Sometimes, when faced with a piece of protein, the obvious question in front of you—How should I cook it?—can feel daunting. Good news: Whether it’s steak, shrimp, or tofu, there’s definitely an easy way to do it that will result in a delicious meal.
To prove it, we asked Nutritious Life-Certified holistic health coach and culinary nutrition expert Erin Parekh to show us how it’s done. Parekh coaches clients, hosts cooking classes, and does kitchen makeovers, and her website hosts a treasure trove of flavorful recipes that fit into her philosophy of “Living Well, Simply.”
In this series, “Simply Cooked Well,” she’ll be sharing simple ways to prep and cook different proteins, with flavor-boosting options if you’ve got a few extra minutes. First up: what to do with that random bag of shrimp you’ve been meaning to take out of the freezer.
Simply Cooked Well: How to Make Healthy Chicken Tenders
Chicken. The most basic of proteins really—and one that’s unfortunately known for being boring and easy to overcook. So often, my clients ask me if I have any ways to jazz up chicken. Luckily for them (and you), I do. Starting with…healthy chicken tenders!
There are thousands of chicken recipes out there, but for this series, we’re going with a quick and easy pan sauté. Cutting the chicken breasts into strips ensures a fast cooking time, and adding a light batter helps keep the meat juicy, preventing that dry, overcooked chicken scenario we’re all too familiar with. Plus, tenders are easier to portion out for leftovers to add to salads and other dishes.
This particular recipe is a favorite for several reasons. First of all, it’s my mom’s! She’s been making it for as long as I can remember.
Second, the flavor combinations are endless. I’ve listed a number of variations, but her classic is a mix of parsley, licorice-reminiscent tarragon, and chives, shown here with a side of honey Dijon.
How to Choose Chicken
When it comes to buying chicken, always check the sell-by date, and don’t be afraid to dig to the back of the shelf—you want the freshest possible, with a pinkish hue.
Organic is your best bet in terms of labels, and it’s worth the price since its ensures the chickens haven’t been given antibiotics and were fed GMO- and pesticide-free feed.
Once you’ve got your healthy chicken, follow my recipe, here,<link> for grown-up chicken fingers. I share two additional flavor combos on top of my mom’s classic: Basil, parsley, and lemon juice or parsley, mint, oregano, and lemon juice.
For a kid friendly version, simply omit the herbs, white wine, and lemon juice. They’ll think they’re equally delicious cooked plain and dipped into barbecue sauce.
Get my recipe for Healthy Chicken Tenders, here.
(Photos: Erin Parekh)