Lemon Butter Chicken Strips

Image from MomDot
I am always looking for new recipes to try. WHY?  I get bored in the kitchen quickly.  Honestly, if I lived alone dinner would probably be anything that took no time.  Thankfully my husband is around. While he likes simple food, he's just glad I cook a meal, so creating dinner for him pushes me to get into the kitchen.

Today I had an email from Pinterest with suggestions mostly wrapped around Butter Chicken recipes, but there were 2 different ones.  The one that caught my eye was the one for Lemon Butter Chicken Strips from a website called MomDot.

It looked simple to make and eye-candy to serve.  BUT I am trying to eat healthier so as much as I love any recipe using full fat cream, I felt driven to try to find a different option. Yes I knew the taste would be altered, but could I find something that would still offer a lip-licking flavour.  But if you compare the calories and fat percentages, I can probably live with that.  However, for a special company dinner - full fat cream it is.

I tried to come up with the stats on several option, but there was way way way too much variation between the brands to offer you anything reliable. Even looking at full fat cream brought a wide range of fat percentages and calories. So read the labels if you want to choose a substitute and know WHY your choosing it - are you avoiding fat because of heart issues, are you looking to lower the total calories or ??

Here are a few ideas on substitutes that might work -

  • Fat Free Cream - Really varies in calories and fat percentage, but overall lower in both. I've used it a few times with great success. BUT be aware it has several additives. 
  • Half and Half - Wide variation in fat percentages and calories from brand to brand, but generally lower in both compared to heavy cream. You'll have to look at the stats on your local brand.
  • Full fat Coconut Milk - offers that same creamy texture with a little different taste. Still higher in fat and calories, but a great option for anyone who has to avoid dairy.
  • Lite Coconut Milk - the lower fat and caloric version of regular coconut milk. Won't give you as creamy texture, but if dairy avoidance along with lower fat and calories is your goal, it may be worth a try. No guarantees. 
  • Greek Yogurt - a friend suggested this but I wouldn't recommend it. The flavour it just too different. But if you a huge yogurt fan who knows, it might hit the sweet spot for you.
Think I'll give a few of these options a try. Be sure and check back and I'll let you know which I think worked best.

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Lemon Butter Chicken Strips Recipe

Ingredients -

3                    Chicken breasts boneless, skinless preferred - cut into strips
1/2 T              Paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
3 T                 Butter
2 T                 Minced garlic
1 C                 Chicken broth
1/2 C              Heavy cream (or a lower fat option of your choice - see above)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Instructions -

Using a sharp kitchen knife, slice the chicken breasts into strips. Season to taste with paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Melt half of the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken to the hot melted butter and sear on both sides for about 5-7 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.  Remove the chicken to a plate and add the remaining butter to the skillet.

Add the garlic, then 30 seconds later add the chicken broth, Parmesan (SEE NOTE), lemon juice and thyme. Give it a good stir and let it start to bubble before adding in the heavy cream, stirring or whisking often. Cook until the sauce becomes creamy, about 5 minutes, and then add the chicken fingers back to the skillet and spoon on a bit more sauce.

Note - I struggled adding the Parmesan early. Sometimes it works, other times it gets gloppy and doesn't blend into the sauce. So I think in the future I will add the cheese when I add the chicken back in - after the sauce is creamy. I think it will melt in and combine better this way.