Please welcome my guest blogger Ashley from Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine to the blog. Ashley’s pretty special to me for two reasons: 1) She was my science student more than a dozen years ago and 2) she taught me what a blog was. True story! I’ve had the pleasure of watching Ashley transform into a bright, sharp-witted young woman and a passionate food blogger. She’s been exploring gluten-free / Paleo foods more recently, and though that aspect of her blog is developing, I knew I had to introduce her to you. In this post, Ashley’s got a super yummy Paleo Chicken Piccata recipe. Take it away, Ashley!
Before age 25, I just didn’t care about what I ate. Anything and everything, with a few bouts of meat-eater-guilt that resulted in short term vegetarianism (dating two vegans in a row didn’t help that), and a lot of bouts of “the drunchies” aka drunken munchies. As long as it was delicious, I ate it.
Little did I know, the “full” feeling you feel after a meal shouldn’t actually hurt. Bloat, tightness, pain, it was all because I just ate too much, right? Whatever, my waist stayed slim and my eating habits stayed…terrible.
Then I turned 25 and, as I like to say, the Butt Fairy paid me a visit. Suddenly, none of my pants fit me anymore (even my “that time of the month” pants—yikes!) and for the first time in my life I realized that every action has a reaction, and every double bacon cheeseburger has to GO somewhere. I also noticed the telltale signs of a gluten allergy and lactose intolerance, and though my first introduction to paleo was from a jerk coworker who scoffed at my sandwich lunch and bragged about his new diet that was “totally going to get him RIPPED”—I was a bit more intrigued when Steph saw my Facebook plea for gluten / dairy free recipes and suggested I try out Paleo.
Honestly, my first true experiments in Paleo were simply a way to lose weight. And, even more honestly, I did not lose weight. However, I noticed that after a meal comprised mostly of meat and veggies, I felt happily full, without the pain. After a week devoid of wheat and starchy carbs I felt more awake, less moody, and my head felt more clear. It was an eye opening experience in a lot of ways, and has influenced my cooking ever since.
I’m a food blogger and a food lover. I know that I’m never going to totally give up that cheeseburger, but the “clean” feeling I get from clean eating is hard to pass up. These days, I go by the 75 : 25 principle: during the week, I eat as paleo as I can, and on the weekends I cheat a bit. However, I still try to balance the 25. If I know I’m going out for drinks with friends on Saturday night, I’ll try to pass up the plate of nachos at lunch and go for a more paleo option on Saturday afternoon. If you look at my blog, from the past year it, too follows the 75 : 25, with most of my recipes being Paleo, nearly-Paleo, or at the very least gluten-free, with a few extras thrown in.
My favorite thing to do is find a recipe that is nearly Paleo, and tweak it just a little. This way, I don’t feel like I’m eating an impostor, and I still get the flavors and textures I’ve always loved. Chicken Piccata was my favorite dish when I worked at an Italian restaurant, and I think I like this version even better! Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.
Ingredients for Paleo Chicken Piccata
- 4 chicken cutlets or two breasts butterflied and pounded thin
- 1 cup (100 grams) almond flour
- ~5 Tablespoons butter or ghee
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil or your oil of choice (coconut leaves a bit of a taste I am not fond of, but some advise against cooking with olive oil in high heat)
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ an onion
- ½ cup (120 mL) chicken stock
- ¼ cup (60 mL) white wine (use chicken stock if you don’t cook with wine)
- 3 lemons, two juiced & one sliced
- 1 heaping Tablespoon capers
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
Directions for Paleo Chicken Piccata
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 Tablespoons of the the butter / ghee and 2 Tablespoons of the oil.
- Season chicken cutlets on each side with salt* and pepper. Dip into almond flour and cover well.**
- Two at a time, cook the chicken in the skillet until browned on each side and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side, depending on how thin you sliced them.
- Remove chicken from skillet and set aside, covered with foil or put in the oven on 200°F (100°C) to keep warm. Add a bit more oil to the skillet and scrape browned bits well to deglaze the pan. Or, if you’re me and you want a nice, clear sauce, scoop out any toasty almond bits that were left behind.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant and the onions are translucent.
- Pour in wine, chicken stock and lemon juice. Turn the heat to high and let liquid reduce by half. Add remaining ingredients, and reduce heat to low.
- Add the chicken to the pan and let it warm back up or, if chicken is to your liking, simply spoon sauce over the chicken on a plate. If desired, sprinkle with a bit of crushed red pepper. Serve with veggies***.
Ashley’s notes: *I used vanilla salt that I received as a gift and it tasted lovely. Experiment with flavored salts here if you desire. **For a thicker, crispier crust, dip your chicken in egg before coating in almond flour. ***Pictured is broccoli tossed with a bit of truffle oil.