Moroccan Chicken, Quinoa + Balsamic Sauteed Kale

photo 4

This is probably THE BEST chicken meal I have made…..EVER. It is so flavourful and includes so many spices. Admission….. when I cook with things I know are amazing for my health I probably enjoy my food about 10 times more!

This year one of my goals was to add more spice to my life – I mean this literally. While my cooking has gone from non-existent to quite creative over the last 4 years, I was still kind of stuck in my “use garlic to flavour everything stage.” Until this year. Not only does cooking with spices equal an incredible taste bud experience (no need for salt + pepper on the table folks) but it adds sooooo many wonderful phytochemicals to the meal!

Phyto-what? ‘Phyto’ comes from the Greek word for plant! Phytochemicals are compounds that are naturally occurring in plants and many of them may have significant impacts on health. While they are not considered essential nutrients like many vitamins, many phytochemicals have been shown to have beneficial qualities in the body (i.e antimicrobial properties etc).

In this recipe I focused alot on Turmeric, but it also includes coriander, cumin, and cinnamon. For those of you interested here’s a little snippet of what I learned in my Botanical Medicine course about each of these spices!

Turmeric (Latin binomial: Curcuma longa): anti-inflammatory, protective to the liver, antibacterial, anticancer. In Traditional Chinese Medicine Curcuma promotes the movement of Qi & blood and alleviates pain.

Coriander (Latin binomial: Corianrum sativum): anti-spasmodic and carminative (promotes appropriate digestion by soothing the gut, reducing inflammation, eliminating gas and easing pain).

Cumin (Latin binomial: Cuminum cyminum): anti-spasmodic, carminative and antibacterial. Has also been shown to increase glutathione-S-transferase activity and thus may be cancer protective!

Cinnamon (latin binomial: Cinnamonum zeylandicum): anti-microbial and hypoglycemic (helps to control blood sugar).

Ok – I know, you’re definitely ready for the recipe now! So here it is…..

Moroccan Chicken photo 1

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

4 organic, boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground coriander

1/3 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp sea salt

3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

~ 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 lemon

photo 2Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, place chicken on a baking sheet.

2. Combine all spices including salt+pepper! I used coriander seeds so I used my mortar and pestle. If all spices are pre-ground you can just mix them in a bowl.

3. Combine spice mixture with olive oil and brush over the chicken.

4. Cut the lemon into quarters. Drizzle 1 of the wedges over the chicken and then place the rest of the wedges on the baking sheet (evenly distributed btwn the chicken breasts).

5. Bake for ~ 25-35 mins or until chicken reads 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Baking times will depend on the size of the chicken you use. Make sure it is thoroughly cooked.

Quinoa

Ingredients

1 cup Quinoa

2 cups water

1 tsp turmeric

Directions

1. If you didn’t buy pre-rinsed quinoa, rinse the quinoa in warm water for a few minutes. This removes the bitter coating.

2. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered, over low heat, until all water is absorbed.

Balsamic Sauteed Kale

Ingredients

1 bunch kale

~2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar or to taste

Directions

1. Wash kale and remove the stalks. I take out the whole stalk and chop the leaves into 2 inch pieces. But some people like to leave the stalks in tact – its up to you!

2. Heat olive oil over medium heat and add kale and garlic.

3. Sautee until almost wilted. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for another few minutes.

You’re done! One thing I will note, for anyone who hasn’t cooked with turmeric (though I’m sure many of you have), it STAINS! So just be sure not to wipe your hands on a good tea-towel or your clothes!

I hope you enjoy this recipe! XoXo

References:

Godfrey, A. & Saunders, P.R. (2010). Principles & practices of naturopathic botanical medicine.Toronto, Canada: CCNM Press Inc.

Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

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