Daphne Oz's Low-Point Weight Watchers' Chicken Skillet Dinner Looks Incredible
Imagine you've been selected as a contestant on Family Feud, and are posed with the challenge, "Name three meats that people call 'juicy' and 'tender.'" Chances are, you might ring in with "steak, "burgers," "pork" or even "roast turkey" or "roast chicken."
But we're guessing you don't immediately associate chicken breasts—the lean, affordable dinner staple—with being much besides a vehicle for protein and the flavors you pair it with.
But podcast host, Emmy-winning TV star, cookbook author, mom and rep for WW (the rebranded Weight Watchers) Daphne Oz swears that this one-skillet chicken dinner will convince you to edit that list. You might even bump chicken breast up to the top if you follow her pro tips to make this Juicy Skillet Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Red Onion and Plum she recently demonstrated on Instagram!
The two secrets to your juiciest chicken breasts yet, according to Oz: Cook the chicken properly, and start with chicken that's evenly thick from edge to edge.
"Ah chicken breast, the most versatile meat! Where other recipes may have had you thinking such a lean piece of protein could only be dry and tough, this recipe brings together a juicy preparation, made even saucier with a devastatingly sweet and tangy mix of balsamic red onions and ripe plums! And the best part? It's all done in one pan," Oz says to introduce the simple 40-minute meal that clocks in at just 4 WW points on the blue and purple plans, and 6 points on the green plan. (ICYMI, here's a breakdown of what the new color-coded WW plans mean.)
To make it yourself, transfer your chicken to a large zip-top bag, press the air out and seal it closed, then grab a sturdy skillet.
"Think about whatever annoying circumstance you had in your life recently. Channel that; let it flow through you and take it out on your chicken breast," Oz says, as she starts to pound the chicken, from the center of the piece working her way out to ensure the edges don't get "lacy" or too thin.
Aim for roughly one-inch thick. "The best part is your chicken breast comes out looking twice as large, and we do eat with our eyes, don't we?"
Wash your hands, then blend together the seasoning mix.
"This dish has a little bit of a sweet moment. You could totally add heat here if you want a spicier chipotle rub. 100% that works beautifully here," Oz says. So feel free to use any herbs and spices your heart desires, or follow Oz's game plan that calls for "onion powder which adds a really nice sweet, yumminess, a little garlic powder, a little paprika to add beautiful reddish color, and when it cooks with chicken it becomes really sweet and flavorful."
Fresh thyme and kosher salt are the final two elements. Rather than dirtying a bowl, simply measure the spices directly into the zip-top bag filled with the now-evenly thick chicken breasts. Drizzle a splash of olive oil on top, press out the air and seal the bag again, then toss the chicken with the spice blend to evenly coat each piece. Allow this to marinate for 20 minutes on the counter or for up to a day in the fridge. (Prep-ahead meals, for the win!)
Add a bit more oil to a skillet, heat over medium until it shimmers, then use tongs to transfer the marinated chicken to the pan.
"You do not want to overcrowd your pan...you don't want to make it steam and the texture doesn't come out quite right," Oz says. Cook one piece at a time, if needed, for 6 or 7 minutes on one side until golden brown. Flip it, add a pat of butter to the pan and cook for 5 to 6 minutes more or until the internal temperature reads 160° F. (Check this with a tool like this OXO Digital Instant Read Thermometer; buy it: $20.95, Williams Sonoma.) As it cooks on the second side, use a spoon to baste the top of the chicken with some of that melted butter—another way to guarantee each ounce is uber-juicy!
Use a clean set of tongs to remove the chicken to a plate, and as that rests for a few minutes, prep the sauce.
Add sliced onions to the pan first so they can "drink up all that sauciness from the chicken...that little bit of butter that's left there." Strip some thyme leaves from the stem to add to the onions, sprinkle in some salt and toss to mix. Pit and slice plums into thick wedges, and add these to the onion mixture.
"This is a nice way to doctor up fruit that isn't exactly in its prime," Oz says, so don't worry if your plums feel a bit underripe.
Allow the plums to saute until they begin to caramelize and get a hint softer, then add a generous pour of balsamic vinegar (not glaze). Use a wooden spoon to stir and scrape up any drippings in the pan, and cook until the sauce reduces into a glaze-like consistency. This should only take a minute or two.
To serve, plate a piece of the chicken, spoon the sauce over top and finish with a pinch of flaky salt.
"There are so many reasons why this is my kind of comfort food and my kind of healthy food, because they can be one in the same," Oz says, after enjoying her first bite. "I'm always looking for ways to make my healthful eating as indulgent and fun and special and celebratory," as possible, "and this is going to make you feel like a total rockstar."
You don't have to tell us twice, Daphne! We've already added this Juicy Skillet Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Red Onion and Plum recipe to our menu this week, and will be whipping up a batch of your chocolaty banana muffins that taste like a brownie for breakfast the next day while we're at it, too.