Thursday, June 06, 2013

Healthy Weeknight Dinner: Skillet Citrus Chicken Tenders

By now, you are probably aware of my continuing quest to discover recipes that meet the Maggie cooking light trifecta:

1) Delicious

2) Low calorie

3) Will actually make me feel full.

And if it's an easy recipe that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, than hallelujah! Life doesn't get much better. Because when I get home from a long day at the office (or walk into the kitchen from a long day working at the dining room table), the last thing I want to do is cook something that takes an hour. Mostly because by dinnertime I am starving and can't wait that long to eat without munching on chips or some other kind of thing that is really bad for me.

Fortunately, I found a new recipe that meets all FOUR criteria! It's from the Cook's Country magazine, issued by America's Test Kitchen (ATK), which you might be familiar with from their PBS cooking show. The great thing about ATK is they constantly experiment to find the best version of a dish and include a full description of the what, why, and how they arrived at the final recipe. They issue a magazine every two months chock full of gems. Unfortunately, most of them don't need the "low calorie" criteria of the cooking light trifecta, but there's always one or two that make the cut.

And tonight's winner was Cook's Country Skillet Citrus Chicken Tenders. It doesn't require too many ingredients, cooks up in about 20 minutes total, and is really yummy. The flavor is similar to a chicken piccata, but way less salty (no capers) and a little less bright since it uses orange and lemon instead of just lemon. It has 370 calories per serving, and here's the best part, a serving is pretty large at 4 tenders.

I served it with green beans and a romaine and spinach salad.

As pictured, the total meal is only 460 calories. That includes the chicken, green beans, and a salad with a tablespoon of light balsamic dressing and a serving of Safeway's nuts and cranberries salad topper (located in the produce section next to the bagged lettuce--it really makes salads more interesting). 

This one is definitely a keeper, and the chicken is also going to reheat really well for lunches.  If you aren't as calorie conscious as me, it would also be excellent over rice. Enjoy!

Skillet Citrus Chicken Tenders

From Cook's Country
April/May 2013

Sautéing the chicken in two batches ensures that it will brown, not steam.
Serves 4

If you can’t find chicken tenderloins, slice boneless, skinless chicken breasts lengthwise into ¾-inch-thick strips.


  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins, trimmed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest plus 1/4 cup juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 3 tablespoons juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


  • 1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook half of chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and tent with aluminum foil. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining chicken.

  • 2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in now-empty skillet. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth, orange juice, and lemon juice and bring to simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Off heat, whisk in parsley, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, orange zest, and lemon zest. Stir in browned chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Cooking notes from Maggie: I wasn't able to find a 2 lb. package of chicken tenderloins, so I used a 1.5 lb. package and fudged the recipe using smaller amounts. It still turned out amazing, and it just made three servings instead of four and I didn't have to cook the chicken in two batches. I also saved some time by using bottled minced garlic and dried parsley. I'm a working girl, I don't have time for all those fresh ingredients! Oh, and it also took me about twice as long to cook the chicken as the recipe calls for, about 4 minutes per side. Still from start to finish, the recipe only took about 20 minutes!

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