firecracker chicken: quick & easy paleo/primal meals

I’m about 10 weeks into this whole paleo thing and while I couldn’t be happier with the weight-loss and general health results I’m seeing, sometimes I want something other than a simple meat and veggie meal.

In fact that’s one of the biggest concerns I’ve noticed I hear about following a paleo diet.

Don’t you get tired of eating just meat and vegetables?

And while this is chicken and veggies, there’s a coconut milk sauce that makes it so different it doesn’t even strike me as a paleo meal when I eat it.

Variety is good, right?

And I feel rather silly…there’s not a whole lot of recipe to this recipe. It’s incredibly adaptable – any meat, any veggies, any seasonings. The one consistent stroke is using coconut milk to create your sauce and serving it on top of zucchini noodles. I’ve been known to add other random vegetables, but what I’m sharing today is the basics…or maybe a template. Feel free to add whatever you’d like.

Maybe it’s more of a technique?

Whatever it is, it’s good, it’s easy, it’s a great way to clear out the fridge and I can get it on the table in less than half an hour.

Total win.

Firecracker Chicken
serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 T. coconut oil (more if needed)
2-3 T. Cajun seasoning
2 cups chopped mushrooms (baby bellas are great here)
2 T. sun dried tomatoes (chopped small) or 2-3 roma tomatoes (diced)
1 can coconut milk (less if using fresh tomatoes)
1 t. red pepper flakes (optional)
parmesean cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

  • Slice chicken thinly across the grain and toss to coat with cajun seasoning.
    You want the chicken well coated – the cajun seasoning is going to mix with the coconut milk to create the sauce.
  • In a large frying pan on medium-high heat, heat the oil and add the chicken. Stirring often, cook the chicken until it’s done and has browned slightly.
    Since the chicken is cut thin, this takes just a few minutes. You can even start with leftover chicken and save time.
  • Remove the chicken to a bowl and set aside.
  • Add mushrooms to frying pan, adding more oil first if needed.
  • Once mushrooms are cooked, add the tomatoes and optional red pepper flakes.
    If using fresh tomatoes, cook for a few more minutes.
  • Add back in the chicken and coconut milk.
    If you’re using fresh tomatoes, add a little less coconut milk.
  • Simmer 5-10 minutes,s tirring occasionally. The coconut milk will reduce a little and get thicker. Taste to check seasonings and adjust.

While the sauce is simmering, make zucchini noodles:

Zucchini Noodles
Serves 4

4 or 5 zucchini
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini lengthwise to create long strips.
    They’re pretty – the creamy white skin edged with dark green. I tend to stop when I reach the seeds, turn my zucchini and peel again. I end up with a long rectangle of zucchini seeds that I toss in the compost pile.
  • Heat olive oil on medium in a frying pan or skillet.
  • Add zucchini, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper.
    I like to cook the zucchini until it’s just barely cooked. Too long and it gets mushy, too short and it’s crispy. For me, it’s done when I can fold it over without it breaking.

To serve, create a bed of zucchini noodles and top with several ladles of the chicken, veggies and sauce.

A few thoughts:

  • If you can handle dairy, a little fresh parmesean is really good on top…and it’s really nice to add a little to the sauce as well while it’s still cooking.
  • Next up on hubby’s list is to try this with curry powder for a more Indian style dish. I also think you could go a little more Mexican or Italian with the spices.
  • I’d add broccoli, but my family isn’t fond of broccoli cooked with other things.
    I have no idea why, but they’re pretty vocal about it.
    If it were just me, though, I’d add barely steamed broccoli when I add the coconut milk and let it finish in the sauce.
  • Beef and pork would be great instead of chicken, and if I can remember to pick some up I want to try it with shrimp.

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