The most tender and moist soaked chicken flavoured with Cajun spice and served with a quick but tasty quinoa salad. Your future self will thank you for making this meal prep dish.
If you want to tenderise a piece of chicken, there is no better way to do it than to soak it in milk or buttermilk. The beauty of this method is that it makes the chicken stay tender. So you won’t be complaining about dry, tough chicken after keeping it refrigerated.
Not only does the chicken taste incredible when cooked in the spice blend, but the overall dish is super healthy, it’s low in carbohydrates, and works perfectly as a meal prep recipe!
How does the milk tenderise the meat?
So, chicken contains collagen, which are strands of protein that weave around the muscle tissue of the meat. This protein is quite fibrous and tough. The acid in the milk breaks down this protein, allowing the chicken to become much more tender.
And since it’s the acid that actually helps break the meat down, we should consider one of two things. We can either use fermented milk (or a dairy product), and the two best options for this are buttermilk or yoghurt. Speaking of which, if you’d like to see how I marinade chicken in yoghurt to make the most incredible chicken tikka skewers, click the link or the image below to check out the recipe.
Or, you can do what I did, and add regular milk with a touch of lemon or lime juice.
How Do I Bake a Chicken Breast?
The method I use in this recipe has always worked for me, leaving me with a beautifully baked, succulent chicken breast. Make sure the chicken is at room temperature, preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees F), flavour the chicken (for example, season or panee the chicken) then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. If you have one of those really big family sized chicken breasts, you can cook for an extra 3-4 minutes but no more than that.
If you use this cooking method after marinating the chicken breast, trust me, you can make a lot of people happy!!
What do I do with the leftover Cajun spice?
You will most likely have leftover spice mix so keep it in a jar for another day. Although, if you don’t want any leftover cajun spice, simply half the amount of spices in the recipe.
Perhaps you don’t even care about the chicken, salad or meal prep part of this recipe, and you only want the spice mix, this is absolutely fine. You can use this spice rub on some many ingredients. Other meats, roasted vegetables, in your stews or casseroles. The list is endless!
And there you have it, another amazing meal prep dish. If you decide to make this recipe, I hope it serves you well. And I hope you have the most amazing day!!
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Cajun Chicken with Quinoa Salad Meal Prep
Moist and tender chicken goodness with a kick of heat, served with a quinoa salad.
- 3 teaspoons of salt
- 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
- 3 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 3 teaspoons of onion powder
- 1½ teaspoons of Cayenne pepper
- 3 teaspoons of paprika
- 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1-2 cups of milk
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 2 cups of chicken stock/broth
- Half a cucumber cut in half lengthways core removed by using a spoon to scoop out the seeds then sliced
- 45 grams of baby rocket
- 250 grams of cherry tomatoes quartered
- 1 handful of flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
- 1 avocado cut in half stone removed, peeled then thinly sliced
Mix the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Cayenne pepper, dried thyme and dried oregano in a bowl to make your Cajun spice mix.
Put your chicken breasts and milk in a large bowl, cover with cling film, place in the fridge and soak the chicken overnight.
Put a baking tray in the oven and then pre-heat to 200 degrees Celsius. It is important that you pre-heat the tray so that it is hot and ready for the chicken.
Transfer your chicken breasts to a plate or board, then sprinkle about a teaspoon of the Cajun spice mix over each chicken breast. Next, get your hands in there and rub the spice mix all over the meat.
Take the baking tray out of the oven then carefully line with baking paper. Place the chicken breasts on the hot baking tray meaty side up.
Put back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. If they are really large chicken breasts cook them for an extra 2-3 minutes.
Put your quinoa in a large bowl, then add enough water to soak the quinoa. Soak for a minute, then use a sieve to strain the quinoa. Rise the quinoa under a running water for half a minute.
Put the soaked and rinsed quinoa in a pot, along with your stock and bring the stock to a boil.
Once the quinoa is boiling, turn the heat down low, cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes until the quinoa has absorbed the stock. Once the quinoa is cooked, set aside and let it cool.
Once the quinoa has cooled down, add you cucumber, baby rocket, cherry tomatoes, flat leaf parsley and then mix through.
Once you have cooked the chicken and taken it out of the oven, let it rest for a minute or 2. Slice the chicken, cut it into cubes, shred it with two forks or serve it however else you wish.
Serve equal portions of quinoa, chicken and avocado in 4 separate containers. Store in the fridge or freezer for a later day. Enjoy!!
The longer you soak the chicken, the more tender it will be.
Bake the chicken starting from room temperature, not when it's stone cold.
Don't be shy with the Cajun spice.
Double the ingredients for the spice blend if you want extra to keep in your pantry.
Buttermilk also works well for soaking chicken.
If you feel this recipe needs a sauce to accompany it, try this one:
Still haven’t tried quinoa. The cajun chicken marinade sounds great.
Sounds and looks delicious! I like the milk-soak method. I use buttermilk to soak my chicken. Very nice presentation.
Quinoa is great. It is quick to cook and is a good source of fibre. And yes, the Cajun spice mix is great too. Thanks for your comment (:
Thanks liz, yer buttermilk works better the regular milk. But I wanted to keep this post as healthy as possible (:
Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes
Wow! This looks so delicious. Love these flavours 🙂
Thank you so much alexandra!! (: