In the spirit of helping out with those New Year’s weight loss resolutions, I’m sharing an easy way to speed up healthy lunches, or dinners for those busy weeknights. I’m sure you are all familiar with the concept of “meal prepping.” I am on board with the theory, and if you are happy eating the same thing every day, then good for you! I, on the other hand, am not. The quickest way for me to lose interest in eating healthy is to ask me to eat the same thing, day after day. However, I also recognize that if I am pressed for time and need to feed my hungry family and myself, I reach for the phone and order pizza or chinese takeout, which most definitely does not fall into any healthy eating plan.
For dinners, I really thrive on variety, but I tend to eat similar breakfasts and lunches throughout the week. Basically variations on a theme. One day I’ll have a salad with chicken, some blackberries, and roasted almonds. The next I’ll have a salad with chicken, sliced pears, pistachios, a little gorgonzola, and a few dried cranberries. That keeps it interesting enough to keep me on track without getting bored.
I used to buy sliced sandwich meat from the deli for quick salads or sandwiches, but one day as I was grumbling about having to spend $10 for a pound of roasted chicken, I noticed that chicken tenders were on sale for $1.79 per pound. I realized that for drastic savings, and minimal effort, I could have a week’s worth of chicken for lunches that is free of the creepy ingredients found in processed lunch meat, and tastes much better. It was a no-brainer!
Bonus: these can be made with any number of flavor combinations, to keep you from getting into a lunch rut! This is also great for a quick protein addition for a dinner. Brown rice, steamed or roasted veggies, topped with this chicken and you’ve got dinner in under 20 minutes! Under 10 if you have leftover rice and use those steamable microwave bags of veggies. AND hardly any dishes! I call that a win!
- Chicken tenders, 1 lb
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Desired spices (garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, etc.)
- Desired herbs (thyme, rosemary, tarragon, etc.; can be dried or fresh)
- Lemon juice (or white wine vinegar)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Line walled cookie sheet with aluminum foil (easy clean up, yay!).
- Arrange chicken tenders on foil, leaving a little space in between them (you don’t want them to steam).
- Add desired seasonings. I just evenly sprinkle, no need for measurements! For the pictured tenders I used salt, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon zest, fresh rosemary, and a little lemon juice.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Cool, and dice for salads or casseroles, or slice for sandwiches.
Happy Healthy Eating!