Raise your hand if you’ve ever had left over chicken and steamed broccoli in your fridge. My hand is raised. My girls go-to vegetable is broccoli and chicken is always a fool proof protein they…tolerate. A few months ago when I was making the girls lunch I realized I had no bread. Cali associates lunch primarily with sandwiches. I thought if we don’t have sandwiches what would be the next likely food she would it. Quesadilla! Remembering that I had left over chicken and broccoli in the fridge, I decided on combining into a quesadilla. And what was born was delicious! Recently I posted our yummy carrot pancakes we love. Again, just like the pancakes, I am always trying to get the girls to eat more veggies. Dice them up small enough and I can usually succeed!
With my girls liking and eating broccoli pretty consistently, I probably should know of it’s benefits. These were a handful of benefits that caught my eye:
Nervous System- Broccoli contains a high amount of potassium, which helps maintain a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function, as well as promotes regular muscle growth. This is HUGE for kids on the spectrum. They usually suffer from low tone in their muscles. And we all know autism directly impacts and impairs the brain, so if this mighty vegetable is promising optimal brain function from taking it in, I am it’s number one advocate!!
Immune System- One cup of broccoli bolsters the immune system with a large dose of beta-carotene. Trace minerals, such as zinc and selenium, further act to strengthen immune defense actions. A strong immune system means a lesser chance of catching the flu and other viruses. Give me more please!!!!
Vitamin C- One cup of broccoli contains the RDA of vitamin C, an antioxidant necessary for fighting against free radicals. Moreover, vitamin C is an effective antihistamine for easing the discomfort of the common cold. Free radicals are never a good thing, so anything that helps to fight against this negative input to our bodies, is a great thing in my book!
Who wants to eat more broccoli?!?!
Chicken and Broccoli Quesadillas
Makes as many or as little as you prefer. Great meal to make multiple servings or one single serving.
Grilled Chicken Breasts, organic-hormone free, chopped smaller than bite sized
Gruyere cheese, grated (I will usually make one burrito sized quesadilla for each girl. One tortilla folded in half. I grate 2 tbsp of cheese for the half)
Havarti cheese, grated (Again, 2 tbsp for the half size quesadilla. You will end up with 1/4 cup cheese total. 4 tbsp=1/4 cup)
1 small head of broccoli steamed, diced very small (you will use about 1/4 cup of brocoli for one quesadilla half)
Sun-dried tomato tortilla, burrito size
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat griddle over medium heat. Place tortilla on skillet for about 30 seconds, flip to other side and heat through. Once hot, evenly spread chicken, broccoli, and cheese over one half of the tortillas. Sprinkle with pepper. No need for salt, as the cheese provides all the salt you need. Also, the marinade for the chicken contained salt. Fold remaining half over, creating a half moon shape. Place a very heavy bottom skillet over the top of the folded tortilla. Heat for about 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is melted and tortilla becomes golden. Flip to the other side, place skillet back on top, and heat until cheese is melted, 2 minutes more. Enjoy!
Grilled Chicken Breast
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 chicken breasts
Wash, pat dry, and trim chicken. Cut and trim the chicken so that the pieces will cook evenly (sometimes chicken breasts have one large end and a small opposite end, resulting in parts of the chicken being over cooked.) Whisk oil, lime juice, and salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl. Place chicken in wet mixture and turn to coat. Let chicken marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Take chicken out of fridge and let set for 10-15 minutes. Do not put extra cold chicken directly on the grill. When ready to cook, take a paper towel or old rag and rub the grill grates will vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Heat grill to medium high heat. Once hot, place chicken breasts on grill. Lower temperature to medium high-medium. If using a stove top grill, take a foil pan or metal cake pan, and place over the chicken. This creates a make-shift convection oven, which allows for more even cooking and moist chicken. Grill on first side for about 5-8 minutes depending on the the thickness of the chicken. Take pan off and flip to opposite side. Place pan back on top, and grill for an additional 5-8 minutes, or until no longer pink. A good indicator of fully cooked chicken is to press with your fingers on the thickest part of the breast. If the meat feels firms and slightly bounces back, the chicken is done.
Place cooked chicken on a plat and cover snuggly with aluminum foil for 10 minutes. This allows for the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken.
Cali and Ava Approved!!