Shari Duncan

Tag: Chicken

EASY Basil Pesto Chicken

by on Feb.23, 2014, under Chicken and Poultry, Recipes

1 2 3  PESTO!

It doesn’t get much easier than this!  Spinach and tomato give this baked dish a fresh taste.


  • 1 6 oz bag baby spinach

    FRESH and EASY!

  • 3-4 tblsp Basil Pesto
  • 2 Large skinless, boneless chicken breasts / halved
  • Fresh tomato slices
  • 2-3 green onions – chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan-Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss 1/2 the pesto with spinach abd 1/2 of the green onions.  Spread into bottom of glass baking dish.  Place halved chicken breasts over Spinach and brush with remaining pesto.  top each breast with sliced tomato and remaining green onions. Sprinkle with cheese.

Cover and bake approx 30 minutes or until chicken in cooked through.  Uncover, turn oven temp to broil.  Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired and continue to cook for a few more minutes until cheese and tomato slightly brown.

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BEST EVER Curry Chicken Salad

by on Jul.20, 2013, under Chicken and Poultry, Recipes

Please, Don’t pass on this one…

At first glance you may want to skip over this one…,because you are not a fan of curry, or of fruit or nuts in chicken salad… or Greek yogurt.. .   but once you try it, you will be hooked. You will make it over again; and your friends and family will beg you for this recipe!!

Did I mention, this is possibly the BEST ever chicken salad you will ever eat!

Play around with the quantities of fruit, nuts and veggies.  You really cant go wrong.


2-3 boneless,skinless chicken breasts- split.  Boil chicken breasts in water seasoned with chicken broth or bouillon and 1/4 tsp yellow curry powder. When cooked through, remove chicken from water to cool while you prepare the salad ingredients.  Once cooled, chop into bite-size chunks.

  • 1 stalk celery – chopped

    Chopped fruit, veggies and nuts.. and don't forget the Yogurt!

  • 1-2 green onions
  • 1/2 red apple chopped
  • handful of red grapes, sliced OR 1/4 c golden raisins
  • 1/4-1/3 cup chopped pecans, walnuts (or both!)
  • 1/4 c plain greek yogurt and “Dollop” of Light Mayo (to start)
  • 1/4 tsp (or more to taste) curry powder
  • Cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • Salt and Pepper.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Add additional yogurt/mayonaise and spices to taste.  Cover and refrigerate.  Serve over crisp romaine lettuce.

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Chicken Pesto Pizza with Feta

by on Jan.12, 2013, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, Recipes

Make Friday Night (or any night)  Pizza Night!

Yes, even pizza can be healthy, Without sacrificing taste.  Fresh and flavorful homemade pizza in 30 minutes .  Faster than delivery AND no tip required!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One whole wheat pizza crust (Boboli)
  • 1 large chicken breast (~8 oz) diced

    Fresh Veggies, Chicken and Pesto....PIZZA NIGHT!!

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 Tbsp basil pesto sauce
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • Feta cheese – grated
  • Shredded parmesan/ Romano cheese
  • Minced garlic
  • Italian spice blend (oregano, basil,garlic)

Optional :  mushrooms, red peppers, spinach, artichokes, etc.

Get as creative as you wish.

Preheat oven to 450°.

Heat olive oil and minced garlic in over med high heat.  Add diced chicken breast,season generously with italian spices.  Sauté over medium high heat stirring once or twice for 5 to 8 minutes until  brown and cooked through.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Spread thin layer of prepared pesto sauce on base of pizza crust.  Layer sliced tomatoes followed by chicken, olives, and other fresh vegetables as desired.  ( I added mushrooms and sliced red bell peppers).  Top with grated feta, to taste and additional herbs.

Bake on middle rack for 10 minutes. Then tue. Broiler to hi heat and cook an additional 2 minutes .  Remove from oven sprinkle with shredded Parmesan/Romano cheese blend

Allow pie to set and cool on rack 2-5 minutes.

Slice and enjoy!

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Sweet and Spicy Chicken Thighs

by on Jul.29, 2012, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, General Nutrition, High Protein dishes, Recipes

Don’t  be afraid to go to the dark side every now and then.

Spicy, honey brushed chicken thighs are are seasoned with chili powder, cumin, garlic and cider vinegar.  Moist and full of flavor, this main course dish is easy to prepare either under the broiler or on the grill.

Dinner is served:  in under 30 minutes.


