat without decreasing its nutritional value. So it’s a healthy as well as tasty option.
If you’re after chicken dishes with a little more pizazz, keep reading.
2. Cheesy Stuffed Tex-Mex Chicken
This simple meal is another one of those easy healthy chicken recipes that’s perfect for a weeknight. Here’s how it’s done:
2 jalapenos, seeded
1 1/4 cup cilantro
1 tsp. lime zest
4 oz. coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. lime juice
2 bell peppers, sliced thinly
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
5 c. romaine lettuce, torn
Salt & Pepper to taste
Lime wedges to serve
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Slice the scallions, jalapenos, bell peppers and onions into thin slivers.
Combine the scallions, jalapeños, 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro and lime zest in a bowl. Add the cheese and toss everything together.
Create a 21/2 inch pocket in the thickest part of each chicken breast and stuff it with the above mixture.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes on one side. Turn the chicken over, place the skillet in the oven and roast it until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Whisk the lime juice, remaining olive oil and ½ teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Add the bell peppers and red onion. Leave the mixture to stand for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Add the romaine lettuce and 1 cup of fresh cilantro.
To serve, arrange the lettuce mixture on a plate and top it with the roast chicken and lime wedges.
3. Chicken and Lemon Skewers
This is one of those easy healthy chicken recipes that are great for lunch or dinner and perfect for the warmer months.
1 small pack of mint with the leaves picked
150g natural yogurt, plus extra to serve (optional)
1 lemon, juiced and zested
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
2cm piece of ginger, grated
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 6 pieces
4 wholemeal flatbreads or pittas
2 small lettuces, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
pickled red cabbage, chili sauce, and hummus to serve
Chop half the mint and place it in a bowl with the yogurt, spices, ginger, all the lemon zest, and half the lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper and mix well.
Add the chicken pieces.
Mix well and place in the refrigerator for 20-20 minutes.
If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 20 minutes.
Line the grill tray with foil and heat the grill to medium.
Thread the chicken onto the skewers and grill for 10 minutes. Turn them over and grill for another 10 minutes until browned and cooked.
Warm the flatbreads under the grill for a few seconds, and then place on a serving tray.
Top them with the lettuce, chicken, onion, mint and lemon juice.
Serve with the yogurt, chili sauce, pickled cabbage, and hummus.
4. Moroccan-style roast chicken
There’s no need to give up on healthy eating either. Impress your guests with this tasty, yet healthful roast chicken. It tastes so delicious they’ll never guess it’s good for them.
2 preserved lemons
1 Tbs ras el hanout Moroccan spice
1 dried chili
1 x 1.6kg whole free-range chicken
1 tsp. rose petals (unsprayed) , optional
A few sprigs of fresh cilantro to garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Chop one of the lemons finely and grind in a mortar and pestle with the ras el hanout, dried chili, and pinch of salt and black pepper.
Slice the remaining lemon and place it on a roasting tray.
Cut into the chicken breast a few times. Rub in the marinade. Drizzle the chicken with oil and rub with marinade again. Place the chicken in the roasting tray on top of the lemon slices.
Scatter the rose petals on top and roast the chicken for 1 hour and 20 minutes until cooked. The skin should be sticky.
Serve the chicken on a presentation dish, with cilantro leaves sprinkled over the top.
Get a Taste for Life
With so many excellent recipes to choose from online, there’s no shortage of ways to introduce healthy eating into your life.
If you enjoyed these chicken dinner ideas, keep reading my blog for more articles about time and cost-savings tips for daily living.