Balsamic Marinated Chicken (paleo, low carb)

As of today I have lost 107 pounds.  I can’t even really believe it myself.  I literally see obese people at the gym and wonder if I can make friends and encourage them, not because I think I’m something special but because I’ve been there and I want to come alongside them to offer hope.  If you are stuck in a rut with your health and weight right now, don’t give up.  Once you start to work with your body the right way, magic starts to happen.

One thing that is necessary to be healthy is eliminate/reduce toxins.  I say reduce because it’s not possible to be perfect.  I feel like these are buzzwords that are tossed around- “detox” and “eating whole foods”- often without educating people about what that means.  A toxin is anything your body can’t process as a nutrient.  By definition, those things have to be dealt with another way.  We do that some in elimination and through liver and kidneys, but our bodies also store toxins very efficiently in fat cells.  In order to see weight loss success, you must stop putting toxins in the front end and give your body a chance to clean house.

Detoxing Through Diet

It’s actually easier than it sounds.  It’s not always easy to execute, but it’s simple.  Stop eating fake crap.  If you only eat protein, produce, fats, nuts and seeds you’re golden.  It’s like this: imagine you have been putting part hair conditioner and part gasoline in your car once a week for years, and then you switch to only gasoline to see if it runs better.  Duh!!  Of course, it will burn clean now because you are giving it what it was designed for.  The same is true with your body.  You are designed for whole foods.

So by “whole foods” we mean foods in simpler forms, with as few additives as possible.  Instead of salad dressing thickened and stabilized and preserved for a nuclear holocuast, mix up your own or buy one with a short list of recognizable ingredients.  Instead of chopped and formed chicken patties with fillers and breading from the freezer aisle, cook up a fresh chicken breast or thigh.  I highly recommend the Whole30 or Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living to do that initial detox and get on the right track.  If you want to make a big change, committing to a month of clean eating will give you a huge head start.

I hope to write more soon about how to get started with clean paleo eating, but for now here are two excellent getting started guides at The Paleo Mom and Paleo Leap.  Stay tuned for my getting started and sample one-week menu plans, currently in the works.  The one question I am getting all the time is what exactly I eat in a day and a week, so I’m working hard to bring those to you.

Marinated Chicken

On to the chicken, the star of the show in this recipe.  Like most of my everyday foods, this is uncomplicated and easy to vary in a number of ways.  I have lots of versatile recipes easy enough for busy weeknights and I’m looking forward to building a library or those for you to use.  My hope is that eventually you will come here when you don’t know what to make for dinner.  You will find tried-and-true recipes the whole family will love.  Okay, that is a lie.  If your toddler doesn’t like vegetables I am probably not going to fix that.  But I do think most kids will eat this chicken!  (I do have strong opinions on teaching your kids to eat healthy and exposing them to healthy food, but that will be for another day.)

The method is super simple.  Just mix up the marinade ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag and add the chicken.  Refrigerate for a few hours to overnight if you have the time.  In a hurry?  Even an hour will do, or thirty minutes will impart lots of flavor(I won’t tell).   Try to take it out of the fridge about an hour before cooking for better results. The secrets to good flavor in marinated chicken lie in the right acid to oil ratio and tasty seasonings to add interest.  In this recipe, I used balsamic vinegar but I also love lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.  To add depth of flavor I added dijon mustard and fresh rosemary.  Feel free to experiment with the herbs!

I just had a realization that I’ll share with you: I say my recipes are versatile(because they are), and I find myself including ideas for variation in every post.  I think the truth is that I don’t have that many original thoughts so I always take one thing and play off it to make another.  In many ways I epitomize the home cook because I often improvise with what I have on hand.  I get the feeling lots of you do too so my cooking style will make sense to you.  In other words, I’m really banking on that being folksy and relatable.

Cooking Your Chicken

We like to grill our chicken strips for about five minutes per side on medium high heat.  Here in the Seattle area it’s easy to grill year round.  If that’s not the case where you live or you don’t feel like grilling, you can also cook it in a cast iron skillet, on a grill pan, or under the broiler.  Also bear in mind that the cooking times I give are for tenderloins and you will need to cook yours longer if it’s a bigger cut.  I don’t know why overcooked chicken is such an epidemic but it is.  You want to pull it off the grill around 160 degrees internal temp and it will be nice and juicy.  Experience tells.  Your family will like protein a lot more, including the leaner cuts, if you don’t overcook it!

And that’s it!  Yummy!

 

 

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Balsamic Marinated Chicken

Juicy and bursting with flavor, this go-to marinated chicken is great for any night of the week.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken tenderloins or other boneless chicken of choice

Instructions

  1. Mix the marinade ingredients(everything but the chicken) with a whisk in a plastic zip-top bag.

  2. Add the chicken and marinate at least one hour or up to overnight.

  3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator one hour before cooking.

  4. Prepare a grill to medium-high heat.  Grill the chicken about 5 minutes per side or until done, but still juicy.  If you use a meat thermometer, remove the chicken at 160 degrees and let it rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

 

 

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