pan-grilled chicken breast on a bed of cauliflower rice with balsamic-glazed baby carrots

Sundays are the one day I give myself permission to basically abandon the kitchen to the forces of nature (my kids) and I cook only one meal. They are on their own for breakfast and lunch. Except the baby, of course. I’m a good responsible parent. She gets fruit snacks and a bottle. Kidding. Totally kidding. Mostly.

Anyway. Sundays. One main meal in the middle of the day. Something everyone will eat. Something relatively easy and quick to put together (because the after-church hanger is real). So often that ends up having something to do with chicken. —Soup, occasionally. Or a pot-pie. Today it was pan-grilled chicken, cauliflower rice (because whole30) and baby carrots. I fancied things up a bit for the adults with balsamic glaze on the carrots and a few avocado slices to finish it off, but everyone else requested ketchup, no cauliflower rice. (“Ewww that’s gross Mom!” Whateves), and carrots “with no black stuff.” So much for cultivating culinary taste and appreciation for presentation. Oh well. At least this meal has the benefit of mix-and-match so that we can appease ALL THE TASTE PREFERENCES. Hooray for Sundays.
Enjoy!

PAN-GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST ON A BED OF CAULIFLOWER RICE WITH BALSAMIC-GLAZED BABY CARROTS

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4-5 chicken breasts
1 lb baby carrots
1 head of cauliflower
4 tablespoons clarified butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
¼ cup diced onions
a dash of Italian or poultry spices
salt and pepper to taste

CARROTS:
Start by steaming the baby carrots as they will cook away while you prepare the rest of the food. Use an in-pan steam-colander if you have one, or another steaming method you are comfortable with. When done, the carrots should be fork-tender.

CHICKEN:
While the carrots are steaming, heat 2 tablespoons of clarified butter in a large flat-bottomed pan over med-high heat. Sauté onions until caramelized, spread evenly across the bottom of the pan and lay the chicken breasts on top. Sprinkle with Italian or poultry spices, along with salt and pepper to taste, cover and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes. Flip and repeat for another 5-7 minutes. You can check for doneness by gently slicing through the middle of one breast. The meat should be white all the way through. If it is still pink, allow it to cook for a couple more minutes. Remove the chicken from pan and set aside.

CAULIFLOWER RICE:
The ‘rice’ is the messiest part of this meal, but it’s so delicious that it’s definitely worth the hassle. You will need a food processor for this job or you’ll have to be handy with a dicing knife. I’ve used both and prefer the food processor method. Take a fresh head of cauliflower, pare of the greens, chop into small pieces, and then whirl in a food processor on the pulse setting until the cauliflower resembles rice grains. You can do the same thing with a large knife and a cutting board. It just takes a little longer.

Once the cauliflower is processed, warm another 2 tablespoons of clarified butter in the same pan you cooked the chicken. (Make sure you leave all the drippings and spices from the chicken! They flavor the rice perfectly). Add the processed cauliflower to the hot pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and turn with a spatula to cook evenly and mix in all those tasty spices left over from cooking the chicken. Once well-mixed, cover for 5-8 minutes and allow to cook. Turn again. The rice should not be mushy—careful not to overcook or you will just have made the most delicious baby food. So catch it before the mush state and remove from heat.

The carrots should be done by now, and everything is ready to plate—cauliflower rice, chicken breasts, carrots. Top the carrots with balsamic for a nice glaze (granted ketchup isn’t the condiment of preferable choice) and serve hot.

salt & pepper chicken thighs with yogurt sauce

Dinner is an ongoing thing at my house. I am still trying to figure this out. WHY MUST THEY EAT EVERY SINGLE NIGHT? The struggle is real.
Trying to find something healthy that everyone will eat is an even greater struggle. Chicken is a fairly safe bet, most of the time. As long as I can serve it one way for some of my family and another way for the rest of my family. This recipe does just that.
For those with a more developed palate, serve the chicken on a bed of zucchini (spiraled or sliced in rounds and sautéed). The tangy yogurt sauce adds just the right amount of flair without overpowering the dish. Think of it as a fresh spin on chicken Alfredo. But if some of your people aren’t really into that and resolutely turn up noses, serve their chicken with a banana and a healthy side of Ketchup. Boom. Everyone wins. Enjoy!

SALT AND PEPPER CHICKEN THIGHS WITH YOGURT SAUCE

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6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
4-5 small zucchini (Or roughly 4-5 cups)
Plain organic greek yogurt
2 tablespoons butter
salt
pepper

In a large skillet on medium-high heat, melt butter and coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken thighs and salt and pepper generously. Cover and cook until browned, then flip and repeat until the other side is browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Slice rounds or spiralized zucchini and toss into the same pan using the chicken juices to cook the zucchini. Salt and pepper lightly and cook until no longer crunchy but still firm. remove from pan being carful to retain all of the juices. I ran my cooked zucchini through a pasta colander and then returned the extra juice back to the pan. It will serve as the base for the yogurt sauce.

Once the zucchini is removed from the pan and set aside, add greek yogurt to the juice, 1/2 cup at a time until it is the desired consistency. Anywhere from 1-2 cups total, depending on how your preference and the quality of liquids you have from the chicken and zucchini. Use a whisk to incorporate the yogurt but keep the pan on very low heat so as not to separate the yogurt from overheating.

Serve chicken on a bed of zucchini with yogurt sauce spooned generously overtop.