meal prep

Tender Juicy Oven - Baked Chicken Breasts

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Raise your hand if you're too familiar with dry bland cooked chicken breasts.  Taking it a step further, who instantly associates "baked chicken" with "tough" or "flavorless"?  I was absolutely one of those people!  Even some of my chicken salads with all of the dressing and mix-ins would end up dry.  That chicken would absorb any moisture in a 10 foot radius before I even had a chance to put it in the fridge!

Well, one weekend last month, I decided enough was enough.  I did a little online searching, comparing different blogs and websites and came up with this method of baking my chicken breasts.  It was still pretty quick prep and to my excitement, it came out of the oven so tender and juicy.  Even better, it stayed fairly tender and moist the following days, whether I shredded it and incorporated it over a spinach salad, added it to tacos or a flatbread, or mixed it with a dressing and turned it into a fun chicken salad!

I love this method because it acts as a base from which you can add whatever flavors you want, from herbs and spices to a variety of vinegars, and you still have a moist, tender chicken dish.  Or you can keep it simple, adding only a little salt and pepper, to incorporate in various dishes throughout the week!  Keep reading for this short and simple trick to Tender, Juicy Oven - Baked Chicken!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

 

TENDER JUICY OVEN-BAKED CHICKEN

Makes 2 Chicken Breasts

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 - 1.5 pounds raw boneless skinless chicken breast

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1/8 or less teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 of a whole lemon, cut into quarters

  • 1/2 tablespoon butter (or less) or cooking spray, to grease one side of parchment paper that goes over the chicken.

 

DIRECTIONS:

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Place chicken breasts on the parchment paper and brush chicken breasts with the olive oil.

4. Sprinkle chicken with the salt.

5. Place the 4 pieces of lemon on the baking sheet with the chicken.

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6. Butter or spray with vegetable spray a second piece of parchment paper that is big enough to fit over the baking sheet and seal in the chicken and lemon wedges (I usually just take a stick of butter and run it over the surface of the parchment paper until the paper is pretty coated with a thin layer) .

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7. Place that second sheet of parchment paper butter / oil - side - down over the chicken and lemon wedges and seal around the sides of the baking sheet.

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8. Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

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9. Your final product should be super easy to slice with a knife, or shred with two forks and no longer pink in the middle. If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken should read 165 degrees F.

10. Serve right away or save for meals later in the week!

NUTRITION NOTES:

Chicken provides us with protein, niacin, vitamin B6, among other nutrients.

1 ounce of cooked chicken has about 7 grams of protein.

Up and At 'Em Egg Cups

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School, work and fall sports are officially in full swing and so is the desire to continue those fitness and nutrition efforts you began during the spring and summer months.  Between getting up, getting ready for work, getting ready for school, packing the soccer / swim / skating / cross country / gym / (your chosen activity here) bag and getting yourself to the office or the kids to practice, to school, or all of the above, a good breakfast can often get lost in the shuffle.  A quick bowl of cereal is, of course, an easy go-to but sometimes, even with all the varieties out there, that can get old.  Plus, so many cereals are high in sugar and low in protein, fiber and other nutrients, leaving you or your athlete starving two hours later.

As a young figure skater and cross country runner growing up, I remember that, between my 4:30 a.m. alarm clock, my 5:30 a.m. ice time, and my 7:50 a.m. school bell, there was hardly ever enough time for a good breakfast.  Now, years later, between my early morning alarm, getting in some writing, emails, recipe development or program brainstorming, going on my morning run, and quickly putting myself together to get to the office, I still find many mornings to be one crazy whirlwind.  For this reason I set out to create a quick & easy breakfast option that would energize and satisfy me after my morning run as I headed off to work.

My recipe for you this week is my Up & At 'Em Egg Cups.  With their bursting roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, spinach and sprinkle of feta and Parmesan cheese, you will look forward to breakfast each morning!  Not only are these little cups delicious, but the eggs offer protein, choline, lutein, and a little vitamin D, the roasted tomatoes offer a punch of lycopene (even more than raw tomatoes!) and vitamin C, the spinach tops it off with a little folate, iron (better absorbed by the vitamin C in the tomatoes), and vitamin K, and the onions offer additional vitamin C.   Add a slice of toast, diced fruit, a yogurt or glass of milk, and you have a winning breakfast that, with its mix of protein, complex carbs and antioxidants, will replenish you after a morning workout and refuel you for the busy day ahead.

So here you go... my Up & At 'Em Egg Cups.  Enjoy!



Up & At 'Em Egg Cups

Makes 8 eggs cups;  Serving Size = 2 cups

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 5 whole eggs

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coarse sea salt

  • Ground pepper, to taste

  • 1 1/2 cup chopped white onion (about 1/2 of a large onion)

  • 1 packed cup fresh spinach, torn or chopped

  • 1 tablespoon feta cheese

  • 4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese




DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the broiler on HIGH and line a medium-sized baking sheet with tin foil.

2. Crack the eggs into a medium mixing bowl, add 1/8 teaspoon of salt, a dash of pepper and beat all ingredients together with a wire whisk. Set aside.

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3. In a medium bowl, using a heat-resistant rubber spatula, stir together the tomatoes with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon of salt and then spread onto the foil-lined baking sheet.

4. Place the baking sheet with the tomatoes in the preheated oven and broil for 7 - 10 minutes until tomatoes are bursting and start to char, stirring with the spatula half-way through.

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5. While the tomatoes roast, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook about 10 - 15 minutes until caramelized, stirring occasionally with spatula.

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6. Once the tomatoes are done cooking (while onions are still cooking), grease an 8-cup muffin tin and set oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. After the onions have cooked for about 10 minutes and are beginning to caramelize, add the roasted tomatoes, spinach and feta to the skillet, stirring to combine all ingredients. Continue to cook about 3 minutes more, removing from the heat when spinach is wilted and feta is well incorporated.

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8. Divide the onion - spinach mixture evenly into each muffin cup (about 2 tablespoons of the onion - spinach mixture per muffin cup).

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9. Divide the egg mixture evenly among each muffin cup (about 3 - 4 tablespoons of the egg mixture per muffin cup).

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10. Using a small spoon or dull dinner knife, stir the ingredients in each egg cup to incorporate the onion-spinach mixture and the egg together well.

11. Top each cup's egg mixture with 1/2 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese.

12. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 - 25 minutes until the egg cups puff and begin to brown on top.

13. Let the egg cups cool about 5 minutes after removing from oven. Then run a knife around the edges of each cup to loosen anything sticking to the tin and remove with a small fork or spoon.

14. Eat immediately or allow to cool on a plate, wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for a quick breakfast - on - the - go or mid-morning snack!

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Make It Again!  The best thing to do is find a one-hour weeknight or weekend time slot that you can devote to making a big batch of these.  Then wrap them individually in plastic wrap or foil and store them in the refrigerator or the freezer to quickly heat up and enjoy before running out the door in the morning or bring it along to heat and quickly eat at the office!  (Reheat refrigerated cups about 45 seconds and reheat frozen cups about 1 min, 30 seconds)

NUTRITION INFO (per 2 cups):

Calories 175;  Protein 10g;  Carbohydrate 8g;  Total Fat 12g (sat 3g, mono 5.75g, poly 1.75g);  Sugar 4g;  Added Sugar 0g;  Sodium 310mg;  Cholesterol 210 mg;  Potassium 300 mg;  Calcium 105 mg