This recipe is going to be one you will use a lot. Not only is it tasty and versatile, but it's also nutritionally dense. Served alongside Sautéed Spinach helps create a balanced meal easily absorbed by the body.
Chicken is a great source of lean protein, which helps fuel your muscles and repair tissue. Protein also helps us feel fuller, longer, as it is metabolized much more slowly, helping to keep our blood glucose levels stable. A 3oz serving contains 36% of your daily value of Selenium, which helps maintain your immune system and thyroid—which need extra support in people with Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
It also provides a whopping 51% of Niacin, as well as other B vitamins like B6 and B12, which impact brain health, DNA synthesis (low levels cause premature aging), and most importantly for Spoonies, energy production. Chicken also is a good source of phosphorus which helps aid in calcium metabolism so it can be used to build healthy bones.
Lastly, chicken can help with stress levels. Tryptophan is the amino acid used by the body to help make serotonin, the brain chemical that helps you feel relaxed and sleepy.
Elizabeth Somer, author, and registered dietician says, "When levels of serotonin are high, you're in a better mood, sleep better, and have a higher pain tolerance."
What every Spoonie needs! However, the tryptophan needs help after it is eaten to help it become effective. Just an all-carb snack is all it takes to help the body break it down. So, after a chicken dinner, having a light snack before bed may help you sleep better.
A few weeks ago, I posted a chicken cutlet recipe that is super easy to prepare. Near the cutlets in your meat department should be another one of my favorite chicken cuts, the tender. We have all had those delicious deep-fried chicken tenders at a restaurant and known full well they weren't exactly healthy. Now that we are spoonie warriors, we need to eat to fuel the battle.
This Instapot Italian Chicken Tenders recipe forgoes the unhealthy oil bath and keeps them juicy using the Instapot and delicious, nutritious chicken broth. I always recommend a high-quality broth, as the better the tasting broth, the better tasting the dish. I use Imagine Organic Low-Sodium Free Range Chicken Broth, but any high-quality broth will do.
While nutritionally free-range doesn't make a difference, as a former pet chicken owner, I urge you to support free-range products, including cuts of meat, when your finances allow. If you haven't watched Food Inc or Rotten on Netflix, here's a short video about industrial chicken farming.
The instapot makes this dish a snap. Just season the chicken, place them on the trivet in the pot with the broth, and set the timer. Boom. No fryer, no grill, no problem.
Sit back and watch your family smile! If you don't have an Instapot yet, it's definitely one of the top kitchen gadgets any spoonie should own. We have to work smarter and conserve our precious energy for things that matter. Slaving in the kitchen to put a nutritious meal on the table for your family shouldn't have to be one of those things. If you enjoy complicated cooking, then, by all means, go for it!
But, if you're like me in the mom position, where most of the time cooking a meal is just the last thing you want to be doing at the end of a long day; spend the money, buy the Instapot!
A lot of my recipes will use it, so you will get your money's worth. In fact, I recommend leaving it up on the counter because it's heavy and we need to again, not care if our countertop is used for kitchen gadgets that we Spoonies just don't need to be moving around.
There are many models and brands out there to choose from. I use an Instapot, so if you chose to use a different brand, be aware cooking times and temperatures may be different. Also, size matters. Most of my recipes call for an 8 qt / 6 qt version, so if yours is smaller or larger, you may need to adjust the amount of your liquid ingredients. This version, the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 8 qt is the perfect size for a family of 2-6. You can roast a whole chicken inside!
But back to the recipe, this is going to be a chicken dish you can use over and over again- these tenders are so versatile, one of the many reasons I love this recipe. You can slice them up and throw them in a salad or rice bowl, shred them for a cauliflower pizza, or layer them over pasta.
I decided to line them with sautéed spinach from our CSA Box (vegetables from our local farm, click the link to find one near you) and smother them in marinara for a low-carb meal. Additionally, spinach, which contains folic acid, helps the body absorb all those wonderful B vitamins in the chicken. Cooked spinach (raw doesn't have as much available) also contains lots of calcium, which is better absorbed with phosphorus in the chicken. Spinach also contains all of the amino acids including tryptophan, so you are getting more bang for your buck all around. So, it's pretty much the perfect match! Check out my Simple Sautéed Spinach recipe to find out more about this nutritional powerhouse superfood.
So now that you're a fan of chicken, here's the recipe for Instapot Italian Chicken Tenders.
As always, please let me know how it worked for you and any delicious new ways you come up with to serve them!
Is Chicken Good For You? HealthLine. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-chicken-good-for-you#benefits
L-Tryptophan: Does Turkey Really Make You Sleepy? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-truth-about-tryptophan
Does Your Diet Effect Fibromyalgia? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/fibromyalgia-and-diet
Local Food Directories: Community Supported Agriculture. USDA. https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/csas