Tonight’s dinner lets you eat clean without the hassle. This Lemon Chili Chicken is infused with a simple 6-ingredient marinade. Then, pop it in the oven and bake it in just one dish, allowing all the flavors to mingle and giving you less to wash.
Picture this– little girl, feet swinging beneath the kitchen table, piles of brightly colored cookbooks teetering before her.
I remember all the Friday nights I spent reading cookbooks as a kid, marveling at the beautiful pictures and imagining all the tastes. It seemed like so much work, though, and I always got bogged down by the number of steps involved.
Sometimes the mere thought of dirtying enough pots, pans, and spoons to fill the sink was enough to make me give up and order pizza instead. All right, fine, I never ordered pizza but, according to the movies, that’s what normal people do when they’re too tired to cook. Times like those, all I wanted was an easy recipe to make dinner. Just one thing to clean, everything in the oven at once, and minimal effort. There must be more of you who feel the same way, yet always revert to the same old dishes because by now it’s basically muscle memory. Except “same old, same old” wasn’t cutting it for me anymore.
What do we want? A one-pan wonder! When do we want it? Now!
Since you’re all riled up, maybe reading this while you’re hungry and trying to plan out dinner, I’ll tell you a little secret. Ready? Lemon Chili Chicken. By cooking the chicken together with the vegetables, you not only infuse the vegetables with the flavorful juices of the chicken, but you have fewer pans to wash later! Now that’s what I call that a resounding success.
To be perfectly honest, it was extremely tempting to throw on salt and pepper and call it a day, even though I do that pretty much all the time. Cop-out? Eh, I prefer to call it a failsafe. Except for the times when I overdo the pepper, but shhhhh let’s pretend that never happens. After a quick scan through the spice cabinet (actually, it’s just shelves in the pantry) my mental gears were spinning out ideas.
Whenever I’m stuck and can’t think of what spice to use, I end up choosing chili powder. Something about its sharp flavor just has me hooked, which plays off of sweeter tastes really well, like in this Sheet Pan Harvest Salad. (Yet another one-pan wonder to add to your back pocket.) Even though they’re both sharp tastes, I was also craving lemon. They say listen to your body, so what else was there to do? The fresh scent of lemon filling my kitchen while I zested it was unreal. The aroma is high up on the list of things that make me happy, somewhere near dark chocolate and playing with puppies.
Perhaps you’re a more seasoned chicken breast chef, but I, for one, am new to the whole marinating thing. It’s most likely due to my failure to plan ahead, although that will (hopefully) be easily remedied. This time, though, I was way ahead of the game and figured I’d give it a try. HOLY COW. If you’re like me and typically too unprepared to leave time for marinating, do yourself a (lemon chili) flavor and try it. The chicken tastes infinitely better when it’s had the proper time to soak up the amazing combo you’ve put on it.
After that, this dinner is a cinch, coming together in under an hour. Herbed vegetables are the perfect backdrop to the lemon chili chicken, and an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice ties it all together beautifully. I wish I could wrap this up with a bow and deliver it to you through the screen, but technology hasn’t quite figured out how yet. Instead I’ll settle for sending you on your way, armed with all you need to know to eat clean and simple tonight. Bon appétit!
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment below, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram so that I can see your creations!
- FOR THE CHICKEN:
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- juice of half a lemon
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- FOR THE VEGETABLES:
- 1 small head broccoli, about 2 cups florets
- 2 cups quartered button mushrooms
- ½ white onion, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 tsp oregano
- ¾ tsp thyme
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Place the chicken in a ziploc bag. Mix the remaining chicken ingredients together, then pour into the bag over the chicken, making sure to coat each piece. Let marinate in the fridge for 2-4 hours. (The longer it marinates, the more flavor will be absorbed.)
- In the last half hour, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine the oil, lemon juice, and spices for the vegetables. Toss to coat all the vegetables evenly, then spread out in a glass baking dish, making sure to keep them all in one layer.
- Remove the chicken breasts from their bag and place on top of the vegetables.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. OPTIONAL: uncover and broil for the last 2-3 minutes.