DINNER IN A CAN
ONE INGREDIENT, TWO WAYS CHICKEN
Chicken = your go-to summer meal
Whether you’re BBQing it or baking it, you can’t go wrong with poultry for a healthy dinner. Its high-protein profile makes it a go-to for both managing hunger and building muscle. Kinda brings a whole new meaning to “winner winner, chicken dinner.”
WHAT’S FOR DINNER? IF YOU’RE LIKE most Canadians, chicken is a pretty good guess. According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian eats about 30 kg of this lean meat annually.
We say it’s a family favourite for good reason: Chicken is one of the leanest sources of high biological value protein, clocking in at a whopping 19 grams per 3-ounce portion. And that might be good news for your waistline! Protein, like that found in chicken, helps reduce our hunger hormone, grehlin, and increase our satiety hormone, peptide YY, helping us feel fuller longer and fuel our busy day. One study even found that women who increased their protein intake from 15 percent to 30 percent of their daily calories, reduced their total caloric intake by 441 calories without any additional changes or restrictions.
There’s also a reason why chicken is a favourite among the fitness model and athletic community — it’s an ideal source of musclebuilding fuel! One systematic review of the literature found that increasing protein helped enhance muscle mass and improve athletic performance.
Protein has also been shown to help prevent muscle mass loss while losing weight, and keeping the body’s metabolism revved up. And speaking of metabolism, the fat-burning benefits don’t end there. The body uses more energy to metabolize protein than fat or carbs, so researchers have found that people on higher protein diets burn about 260 more calories per day compared with those consuming lower amounts of protein.
CIDER CAN CHICKEN WITH STRAWBERRY CARAMELIZED ONION GLAZE MAKES: 4 SERVINGS PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES COOK TIME: 1 HOUR
This makes for a great Sunday night BBQ. When stationed like a tripod between the two chicken legs, crisp apple cider delivers a sweet flavour and tender meat. And while you could keep it au naturel, we say it’s not BBQ without a sticky glaze. Our sweet and tangy version will not disappoint. We suggest whipping up a double batch and slathering it on ribs, pork tenderloin and wings.
INGREDIENTS STRAWBERRY CARAMELIZED ONION GLAZE
1 tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil 1 onion, finely diced
1 ½ tsp (7.5 mL) fresh thyme leaves 2 cups (500 mL) strawberries, minced 3 tbsp (45 mL) balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp (45 mL) honey
Pinch each of salt and pepper
CIDER CAN CHICKEN
1 ½ tbsp (22 mL) minced fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ tbsp (22 mL) fresh lemon zest 1 tsp (5 mL) smoked sweet paprika 1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt
1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black pepper 2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil 1 (3 to 4 lb) whole chicken
1 can (473 mL) of dry alcoholic apple cider
4 whole sprigs of fresh thyme
1. Preheat your BBQ to medium-high (about 375°F) with the burners on only one side of the grill.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over low heat. Add in the onion and thyme, and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Sauté on low heat until it begins to caramelize and turn an amber colour, about 45-50 minutes.
3. Add in the strawberries, balsamic, and honey and increase the heat to mediumhigh. Cover with a lid and simmer until the strawberries break down and soften. Remove the lid and cook to thicken for 2 minutes, then transfer to a high-power blender or food processor and purée until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Meanwhile, in another small bowl, mix together the thyme leaves, lemon zest, paprika, salt, pepper and oil. Set aside.
5. Remove the neck and giblets from the chicken and discard. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
6. Drink about half of the cider (yay for drinking while cooking!) and insert a few sprigs of thyme into the can. Place the can on a flat surface.
7. Gently massage the chicken with the rub and maneuver the chicken’s cavity over the cider can.
8. Place the chicken into the centre of the BBQ grate on the side where the burners are off (indirect heat), balancing the chicken a bit like a tripod on the can and two legs.
9. Cover the BBQ with a lid and cook for about 50 minutes before checking on it. If the thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the leg and breast reaches an internal temperature of 165°F in both areas, it’s done. When it starts to get close to that temperature (about 155°F), generously brush on the strawberry caramelized onion glaze using a heat-proof brush.
10. Once the chicken reaches 165°F, remove the chicken from the grill, gently lift it off the cider can and discard the can. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes before carving and serving.
PER SERVING: 320 calories, 14 g protein,
11 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 28 g carbohydrates, 4 g fibre, 31 mg cholesterol, 623 mg sodium
COCONUT CHICKEN NUGGETS
WITH SWEET AND SOUR PLUM CHERRY SAUCE MAKES: 4 SERVINGS PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES COOK TIME: 12 MINUTES
Ready to graduate from the kids’ table? Take your chicken nuggets to the next level with this spiced coconut crust. Tender pieces of white meat get dressed in a sweet, spicy and aromatic coating that will become your go-to instead of anything that typically comes with fries and a toy. And because this blank slate protein is always more agreeable with something tasty to dunk into, we’ve got you covered with a low-sugar seasonal sweet and sour dip. Laced with real chunks of cherries and plums, and a zesty hit of fresh ginger, it’s fun enough for the kiddos, but sophisticated enough for adults.
INGREDIENTS CHICKEN NUGGETS
½ cup (125 mL) coconut flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp (10 mL) Chinese five-spice
½ tsp (2.5 mL) turmeric
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
½ tsp (2.5 mL) pepper
4 tsp (20 mL) white sesame seeds
1 lb (500 g) skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into cubes
PLUM CHERRY SAUCE
1 cup (250 mL) red plums, chopped
1 cup (250 mL) fresh or frozen cherries (pitted), chopped
1½ tbsp (22 mL) rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp (30 mL) honey
1 tsp (5 mL) reduced sodium tamari 1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh ginger, finely grated ½ cup (125 mL) water METHOD
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Place the coconut flour in one shallow bowl, the beaten eggs in another bowl, and the coconut, Chinese five-spice, turmeric, salt, pepper and sesame seeds in a third bowl. Season the chicken breast cubes with a pinch each of salt and pepper, then dunk each cube first in the coconut flour, then the eggs, and then the coconut mixture.
3. Lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until toasty brown and cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
4. Meanwhile, add all of the ingredients for the plum cherry sauce to a medium saucepan with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes until the plums and cherries are very soft and falling apart. Mash to break up the chunks, and cook for an additional 2 minutes with the lid off to thicken slightly.
5. Serve the chicken nuggets with the plum cherry sauce and enjoy warm.
PER SERVING: 524 calories, 42 g protein, 23 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 37 g carbohydrates, 13 g fibre, 73 mg cholesterol, 818 mg sodium