Baked Chicken with Artichoke, Lemon, & Zucchini

Baked Chicken with Artichoke, Lemon, & Zucchini

All hail the baked chicken breast, the reigning queen of meal prep perfection!

I use my fair share of chicken breast when making my work lunches on any given week – it’s a lean protein that always leaves me feeling full, satisfied, and energized – and it’s so easy to dress up with any flavor, especially as the seasons change. Over this relatively chilly spring that’s been hanging over NYC – the high is supposed to only be 59°F on Wednesday, JUNE 7TH – I’ve been using many warming spices when dressing my breasts…heheh…such as turmeric and cumin. If the weather won’t bring that summery feeling to our city right now, I’ll at least jump start it with some bright summery flavors.

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This recipe is a take on an Inspiralized recipe from last month, Lemon-Herb Chicken with Roasted Artichoke and Zucchini Pasta with Feta. I made it a handful of times and it’s delicious! I am a huge fan of spiralizing my vegetables and do it multiple times a week; it’s great for meal prep! That being said…sometimes…I’m too lazy to pull out my spiralizer and my urge to use my big chef’s knife to chunk up some vegetables gives me more satisfaction. Ha! So this recipe is a non-spiralized adaptation of that original excellent spiralized recipe. I ditched the feta and added some different spices, but the magic in both recipes, I believe, comes from the vegetables. The liquid from them helps keep the chicken breast incredibly juicy; as I use boneless for this recipe, keeping in moisture is very important, as bone-in chicken does yield a naturally moister meat.

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This is great for meal prep because a 12 – 16 ounce chicken breast will yield four 3 – 4 oz. servings of chicken and a nice serving of vegetables for each; I do supplement mine with some more vegetables or a grain, which is my hot tip to you! Some brown rice, quinoa, or riced cauliflower would be an awesome accompaniment!

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Baked Chicken with Artichoke, Lemon, & Zucchini in all of its meal prepped glory!

Baked Chicken with Artichoke, Lemon, & Zucchini
(Adapted from the Inspiralized recipe for Lemon-Herb Chicken with Roasted Artichoke and Zucchini Pasta with Feta)
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

– One 3/4 lb. – 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
– 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided into two 1 tablespoon servings
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
– 1 large or 2 medium zucchinis, rinsed and diced
– 1 cup canned quartered artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
– Juice of 1/2 lemon
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon turmeric
– Salt, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– A rectangular baking dish works well here, such as an 11″ x 7″, though a small square baking dish (8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″) will also work well.

– A good “duh” statement, but if you can’t find quartered canned artichoke hearts, buy whole ones and quarter them yourselves. If you buy artichoke hearts marinated in oil, it’s up to you whether you want to rinse off the marinade or not; I prefer to use canned artichoke hearts that come packed in water.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.) Place chicken in baking dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and pepper and spread / massage into chicken breast. Don’t forget to wash your hands once you’re done! (Infection control!)

3.) In a large bowl, toss zucchini and artichoke hearts with lemon juice, garlic powder, and turmeric until well combined. Place vegetable mixture on top of chicken; vegetables should cover as much chicken as possible.

4.) Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165°F. Remove from oven; if some of the artichoke pieces have slightly browned or crisped, that is fine! (And delicious!) Allow chicken to sit for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Slow Cooker Chicken with Tomatoes & Onion

Slow Cooker Chicken with Tomatoes & Onion

I am a wonderful meal prepper…when I have the motivation to do it. Some Sundays, I am running and raring to go, at least three days worth of breakfasts and lunches made for work in a two-hour span, neatly stacked in my fridge in coordinated containers. Other Sundays, I’m exhausted and think aloud, “I am going to rack up a lot of points on my Sweetgreen app this week.”

With this slow cooker recipe, I have no excuses not to meal prep. It’s all too easy!

Slow Cooker Chicken with Tomatoes & Onion

There isn’t much else to say, so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Tomatoes + Onions + boneless chicken breast = an amazing shredded chicken that gets you four meals, easily.

Get down on your knees and praise your slow cooker. Give it a nice big kiss, though preferably wait until it’s cool enough.

