Lemon Rosemary Chicken Tenders

Dals/Lentils along with store bought tortilla and a simple salad of cucumbers and carrots is one of our most frequent dinners. Another very popular combination is Quinoa or Cracked Wheat Pilaf along with grilled fish or chicken and steamed or pan fried greens, broccoli or green beans. If you have been following us on Facebook or Instagram, you would exactly know how frequently they appear on our dinner table.

There is never any fixed recipe for my grilled/pan-seared/or oven baked chicken. It all depends on what I have on hand. A sprinkle of paprika here, a snip of fresh herb there; a squeeze of lemon here and a smidgen of mustard there - that's pretty much my situation.

But when I make the same recipe, with the exact same ingredients on three consecutive Sundays, on popular demand, I know I just landed on a blog-worthy recipe!

So here it is... our Sunday dinner favorite - Lemon Rosemary Chicken Tenders!

I have always favored Chicken Thighs over Chicken Breasts, even if it means consuming a tad more fat. A three-ounce portion of chicken breast without the skin contains 142 calories, 3 grams of fat and 0.9 grams of saturated fat, while, a skinless chicken thigh of the same size contains, 170 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 3 grams of saturated fat.

 It's a no-brainer that Chicken Breasts is a smarter choice.

However, it is very easy to go wrong with Chicken Breast. There is nothing sadder than stingy, overcooked, dry and tasteless chicken. There are some amazing recipes, tips and tricks to achieve the perfect juicy and succulent chicken breast. But that  involves prep work, babysitting and meticulous timing - things, I don't have the luxury or energy for, on busy weeknights.

Chicken Thighs are way more forgiving in that respect and they taste amazing too. But if you want all the leanness of Chicken Breasts and the convenience of Chicken Thighs, meet your new best friend - Chicken Tenderloin!

Chicken tenderloins are short, thin cuts taken from beneath the breast of the bird. They are lean like Chicken Breasts. But since they are thinner than normal breast pieces, they cook in a jiffy. 2 - 3 minutes per side and they are done. That's a blessing on  crazy week nights. Plus, they are the perfect sized for little hands.  

When Sam bought our Rosemary sapling from the nursery, when we were starting our herb garden, I was tad surprised. Rosemary is was a slightly less loved, in my herb loving heart. I always felt the strong woodsy aroma of Rosemary to be overpowering and overwhelming. 

But the more I used it in my cooking, the more I fell in love. The aroma is strong, no doubt, but it slowly grows on you. Rosemary is terrific with chicken. It is amazing with roasted potatoes as well. 

Cooking chicken tenders is very easy. No oven required. Since it is a thinner cut, it doesn't take more than 3 to 4 minutes a side, on stove top. 

The Lemon - Rosemary marinade is incredibly flavorful. I usually try to marinate overnight or at least 6-8 hours. But in a pinch, 30 minutes of marination is also good enough. The acidity from the lemon juice tenderizes the meat. The longer it sits in the marinade, the plumper and juicer the tenderloins become; Not to mention, exceedingly flavorful too. 

These Lemon Rosemary Chicken Tenders tastes awesome. No wonder they were requested three times in a row. We had these with Sesame Brown Rice (hopefully soon on the blog) and Garlic Roasted Broccoli. If looking for a low carb dinner idea, pair it the Roasted Broccoli (or any other low carb veggies) and a light soup or salad. For a more comforting meal, have it with Mashed Potato and steamed veggies.

And  now the recipe...

Recipe Snapshot: Lemon Rosemary Chicken Tenders

Serves: 4 serving
(1 serving = 2pcs)

What I used:
Chicken Tenderloin - 1 lb (about 8 strips)

Garlic - 1 fat clove, finely grated 

Lemon - juice and zest of half a lemon

Rosemary - 2 tsp (about 3 sprigs), very finely chopped

Smoked Paprika - 1 tsp (optional)

Olive Oil - 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon

Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper

What I did:
1. Wash and pat dry the Chicken Tenders.

2. In a bowl or a Ziploc bag, combine the Chicken Tenderloin, grated Garlic, Lemon Juice, chopped Rosemary, smoked Paprika, a teaspoon of Olive Oil and salt and pepper. Mix it well and let it hang out for anywhere between 1 hour to overnight.

3. In cast iron pan or a nonstick pan, heat 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the Chicken Tenderloin in a single layer. Do it in batches. Do not over crowd the pan. 

4. Cook the Chicken Tenderloin in the pan until lightly browned and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Lower the heat to medium-low if the chicken is browning too fast. Cover the pan with a lid while cooking to keep the chicken moist. 

5. Let them rest for a couple minutes before serving. Serve with a gentle sprinkle of fresh Rosemary.

Notes/Tip: The same recipe can be recreated with Chicken Breast or Chicken Thighs too. The process will remain the same. Just the cooking time will vary, depending on the thickness of the cut. It is better to cut the chicken breast or thighs into bite size pieces. It will speed up the cooking process.

Instead of Rosemary, feel free to use any other fresh herbs like Thyme, Parsley, Basil or even Cilantro/Coriander leaves. 

Diabetic Platter:
The wonderful smell of Rosemary is often associated with good food and great times. But it could just as easily be associated with good health. Rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for reducing the severity of asthma attacks. In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration. 


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