Hey, What’s Cookin’?
I’ll bet I can guess what you are thinking: “Creamy Sauce? CREAMY SAUCE!?!? How can that even be permissable while I’m trying to eat healthy?” Well the secret is simple; use coconut milk instead of traditional dairy products like heavy cream or half-and-half! Coconut milk is good for you in the following ways:
- Coconut milk contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which researchers have linked with weight loss. MCTs stimulate energy through a process called thermogenesis, or heat production. Some studies indicate that MCTs work to reduce body weight and waist size. They may also balance out unstable gut microbiota. A lack of this stability may play a role in developing obesity.
- Coconuts contain a lipid called lauric acid, and many researchers believe that lauric acid can support the immune system. Some findings indicate that lauric acid has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- One study found that the oil (fat) in coconut products did not significantly increase levels of “bad cholesterol,” or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. It also increased levels of “good cholesterol,” or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL). While coconut oil may not raise levels of LDL cholesterol, coconut-based products are high in fat and calories and should be consumed in moderation.
Because we are all about moderation, we’ll use half full-fat coconut milk and half reduced-fat coconut milk in our Chicken in Creamy Sauce. It will give you the richness you crave while letting you enjoy the health benefits as well!
Chicken in Creamy Sauce
Adapted from: various Paleo recipes on the Internet
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 of a 13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 of a 13.5 oz can reduced-fat coconut milk
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tbs butter
- 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 4 cups mashed cauliflower; cooked and kept hot
- Preheat oven to 325° F.
- Mix 1/2 of each can of coconut milk and the balsamic vinegar in a medium size bowl. Combine the remaining coconut milks in a freezer container and freeze for future use.
- Add oil to an oven safe, nonstick skillet with a lid or a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add to pan and sear until browned (about 4 minutes). Flip the breasts over and sear the other side. Remove chicken to a plate. The breasts will will finish cooking in the oven.
- Turn down the heat to medium. Using the same skillet (do not wipe it out), add the butter. Add the mushrooms and brown them for 4-5 minutes. Add shallots, garlic and thyme, and sauté for 2 minutes. Finally, add the chicken stock to the skillet, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan to deglaze.
- Add the breasts and any accumulated juices back to the skillet. Pour the coconut milk/vinegar mixture over the chicken.
Cover with an ovenproof lid and bake for 20 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of a breast.
- Remove the skillet from the oven. Stir the sauce, taste, and adjust the salt/pepper if needed.
- Serve each breast over 1 cup mashed cauliflower, and spoon creamy sauce over all!
Notes: Steamed green beans or carrots–or both!–would be a delicious side dish for this main course!
Photograph via Pinterest