Nutrient-dense with protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
This whole-food chicken bake is not only easy to assemble but can, with a little planning, be ready in under one hour when you use some pre-cooked chicken breast from a previous dish earlier in the week.
Batch-cooking meats can be a real-time-saver and helpful in preparing whole-food meals during a busy week or even for a relaxed weekend meal.
A few health benefits of this dish
Chicken breast is a protein-dense food for building and maintaining lean muscle mass, increasing satiety (feeling full longer) for a healthy weight, and aiding in the repair and growth of body tissue (5).
This lower-calorie meat is a good source of the essential B vitamins that we need each day for things like protein synthesis, energy metabolism, and DNA repair (6).
Antioxidant compounds like anserine, particularly high in chicken breasts, can reduce toxic aldehydes that occur when foods are heated are high temperatures which can reduce our risk for oxidative damage that leads to chronic conditions like heart disease and Alzheimer's (7).
Eggplant is a fruit, eaten as a vegetable, that comes in many varieties, sizes, and colors, and is a member of the nightshade family like tomatoes and peppers (1).
High in fiber, eggplant can slow the digestive process and absorption of sugar, which helps to lower blood sugar and prevent or manage type 2 diabetes (2). And, the fact that these nightshades are low in calories while high in fiber can make them a great choice for those with weight loss in mind (3).
Rich in anthocyanins like nasunin, eggplant can protect our cells from damage which can prevent inflammation of brain cells and facilitate blood flow to the brain for nutrient transport and cellular waste removal (4). However, be sure to cook the eggplant with the peel, as the antioxidant properties lie in the skin pigment.
Chicken & Eggplant Bake Recipe:
1 pound of chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large eggplant, sliced into ½-inch rounds
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup onion, chopped
2 cups of broccoli, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 small tomatoes, sliced
3-4 medium mushrooms, sliced
4-6 ounces Manchego cheese, shredded
½ tsp. (each) dried oregano and parsley
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Cook the chicken as desired (grilled, baked) and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat the bottom of a large baking dish with the oil and place the sliced eggplant rounds on top of the oil, arranged in a single layer.
Season the eggplant with half of the herbs and salt and pepper.
Next, spread the garlic, onion, mushrooms, and broccoli on top of the eggplant slices.
Add the chicken and tomatoes to the top next, and sprinkle the shredded cheese on top.
Bake covered for about 40 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown.