Natural and Healthy Eating: Chicken and Sprouts!

 You are what you eat! This idea has never felt as true as it does today, thumb now that I am on a mission to (almost) completely naturalize my diet. What I mean by ‘naturalize’ is eat primarily foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. In essence, no processed foods, unnatural additives, or other junk. Call it the paleo diet, raw food diet, or what have you, but that is the basic premise of my new food regimen. Check out more Natural and Healthy Eating posts here, and click here for more food photography!

“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare…saying to yourself the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared?'” – Seneca

Winner winner chicken dinner! This chicken dinner is definitely a winner since I got two tasty meals out of it. It started out like this: my Couchsurfing host in Las Vegas greeted me with a delicious home cooked meal of a juicy, roasted whole chicken. The meet was very simply seasoned, but it had a faint flavor of coconut, which my tastebuds immediately took a liking to. I found out later that the chicken had been rubbed down with coconut oil prior to being roasted. Ever since then, I’ve been craving that coconut chicken flavor and finally made a similar dish last night.

Starting with organic, free range chicken breasts, I spooned heavy portions of Trader Joe’s coconut oil on top of them.  Let me take a brief moment to rave about TJ’s coconut oil–this stuff smells and tastes just like natural, creamy coconut, and I could easily eat a spoonful of it for flavor. It’s a huge diference from the jar of refined coconut oil I got from Whole Foods, which has hardly any coconut taste or smell. More info on the various types of coconut oil here.

I added cloves of garlic and sliced vine-ripened tomatoes to my tray of chicken. While I’m still not a huge fan of raw tomatoes, it turns out I’m a sucker for oven roasted tomatoes. They add a bit of color as well as a slightly sweet and tangy flavor to your dish.

Now for the greens! Many people will probably balk at my veggies of choice for this meal: Brussels sprouts!

“Brussels sprouts have more vitamin C than an orange, even when weight is taken into account.” –

I don’t recall eating sprouts as a kid, but I do remember the reason why I started eating them in the first place. When I was a poor college kid living primarily off of box rice and frozen veggies, I had it in my mind to try frozen Brussels sprouts. It turns out that eating them covered with olive oil and a touch of garlic salt was a taste explosion! This time around, I found a large stalk of Brussels sprouts at Trader Joe’s for less than $3, and set about roasting them.

Per my college days, these Brussels sprouts were very simply seasoned with a bunch of olive oil, garlic powder, and a touch of cayenne pepper.

To cook my feast, I placed two foil-wrapped baking trays into an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees.

Approximately 25-30 minutes later, my winning chicken dinner was ready!


On to why this dinner was a winner. Since I was cooking for one last night, I had at least a portion and a half of chicken and Brussels sprouts remaining. Unfortunately, my taste wasn’t gravitating toward that exact meal for lunch today, so I got creative. Lining a plate with mixed salad greens, I plopped my last roasted chicken breast in the center, and surrounded it with Brussels sprouts and tomatoes. I did pop the chicken and sprouts in the microwave for a quick zap (shush, anti-microwave folks, I know it was bad). To top off my salad, I drizzled some balsamic vinegar and olive oil on top, and threw on a handful of raw pecans. Two meals later, and still at good couple servings of roasted Brussels sprouts left. Guess I know what’s for dinner tonight!

Music to dine to: “Serenity” by Änimal

Suzi Pratt is a Seattle event, food, and travel photographer available for hire. She is also a contributing writer at Digital Photography School and runs a blog teaching others how to start a photography business.

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