Love is in the air on Valentine's Day, but as the saying goes — or something close to it — “You can’t live on love alone; you’ll get hungry.” If your sweetie or sweet little ones have a wheat allergy, intolerance, or celiac disease, the best gift of all will be a specially prepared, allergy-free, home-cooked meal.
Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes. It’s incredibly versatile, adding an amazing flavor to sweet and savory dishes alike. What’s to love about this dish is the chicken ends up golden and slightly sticky on top, and moist all the way through.
You can also make this ahead of when you want to eat it and serve it cold, sliced with salad or as a filling for sandwiches, wraps, or rolls.
Kids will also love it in their lunchbox. Simply slice the chicken into chunky fingers before or after cooking for a tasty protein-packed lunch with wheat/gluten-free bread rolls or a tortilla wrap and a few raw veggie sticks. If they're taking it to school for lunch, simply leave the almonds out of the recipe if the school has a "no nuts" policy.
This recipe, which was adapted from wheat-free.org, is very simple to make, yet extremely tasty. The lemon just faintly cuts through the sweet maple syrup to give a wonderful combination of flavors, and the chicken will be shiny, golden, and juicy all the way through. Serve with a crisp green salad, new potatoes, and steamed vegetables for a substantial dinner. And know that you’re serving a meal made with love.
- 4 chicken breasts, skinless
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup almonds, slivered
- 4 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp organic lemon zest (non-organic lemons have wax on their skins)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place chicken breasts into a lightly buttered baking dish.
- Mix together the maple syrup, melted butter, almonds, lemon juice, and zest and pour evenly over the chicken. Lightly season with freshly ground black pepper.
- Bake chicken in oven 50-60 minutes, basting the chicken with the sauce regularly. Take care while basting, as the syrup spits when hot and can cause a nasty burn.
- By the end of the cooking time, the maple syrup sauce will end up very sticky and quite thick. If it starts to dry out too much, add more maple syrup during cooking.
- At end of cooking, ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly before serving (e.g. not pink in the thickest part).