Listen, I’m not very good at eating “healthy.” I’m known for aggressively declaring how much I HATE vegetables, but I admit, it’s probably because most of the cooked vegetables I’ve been exposed to have been soggy and depressing, as overcooked vegetables are. So, yes, maybe I could have taken the matter into my own hands years ago to break my bad veggie streak, but I’m a stubborn girl, and I would rather have fries.
But, I gave in, and because this summer my mother and I have been cooking together more often, I decided to give this whole healthy vegetable thing a go, and carrots seemed the least intimidating.
I scoured the internet for inspiration, and came across a recipe for honey-roasted carrots from Epicurious. Instead of pre-boiling the carrots like the recipe said, I went straight into the oven at a lower temperature than what the recipe stated and WOWEE. The vegetable drought is OVER. The carrots were perfectly tender without being soggy and the honey tasted like chewy, sweet caramel. Except not, because healthy.
I paired the carrots with some oven-baked cornflake-crusted chicken tenders which were super easy and tasty as well. The chicken, after being marinated in a buttermilk/herb mixture for 2 hours, was absolutely delicious. These would be great with a variety of dipping sauces; the original recipe called for tartar sauce but I rolled with the honey theme and made some homemade honey mustard dip.
If you’re trying to break your own personal vegetable drought like me, or you’re just looking for a quick and easy side dish (or main dish, or lunch, or breakfast, or any time a day because I want to consume these carrots at ALL times), these carrots are perfect. The chicken tenders are also a great base to work with if you want to experiment with your own seasoning preferences, but the buttermilk marinade is definitely a must.
Enjoy friends! Go vegetables! Go health!
Honey-Roasted Carrots (adapted from Epicurious.com)
- Fresh carrots, peeled. (I used 4 large carrots which were enough for about 2 people, although we could have used more, so decide accordingly)
- About 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbs. honey
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 ° F.
- Cut the carrots into about 1 inch pieces. I cut each carrot in half long ways and then into thirds to make about 6 chunks.
- Combine the carrots, oil, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Place the carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes until fork tender. Every oven is different, so I would start checking after 15.
- Place in a serving bowl and try not to shove them all in your mouth before dinner.
Cornflake Chicken Tenders (adapted from Cook Yourself Thin)
- At least two garlic cloves, peeled and smashed. I used 3 because I love garlic and I’m also insane
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme. I added some fresh thyme as well. You can honestly use any herbs and spices you like. I added a little bit of garlic powder because, again, I love garlic and I’m also insane.
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
- 12 chicken tenders, about 1 lb.
- 1 1/2 cup of cornflakes, crushed in a ziploc bag
- nonstick/nonfat cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and sprayw ith cooking spray
- Combine garlic and spices and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Add chicken and with a spoon or your hands, make sure the chicken is coated. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, but I left mine in for two.
- Place the cornflakes on a plate. Drain the chicken tenders (or just take each one out of the bowl and remove any pieces of smashed garlic or bay leaf). Coat each piece of chicken with the cornflakes, making sure every piece is covered. Place on the baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. The original recipe says “until firm” but I’m always paranoid with chicken. and meat. I cut into a tender after about 18 minutes and it was perfectly cooked, so that’s when I took them out.
- Serve with carrots and dipping sauce of your choice!