Quick Chicken Tray Bake Recipe
January can be a fresh beginning, a new start for so many of us. In December when I was busy finishing ‘everything’I needed to finish before I head home to Mauritius for 4 weeks I felt desperate to go. It was impossible to wait. I just wanted the sun and sea.
2 days before we were supposed to get back to cold Ireland, I started to plan and organise again. What time I’ll wake up, what I will eat for breakfast and how will I get by my assignments due in just a week time.
I do like planning because it clears my head and allows me to relax knowing things are taken care of. It’s like the worry is now on paper rather than my head. I am naturally a worrier so these little rituals help me tremendously.
I have always been a disciplined person and not having a routine actually makes me feel quite unsafe. One of my weekly routines is to prepare my weekly menu and shopping lists so I know what I am cooking and eating all week. Meal planning has seriously made life so much easy for me and my husband 🙂
The days my calendar is full, I try to cook the previous day or prepare a tray bake just like this curried chicken tray bake. I am currently off carbs but I cooked the potatoes for the rest of the family and I can have some other side veggies like baked aubergine chips, broccoli rice or courgette.
This quick and easy chicken traybake is one of the easiest yet tastiest weeknight meal you could serve your family. Use any protein or any part of the chicken like breast or thighs if drumsticks aren’t available to you. I especially love the skin, I know some says it’s bad for you but everything in moderation right?
They say it’s the fat but let me remind you that all fat is NOT created equal!
Fat is one of the three critical macronutrients; along with protein and carbohydrates. Some fats are super-health-boosting; and, others are super-health-busting.
Health-building fats support your brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods. Health-busting fats pretty much bust all of these (brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods). Adding some healthy fats such as omega 3 fish oil and eating good fats in avocados, almonds and more has been key to my own recovery from depression. So, this is why the information I’m sharing today is so important.
As a general rule, the fats from whole foods that are the least processed will be the healthiest for you. But, you already knew that, right?
So let me give you a definitive list of the fats to use, and the fats to ditch.
Health-boosting fats are from:
- Nuts and seeds (hemp, flax, and chia)
- Pasture-raised/grass-fed animals/eggs
I love “virgin” oils, and here’s why. Getting the oil out of a whole food involves some processing. Sometimes it’s by squeezing, or heating. Other times it’s by using chemical solvents. The word “virgin” is used to show minimal processing (and no solvents!).
According to the World Health Organization’s Codex Alimentarius:
“Virgin fats and oils are edible vegetable fats, and oils obtained, without altering the nature of the oil, by mechanical procedures, e.g., expelling or pressing, and the application of heat only. They may be purified by washing with water, settling, filtering and centrifuging only.”
For example, Extra virgin olive oil must:
- Be cold pressed
- Not contain any refined olive oil
- Possess superior quality based on chemical composition and sensory characteristics.
Don’t you think these standards ensure higher quality? I sure do!
Plus, the minimal processing helps to maintain some of the quality of delicate fat molecules, as well as their antioxidants. Win-win!
Health-busting fats are from:
- Seed and vegetable oils like safflower, soybean, and corn oils
- Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated
Hydrogenated oils are particularly bad; this is because they contain small amounts of “trans” fats. Studies show that trans fats lead to insulin resistance, inflammation, belly fat. They also drastically raise the risk of heart disease. Lose-lose!
Don’t forget, we’re not just talking about buying bottles of these fats for home cooking. We’re also looking at the processed foods that contain them.
How to get more health-building fats
First, you have my permission to ditch any foods in your cupboards that contain safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, or any hydrogenated oil. Soybean oil alone accounts for over 75% of oils consumed by Americans, so it’s pretty popular in the “non-health food” department.
Second, try substituting one of the health-building oils whenever you have a recipe that calls for the other stuff. Try flax oil in your salad dressing, avocado and/or olive oil in your cooking, and coconut oil in your baking.
Third, make healthier versions of your go-to processed foods. I’ll help you out now with my super-simple mayonnaise recipe below. It’s way better for you than the unrefrigerated stuff you find at your grocery store.
Now tell me: What’s your favourite fat and why? Let me know in the comments below.
Curried Chicken Drumsticks Traybake
- 500g free-range or organic drumsticks
- 2 tablespoons of curry powder (I use East End Madras Curry Powder)
- 1 table spoons of homemade ginger & garlic paste
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Salt to taste
- Spring onions or coriander for garnish
- Add some baby potatoes (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven at 200C
- Marinate the chicken with the rest of the ingredients except the herbs (keep in the fridge overnight or few hours if you have the time).
- Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or till chicken is well cooked inside.
- Garnish with some freshly chopped herbs and serve with the potatoes or some salad
Note: This dish can be prepared on the hob as well, just as a few drops of water if it starts sticking.
Ps: there is no oil added in this dish