Happy new year, readers! This year has been absolutely wonderful to me, and I’m excited for all that 2016 has to offer.
My new year’s resolution is to get outside for half an hour at least 3 times per week during the winter, no matter how cold the weather gets.
What’s your resolution?
This time of year, many people vow to lose weight, cut out sweets, eat more protein, and exercise every day. “No more carbs,” says the woman to my right. “No more chocolate,” says the guy to my left, “crossfit for me,” says the person in front of me.
Are these realistic resolutions?
Maybe for some people, but definitely not for all. A diet and lifestyle filled with elimination and pressure is extremely difficult to follow.
Goals should be SMART- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Does your resolution fit these criteria?
I challenge you, therefore, to make yourself a SMART resolution. You can start by adding my delicious apricot chicken recipe to your dinner schedules.
You’ll find that many dietitians emphasize the importance of watching what you eat, but with a practical approach. No food is “good,” and no food is “bad.” Foods simply need to be eaten in moderation.
Do you remember MyPyramid? It showed all the food groups, and how many portions of each you should consumer per day. MyPyramid was tough to understand without some serious explanations.
Honestly, no one eats food in pyramid form.
The USDA introduced the MyPlate method in 2010. It is an excellent representation of how to dress your plate. Even a scoop of ice cream can fit in the dairy section, not that I’m suggesting anything specifically…
This technique also helps with portion control, because you know exactly what to have on your plate at all times.
To honor your new year’s resolutions, I developed this simple, flavorful recipe that pays homage to the MyPlate method. It’s easy to make, and delectably healthy. I hope this recipe leads you to a year of SMART, successful goals and resolutions!
Apricot Chicken with Roasted Asparagus
- 1/2 small onion (diced or minced)
- 2/3 cup + 2 Tbsp apricot preserves
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary (diced or minced)
- 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 heaping spoonful of all-purpose flour
- 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
- Side dishes: Asparagus and brown rice/orzo
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Dice the onion, and add it to a large bowl. Mix the apricot preserves, rosemary, black pepper, orange zest, garlic powder, salt, and olive oil with the onions. *Save the flour for later.*
- Clean the fat and veins off of the chicken breasts. Grease a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Flatten the chicken breasts as best as you can with your hands, and spread them evenly across the baking sheet. Rub the sauce over all of the chicken breasts.
- Place the chicken breasts in the oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until they are cooked through and the centers of the thickest parts of the breasts reach 165ºF.
- While the chicken is cooking, make your grain and your vegetable. I chose brown rice with orzo, and asparagus. Asparagus is super easy to make. Cut off the thick, bottom ends of the stalks and throw them away (or compost them). Place the asparagus on a baking sheet. Toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake them in the oven for 15 minutes at 350ºF. That’s it!
- When the chicken is finished, remove the breasts from the baking sheet and place them in another pan. Set them aside.
- Drain the leftover juices/sauce from the baking sheet and pour them into a saucepan.
- Add a dash of olive oil to the pan so the sauce doesn’t get stuck, and then the heaping spoonful of all-purpose flour. Start heating the saucepan to thicken the sauce. Stir the flour into the sauce constantly until the loose liquid gone. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the top of the stove. Drizzle the sauce from the pan over the chicken breasts. Let the sauce sit on the chicken for about 5 minutes before serving.
- Now it’s time to build MyPlate! Fill half of the plate with the asparagus. Take about a 4 oz serving of chicken, and place it in one corner. Then fill the rest of your plate with grains. Voila, MyPlate! This is an easy and convenient portion-control method.
Savor each bite, and be thankful that you get to enjoy such a sensational meal. This will likely make you fuller, and more satisfied. A second helping isn’t always necessary.
Now that I’ve written this blog post, and consumed my lunch, it’s time to start my new year’s resolution off with a bang! Although it is quite cold outside, I think I will go for a walk now.
Cheers to a new year, and a new you! Happy baking for 2016!