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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lemon Basil Chicken - with chopped Kale

As I've mentioned before, I'm really not a huge fan of chicken.....but I'm trying to eat as much healthy protein as possible due to my workout schedule and determination to get back in shape.  Oh the sacrifices we make to be skinny! 

I bought a bag of frozen chicken breasts from Trader Joes awhile back - but they've just been sitting in the freezer for weeks since I don't eat chicken, I really don't know what to do with it.  

Yesterday looking around my kitchen, I knew I had to use up some of my lemons and my basil plant was growing out of control.  I figured lemon basil might just make that chicken delicious.  I set two breasts out to thaw in the fridge.

For the marinade - I used the juice and zest of two lemons, a good handful of chopped basil, black pepper, and some olive oil.  I put all of this into a bowl and then set both chicken breasts in to marinate about two hours.  You could do more or less, however I'm not sure how long you could leave the chicken in lemon juice without an adverse reaction - so maybe not over night.  But I don't know - I'm just thinking how lemon juice can actually cook fish.... google it.

I dumped the chicken breasts and all the marinade juice into a skillet.  You can use the marinade for cooking / sauce but you cannot use the marinade raw like for a dressing after chicken has been in it (learned that after a consult with my mom).  I cooked the chicken until the juice ran clear and I cut a hole in the underside of the breast just to be sure.  No one likes undercooked or overcooked chicken - that's why it's so temperamental - you have to get it just right!

I removed the chicken breasts to rest on a plate.  To the remaining juice /sauce in the pan - I added some diced garlic and about a half cup of diced onion (it's all I had - I would probably use more normally).  Plus a tablespoon of butter just because.  I let this cook down for about 5 minutes, then added my frozen chopped kale (Trader Joes).  I cooked it until it warmed completely through and had a chance to soak up all the flavors plus I actually added a little kosher salt.  Personally I think kale tastes like fish food - but it's really good for you and easy to cover up with delicious lemon and garlic!

To serve, I plated my chicken and kale, then added a little more fresh lemon zest and basil to garnish and bring a bright flavor to the final dish. 

I was pleasantly pleased with the final dish - the chicken managed to soak up all that yummy lemon flavor (which is one of my favorites) and the basil was a beautiful compliment.  The kale was still kale, but it was very delicious with the lemon and garlic - bright and fresh!  

I had enough for lunch the next day - I sliced up the chicken breast and mixed the kale with regular salad greens for a fantastic leftover lunch dish!

Do you cook with Chicken?  What's your favorite chicken recipe?  Any tips?

I hope you enjoy this easy protein filled dish :)

Always, J