Low Calorie Chicken Dinner: Thyme and Garlic Roasted Chicken with a Peppered Balsamic Reduction

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In my ongoing quest to create tasty meals for the hubby while he continues to try and lose some weight I made him a chicken dish the other night that we both enjoyed. The plan he asked me to follow at the time I made this recipe did not allow for any fats. This meal is not hard to make at all but it packs a LOT of flavor thanks to the thyme, garlic and the balsamic reduction. The hubby loves vinegar that has been where I have turned most often for strong flavors in these diet meals. In this case I just took a regular balsamic, reduced it to a syrupy consistency but added a liberal amount of freshly ground pepper for a delicious “sauce” on the roasted chicken breast. It wasn’t a lot of sauce by virtue of the amount I could use calorie wise but it packed a lot of punch.  I rounded out the meal with some snow peas and an orange and he was very happy. It is a low calorie chicken dinner.

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Low Calorie Chicken Dinner

Thyme and Garlic Roasted Chicken with a Peppered Balsamic Reduction

Serves 2

8 oz chicken breast, trimmed of fat and sliced
1 large bunch fresh thyme (or frozen as mine was)
4 – 6 cloves garlic, minced
4 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 tsp freshly ground pepper (or to taste)
1 1/2 cups cooked Jasmine rice
side vegetable – I served snow peas but broccoli, green beans, cabbage or any vegetable that comes in at 40 calories for 3.5 oz will work

chicken breast with thyme in baking dish

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Preheat oven to 350°
Place half of the thyme and lay it on the bottom of a roasting dish. Sprinkle half of the minced garlic over top. Season the chicken breast slices with salt and arrange them on top of the thyme and garlic so they don’t overlap. Sprinkle the remaining garlic and lay the rest of the thyme on top. Cook for 15 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through.

Prepare your side vegetable – I roasted the snow peas in a little sprinkle of rice vinegar with salt. They were done at the same time the chicken was done. If you are making a different vegetable it might take longer so prepare it in advance if necessary.

While the chicken is cooking pour the balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pan and reduce to a syrupy consistency. Add the pepper and some salt and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Set aside. Do not let it cook too far past syrup or you will have toffee…don’t ask how I know this.

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When the chicken is finished plate the low calorie meal: place 1/2 cup of hot Jasmine rice and top with 3.5 oz of chicken. (Dispose of the thyme sprigs.). Add 3.5 oz of the vegetable on the side. Drizzle 1 1/2 TBS of the vinegar syrup over the chicken. Serve with a small orange for dessert and this meal comes in at just under the 350 calorie limit.  For the my plate I used 1 cup of Jasmine rice instead of half a cup as I was not as concerned with the calorie count, the rest of the chicken and vinegar syrup and the remaining vegetables.  I might have had cake for dessert but shhhh, that is my secret.

How Was the Low Calorie Chicken Dinner?

Hubby REALLY enjoyed this one – he said it didn’t taste like a diet meal and given that I ate the same thing with him he was thrilled. I loved it too! The chicken was moist and tender; the garlic and thyme were infused within the meat and the balsamic syrup was slightly sweet with a peppery bite. All in all a meal I will repeat. Perhaps not as exciting as Poached Chicken with Fruit Salsa or Stuffed Chicken Breast with Gravy but still very good.


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