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Lemon Basil Chicken with roasted asparagus salad

Active Time: 25 minutes/ Cook Time: 40-50 minutes/ Total Time: 1hr. 15 minutes

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Corner: Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a great oil to incorporate into your diet. This oil has a smoke point that is suitable for medium-high heat cooking, making it a good option for sautéing and baking (just be sure to buy coconut oil made for cooking, rather than skin care). Coconut oil is amazing for our health, and scientific studies prove it. The medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil are extremely beneficial for brain health and provide our bodies with an easily convertible source of energy.

*Chef’s Tip: Making Dressings in your Food Processor
If you would like an emulsified or “creamy” appearance for your dressings, make them in a food processor. Place all ingredients except for oil in your processor. Begin to process and add oil slowly in a steady stream.

 
chicken and asparagus.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds asparagus, bottom ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee, melted
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 large carrot, cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler. The peeler will create nice long curls.
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • ¼ cup shaved parmesan
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 chicken breasts (10-12 ounces total)
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • Chopped fresh basil, 1-2 tablespoons, to garnish
  • ½ avocado, sliced, to garnish
  • Lemon Basil Vinaigrette: Makes 1 cup
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • Zest of 1 lemon (use a small grater to remove just the thin, colored yellow skin of the fruit. Leave behind the soft, white pith that lies underneath)
    • Juice of 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
    • 2 teaspoons minced shallots (or 1 small bulb, peeled, if using a food processor*)
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil (or whole leaves if using a food processor)
    • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 3/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking pan with all natural parchment paper. Assemble trimmed asparagus spears in a single layer.
  3. Toss with coconut oil or ghee and sea salt and bake for 7-8 minutes or until the asparagus just starts to brown but still has a little body to it. Cover to keep warm. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees to cook the chicken.
  4. While the asparagus is cooking, season each chicken breast with salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (if you are not using either of these, coat your sauté pan with 1 teaspoons coconut oil.
  5. Sear the chicken breast on each side for 30 seconds and transfer to a small baking dish.
  6. Spoon lemon basil vinaigrette over top.
  7. Bake in the oven until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Make sure the chicken is cooked by slicing through the thickest part with a knife. Juices should run clear and there should be no pink inside. Cover to keep warm.
  8. While the chicken is baking, make the lemon basil dressing by placing all ingredients in a mason jar and shaking vigorously*.
  9. Toast the pine nuts by heating them in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool. Use 2 tablespoons pine nuts in this recipe, and set ½ cup aside for dinner tomorrow.
  10. Toss asparagus with vinegar, carrot curls, and scallions.
  11. Garnish with pine nuts (2 tablespoons), shaved parmesan, fresh ground black pepper, and basil.
  12. Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips and serve alongside asparagus salad, topped with 2-3 tablespoons lemon basil vinaigrette and avocado slices. Divide into 4 servings (eat all of the avocado slices tonight), reserving 2 for lunch tomorrow (any additional leftover asparagus can be saved for dinner Day 7, or eaten as a snack). Top with additional dressing if desired.
  13. Store leftover dressing in a sealable jar in the fridge.
  14. Once cool, package reserved portions in separate to-go containers for lunch tomorrow.