Eating healthy on a budget and tight schedule means the boneless skinless chicken breast makes frequent appearances on our dinner table. It’s a smart choice as a lean protein — one cup of cubed chicken breast has a whopping 43 grams of protein yet only 5 grams of fat (fewer than 2 of those are saturated).
But the chicken breast story goes beyond protein gram counts. White meat chicken provides a sizeable chunk of our daily requirements for several vitamins and minerals, most notably B6, niacin, phosphorous and selenium, and smaller quantities of a slew of others. Impressive stats from the cut of meat that goes on mega-sale about every 4 weeks, and freezes so well that you can stock up when it does.
The problem with this wallet-friendly nutrient wonder is that it is so mild and low-fat (read: low-flavor) that it can become “blah” and uninspired on the weekly family menu, elegantly referred to as being in a rut. The lower fat also puts this protein at high risk for drying out. Today’s recipe solves both those problems while also staying weeknight-speedy.
Five-Spice Chicken in Orange Broth is a skillet chicken that starts on the stovetop with a quick sear and then finishes in the oven, bathed in an aromatic orange juice broth, simmering to juicy perfection.
If you don’t have five-spice blend on hand, I suggest it as a worthy purchase, because its warm spicy flavors (think ginger, anise and cinnamon) add a perfect depth to a ton of dishes, both savory and sweet. However, feel free to experiment with similar spices or blends (such a pumpkin pie spice). Another recommended purchase: an instant-read thermometer, which will improve your meat-cookery overall, so you can stop cooking the chicken as soon as it reaches 160 degrees. A final tip: most chicken breasts are larger than one serving. Consider serving the meat already sliced on a platter, and you’ll find that two or three breasts will easily feed a family of four.
FIVE-SPICE CHICKEN BREAST IN ORANGE BROTH
Start to finish: 40 minutes
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, about 3 breasts
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cup diced)
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice (spice blend available at regular grocery stores)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3-4 carrots, trimmed and halved both crossways and lengthwise
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup orange juice (fresh or carton)
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, plus extra if needed
chopped cilantro for garnish (or parsley, if preferred)
Nutrition information per serving: 271 calories; 61 calories from fat; 7 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 86 mg cholesterol; 262 mg sodium; 19 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 9 g sugar; 29 g protein
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