Just ask Mark: usually when I eat on my own, I will put as little effort as possible into compiling a meal. Making something like lemon pepper chicken? That sounds like waaaaay too much work to me. (It’s actually not, though, as you will soon find out!)
Typically this means I’ll cook a serving of rice, steam some frozen veggies and then mix them up in a bowl with chick peas or some other type of bean (gotta have the protein).
Based on the many different “mash-up” style recipes (as I like to call them) I’ve posted over the years, it’s evident that this has long been my go-to strategy when it comes to creating an easy, healthy dinner.
Exhibit A: Brown Rice, Black Bean Mash-Up Recipe
It’s incredibly efficient, particularly if you’re just cooking for one, which as of late I have been twice a week when Mark heads to his CPA study class after work.
However, this past week, on a night while Mark was at class, I was about to break out the rice and the frozen veggies when some strange force of the universe notified me that I was in the mood for something just a little bit more flavorful.
Something like…. Lemon pepper chicken!
So, after I scanned the fridge, the pantry and the spice rack to see what sort of ingredients we had on hand, I ended up with this recipe: a lemon pepper chicken pasta dish with tomatoes and broccoli for some veggie flare (gotta have the veggies).
Now don’t worry, I made sure that aside from prepping and cooking the chicken, compared to my nearly effortless mash-up dishes, there wasn’t any more effort involved in prepping this seriously flavorful and oh-so-satisfying meal.
After conceptualizing it my head, even I was surprised at how easily and quickly it came together.
So, whether you’re a super hungry runner like me, or a busy mom with with lots of hungry (and maybe even picky) mouths to feed, this lemon pepper chicken and pasta recipe is basically a no-brainer.
Healthy Dinner Recipe: Lemon Pepper Chicken and Pasta
*Yields about 4 servings
1 pound chicken breast
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 box whole wheat pasta (I used shells, but any type of your choice will work)
1 tomato, cubed
1/2 package frozen broccoli
1. Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Add the pasta and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to check on the progress.
2. While the pasta is cooking, cut the chicken breast into small cubes. Then, pour three or four (depending on your preference) tablespoons of olive oil into a medium pan. Place over medium heat and press the garlic cloves (if you don’t have a press you can mince the cloves and then add them in) into the pan. When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the chicken cubes to the pan.
3. Squeeze juice from half of the lemon over the chicken as it cooks. Then, sprinkle with pepper, stir and turn the chicken cubes and sprinkle with three or four more shakes of pepper again. Continue to stir and turn the chicken cubes every few minutes or so. After a two or three minutes, add the tomatoes to the pan with the chicken.
4. As the chicken continues to cook and when the pasta has about five minutes left until it’s done cooking, add the frozen broccoli to the pot with the pasta and let it cook in the boiling water for about five minutes.
5. When the pasta and broccoli are ready, drain all of the water from the pot. Then, when the chicken is ready, drain some of the oil, but not all, and then mix the chicken and tomatoes into the pot with the pasta and broccoli.
6. Squeeze juice from the other half of the lemon into the pot and then add a few more sprinkles of pepper. Stir to mix everything together and then serve.
What are your go-to healthy dinner recipes? Let me know in the comments below!
Psst.. check out some other things I’ve written about lately that you might be interested in!