Have you ever found yourself standing in the kitchen, looking in the fridge and wondering, “What am I going to make for dinner?” That happened to me tonight and it was especially frustrating because I had just gone shopping and had a ton of food. I was just completely lacking inspiration and didn’t know how to put it all together.
This is where a well-stocked spice cabinet (or in my case, drawer) comes in handy.
The first thing I did for this sage chicken recipe was grab foods from all the food categories that I needed to make a complete on-plan meal. SlimGenics STEP program offers a variety of approved foods, so I made sure that I picked things that seemed to go together. I had chicken thighs (hearty protein), acorn squash (hearty and sweet starch), Swiss chard (hearty and bitter vegetable). and I grabbed an onion, a few carrots, then got to work.
I started with the item that would take the longest to cook. I preheated the oven and “cut and gut” my squash, scooping out the pulp and seeds. I coated it with a touch of cooking spray and a sprinkle of light salt and pepper. I put the halved squash flesh-side-down on a baking pan and poked the skin a few times with a knife to let the steam escape (it keeps the squash from getting mushy). Into the oven it went for about 30 minutes. I peeled my carrots and placed them in a steamer basket set over boiling water.
While my squash was roasting and my carrots were steaming, I whipped up a little dried herb rub with sage and thyme, knowing that savory “sausage” flavors always work well with winter squash. It’s important to know what flavors work well together and learn a few combinations for quick and easy meal preparation. Some of my favorites are sage-rosemary-thyme, chili-cumin-paprika, and basil-oregano-garlic. I dredged my sage chicken in a fairly generous amount of this rub and tossed it in a hot pan to develop a nice crust of flavor. Then the chicken went into the oven with my squash to cook through. I was left with a pan that still had all that flavor stuck to it, so I took advantage of it and used it to flavor my onion and chard sauté.
Everything finished at the same time and the whole meal took me less than 45 minutes to make. When done, I had a plate with 1 protein, 2 vegetables, 1 starch, and 1 fat – the perfect dinner plate for STEP. Better yet, it took me less time than carry-out to get dinner on the table. I wanted to share this as an example of how easy it is to:
- Shop for ingredients on your comprehensive food list without having specific recipes in mind
- Create a fast and delicious meal
- Use that meal to create a basic recipe for your own personal archives
I will make this again, but I might choose a different starch, change-up the rub used on the sage chicken, or create a side dish using a different steamed vegetable.
When you find yourself running low on new meal options, or are just in need of some inspiration, a basic and delicious recipe is a great place to start! This recipe for Sage Chicken with Chard Saute is a nutritious meal that can be enjoyed as is, and is also a great starting point for creative meals using ingredients you already have in your kitchen! Doesn’t that make meal preparation seem a little less intimidating? I hope so!
Sage Chicken with Chard Saute Recipe Ingredients
- 10 ounces boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
- 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon Morton® Lite Salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 3/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
If chicken thighs are large, cut in half. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Place on a small baking sheet lined with foil.
In a small bowl, combine sage and thyme with half of salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Sprinkle half of herb mixture over chicken. Turn chicken and sprinkle other half. Chicken should be well coated.
Place a large nonstick skillet over high heat. When hot, add half of olive oil and chicken. Discard foil from pan and replace with a fresh sheet of foil. Cook chicken for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Turn and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Both sides of chicken should have a nice crust. Transfer chicken to pan and place in preheated oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through.
Without removing pan from heat, add remaining teaspoon of olive oil along with onion and chard stems. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes or until onion begins to brown.
While onion and chard stems are cooking, rinse and dry chard leaves. Slice crosswise into 1 inch strips.
When onions have started to turn golden, add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add chard leaves and toss. Cook, tossing and turning, until chard leaves are wilted. About 5 minutes. Season with reserved salt and pepper.
To serve, divide chard mixture between two plates and top with chicken.
If you have time while it’s cooking, think about a little simple on-plan dessert of Chocolate Cake in a Mug; simple, delicious, perfect!
Makes 2 servings