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.

Cacio e Pepe Ramen

Ramen. It’s a word that we all know too well.

In my youth, from roughly 3rd grade all the way up through college, I was like any other kid I knew. Namely, I devoured ramen noodles like it was my job. Of course, in my formative years, I never knew how horrible it was for you. I just knew that little flavor packet full of MSG and approximately 2,800 milligrams of sodium satisfied something deep inside of me. Like any other American college kid, Top Ramen Chicken Ramen was a staple in my dorm room’s food shelf for four straight years, usually stacked by the dozen. It was great on those nights I didn’t feel like walking five minutes to the Carpe Diem Cafe to eat my sixth consecutive Chicken Caeser Wrap. (Bay Path Class of 2006, you know what’s up!)

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Though I have evolved to champagne tastes, I still have, in essence, a hot dog budget at times. Prime example: Two months ago, I dropped $1,600 on first month’s rent and security for my new apartment lease. (Which, luckily, is still pretty damn cheap by Manhattan standards! [Humble brag.]) And, of course, Navient loves to remind me of the $701 I owe them each month. To help heal the still-fresh wound in my bank account, in the interim, I have been eating out less and cooking more.

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A few months ago, I had been scrolling through one food web site to another with no real agenda. Something led me to discover a recipe on Spoon University for Cacio e Pepe with ramen noodles. I looked at the recipe for a few minutes with equal parts skepitism and awe. Then I decided to try it. Damn. David Chang’s onto something! I’m by no means calling this any sort of classic Italian masterpiece. Still, taste-wise, it’s at good as any Cacio e Pepe I had consumed at your average Italian restaurant. Danke Schön, Mr. Momofuku!

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Like I said: Champagne tastes on a hot dog budget. This dish has got it covered.

Don’t expect any nutriative value to this meal, either. Embrace it.

Cacio e Pepe Ramen
(Adapted from David Chang’s Instant Ramen Cacio e Pepe)
(Serves One)

Ingredients:
– 1 package instant ramen noodles, seasoning packet reserved
– 1 & 1/2 cups water
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 1 & 1/4 cups grated parmesean, percorino, and / or romano cheeses
– A few hard cracks of fresh black pepper

Before We Get Started…

– As mentioned, do not use the seasoning packet that comes with the ramen noodles. Discard or save for a later use. Personally, I’d discard that little MSG bomb.

– Have the ramen noodle package opened and ready to go, because as soon as you add the cheese, the ramen needs to pop in the pot moments later.

– I enjoy straight romano, but I’ve made it with combinations of the above cheeses, and all have turned out lovely. Experiment!

– This needs to be eaten immediately. After about five minutes, it begins to congeal. Just…don’t choke! Please and thank you in advance.

Directions:

1.) Add water, olive oil, black pepper, and butter to saucepan. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a slow boil. Allow the butter to melted completely.

2.) Add cheese to pot and stir quickly. Immediately add ramen noodles and continue to stir for about 3 to 4 minutes or until noodles are separated, soft, and coated in the cacio e pepe mixture.

3.) Transfer to bowl, top with more pepper, and consume immediately!

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