Healthy Meal of the Week: Baked Chicken & Rice
Healthy Leftover Idea: Chicken Melt Sandwich
Here’s a meal that can basically be done in one pan within the oven which makes everything very convenient. Aside from the minor prep work you need to do, for the most part once everything is placed inside the oven and the timer is set, you need to do nothing else but sit back and wait for it to ring. Plus, with the leftover meal idea listed below, you can make these handy chicken melt sandwiches that when combined with a piece of fruit and a bottle of water, you will have a lunch meal that barely totals 400 calories. That’s far superior than a fast food meal that often surpasses the 1,200+ calorie mark so this is a giant step forward in the right nutritional direction.
– Oven safe pan with lid (or foil)
– pot for veggies
– 15 minutes
– 40 minutes
– 8-10 pieces boneless chicken breasts
– 2 cups rice
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 2 cans mixed vegetables (or other of your choice)
– seasonings: pinches of garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper
– 3 bay leaves
For Chicken Melt Sandwiches
– healthy whole wheat bread
– lowfat cheese
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Open package of chicken and rinse each piece under cold water in the sink. Place all pieces on a plate on in a dish where they will be marinated.
2. Using two forks, repeatedly puncture each piece of chicken on both sides to help seasonings really soak into the meat. Sprinkle all seasonings over chicken pieces and continue to use the forks to puncture the chicken pieces and push those tasty seasonings into them.
3. On a skillet, add 1/4 cup of olive oil on medium heat. Add the pieces of chicken and allow each side to lightly brown usually about 3-4 minutes per side. Once finished remove chicken pieces from the pan and place on a plate.
4. Using the same skillet on medium heat leaving the leftover oil from the chicken in the pan add the two cups of rice and stir for a couple of minutes to allow to “brown” then remove from heat.
5. Add rice to the pan you plan to use to bake everything in your oven, then add 4 cups of hot water, 3-5 dashes of seasoned salt, and 3 bay leaves. Stir everything well, then place the browned pieces of chicken directly in the liquid and cover the pan tightly with the oven safe lid or with a piece of foil. Place inside your oven and set kitchen timer for 40 minutes.
6. When there is about 15 minutes left on the timer you can open your cans of vegetables and add to a pot on the stove, medium-low temperature. Those should only take about 10-12 minutes to heat.
7. When your kitchen timer rings carefully remove pan from the oven and everything should be ready to go. Serve appropriate portion sizes and don’t forget to save a piece or two of chicken for the leftover sandwich melts if you’re planning on making those afterwards. Don’t forget your large glass of water with this healthy meal and you’ll come in right around 400 calories.
Healthy Leftover Idea: Chicken Melt Sandwiches
Here’s an easy way to make a travel lunch that when combined with a piece a fruit and bottle of water will fill you up and only weigh in at a total of about 450 calories. All you have to do is take one of the pieces of chicken and carefully slice it sideways down the middle so you end up with two large thin slices. In other words from each piece of chicken you will be able to make two sandwiches.
Next, using a knife spread a bit of butter on one side of bread then place on a skillet on medium temperature. Then add some shredded cheese, some rice if you’d like, the piece of chicken, then top with a bit more of cheese. Finally add the top piece of bread with the butter side facing up this time.
After a couple of minutes of cooking, carefully lift one side using a spatula to check the color of the bread. If it is lightly brown (or to your liking), carefully flip to the other side. One tip when flipping these sandwiches is to use your other hand/fingers on the top slice (cool side) to help keep everything compressed so it doesn’t fall apart. Allow to cook for a few minutes on this side and then it should be all finished. Remove from heat and you can cut in half if you’d like. Wrap up in a piece of foil and place in your refrigerator until needed for lunch the next day.
Combine with a piece of fruit and a bottle of water and presto, a healthy lunch far superior than a fast food combo meal.