Cracked Pepper Chicken Recipe with Broccoli and Sliced Almonds

Diet & Nutrition, Recipes

Creating a Cracked Pepper Chicken entrée is a harmonious blend of technique, creativity, and an understanding of flavors. Here’s a glimpse into our thought process behind this healthy, nutrient-dense delight and how you can prepare a quick and delicious dinner entrée with minimal time and ingredients.

 

Crack (Pepper) Open the Inspiration

Every culinary creation begins with inspiration. In the case of Cracked Pepper Chicken, the idea stems from a desire to elevate a classic chicken dish with a bold and aromatic twist. I’m sure many of you get bored cooking the same entrees for dinner each week, but there’s no need to reinvent the wheel; just add a small twist to a classic. For us, the inspiration behind this dish was drawn from the love of the warm, earthy flavor of cracked black pepper and its ability to transform a simple chicken breast.

 

Serves: 4-6

Cooking Time: About 30 Minutes

 

Ingredients

  • 2lbs boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
  • 2 cups broccoli heads
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 cup of sliced almonds
  • Fresh Parmesan to grate

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. In the baking pan, add some olive oil and garlic gloves before placing the chicken in to bake.
  2. Prepare the Chicken:
    1. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels.
    2. Rub cracked black pepper evenly on both sides of each chicken breast.
    3. Sprinkle sea salt over the pepper-coated chicken breasts.
    4. Place the chicken in the oven for 18-20 min until fully cooked.
  3. While in the oven, it’s time to prep and cook your side dish. The beauty of Cracked pepper chicken is that it pairs well with a variety of sides, such as mashed potatoes, rice, or a crisp salad. Its why this is a  go-to recipe for both casual dinners and special occasions. In this case, we went with elevated broccoli
    1. Cut up 2-3 Broccoli heads depending on how many people you’re serving.
    2. On the stove top, add your olive oil and get the pan very hot.
    3. Put your broccoli in the pan once the olive oil is hot
    4. Add your Cracked Pepper
    5. Add Lemon Juice
  4. Stir everything together in order the make sure there’s a good mix across all of the broccoli pieces. Once absorbed, add 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter and let it melt. Mix again.
  5. Once melted butter is fully mixed, add 1 cup of chicken broth and bring to a simmer to reduce
  6. After the chicken broth has reduced down, finish the cook off with your sliced almonds and freshly grated parmesan.
  7. Remove your chicken from the oven and set aside as you start to plate.
  8. Plate the Broccoli and sliced almonds first, and one more time, add a little more fresh parmesan.
  9. Plate the chicken last and enjoy this healthy dinner entrée.

 

This recipe is simple to make, requiring only a handful of ingredients. The quick preparation time makes it an excellent choice for busy weeknight dinners without sacrificing flavor or quality.

 

Why We Choose the Ingredients We Do!

Cooking with good ingredients is essential for several reasons, ranging from the taste and nutritional value of the final dish to overall health. So often we search for recipes without giving much thought into why those ingredients were selected, and what they mean for our bodies and health. There’s so much more to eating than just taste, in fact, many health experts and studies suggest that diet may have a more significant impact on weight management and certain health outcomes compared to exercise alone. With this in mind, we wanted to provide you a few reasons why we selected the ingredients for this recipe, and maybe it gets you thinking about the same benefits when you go to make dinner.

 

Recipe Development

Crafting the perfect recipe involves a delicate balance of ingredients. The choice of quality chicken breasts is paramount, and the careful selection of cracked black pepper ensures the right level of heat and fragrance. The sea salt, lemon and parmesan contribute not just to seasoning but also to the overall texture and mouthfeel of the dish.

 

Culinary Balancing Act

Whether you’re a Michelin award winner or just cooking for your family, achieving the perfect balance of flavors and textures is the chef’s mission. The cracked pepper provides a bold kick, but it must be balanced with the bitter of the lemon juice and the natural sweetness of the chicken. The sea salt not only seasons but acts as a mediator, tying the elements together in a harmonious union.

Another crucial element in culinary artistry is the presentation. The dish should be visually appealing, with the cracked black pepper visible on the golden-brown chicken breasts, and the pan fried broccoli heads.

 

Chicken, it’s What’s for Dinner!

Choosing to eat chicken for dinner can be based on various factors, including personal preferences, nutritional considerations, and culinary versatility. Here are some reasons why we often opt for chicken as a dinner option:

 

Protein Source: Chicken is a rich source of high-quality protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues, supporting immune function, and maintaining overall health.

