The Basics: Protein

First of all, thank you to everyone who has given me positive feedback about starting this blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy putting it together!

Second, I want to start with the basics, and then move up from there. Protein is the heart of every dish I make, so it only seems fitting to start with that.

I follow a low carb, moderate protein, high fat way of eating. What I’ve discovered is that while protein is considered “moderate,” it’s actually very important. In order to meet my protein goal every day, I have some sort of protein with every meal I eat.

When I first ventured into this way of eating, I had heard of so many people using chicken thighs in their meals because it’s juicier and more flavorful than chicken breasts. I was hesitant at first because I thought I didn’t like eating dark meat, but now that I’ve tried it, I don’t ever want to go back!

Nick and I have done a lot of experimenting with recipes and flavors and seasonings over the past few months. And I think we’ve finally figured out the most efficient way to make a chicken dinner for two.

We used to marinate the chicken in a baggie for an hour or two before baking them but we were always disappointed with the outcome: the sauce was always gone by the time the chicken was ready to be eaten, and it always added so much extra time. One day we decided to try something a little different: what if we put the sauce on right before we take them out of the oven?

It worked amazingly. So now, we put our seasoning on the chicken first and bake it for a while, then we’ll remove the chicken from the oven and add whatever sauce we want to use that night. It goes back in the oven for a few more minutes and voila! Delicious, juicy chicken.

This method works great if you are anything like me and don’t plan meals too far in advance. I usually come home from work and think “what’s for dinner?” as I’m staring in the fridge. All you need to do for this recipe is take the chicken out of the fridge and bake!

The first thing you’ll want to do is add your dry seasonings. We tend to always use this garlic salt + pink himalayan salt combo that we found at Walmart.

For this particular recipe, we combined all of our methods together. Nick opted to add his sauce after 35 minutes in the oven, while I opted to dip mine after the full 40 minutes.

He used King’s Hawaiian Big Island Lava sauce (15 cals, 4 carbs per tablespoon), coated on his chicken. I opted to use one tablespoon of Nando’s Peri Peri Garlic sauce (0 cal, 0 carb) on the side. I mixed one tablespoon of sour cream with the sauce to cut the spicy flavor in half and create a more creamy taste.

Below are the directions we follow on a typical night. While the chicken is in the oven, we spend time figuring out and making our side dishes.

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 40 mins

Ingredients:
2lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Dry seasoning of your choice (salt & pepper, lemon pepper, garlic salt, etc)
Optional: sauce of your choice

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray
3. Place thighs on foiled pan and evenly space
4. Sprinkle both sides of the thighs with seasoning
5. Bake for 35 minutes if you plan on using a sauce (40 minutes if you only want dry-rub)
6. Remove pan from oven & coat chicken thighs with whichever sauce you want to use
7. Bake an additional 5 minutes
8. Remove & enjoy!

Bonus –
Green Beans:
1lb green beans
1-2 fresh garlic cloves
1 tbs oil

1. Cut off ends of green beans
2. Boil green beans for 7-10 minutes, until tender
3. Mince garlic cloves and add to oil in a sauté pan
4. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until slightly browned
5. Serve with chicken & enjoy!

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