4 Amazing Chicken Recipes Any Fitness Buff Would Love
Chicken meat is one of the amazing protein sources highly endorsed by the American Heart Association, the others being fish and beans. Besides having far lesser dietary cholesterol and saturated fat content, chicken is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as B6 (pyridoxine), B3 (niacin), selenium, riboflavin, phosphorus, and zinc.
It is also a superb source of choline, a vital macronutrient for normal brain, liver, and muscle function, as well as for healthy metabolism.
Before we go to the recipes, let us answer the 64-dollar question first: Should we eat the chicken skin?
The quick answer: Sure, but in moderate amount.
Many nutritionists and medical practitioners have been advising us to shun chicken skin over the years, but in our heads, we envision that the meat is going to be dry, boring, and unappetizing.
Well, both they and we are right and wrong at the same time. So in order for you to make your own informed decision on the matter, let us weigh the pros and cons:
PROS: The skin makes the chicken meat juicier and tastier, no question about it. The good news is it is also a good source of unsaturated fat that helps lower LDL or bad cholesterol, as well as blood pressure level. Moreover, a chicken breast with its skin on has an almost negligible amount of extra fat and calorie content than a skinned piece.
CONS: The bad news is that copious amount of omega-6; the unsaturated fat in the chicken skin can trigger inflammation in the body, which can increase your risk to cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, skin problem, and other illnesses. Plus, it is, of course, fattening.
Another thing: it has become a modern day scourge that a lot of dressed chickens available to us in supermarkets are treated with antibiotics and hormones. Sadly, a huge percentage of those chemicals are deposited in the fatty tissues beneath the skin.
It is, therefore, healthier to eat free-range and organically raised chicken, however, they are more expensive. So, if this cannot be an option for you, just try to limit your chicken skin intake and choose only the parts with lesser fatty tissues like the main torso covering.
Here are some healthy and great tasting chicken recipes to supply your body with protein and other good stuff that help in muscle building and in staying fit:
1. Tandoori Style Chicken
- 4 pcs. Chicken Breasts or Drumsticks
- 1 cup Plain Low Fat Yogurt
- 1 tsp. Garam Masala Powder (an Indian spice)
- 1 tsp. Freshly Grated Ginger
- 1 tsp. Minced Garlic
- 1 tsp. Paprika Powder
- 2 tbsp. Chopped Cilantro
- ½ tsp. Kosher Salt
- Pour about ¾ of your yogurt into a bowl and add the garlic, paprika, garam masala, salt, and ginger. Stir thoroughly until fully mixed.
- Marinade your chicken cutlets in the mixed ingredients for at least an hour. It will be better if you put everything in a zip-locked plastic bag and refrigerate it after the first 30-minutes.
- Stir the chopped cilantro leaves into the remaining yogurt and set aside in the refrigerator.
- Heat the broiler and line a reamed baking pan with a non-stick aluminum foil.
- Remove the chicken portions from the marinade and lay them on the pan. Broil for 10 – 12 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Flip the pieces once at approximately the middle of set cooking time.
- Drizzle the freshly cooked pieces with the yogurt and cilantro blend you earlier set aside before serving.
- Serve with heated pita or tortilla bread and grilled tomatoes or tossed salad on the side.
2. Grilled Chicken Breast with Bruschetta
- 1 pound Chicken Breast Filet (with or without skin)
- 3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 cups Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. Minced Shallot
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp. Dried Oregano
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- ¼ cup Freshly Chopped Basil
- Shaved Parmesan Cheese· Balsamic Glaze
- Lightly season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano.
- Place the grill on top of the stove and brush it with the olive oil using a small pastry brush. Turn on the heat to medium-high.
- Once the pan is hot, place the chicken portions in and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the sides became opaque and the underside turned golden brown and show grill marks. Flip the meat pieces with a thong or spatula then cook for another 5-7 minutes or until all the meat’s pinkness disappears.
- While waiting for each side of the chicken to be fully cooked, you can start making the bruschetta topping by mixing together the tomatoes, basil, garlic, shallot and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper until you achieve desired taste.
- Once the chicken is fully cooked, place them on the plate and top with the bruschetta mix. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese and lightly drizzle with balsamic glaze. It is now ready to serve.
3. Santa Fe Chicken Salad
- 2 pcs. Boneless Chicken Breast Filet (with or without skin)
- 4 cups Chopped Romaine Lettuce
- 1 cup Black Beans, drained
- ¼ cup Lime Juice
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
- Kosher Salt
- ¾ cup Kernel Corn
- 1 Avocado, chopped
- 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- ¼ cup Freshly Chopped Cilantro
- 1 pinch of Red Pepper Flakes, crushed
- 1 cup Shredded Cheese (Cheddar or Monterey Jack)
- 2 pcs. Corn Tortilla
- Start by making the lime dressing, as it will also serve as the chicken marinade. Mix together the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes in a bowl and whisk thoroughly until it emulsifies.
- Use half of the lime dressing to marinade the chicken portions in a re-sealable plastic bag for about half an hour.
- Slice the tortillas into short ½-inch width strips and fry in a pan with 2 tbsps. Vegetable oil until they become crispy (about 2 minutes per side). Make sure that the oil is already hot before pouring in the tortilla strips. After frying, remove excess oil by putting the strips on a paper towel-lined plate straight from the pan. Immediately season with salt.
- On a separate pan, heat the remaining vegetable oil on medium-high stove setting. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and cook in the pan and for 6-7 minutes on each side. To check if the meat is thoroughly cooked, you can make a small incision to see if the inside has turned completely white.
- Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes then slice into strips.
- Mix together all the remaining ingredients and toss before pouring onto a serving plate. Top the salad with the chicken and tortilla strips then drizzle with lime dressing. Serve.
4. Baked Honey-Lime Chicken Over Rice
- 4 Pcs. Chicken Breasts (skin-on) or Chicken Thigh Fillet (bone-in)
- 1 tbsp. Honey
- ¼ cup Lime Juice
- 3 tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. Ground Turmeric
- ¼ tsp. Ground Ginger
- Salt and Pepper
- Chopped Spring Onion Leaves for garnish
- 2 cups Cooked White Rice
- Make the marinade by combining the lime juice, honey, ground turmeric, garlic, ground ginger and 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Whisk thoroughly.
- Roll the chicken portions in the marinade to coat them overall. It is better to put them all in a re-sealable plastic bag so the meat will be completely soaked. Refrigerate after the first 15-20 minutes, and keep it there for another hour or two.
- Preheat oven to 425-degree F. Pour olive oil in a large oven-proofed pan then put over a stove set to medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Place the meat portions on the pan skin-side down then pour the marinade over them. Cook for six minutes until the skin turned crispy and golden brown in color. Turn the meat over and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the stove.
- Transfer the pan inside the preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the meat is cooked thoroughly.
- Put the cooked white rice on a plate then place the baked chicken portions on top of it. Garnish with chopped spring onion leaves, then drizzle with the drippings from the pan and serve.
There are probably hundreds of ways to make a succulent yet healthy chicken dish. In fact, the Internet is teeming with amazing recipes that can match your fitness goals. Turn to recipes that are low or completely devoid with saturated fat and high on fresh whole food ingredients, particularly fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.
Try to avoid battered and deep fried chicken, as this cooking style trap unwanted fats and calories in the breading and skin.
It was determined that your daily dietary requirement includes a gram of protein for every kilogram (0.4 grams of protein per pound) of your own body weight. You need more if you engage in athletic activities or intense resistance training. Every 100 grams of lean chicken meat contains about 18 grams of pure protein. Go figure.