This tangy chicken dish is a budget-friendly, perfect easy dinner recipe for a busy weeknight
I have to admit: when our editors decided to do a series on healthier homemade fast food, I was skeptical. I mean, isn’t “healthy fast food” an oxymoron? After all, it’s always been a truism in the food world that you can have either healthy ingredients, or convenience—not both.
But maybe not. After all, there’s no reason why you couldn’t create stripped-down, limited-ingredient recipes using first-rate fresh ingredients. And as you’ll see here (and in the coming months), it’s quite doable. This first entry in the series is not only delicious, but seriously quick to make. And I love the combo of mustard and honey (don’t knock it till you taste it!).
A word about limes, the juice of which is responsible for some of the uniqueness of this dish (and also the reason no one will believe it’s “fast food”). Limes are like the Rodney Dangerfield of fruits—they don’t get no respect. But they should. Not only do they feature vitamin C, they also boast a number of flavonoids with both anticancer and antioxidant properties.
Featured Nutrient: Vitamin C
Vitamin C is like the “chicken soup” of vitamins—there’s almost nothing it isn’t good for! It’s a powerful antioxidant, meaning that it helps fight ongoing cellular damage from rogue molecules called free radicals. And the more we understand how oxidative damage and inflammation are involved in heart disease, the more we understand how important vitamin C is for heart health.
Vitamin C boosts our natural defenses—immune cells have a high concentration of vitamin C, and that vitamin C gets used up quickly once an infection sets in. And while research hasn’t supported the notion that vitamin C prevents the common cold, there’s pretty good evidence that it reduces its severity and duration.
Notes from the Clean Food Coach
Chicken breasts are thicker on one side than the other. If you try to grill them as is, you will likely end up with one side being too dry or one side being underdone. To remedy this problem, pound the thicker sides with something blunt and heavy until the whole breast is an even thickness, and it will cook evenly.
To pound chicken breasts without a lot of spatter, arrange them inside a gallon-sized zip closure bag and don’t seal (or the bag will pop and make a mess!). Gently pound each breast to an even thickness with a meat mallet, a rolling pin, or even the round edge of a small heavy skillet.
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbs. raw honey
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- ½ tsp. each salt and fresh ground pepper
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- Handful of fresh cilantro, minced (about ¼ cup minced cilantro)
- 4 8-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness for grilling
- 2 bunches broccolini (about 1 lb.)
- In small bowl, whisk together ingredients from lime juice through olive oil until emulsified. Stir in cilantro.
- Place chicken breasts into gallon-sized zip-closure bag, and pour in half of dressing.
- Work chicken around in baggie until each piece is lightly coated, and store in refrigerator to marinate, hour to overnight. (The longer the marinating time, the stronger the flavor.)
- Preheat grill or grill pan on medium-high heat, and grill chicken about 6 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
- While chicken is cooking, steam broccolini over boiling water until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.
- Divide chicken and broccolini among 4 plates, and drizzle with remaining marinade just before serving.