Lemon Pepper Chicken and Pasta: Healthy Dinner Recipe

lemon-pepper-chicken-pasta-dish

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).

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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

Ingredients:

1 pound chicken breast

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon

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

pepper

Directions:

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!

How City-Dwellers Can Get Fit Without a Gym Membership
Spinning for Runners: 4 Reasons It’s the Best Type of Cross Training
Easy Ways to Eat More Plant-Based Protein

Healthy Dinner Recipe: Roasted Red Potato and Broccoli Mash-Up

easy-healthy-dinner-recipe

This healthy dinner recipe is one that I made up completely on a whim, but that came out way tastier and more satisfying than I was expecting.

I make dishes like this pretty often, but usually with rice instead of potatoes. Rice is a little bit easier to cook, but the potatoes definitely helped to switch it up and add a tasty twist.

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This onion seasoning blend also helped to give it a nice kick of flavor.

In total, it took about 35 minutes to make, including prep. The most time-consuming part was dicing up the potato (about five minutes). Other than that, this is a pretty low-maintenance, no-fuss recipe, which you all know is my favorite kind.

The directions below make one serving, but the recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc. to make more.

Roasted Red Potato and Broccoli Mash-Up

Ingredients:

1 medium red potato, diced

1/2 cup chick peas

1/4 red onion, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

garlic powder

onion seasoning blend (see photo above)

1 cup frozen broccoli

salt, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the diced potato, chick peas, and diced onion on a baking pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the potato, chick peas, and onion and then toss everything around to coat. Sprinkle with garlic powder and the onion seasoning blend and then toss again. Place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until potatoes are slightly brown and crisp.

2. When ther’s about five minutes left on the potato mixture, steam the frozen broccoli until cooked (drain any extra water). Sprinkle with salt to taste.

3. When both the potato mixture and broccoli are ready, mix everything together in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle with a few more shakes of salt and the onion seasoning blend to taste and serve.

 

Make This For Dinner: Whole Wheat Pasta With Veggies And Ricotta

Mmm, who doesn’t love a good pasta dish? I grew up eating pasta every Sunday at my grandma’s house: Baked ziti, lasagna, manicotti, raviolis. Of course, what made all of these dishes so great was my grandma’s homemade sauce. (Oh an also all of the cheese.)

Unfortunately, I can’t give you her super secret sauce recipe. But what I can tell you is how to make this easy and nutritious whole wheat and veggie pasta dish that will leave your tummy smiling for many hours after you’ve finished eating.

Commence drooling.

Whole Wheat Pasta With Veggies Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 box whole wheat pasta (I used Rotini style)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (brand of your choice, or make your own!)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (add more if you like it to be extra cheesy)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

1. Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes. Add in the chopped bell pepper and broccoli and drizzle with third table spoon of olive oil. Cover and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Cook the pasta in a separate pot.

3. When pasta is finished cooking, drain using a colander and return pasta to pot. Mix in the tomato sauce and then the ricotta cheese, stirring until well blended.

4. Add the cooked bell pepper and broccoli to the pasta mixture and stir again.

5. Fill a large baking tin (I used an 8×4) with half of the pasta mixture. Cover with half of the mozzarella cheese. Add the rest of the pasta to the tin and sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over top.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until mozzarella cheese is melted and gooey.

(Makes about 6 servings)