I do my best to do my version of a meal prep before the beginning of every week, to make sure I have healthy and quick options available on hand throughout those inevitably busy days.
A vast majority of the time that we make a poor food choice, it comes from a lack of convenience. I try to set myself up for success during the week- if I am tired and hungry coming back from work around 9:30pm, there's no way I'm making a meal from scratch for myself. But if I have a couple already-cooked options on hand to throw together on a healthy and easy dish to heat up in 2 mins or less, I really don't have an excuse to go out and buy something else.
I am huge on protein. By no means am I paleo, but I do believe that every meal of yours should not only contain protein, but it should be the highlight of the dish. Protein is vital for keeping your lean muscle mass (which you need to keep up your resting metabolism, ladies!), keeping you satiated for longer, helps regulate your blood-sugar levels so you're less likely to reach for the afternoon sweet, and is just plain delicious.
This week, I prepped chicken. I like to buy a whole family-pack size of meat usually, so I can cook it all at once, then I'll usually refrigerate half of it, and the second half will go in the freezer to keep it fresh.
Fall is quickly approaching, and as much as I love summer's seasonal produce, I have been missing the homey, heartier flavors of fall. So I decided to do a lemon-thyme herb marinade and roast the chicken. When people hear of thyme, they usually think of French food and think the dish will be very thyme-consuming (someone needs to smack me to stop these puns)- but this is seriously SO easy. The active cooking time is almost nothing, and the majority of the time spent is just waiting for it to marinate and waiting for it to cook in the oven.
Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken
*makes ~8 servings
2lbs of skinless, boneless Chicken Thighs
1/4 cup EVOO
Juice from 1 Lemon
1 Lemon, sliced into rounds
1 tbsp + 1 tsp dried Thyme
1 tbsp Paprika
1 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 cloves crushed Garlic (I used frozen)
1 small Spring Onion, sliced
Few sprigs of Rosemary to garnish
*Step 1 (marinade) should be done at least 30 mins prior to cooking start time
1. Place EVOO, lemon juice, thyme (reserve 1 tsp), paprika, crushed red pepper, garlic cloves, and half of onion slices in a large airtight glass container, and shake to mix together. Add in the chicken, close container, and gently shake/move the container around so marinade evenly coats chicken. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours, shaking or flipping every so oven to evenly distribute marinade.
2. Preheat oven to 375º. Heat up a large skillet on the stovetop on medium-high heat.
3. In a 2 qt-glass baking dish, place other half of spring onion slices and rosemary leaves from 1 sprig.
4. Remove chicken from fridge and container. Place chicken on heated skillet and sear for about 1 minute per side until outsides are lightly cooked (not all the way cooked through).
5. Place chicken in glass baking dish, and layer lemon slices, reserve thyme, and rosemary sprigs throughout dish on top of chicken.
6. Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken/lemon starts to slightly brown.
7. Remove from oven carefully, let cool for a few minutes. Then plate and serve!