I finally get to share a FULL sneak peek recipe from The Frugal Paleo Cookbook today! Woo hoo! I chose my Tuesday Night Chicken to share with you guys because we all could use an easy chicken recipe in our lives, right? Also, it showcases a couple of my favorite strategies for doing this frugal Paleo thing. Stretching proteins and building a boldly flavored dish with minimal ingredients are two keys to making recipes that maximize the groceries you purchase: 1) you’re creating a larger meal without adding a bunch of extra ingredients and 2) none of it will be wasted cause it tastes so darn good…
The other fun thing I get to show you is a couple of the 15 salt-free spice blends I’ve included that are created using only five or less basic herbs and spices. Variety is the spice of life, so here’s your chance to prep basic, affordable meats and vegetables and never repeat a flavor profile for at least two weeks!
Consider this… Let’s say you pick up a good deal on chicken thighs and kale. You just want a simple and easy chicken recipe. By changing up the methods and the spice blends, you could conceivably create more than 20 different meals. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Flexible, creative meals, that taste great and use easily accessible ingredients. This is my frugal Paleo world.
A bit more about the spice blends (cause I think they’re going to be very helpful for you guys!), none of these spice blends have salt added, and for good reason. Salt is a picky little bugger… I explain this in detail in this book (like more detail than normal people go into about salt). But the bottom line is that the right kind and amount of salt really depends on the kind of recipe, the kind of cooking method and the kind of ingredients that are being seasoned. And before I digress into a 3-page essay on this topic, I’ll leave it at that.
There are two blends used for this easy chicken recipe. The first is my House Seasoning Blend that I keep on hand in real life. It’s such a versatile mix of spices that jazz up everything from eggs to shrimp to chicken. Blend these spices together and use it to season the chicken before searing it.
Easy Chicken Recipe
HOUSE SEASONING BLEND
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp onion
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp black pepper
The second is my Italian Blend. I like the ratio of these traditional Italian herbs for a well-rounded flavor. My secret ingredient is the red chili flakes. There’s just enough included to “warm” the recipe without creating detectable heat. It makes this tomato sauce, in particular, taste like it has been simmering for hours instead of just 20 minutes.
ITALIAN SEASONING BLEND
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
- 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 pound [454 g])
- 1 tsp (5 g) House Seasoning Blend
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup (150 g) diced white or yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 batch Italian Seasoning Blend
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 (14.5 oz [411 g]) can fire-roasted tomatoes
- Fresh basil and/or flat-leaf parsley for garnish
- Prepare the chicken breasts first by filleting lengthwise to make 2 thick breasts into 4 thinner ones. Dust both sides with the House Seasoning Blend.
- Heat a high-sided skillet over medium-high heat and add a little bit of olive oil to the pan—enough to just coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, lay the seasoned chicken breasts in to sear. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan as overcrowding leads to steaming, not browning. When the chicken has been seared (note, not fully cooked) on both sides, transfer it to a plate and set aside.
- Reduce the temperature to medium and replenish the pan with a little more olive oil if it looks dry. Add the onion, garlic, Italian Seasoning Blend, kosher salt and cinnamon and cook, stirring often. If you are not accustomed to building sauces this way, I know it may appear a bit strange, but trust me on this. Applying heat and oil to the dried herbs prior to immersing in liquid revives the oils and creates a deeper flavor. It’s the trick to crafting a rich tomato sauce in such a short amount of time.
- Cook until the onion is translucent and the garlic and herbs fragrant. Pour in the fire-roasted tomatoes and mix together. When the sauce bubbles, add the par-cooked chicken back to the pan, nestle it into the spiced-tomato-goodness, cover and reduce the temperature to a simmer.
- Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes while chopping the fresh garnishes—use either or both basil or flat-leaf parsley. This final simmer also allows plenty of time to whip up a quick vegetable side like an easy salad, sautéed dark leafy greens or Pan-Roasted Cauliflower & Zucchini, which is available on page 157 of the book or here on www.PopularPaleo.com.
- I like to serve this directly from the pan after scattering with the vibrant green fresh herbs.