Juicy, succulent chicken tenders with crispy fries – what could be better? Although these finger foods can be deep-fried deliciousness, they also come with a hefty amount of fat and sodium (for example, an order of Burger King’s 10-piece chicken nuggets boasts 29 grams of fat and 890 milligrams of sodium. And that’s not including the medium fry). Nutrition facts like that might have some people heading for the hills. However, I chose to head to the grocery store to make a healthier alternative for that chicken and fries craving.
Yes, home cooking is more time consuming than saying a few words into a speaker at the drive thru, but there’s something therapeutic about drinking a glass of wine while getting creative with a new recipe. I started with the chicken. I wanted to add a green to the stuffing, so I chose spinach because of its melt-in-your-mouth texture when it’s sautéed. From there, it was about blending flavors. Sautéed spinach with red onion and garlic makes for a delicious flavor combination. I chose feta cheese as a binder and let these ingredients simmer in extra virgin olive oil.
The fries were simple: cook a sweet potato, chop it up, add a few spices and throw the fries in a few tablespoons of olive oil. A side that’s ready in minutes and bursting with flavor.
Cooking is a great way to unwind after a long day; it’s nice to take in the pleasant aromas of these different ingredients before savoring this delicious meal. Plus, this healthier alternative means everything can be enjoyed guilt-free.
Stuffed grilled chicken:
1 piece of raw grilled chicken, moderate thickness
½ c raw spinach, chopped
2 tbsp feta cheese
¼ chopped red onion
¼ garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
Fresh lemon (optional)
Preheat oven to 450. Place spinach, red onion, garlic and feta in a small pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Cook until sautéed; about 4 minutes on medium-low heat. Drizzle lemon juice into the spinach mixture (optional). Meanwhile, slice an opening down the center of the chicken breast. Stuff chicken with spinach mixture. Place chicken in small pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Cook for five minutes on both sides, and then bake in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until chicken juice is clear. Remove from the oven and enjoy.
Sweet potato fries:
1 sweet potato (to save time, I buy sweet potatoes in plastic wrap that can be heated in the microwave before being crisped in olive oil)
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
1/8 tsp dill weed
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
After the sweet potato has been microwaved (according to directions on plastic wrap), slice it into thick-cut pieces. Mix the seasonings together in a small bowl. Take ½ tbsp of olive oil and brush it onto each fry. Top with seasonings. Place remaining olive oil in a small pan. Place fries in the pan and cook in olive oil on medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve and savor.