This part of my life began when my very sick partner was diagnosed with Celiac. Even the slightest exposure to gluten can make him very ill for several days, so I have pursued gluten-free options with thorough aggression. In the U.S. a recent surge of gluten awareness means we have more choices than ever, but it still means hunting and analyzing and tracking down parent companies. After several years now of doing so, I want to share my tricks and tips with others who are still struggling.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Elimination Recipe Box: Blackened Chicken Tenderloins

We are about halfway through a three-week food sensitivity elimination diet, and I can say that it DOES get easier once you have your routine down.

Since we are avoiding nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant), it also eliminates most seasoning mixes.  Paprika and chili pepper are almost ubiquitous in pre-mixed spices.

But blackening seasoning and pan-fried protein plays an important role in this high-veggie diet of satisfying the need for flavor, sodium, fat, and calories.  This isn't a weight-loss diet, and depriving your body of nutrients while it is recovering from inflammation is a bad idea.

A couple of blackened tenderloins for breakfast with sliced fresh fruit, dates, and a cup of light coconut milk will keep you going for the whole morning. 

2 chicken tenderloins per person, defrosted and dried with paper towel
olive oil
blackened seasoning: one part each of fresh ground sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic powder, to two parts each dried oregano and dried basil. (example: 1/4 tsp salt, pepper, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp oregano, basil)


Pre-heat frying pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-high heat.  Cast-iron or steel are best, as a non-stick pan won't give you the "char" you're looking for.

coat both sides of chicken and rub the spice mix into the meat so that it sticks well

When oil flows easily, place tenderloins and let cook undisturbed for 3 minutes.

Blackened doesn't mean burned!  The cooking side should get a little crispy and brown, and the spices should be dark-brown to black.  If you think it's scorching, turn the heat down.

Flip and cook undisturbed for an additional 3 minutes.

Serve warm. These also work very well cold on a salad or quinoa for lunch. 

The first time you make these, test the tenderloins for doneness (no pink in the center) as your pan, stove, and choice of tenderloins will make a difference.  If they're not quite done, flip and cook an additional minute covered with aluminum foil or a pan lid.  Adjust cooking time and temperature next time to add time to each side as needed. 

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