Versatility: Chicken is a versatile meat that can be prepared in numerous ways, such as grilled, roasted, baked, fried, or boiled. This versatility allows for a wide range of flavor profiles and cooking styles to suit different tastes.

Nutrient Content: Chicken provides essential nutrients such as vitamins (B vitamins, especially niacin and B6) and minerals (phosphorus, selenium). It’s also a good source of lean protein, which is lower in saturated fat compared to some other meat options.

Easy Preparation: Chicken is often easy and quick to prepare, making it a convenient option for busy individuals or families. There are various cuts available, from boneless, skinless breasts to thighs and wings, offering options for different preferences.

Cost-Effective: Chicken tends to be more affordable than some other meats, making it an economical choice for those on a budget.

Sliced Almonds: Why They’re Great to Add in Moderation

Sliced almonds, like whole almonds, offer a range of nutritional benefits. Here are some advantages of including sliced almonds in your diet:

 

Rich in Nutrients: Almonds, including sliced almonds, are a good source of essential nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. These nutrients play vital roles in various bodily functions, including bone health, energy metabolism, and antioxidant defense.

Heart Health: Almonds, in general, are known to support heart health. They contain monounsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy fats that may help lower bad cholesterol levels. Additionally, almonds are rich in antioxidants and have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

Healthy Fats: Sliced almonds provide a healthy dose of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can contribute to overall heart health and help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Protein: Almonds, including sliced almonds, are a good plant-based source of protein. Protein is essential for muscle repair, immune function, and the production of enzymes and hormones.

Weight Management: Despite being calorie-dense, almonds, when consumed in moderation, may contribute to weight management. The combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats in almonds can help promote a feeling of fullness and satisfaction, potentially reducing overall calorie intake.

Blood Sugar Control: Almonds have a low glycemic index, meaning they have a smaller impact on blood sugar levels. This can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those looking to manage their blood sugar levels.

Antioxidant Properties: Almonds contain antioxidants, including vitamin E and phytochemicals, which help neutralize free radicals in the body. Antioxidants play a role in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.

Bone Health: Almonds are a good source of magnesium and phosphorus, which are essential minerals for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.

Convenience and Versatility: Sliced almonds are convenient to use in various dishes. They can be easily sprinkled on salads, yogurt, oatmeal, or incorporated into baked goods, providing a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.

Skin Health: The vitamin E content in almonds contributes to skin health. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from oxidative damage.

It’s important to note that while sliced almonds offer these nutritional benefits, portion control is key, as they are calorie-dense.

 

Broccoli: Don’t be Afraid this Nutrient-Dense Vegetable

Broccoli is a highly nutritious vegetable that offers a wide-range of health benefits. Here are some reasons why you should consider including broccoli in your diet:

 

Rich in Nutrients: Broccoli is packed with essential nutrients, including vitamins C and K, fiber, folate, potassium, and manganese. It is also a good source of various antioxidants, such as sulforaphane, which may have potential health benefits.

Cancer Prevention: Some studies suggest that the compounds found in broccoli, particularly sulforaphane, may have anti-cancer properties. They may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

Heart Health: The fiber, antioxidants, and other compounds in broccoli contribute to heart health. The vegetable may help lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and support overall cardiovascular function.

Bone Health: Broccoli is a good source of vitamin K and calcium, both of which are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones. Adequate vitamin K is necessary for proper calcium utilization in bone mineralization.

Digestive Health: The fiber content in broccoli promotes a healthy digestive system. Fiber aids in digestion, helps prevent constipation, and supports a diverse and healthy gut microbiome.

Weight Management: Broccoli is low in calories but high in fiber, making it a satisfying and nutritious addition to a weight-conscious diet. The fiber content helps create a feeling of fullness, potentially reducing overall calorie intake.

Blood Sugar Regulation: The fiber and antioxidants in broccoli may contribute to better blood sugar control. Including broccoli in a balanced diet can be beneficial for individuals with or at risk of type 2 diabetes.

Immune Support: Broccoli is a rich source of vitamin C, which plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system. A strong immune system is essential for defending the body against infections and illnesses.

Vision Health: Broccoli contains carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial for eye health. These compounds may help protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration and other vision problems.

Versatility in Cooking: Broccoli is a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed in various ways, including steamed, roasted, sautéed, or added to salads, soups, and stir-fries. Its versatility makes it easy to incorporate into a variety of dishes.

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