Monday, January 4, 2016

Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken

It's that time of the year where we all want to start eating a little better and working out a bit more. Hello New Year's resolutions, right? Plus, I am always looking for new tasty and lighter dishes to make. Here comes skinny honey lemon chicken! I know what you are thinking. Skinny? Does that mean it even tastes good? Well, let me tell you, this skinny honey lemon chicken is loaded (and I mean loaded) with flavor. And best of all, it only takes 20 minutes from start to finish and you have a meal that is quick, easy to make and it's even gluten free! Let me tell you all about how to make it.

This honey lemon chicken starts off with a super easy and quick marinade of soy sauce (use tamari or other gluten free soy sauce here is going gluten free!), sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. You just dump the diced chicken and the soy, sesame and vinegar, give it a little toss and let it do its thing. I would suggest a couple of hours for maximum flavor, but who has that much time when you are hungry. Am I right? A 10 minute marinade will be just fine here and will give just enough time for the chicken to get all that yumminess. When you are ready to start cooking, drain off the juices and toss them away. You won't need them. Then, salt and pepper the chicken to your liking and then start cooking it up. While the chicken is cooking (which only takes 5-8 minutes), you'll need to throw the honey lemon sauce together. Grab a bowl and add in chicken stock (or broth), fresh (none of that pre-squeezed stuff here!), honey (duh), cornstarch, lemon zest and a pinch of fresh or ground ginger. Oh and make sure to zest the lemon before you squeeze it. You'll never get the zest off if you've already squeezed out all the juice. I've tried. It doesn't work well and it's dangerous to your knuckles! 

Mix everything together and set aside for a few minutes. When the chicken is done cooking and looks all brown and delicious, remove it and then add the sauce to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until it gets thick and ooey gooey. At this point, if you like a bit of zing, you can add in sriracha or your favorite hot sauce. I added a bit, but not too much. Just a little bit of, hmm. Once the sauce is thick and delicious, add the chicken back in and toss it to coat. At this point, you can eat it plain, over brown rice, quinoa or with roasted veggies. Personally, I like it with a bit of brown rice and veggies to round out the dish. Healthy carbs and veggies for the win! 

This quick and easy dinner can be made during the week in a flash and the best part, you made it at home. You don't have to go out for take out and even better, it's sauteed, not fried! We all know most sweet and sour takeout dishes are fried. Delicious, but fried and not the best for our waistlines. Also, this dish is naturally sweetened with honey and not loaded with anything other than fresh and delicious ingredients. Here's to a delicious and healthy 2016!

Pucker up, it's honey lemon chicken!

Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken (slightly adapted from Gimme Some Oven)

1 1/2 pounds of chicken breasts, cut in to bite size pieces
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari if going gluten free)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (can use white or white wine vinegar here, too)
Dash sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Honey lemon sauce (see below)
Toppings (optional): sliced green onions, lemon slices and sesame seeds

For Honey Lemon Sauce:
3/4 cup chicken broth or stock (whatever you have will work just fine)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons honey (more if you want it sweeter)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of fresh or ground ginger
optional: sriracha for a bit of heat, to taste

In a large ziploc style bad, add the chicken, soy sauce, sesame oil and vinegar. Toss the bag around until all the chicken is coated well. Place the bag in the fridge for the chicken to marinate for at least 10 minutes, but not to exceed six hours.

When you are ready to start cooking, drain the chicken and season with salt and pepper. You can toss the marinade at this point. You will not need it. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the chicken for about five to eight minutes, or until there is no more pink. You don't want raw chicken! When the chicken is done, remove from the pan. 

In a small bowl, add all of the honey sauce ingredients and mix well. While the pan is still hot, cook the sauce for several minutes until it's thick and bubbly. Once it's ready, add in the chicken and season to taste. If you want to add a bit of heat, now is the time to add the sriracha or hot sauce of your choice. Top with toppings and enjoy!

Who knew eating well could taste so good!

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