It’s getting warmer here, which always gives me the urge to grill. Our grill has seen better days, so I am dreaming of the day we can replace it, but for now I’m making the best with what I’ve got!
Today I needed a quick dinner idea that met my clean eating challenge requirements, so I decided to take some chicken from the fridge and combine it with the multitude of oranges I have rolling around in the crisper drawer. I found a citrus marinade recipe online, but decided to make a few adjustments – both for taste, and because I didn’t have the right ingredients!
The result was fantastic! The acid from the citrus kept the chicken tender and juicy, while the natural sugars from the fruit provided the perfect amount of caramelization on the grill. Of course, if you don’t have a grill, you can certainly cook your chicken in the oven – but you may not get the same caramel effect. Pounding out the chicken is also an important step that will help speed up cooking and give you more reliable results. Plus it’s a great way to relieve any unrelinquished anger you might have! 🙂 And Rachael Ray has a great tip for freezing fresh ginger so that it doesn’t go to waste that is very useful here. The coconut oil in the recipe is also optional – I’ve found that I have better outcomes with chicken if I add a little fat, and the mild coconut flavor blends nicely with the bright citrus.
We paired our chicken with a simple saute of zuchinni and red bell pepper, which would have been equally good on the grill except that I decided to also grill some plain chicken for meal prep and ran out of room! This recipe is easily doubled or tripled if you need to feed a crowd, and can be frozen if you’re trying to do meal prep ahead of time – just don’t add in the green onions until everything is thawed.
A quick note: I know some clean eaters try to stay away from soy sauce. We are definitely still a soy sauce family, so I didn’t hesitate to put it in this recipe. However, if you would prefer to use coconut aminos to substitute, feel free. But you may want to add a little extra lemon juice to balance out the sweetness, and add additional salt.
Quick Citrus Chicken
Recipe adapted from Cooks.com Citrus Chicken Marinade
1/2 c. fresh orange juice (approximately 1 medium orange)
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice (approximately 1/2 medium lemon)
Zest from both – 1 t. from each is adequate
2 t. low-sodium soy sauce
1 t. grated fresh ginger
1 t. coconut oil
2-3 green onion stalks, chopped into large pieces
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix juices, zest, soy sauce, ginger and coconut oil in a bowl or gallon bag. Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness, and then add to marinade along with green onions. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight. When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium-high heat and then cook chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees (cooking times will vary based on your grill temperature and the thickness of your chicken). Within the last few minutes of cooking, add green onions to grill and char, then serve over finished chicken breasts.
What’s your favorite food on the grill?