  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

    Skinless thighs: ... can be a healthy alternative to chicken breasts.

  • 8 skinless, boneless (skinless) chicken thighs
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 tablespoons honey ( I used less)
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar  (I used less)


  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Combine first 6 spice  ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.
  3. Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.

There has been longstanding debates over breast versus thigh; light versus dark meat. Skinless chicken breasts are often recommended for dieters because of their high protein and low fat content.  But chicken thighs can play a role in a healthy diet with portion control and the right cooking techniques. Skinless chicken thighs are also  high in protein, are higher in zinc and iron, and tend to be moister and more flavorful than breasts. They are also less expensive.

Chicken thighs are higher in fat and calories than chicken breasts. Overall, they contain about 40 calories more per serving than the same size serving of chicken breast.     A 3.5-ounce serving of boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat contains almost 26 grams of protein compared to about 31 grams of protein for the same size serving of boneless, skinless breast.

Whether you choose light or dark; breast or thigh, skinless is ALWAYS  best because it helps control calories and fat. The skin includes another 38 calories and almost 5g of additional fat, most of which is saturated.

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Chicken Margherita with Zucchini

by on Mar.17, 2012, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, High Protein dishes, Recipes

Yes! You can eat Pasta.

Fresh tomatoes, zucchini… garlic and herbs tossed with whole grain pasta and chicken make for a healthy, high protein meal.  Fast, Fresh and Easy…

For the pasta:

  • 8-10 oz. dry whole wheat angel hair pasta
  • 1 pint ~(2-3 cups)  cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup shredded fresh mozzarella
  • 1 medium zucchini

    A HEALTHY way to do Pasta. Lean chicken, whole grain pasta and fresh veggies.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil ( If you don’t have fresh, dried basil works fine)
  • Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
  • Extra Parmesan to sprinkle on top

For the chicken:

  • 1 to 1.25 lbs chicken breast
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano (Italian Seasonings), red pepper flakes to taste

Bring large pot of water to boil.

  1. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain. Set aside.
  2. Wash one zucchini and slice lengthwise into 4, and dice cut into ½ inch pieces.  Set aside.
  3. Combine tomatoes and mozzarella in a bowl. Add additional herbs, if desired.  Set aside.
  4. Cut chicken into strips. Coat chicken with oil and spices.  Preheat large sauté or fry pan on medium high heat, adding a little more olive oil to coat bottom of pan.  Saute chicken, turning once and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat and let rest.
  5. In same pan, add a bit more olive oil, garlic and zucchini and stir fry, about 1-2 minutes, until vegetable browned but still crisp.
  6. Reduce heat. Return cooked pasta to sauté pan along with tomato and cheese mixture.  Stir in basil. Season with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes.  Finally return chicken strips to pan.

Top with extra Parmesan as desired.

Makes 4-6 servings.

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Marinated Curry-Dijon Chicken

by on Dec.11, 2011, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, High Protein dishes, Recipes

Spicy and Flavorful…  AND it Smells amazing as it bakes.

It doesn’t get much simpler than this one. But don’t let the simplicity of this recipe fool you…This chicken is moist and full of  flavor.  Boneless chicken breasts are baked with a delicious mixture of honey, Dijon mustard, and curry powder, for a super-easy everyday meal.  The curry adds dimension to boring everyday baked chicken.  Prep time is under 15 minutes.  Then bake and  enjoy with any side vegetable for a high protein, low fat, low carbohydrate supper.


3-4 boneless chicken breasts, split into cutlets.  (About 2-2 1/2 lbs. )

Simple Marinade... makes for a flavorful twist on everyday baked chicken

In a small bowl mix together the following:

  • Equal parts (about 1/3 cup) Dijon Mustard and honey,
  • ~1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1-2 Tbsp Curry Powder (more if you like it spicy)
  • Garlic Powder, Black Pepper (or garlic pepper)
  • Dash Cayenne Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a large baking pan with non-stick Olive Oil spray.  Place chicken pieces in single layer in pan. Brush liberally with herb marinade on both sides.  If you have time, let the chicken marinate for an hour or more before baking.
Place in 375 degree oven for 40-50 minutes, turning the chicken  and basting again halfway through.  Actual cooking time will depend on the thickness of your cutlets.
For variety, grill cutlets instead of bake
If you are not on a carbohydrate restricted meal plan, this pairs well with basmati or jasmine rice.
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So Simple Spinach & Chicken Saute

by on Dec.14, 2010, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, High Protein dishes, Recipes

Fresh spinach paired with tender chicken is the perfect quick-fix meal.

