So remember the Lemon Coconut Cookies and how I hadn’t figured out a “real meal” to use all those lemons?
Yeah. I figured one out. And it is AMAZING.
And it’s seriously SO easy!! Like really, it looks all fancy and stuff but it’s almost as simple as a crockpot dinner. Not even kidding.
Start by getting a marinade together for your chicken. I used the juice of a whole lemon and the zest of half of it (I saved the other half of the zest for the rice), 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup orange juice (or any citrus juice you have on hand, really), two smashed cloves of garlic, 1 tsp each of oregano, thyme, and crushed rosemary, and a 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper, just for a little kick.
MAKE OR BREAK TIP: Put this all in a plastic bag, add your chicken, and seal the bag. Use your hands to make sure it’s all distributed, and then pop it in the fridge for at least an hour. Using a plastic bag means you need less marinade to cover the meat, and it’s much easier clean up and takes up WAY less space in the fridge!
This recipe serves four, and I used two large chicken breasts cut in half. You could also do four of the kind that are already sliced thinner (like Perdue “Perfect Portions”) – but basically, just make sure there’s four pieces of meat that are each reasonably sized for one person.
After your chicken has marinated for a while, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking pan by coating it with about a tablespoon of olive oil, and take another lemon and slice 8 thin (1/4 inch or so) slices. Place the chicken in the pan (discard the marinade), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then put 2 lemon slices on each piece of chicken.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
As for the rice, when you have about 15-20 minutes left to go on your chicken cooking time, go ahead and put 1 cup of uncooked white rice, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of milk into a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil, add your leftover lemon zest from earlier, the juice of whatever was left of the lemon you used for your slices on the chicken, and a tablespoon of salt. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let the liquid absorb.
MAKE OR BREAK TIP: Using milk as part of your liquid to cook the rice makes it thicker and creamier! Remember that rice just needs a boiling liquid to cook in – it doesn’t necessarily have to be just water!
Once the rice is almost done, add another teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of thyme, a teaspoon of oregano, and a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Stir these in, and then add 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Stir this in until it has melted and then remove the rice from the heat.
Once your chicken is done, take it out of the oven and let it cool for just a minute.
Spoon rice onto each plate, then use tongs to place a piece of chicken over each bed of rice. Serve immediately and enjoy!
This would really be super with some blanched green beans, or asparagus, or even a nice side salad, if you’re looking for something green to color it up! I just only had the energy for two dish components this time 😉
This will become a house favorite – I guarantee it!
Baked Lemon Chicken
Yield: 4 servings
2 large chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
Juice of 1 lemon, zest of half of it
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp crushed rosemary
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 thin lemon slices
1) In a plastic bag, combine lemon juice/zest, olive oil, juice, garlic, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Add chicken, seal bag, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2) Once the chicken has marinated, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking pan with 1 tbsp olive oil.
3) Place chicken side by side in the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then top with lemon slices.
4) Bake for 40-50 minutes or until cooked through. Serve over rice.
And for the rice…
Lemon Parmesan Rice
Yield: 4 servings
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1 tbsp salt
Zest & juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1) Add rice, water, and milk to a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
2) Add 1 tbsp salt and lemon zest/juice. Cover, and let simmer until liquid is almost all absorbed.
3) Once rice is almost done, add 1 tsp salt, thyme, oregano, and pepper. Stir to combine, and then stir in Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.