Eating for Beauty: Best Ever Grilled Chicken Skewers

Monday, June 16, 2014
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If you think healthy eating can’t be ridiculously delicious, think again. This Middle Eastern-inspired recipe for chicken skewers is a super tender and flavorful way to prepare lean chicken breast. Even my son, who despises almost anything “healthy,” loves them. With only 5 basic ingredients in the marinade, it’s also crazy easy to make. Try the recipe once and these skewers are likely to become one of your go-to meals.

Serve the cooked chicken with whole wheat pita and tzatziki sauce or hummus, over brown rice, or with a salad. I opted for the latter and combined three of my favorites: beets and goat cheese layered over arugula. I topped the simple salad off with a yogurt, lemon, and tahini dressing.

The recipe for both the grilled chicken skewers and the salad dressing are after the jump along with nutritional benefits.

Best Ever Grilled Chicken Skewers

1 lb of organic chicken breast
Juice of 1 lemon
2 T olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 t fresh oregano, thyme, or parsley, minced (or ½ t dried)
¼ t salt
skewers

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1. Juice your lemon.

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2. Mince your oregano, thyme, or parsley if using fresh herbs. I am growing thyme on my deck, so that's what I used. You can also mince your garlic but I just cheat and push it through a garlic press.

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3. You can transfer the lemon juice to a small bowl but I just dump the olive oil, minced garlic, minced herbs, and salt in the juicer reservoir and stir it up. Why dirty another dish?

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4. Cut your chicken up into skewer-sized chunks. I find that using kitchen shears for this makes it super quick and easy.

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5. Dump in your marinade on top of the chicken, stir it up, and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

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6. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water while the chicken is marinating to prevent them from catching on fire.

7. About 15 minutes into the marinating/soaking, light up the grill. You’ll want your burners set on medium heat.

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8. After they have finished marinating, skewer those babies up.

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9. Cook them on the grill (lid shut) for 4 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. DO NOT OVERCOOK.

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Looking good! And now for the salad dressing...

Yogurt, Lemon, and Tahini Dressing

¼ c greek yogurt
1 T sesame tahini
1 clove of garlic, minced
juice of ½ a lemon
¼ t salt (or to taste)
¼ c water

1. Throw all those ingredients into a small bowl or measuring cup.

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2. Blend it with an immersion blender. If you don’t have one, just whisk it up.

3. If it’s too thick, add more water a little at a time until you achieve the desired consistency.

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Serve over any salad you like but I gotta tell you that this argula, beet, and goat cheese combo is crazy good.

Nutritional Benefits:

Chicken breast is a lean source of protein, essential for muscle growth and retention. Healthy muscle tissue, in turn, supports a healthy metabolism. (Did you know the average person loses a ½ lb a muscle a year?) Of course, you’ll want to opt for organic chicken whenever possible to lower the risk of all sorts of icky things from contaminated feed to antibiotics to bleach.

Garlic contains flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients that offer many health benefits including keeping blood pressure and cholesterol under control and protecting the lining of blood vessels. These benefits are most potent when garlic is consumed raw.

Lemons are rich in phytonutrients and vitamin C for antioxidant and antibiotic effects.

Olive oil contains good fats called monounsaturated fatty acids that may lower the risk of heart disease.

Most herbs like oregano, thyme, and parsley have antioxidant properties due to an abundance of polyphenols, the same compounds that give tea and red wine their cancer-fighting reputation.

Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds. It’s a fantastic source of calcium, as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals. It also helps detox the liver thanks to an amino acid called methionine.

Greek yogurt is strained to remove much of the whey, lactose, and sugar present in regular yogurt. It can contain twice as much protein and half the carbs, again helping you to feel fuller longer and preventing a carb crash.

Also called rocket salad, arugula is a great choices for salad greens because it’s packed with vitamins and minerals. Consider this: arugula has 8 times more calcium than iceberg lettuce. 8 times! It’s also a cruciferous vegetable (like broccoli), which are known for their cancer-preventing powers.

Beets are high in sugar so, you know, there’s that. But they contain nitrates that may be helpful in lowering blood pressure, betaine to fight inflammation, and phytonutrients to fight cancer.

Goat cheese is yummy. Oh, and it’s lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol than most cow’s milk cheeses. Plus it’s got some protein and is high in a few vitamins and minerals including vitamins D, K, thiamine, and niacin. Did I mention it’s yummy?

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