Lemon Roasted Asparagus

Spring is one of the most magical times of the year. I love the warmer temperatures, longer days, cherry blossoms and blooming flowers. I don’t love the dent in my wallet because of copious Allegra purchases, that being said. 😏

I also love spring produce! Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables, and while I cringe at off-season prices – I’ve bought it for $5.99 / lb. before, sad but true – I revel at being able to buy it for only $1.69 / lb. now. YEAH! It’s so easy to sauté on the stove quickly to toss with some pasta or serve as a side dish – I love to have it with some 7-minute eggs and red cabbage sauerkraut for breakfasts – but I also love to roast a bunch at once for an easy meal prep option. A solid full bunch gives me about 2 – 3 days of a vegetable side for my lunches during the work week.

I’ve got a quick and easy way to roast up some asparagus, tried and true. No frills, just a good recipe. Very…Pinterest-friendly. Haaaa.

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch asparagus, cleaned and woody ends removed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or neutral-flavored oil of choice
  • 1 lemon
    • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
    • 4 – 6 slices of lemon
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 425 °F .

2.) Arrange asparagus on lightly-greased rimmed cooking sheet.

3.) In a small bowl, combine olive oil and lemon zest. Drizzle evenly over asparagus; lightly roll and toss with hands to ensure even coating.

4.) Top asparagus with lemon slices, sprinkle with salt, and place in oven for 20 – 25 minutes; be sure to check after about 15 minutes of cooking, depending on how the temperature may distribute in your oven and the thickness of the asparagus. Remove when roasted to liking!

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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.

Spaghetti al Limone

Spaghetti al Limone

Being a Manhattan-based millennial, I am often faced with a decision when developing a pasta-based recipe: Do I want to use a box of Barilla, or do I wanted to pull out my spiralizer and twirl a zucchini?

I will happily declare my love for spiralizing fruits and vegetables. I am a fan girl of Inspiralized; been following that blog since 2014! It’s a nice way to eat your vegetables in a different manner; I honestly do not enjoy cubed or sliced vegetables nearly as much anymore when I can twirl curly sweet potato “noodles” around my fork.

That being said, some things shouldn’t be messed with. Spaghetti al Limone is a sacred dish. When it comes to this recipe, I go FULL CARB. Flour. Wheat. GLUTEN. Sweet, delicious, allegedly inflammatory gluten! This ain’t no place for a zoodle, in my oh – so – humble opinion.

(And if / when I make a zoodle-based Spahgetti al Limone recipe months or years from now, feel free to call me out. Ha!)

Spaghetti al Limone

When I lived in the Hudson Heights section of Manhattan for 4+ years, I was blessed because I lived one block away from one of the best Italian restaurants in the whole city: Saggio. Their Spaghetti al Limone is the best I’ve ever had! In fact, it’s theirs that caused me to discover this wonderful recipe in the first place! Theirs is cream-based and served with an entire half of lemon on the side. Amazing!

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Though I’ve attempted a cream-based version, I do enjoy my cream-less version. It takes less time, it’s still insanely flavorful, and it saves me from spending $4 on a bottle of heavy cream that I’ll only use half of, leaving the rest of slowly die in my fridge for 2 months. Haaaa.

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Spaghetti al Limone
(Makes 2 main-sized servings or 3 – 4 side servings)

Ingredients:

– 8 – 10 ounces spaghetti, uncooked
– 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, finely grated
– Juice of two lemons
– 2/3 cups olive oil
– Zest of one lemon
– 1 cup fresh basil, chiffonade-cut
– 1/4 cup reserved pasta water
– Salt, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– It is preferable to grate the cheese so it is fine (powdery) rather than shredded. Either manner of grating will work, but Parmesan that is shredded tends to clump up more when mixed with the pasta. Finely grated cheese will yield a smoother consistency.

– Eat this dish as soon as you make it. It does NOT make for good leftovers. Trust me. I tried. 😉

Directions:

1.) In a large saucepan, cook spaghetti until it is al dente, approximately 8 minutes. Before draining, remove 1/4 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, and set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, and lemon juice. Stir to combine; this lemon cheese mixture will become thick.

3.) Pour lemon cheese mixture onto pasta and toss; add the basil and continue to toss until all ingredients are combined and basil has wilted. If the mixture seems to dry, slowly add reserved pasta water until desired consistency is met. Add salt to taste.

4.) Serve immediately, topped with more basil, parmesan, and / or lemon slices, if desired.