Grapefruit with Chicken and Brussels Sprouts is an easy healthy sheet pan dinner!
Is it just me or is it dark?
Like all the time? Winter dark.
Dark when the alarm jolts. Dark after work. I’m scrambling to get a few things done outside on the weekend or else using a headlamp.
Thankfully, one of the bright spots about winter is that it’s citrus season. A juicy orange or grapefruit freshen a gray winter landscape.
A zingy squirt is what I need right. about. now.
More about that in a bit but first…
The benefits of vitamin C
Lemons, limes, and tangerines are members of this all-star family that help maintain a strong immune system and protect against heart disease and cancer.
We eat what we see and fruit disappears from a fruit bowl about twice as fast as the fruit in the fridge. So set out a fruit bowl to enjoy the beautiful colors, fresh aroma and juicy freshness. One orange provides 100 percent of the daily recommendation of vitamin C. And since vitamin C must be replenished in our bodies every day, treat yourself to oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit to meet your needs.
Here are a few ideas to get you going…
- Add sliced avocado and grapefruit sections to salads.
- Broil a grapefruit half for breakfast or as a dessert.
- Toss fresh orange slices with shredded red cabbage, a little rice wine vinegar and toasted sesame oil.
- Squeeze a wedge of fresh lemon on salads, steamed vegetables, soups and stews.
- Stand over the sink and eat a fresh juicy orange!
How to shop for citrus
When you shop, look for fruit heavy for its size, with bright, colorful skin. Most citrus will keep at room temperature for several days. For longer storage, the crisper drawer of your refrigerator is best. Whole fruit should not be frozen, but the fresh-squeezed juice and grated peel or zest may be. Seal some in an airtight container and pop it into the freezer for later.
Citrus is more than vitamin C
You probably know that oranges are terrific source of vitamin C. So are it’s cousins. Did you know that the word “ascorbic,” as in ascorbic acid — the name for vitamin C — means “no scurvy”? While scurvy was a problem for sea goers centuries ago, it’s not much of a problem today.
You probably know that citrus is a super source of vitamin C. But did you know that the word “ascorbic,” as in ascorbic acid — the name for vitamin C — means “no scurvy”? While scurvy was a problem for sea goers centuries ago, it’s not much of a problem today.
But C has some another benefit. It enhances iron absorption. Iron is a shortfall nutrient for many of us.
Vitamin C enhances iron absorption
Overall, we don’t absorb iron very well. Iron from animal sources is absorbed two to three times more than from plants. Some compounds, such as oxalic acid in spinach and chocolate, phytic acid in wheat bran and legumes, and tannins in coffee and tea, inhibit plant-based, or non-heme, iron absorption. But eating vitamin C foods and iron-rich foods at the same time help overcome these inhibitors.
Foods high in iron
Beef, chicken, pork, and eggs are some of the better iron source. The darker the color of the meat, the more iron. So dark chicken meat has more than light meat.
Some of the better plant sources of iron are:
- Beans and lentils
- Soybean nuts, tofu
- Baked potatoes
- Dark green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach
- Wheat bran
- Pumpkin seeds
- Iron-enriched breads, pasta, and breakfast cereals. You need to drink the milk in your bowl to get the iron because it washes off the flakes and settles at the bottom of the bowl.
Cast-iron cookware adds iron. Acidic foods, tomato juice, orange juice, and vinegar, help dissolve small amounts of iron from the pot into cooking liquids. So use cast iron for simmered foods, such as chili.
Boost iron absorption with these foods
Here are six vitamin C-iron combinations:
- kiwi + enriched bran cereal
- strawberries + oatmeal
- bell pepper + bean salad
- peanut butter sandwich on enriched whole-wheat bread + orange
- spinach + sirloin steak
- chicken + broccoli
Cook’s Note: If you’re squeezing for juice, roll room temperature fruit on the counter a few times to maximize the amount of juice.
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How to make one sheet pan dinner Grapefruit and Brussels Sprouts Chicken
Zesty grapefruit make chicken and Brussels sprouts a party in your mouth. Even better, these foods deliver top-notch nutrition.
Rich in healthful compounds, Brussels sprouts is a super star for disease prevention. Choose the freshest you can find and look for dark green color with tightly closed sprouts.
Cook’s note: The trick to sheet pan cooking is uniform sizes and a hot pan. It saves time and adds flavor.
Heat oven and baking sheet to 425°F. Heating the sheet adds flavor because the food starts to caramelize when it hits the hot pan.
In bowl, combine Brussels sprouts, onion, grapefruit juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. When oven reaches 425°F, carefully pour Brussels sprouts onto hot pan. Spread into single layer. Bake 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir chicken, mustard, honey and soy sauce together. When vegetables have cooked 15 minutes, add chicken to sheet pan. Stir all ingredients and spread into a single layer.
Bake 10-15 minutes. Chicken should be 165°F. Add grapefruit, bake 5 minutes.
Grab a fork and go ahead and sniff at winter.
MORE healthy dinner ideas
- One-pan blueberry pork chops
- Oven baked chicken schwarma
- Shrimp tacos with pineapple salsa
- Asian sesame chicken salad
- Quinoa black bean stuffed poblano peppers
P.S. Hungry for more healthy living tips and recipes? Sign up for my newsletter here. As a registered dietitian, nutrition and delicious, healthy eating are my focus.
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One Sheet Pan Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Grapefruit
Earthy Brussels sprouts and juicy grapefruit make this sheet pan dinner so good! Vitamin C-rich grapefruit enhances the iron absorption of the chicken.
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: American
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trim ends, cut in half
- ½ red onion, ¼-inch slices
- 1 grapefruit, peeled, sliced, reserve juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ¼-inch slices
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Heat oven and baking sheet to 425°F.
- Toss Brussels sprouts, onion, grapefruit juice, olive oil, salt and pepper together in a bowl. When oven reaches 425°F, carefully pour Brussels sprouts onto hot pan. Spread into single layer. Bake 15 minutes.
- Chicken, mustard, honey and soy sauce are stirred together while Sprouts are cooking. When vegetables have cooked 15 minutes, add chicken mixture to sheet pan. Stir all ingredients and spread into a single layer.
- Bake 10-15 minutes. Chicken should be 165°F. Add grapefruit, bake 5 minutes.
Heat the sheet pan while the oven heats to save time and add flavors. When you pour vegetables on the hot pan and hear sizzle, you’re taking food from drab to fab!
Keywords: iron rich foods, healthy sheet pan dinner, cooking with citrus. how to shop for oranges