Known in the nutrition world as a “power” food, spinach is packed to the brim with essential nutrients.  Unfortunately, spinach does not top a lot of peoples list as a favorite food. Is it worth the effort to try to get your kids, or yourself for that matter to eat spinach? ABSOLUTELY! Eating spinach will help you meet your daily need for a number of nutrients, including calcium, iron, folate and vitamin A. Spinach is an excellent bone-builder, and contains antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in the brain, thereby preventing the effects of aging on mental activity. It’s also high in flavonoids, plant molecules that act as antioxidants, which have been shown to prevent breast, stomach, skin, and ovarian cancer.

Whether you’re choosing a prepackaged bag of spinach or a fresh bundle, look for spinach that is bright green in color with thin stems and leaves that are not wilted or spotted with yellow. If you prefer tender spinach, choose baby spinach, which is smaller and much more tender. The larger the leaves, the more mature they are and more likely to be tough or stringy.

So Simple Spinach & Chicken Saute


ü  1.5 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into strips

ü  1 10 oz bag baby spinach

ü  2TBSP Olive Oil

Fresh spinach paired with tender chicken is the perfect quick-fix meal

ü  Minced garlic to taste,

½ onion chopped

ü  Salt and Pepper

ü  Red Pepper Flakes to taste

ü  1TBSP Dijon Mustard

ü  ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

ü  ~1/2 c chicken broth + 1/3 c fat free/low fat milk

In measuring cup, mix together chicken broth, milk, and mustard. Set aside.

In large heavy skillet, heat olive oil. Saute minced garlic over med –high heat briefly to coat pan. When pan is hot, add chicken strips and chopped onions; season with salt and peppers to taste. Sear and brown on each side, turning only once (approx. 3-4 minutes each side).

Reduce heat to med-low.  Gradually stir in milk mixture and cook until bubbly, turning chicken occasionally.  Simmer about 4-5 minutes to blend flavors and juice of chicken is no longer pink when center of thickest part is cut.  Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm.

Increase heat to medium and stir in spinach. Sprinkle with nutmeg and additional salt/pepper.  Cook aproximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted and some of liquid has been absorbed. Return chicken to pan.

Can be served alone as a low carb, low fat entrée or over couscous, quinoa, or rice if desired as there will be extra sauce. (If desired, you can add a little cornstarch to thicken).

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Lighten Up ! – Chicken Cutlet Parmesan

by on Aug.12, 2010, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, General Nutrition, High Protein dishes, Recipes

No deep frying, No heavy sauces or unhealthy saturated fats.  Tons of flavor and guaranteed satisfaction.

YES! You CAN eat fresh tasting Italian Chicken Parmesan even when you’re cutting calories and carbohydrates.

This recipe is quick and extremely healthy. It is made with skinless chicken breasts and garden tomatoes, Italian herbs and low fat cheese.  Amazing fresh and light flavor. Serve with a side of Italian squash or over salad greens to complete this low carb meal.

  • 4 chicken cutlets or breasts (pounded thin) About 1 ½ lbs

    Swiftly grilled tomatoes make perfect topping for Italian cutlets

    Swiftly grilled tomatoes make perfect topping for Italian cutlets

  • 1 large (or 2 med) tomato sliced (~3/4” or thicker)
  • ~½ cup 2% less fat Italian shredded cheese
  • Salt/pepper; oregano, garlic, basil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Olive Oil

Heat olive oil in large sauté pan over med high heat. Season sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper and Italian seasonings.  Arrange in single layer in heated pan and cook until just tender (2-3minutes); flip & season and sprinkle shredded cheese over tomatoes.  Cook just until cheese begins to melt. Remove from pan to paper towel.  Do not overcook tomatoes.

Add additional oil or spray to pan.  Add cutlets, season well with salt/pepper, garlic and Italian seasonings.  Brown well on one side. Flip and season and cook until chicken is no longer pink.

Transfer chicken to serving dish.  Arrange tomatoes evenly on top. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

*This is delicious served over fresh pasta as well, if not on carb restricted meal plan.

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Chunked Chicken PastaSalad with Olives

by on Jul.18, 2010, under General Nutrition, Recipes

Leftover grilled or baked chicken? Why not make a quick but hearty cool summer salad ?