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Slow Cooker Chicken with Tomatoes & Onion
(Yields 1 average-sized boneless chicken breast’s worth of shredded meat)

Ingredients:

– 1 boneless & skinless chicken breast
– 1 15-ounce can chopped or diced tomato, with juices
– 1 large white or yellow onion, roughly cut
– 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
– Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) Add all ingredients to slow cooker and turn on to High. Cover and cook for 3 hours.

2.) Remove chicken from slow cooker. Shred chicken with two forks. Add shredded chicken back to slow cooker and stir into tomato and onion mixture. Cook for an additional 15 minutes before turning off slow cooker.

3.) Eat immediately! If storing for meal prep, place chicken in container(s) along with some of the tomato and onion mixture to keep the chicken moist, and allow to cool slightly before placing in fridge. Chicken should stay edible for up to five days.

Hummus-Crusted Chicken

I have this really odd habit of punishing myself by cooking food in my oven, such as I did last night, whenever New York City is placed under a Heat Advisory. Highs reaching the mid-90s this week? No matter! Relatively tiny kitchen with little air circulation that traps heat for hours on end? Who cares? I’m clearly a culinary masochist.

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I had uncooked chicken breasts in my fridge, an abundance of summer squash from a farmers’ market, and leftover hummus from when I invited friends over for cocktails and snacks a few nights back. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I blasted the A/C in my bedroom, opened the door to encourage said cold air to spill into the living and dining areas, and went to battle against a 450 degree oven with a Pyrex pan full of raw poultry and two oven mitts.

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I won, though heart palpitations brought on by heat exhaustion almost got the best of me.

(Dramatic.)

Next time, I’ll just order Thai on Seamless, like a normal person. I was feeling advantageous, or, perhaps, just stubborn enough in the quest to clear some stuff out of my fridge.

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In the past, I’ve looked for other items to dress my chicken in. Garlic powder and olive oil usually win on any average night. At times, if I get a rotisserie chicken to pick apart, I’ll drizzle honey on it, straight-up. (That was a childhood favorite of mine. I’d do it whenever my parents would get an overly-dry rotisserie chicken from my hometown’s old Finast.) However, one night, many moons ago, when sautéing chicken, I saw hummus in my fridge. I plopped a spoonful onto my hot chicken breast and let it melt down. It was next level. The sauce it created was delectable. It brought forth a slightly nutty yet citric flavor profile. Initially, it never occurred to me to bake chicken with hummus coating it, but, why not? I tried it with great success!

I’ll credit Gimme Some Oven with inspiring the summer squash pairing. I usually cook my vegetables on the side when making this dish, but, while baking, the hummus slowly drips onto the vegetables; mixed with the simmering chicken juices, its own sauce is created. It is beyond fantastic, borderline hedonistic, like all good meals should be.

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Hummus-Crusted Chicken
(Adapted from Gimme Some Oven’s recipe for Hummus-Crusted Chicken)
(Serves 3)

Ingredients:

-3 chicken breasts, bone-in or boneless, patted dry
-1 cup hummus, store-bought or homemade
-1 zucchini, chopped
-1 yellow squash, chopped
-1 small yellow or white onion, diced
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 tablespoon garlic powder
-1 tablespoon white wine or white cooking wine
-1 teaspoon paprika or chili powder
-Salt and pepper, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– After a couple of tests runs of this recipe, I’ve concluded that bone-in breasts hold up a bit better than boneless and yield juicer meat; that being said, thicker bone-in breast may take a few extra minutes of cooking time compared to boneless. I would suggest a 40 minute baking time for bone-in breasts that can’t easily be pounded down. Be sure to check chicken for doneness, regardless, prior to eating.

– The type of hummus you choose will certainly change the flavor profiles of this dish. I’ve made it with plain hummus and garlic hummus. For these photos, I used store-bought lemon rosemary hummus, and it was wonderful! The rosemary evokes a bit of an autumnal feel to the dish overall.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 450 °F. Grease one large baking dish and set aside.

2.) Pat chicken breasts dry. Season with salt & pepper, to taste, and set aside.

3.) In a large bowl, combine zucchini, yellow squash, onion, olive oil, and white wine until vegetables are evenly coated.

4.) Place vegetables in baking dish. Place chicken on top of vegetables. Spread hummus evenly on top of the chicken. Sprinkle paprika or chili powder on top of hummus.

5.) Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked through. Let sit for ten minutes before serving.