Monday, December 9, 2013

Save the World Kinda Chicken

I love to cook.  Truthfully I do.  Something always gets in the way of that healthy supper though, right?  Time to cook supper arrives, you have all the healthy intentions in the world, but the phone rings, a neighbor pops by, there is one child with a dirty diaper and another asking you to "build him a play horse out of a Walmart sack" before his world ends ((seriously, crazy vivid imagination)).... before you know it healthy intentions have jumped the tracks.

Sure, maybe you have stopped yourself from ordering a pizza, but are you turning to processed foods in the freezer?  Thankfully the "real food movement" is doing an awesome job of turning this all around for so many families.  More and more are realizing that what foods you fuel your bodies with REALLY does effect the end result.  Less meltdowns from the kiddos, less inflammation & headaches in the adults - yep, it doesn't take long for the results to make it worth the extra effort to say goodbye to processed foods.  I'm to the feel good part, and I'm not turning back.

I tried before.  I failed before.  I over-thought it. I complicated it.  Protein + Veggie cooked in a healthy fat, seasoned well.  I complicated that sooo many times!

So now I cook spaghetti squash alfredo or cauliflower mash or paleo pizza and make things that are truly healthy that take a bit more time and planning...but, not every night.  I'm really comfortable with this whole "healthy eating" thing, but I'm comfortable because I have a faithful go-to for nights that just feel crazy.  It's a Save the World Kinda Chicken... seriously easy, seriously tasty, seriously good for you.

Because we made the decision to eat according to the Paleo lifestyle last year when I was needing to lose all my weight from pregnancy with Jules, I learned to cook with coconut oil.  Lifechanger!  How an oil can taste so "clean" is amazing to me.  No oily flavor and no grease, just good for you.

The key is to always have chicken breasts in the fridge (or freezer) and keep your fridge stocked with fresh vegetables.  Of course eating seasonal is best, and I try to adhere to that, but you know what vegetables your family will eat, and you can see what is best at your market -

Now trust me.  If you don't typically season your food liberally, you're going to want to work on that and be sure to season both sides of your chicken!

Carrots are a favorite for our family and I am always surprised how super fast they cook if I throw them in with the chicken and coconut oil from the start.  Carrots typically take longer than any other vegetable I prepare.  So chicken in the pan first, then open your well stocked fridge and grab whatever produce looks great that night!  
We love adding:
 carrots + spinach
 onions + yellow squash + zucchini 
 carrots + broccoli 
yellow squash + broccoli
carrots + green peas + onions
cauliflower + broccoli + carrots
spaghetti squash + broccoli
yellow/red/orange peppers + onions
cabbage + carrots

The pan drippings from the chicken combined with the coconut oil (though it takes very little) will typically create a little pan-like-sauce.  Many nights I fill the pan full of vegetables and we just eat this single dish.  The kids may eat a banana or some homemade cinnamon applesauce, but generally they eat what we eat.  We started encouraging them to eat this way by allowing them to have ketchup or ranch, something fun to dip in, but I find them more and more not asking for it!  If you're"starving" (not that I know what that really is), then you could "rice" some cauliflower ((cauliflower pulsed to a rice consistency and then cooked)) and serve the chicken and veggies over it.  If you're allowing yourself some dairy you can also stir in a couple of tablespoons of sour cream just as the cooking is finishing.  Provided you have seasoned everything in the pan well, the sour cream creates a yummy sauce that pairs well with most anything.

It's just simple and wholesome.  Wholesome feels good, ya' know?  This chicken kinda saved my world and I hope it helps keep you on track also!

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