Start with chicken and whole grain pasta and add whatever veggies you already have in your fridge.  The dressing  is a healthy combo of non-fat greek yogurt and light italian dressing (olive oil & vinegar).

Here is one variation, but you  be as creative as you wish with your mix-ins as your pantry/ refrigerator will allow!

Mix together the following ingredients in large mixing bowl.

2-3 cups leftover grilled or baked chicken breasts, diced

Leftover Chicken, Pasta... Great beginning for a great cool summer meal.

Leftover Chicken, Pasta... Great beginning for a great cool summer meal.

2 cups whole grain penne (or any other) pasta, cooked.

1/2 large red or green bell pepper, diced

1 large salad tomato, diced

8-10 pitted kalamata  olive, sliced in halves

1 tablespoon sliced green olives with pimento

**Add other veggies such as chopped red onion, celery, broccoli or whatever you may have on hand.


Combine together:

2 TBSP plain greek yogurt

2TBSP  Light Italian or vinaigrette salad dressing. (I used Good Seasons Garlic/Herb made with Olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar)

Salt & Pepper


Garlic Powder.

Add dressing to salad ingredients.  Mix well, cover and refrigerate to blend flavors.

Serve over mixed Salad greens.

Plain nonfat GREEK yogurt is a great mayonnaise substitute!

Great Substitute for higher fat Mayonnaise

Great Substitute for higher fat Mayonnaise

Choosing plain, nonfat Greek yogurt as a substitute for mayonnaise further improves the nutritional value of your recipes in addition to reducing the fat and calories!

  • 1 Tablespoon of mayonnaise = 100 calories, 10 grams fat
  • 6 Ounces (1 small container) of Greek yogurt = ~100 calories, 0 fat grams and adds up to 20 grams of protein!
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Chicken, Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna

by on Feb.06, 2010, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, General Nutrition, High Protein dishes, Recipes

Chicken and low fat cottage cheese are used in place of higher fat beef and ricotta cheese. Spinach and mushrooms provide flavor, texture and added vitamins & nutrients.

1lb chicken, seasoned, cooked in olive oil and garlic; and diced

Chicken Lasagna

Lower in fat; healthier than traditional lasagna

1 10oz package chopped spinach, thawed

Fresh baby Bella mushrooms

1-package oven ready lasagna noodles **

14 oz low fat cottage cheese

Low Fat Provolone / Mozzarella

1 jar prepared Marinara or Spaghetti Sauce

Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Prepare chicken –season GENEROUSLY with garlic, salt and pepper, and Italian seasonings.

Place a few spoonfuls of sauce in bottom of baking dish to coat bottom. Begin layering noodles (uncooked), sauce, cottage cheese, spinach, mushrooms, chicken and shredded cheeses to create the lasagna. Take care to distribute ingredients evenly, including corners.

Top with sauce (cover pasta noodles completely) – and garnish with shredded Parmesan Cheese.

Cover loosely with foil. Bake 30 minutes at 425 degrees F. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake 20 to 30 minutes more, or until lasagna is thoroughly heated and bubbly.

Allow lasagna to stand at least 10 to 15 minutes prior to slicing. This helps keep lasagna layers intact when serving.

Use Whole Wheat or Pre-cooked. Only Use partial package to Cut Carbs

Use partial package to Cut Carbs

**Substitute  whole wheat lasagna noodles for pre-cooked. Use only partial package of noodles to cut the total carbohydrates per serving.  I make 3 layers of 3 noodles per layer for a total of 9 lasagna noodles.


Why Eat Spinach?

Spinach nutrition is amazing. The calcium content in spinach and other dark leafy greens strengthens bones.

The A and C vitamins in spinach plus the fiber, folic acid, magnesium and other nutrients help control cancer, especially colon, lung and breast cancers. Folate also lowers the blood levels of something called homocysteine,protein that damages arteries. So spinach also helps protect against heart disease.spinach_popeye

The flavonoids in spinach help protect against age related memory loss.

Spinach’s secret weapon, lutein, makes it one of the best foods in the world to prevent cataracts, as well as age related macular degeneration, the leading cause of preventable blindness in the elderly. Foods rich in lutein are also thought to help prevent cancer.

The health benefits of spinach are numerous. The vitamins and calcium in spinach, combined with the overall nutritional value of spinach, make this vegetable and its dark leafy green cousins top picks for healthy food choices.

Fresh or frozen, add these greens to your food menu as often as you can.

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