Welcome to day one of my 3 day plan for clean eating on a budget! Each day, I will post a grocery list along with an estimated cost. I will also post a list of items that you may already have in your pantry. It is important to pay attention to both lists to make sure you have all of your ingredients before cooking! In order to maximize the money spent and minimize waste, I tried to plan for many of the ingredients used in each recipe to be used in other recipes in the plan.
I guess I should say this plan is “mostly clean”. Real, true clean eating involves eating no processed food whatsoever. I’ve never been able to do it 100%, no matter how hard I try. Rest assured, I have put A LOT of thought into this 3 day menu, and I really have tried to keep it as clean as possible.
Now for the star of tonight’s show: sesame garlic chicken thighs with cauliflower fried rice! It’s a delicious and light take on everyone’s favorite takeout dish.
I used boneless skinless chicken thighs in this recipe because they are more moist and more flavorful than breasts- and they were on sale. The chicken needs to be marinated for a minimum of 30 minutes so it takes on all the flavors of the sauce. Feel free to use boneless skinless chicken breast if you prefer, but you will have to adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of the breast.
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs – $4.48
1 head of cauliflower – $3.99
1 head of garlic – $.59
Carrots – $.86
Green onions – $.99
Sesame oil – $3.48
Estimated total: $14.39**
Items you may have on hand:
Extra virgin olive oil
Lower sodium soy sauce
Red pepper flakes
Light brown sugar
**Please note – this is an estimated cost. Prices vary by store, and your total may be more if you have to purchase ingredients listed in the “items you may have on hand” section.
Sesame Garlic Chicken Thighs with Cauliflower Fried Rice
For the chicken:
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce*
1 tbsp honey
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or more for more of a kick)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
Ground black pepper, to taste
For the fried rice:
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup carrots, cut into small cubes
1 small white onion, diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce*
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp light brown sugar
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Ground pepper, to taste
- In a small bowl, add 1/4 cup lower sodium soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, cornstarch, ginger, red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, and black pepper. Stir well.
- Place chicken thighs in a 8×8 glass baking dish and pour the marinate over it.
- Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum, 24 hours maximum. I refrigerated mine for about an hour, flipping them over twice to make sure they were completely covered in sauce.
- Preheat your oven to 425º.
- Uncover the chicken thighs and place on the top rack of the oven.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165º.
- While the chicken is cooking, place 1/2 of the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until the texture resembles rice. Pour into a bowl and repeat with the remaining cauliflower.
- Mix 1/4 cup lower sodium soy sauce, ground ginger, 1 tbsp sesame oil, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook until onions are translucent (but not brown!), about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low. Add the peas and continue cooking about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Move the veggies to one side of the skillet. Pour the beaten eggs into the other side.
- Cook until eggs are lightly scrambled, stirring frequently.
- Stir eggs in with veggies.
- Add the cauliflower rice and soy sauce mixture to the pan and raise the heat to high.
- Cook about 4 minutes or until cauliflower is tender, stirring frequently.
- Garnish with green onions and serve with chicken thighs.
*Use gluten-free soy sauce to make this a gluten free dish!