This is an easy and healthy one-pan dish that’s perfect for two, or double it for a family of four. Choose  organic chicken breasts to ensure that the chickens have eaten a clean diet in accordance with the National Organic Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which prohibits synthetic chemicals, sewer sludge as fertilizer and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the production process. GMOs are any plant, animal, or microorganism that has been altered through genetic engineering. According to the USDA website: The USDA organic seal verifies that producers met animal health and welfare standards, did not use antibiotics or growth hormones, used 100% organic feed, and provided animals with access to the outdoors.

Chickens labeled as “natural,” do not necessarily meet those standards.

However, as I delved into the USDA Organic Livestock Standards, specifically for animal welfare standards, the regulations are vague and misleading. The standards say that animals must have year-round access to the outdoors except under inclement weather but there are no specifications about their barn life. The standards say that animals are to be raised per animal health and welfare standards. Yet, the USDA animal health and welfare standards allow cruel measures like debeaking and dirty and crowded barn conditions. These practices support factory-farming—not animal welfare.

Hopefully, with demands from consumers, the USDA Organic Livestock Standards will eventually take a real stance on animal welfare, both in research labs and on our farms. In the meantime, get to know your local poultry producers and make sure they are doing the right thing! In your food markets, choose products with the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label, which is from the leading non-profit certification organization dedicated to improving the lives of farm animals in food production from birth through slaughter.

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Recipe: Organic Chicken With Veggies And Potatoes

Ingredients (choose organic when available):

  • 1 (8 ounces or 225 grams) chicken breast, split
  • 1 large (6 ounces or 170 grams) yellow potato (yukon gold), cut in thin slices
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, cut in thin slices
  • 6 baby carrots sliced lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt (optional) and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive tapenade (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit or 165 degrees Celsius. Line a roasting pan with foil. Spread out potatoes, onions, carrots on foil and sprinkle with vinegar and olive oil. Place chicken breast halves in one layer over the vegetables. Season with salt (optional) and black pepper. If using tapenade, evenly divide and spread on the breasts. Bake for 35 minutes or until done, depending on thickness of the chicken breasts. Serves 2.

Serve with steamed kale and sauerkraut.

Nutrition Facts per serving (calculated without added salt or tapenade and without kale and sauerkraut) 284 grams: 348 calories, 11 grams fat, 160 milligrams sodium, 20 grams carbohydrate, 38.7 grams protein, 3.3 grams dietary fiber, 14 percent iron, 32 percent vitamin C, 83 percent vitamin A.

For more nutritious and delicious recipes with a practical approach to a healthy and wholesome diet, pick up a copy of Layne’s book: Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy.

Bon Appetit!