This 6-Ingredient Recipe from Ina Garten Is Perfect for Healthy Meal Prep
Big props to Discovery, the new streaming service that has allowed us to deep-dive into our favorite old food shows! From 30-Minute Meals circa 2002 to Pioneer Woman episodes from 2012, we've already gotten our money's worth from the subscription with the delicious and timeless meal ideas Rachael Ray and Ree Drummond reminded us about.
Most recently, we've been binging our way through all things Ina Garten and were delighted to land on her show that focused on "Back to Basics," and included one recipe that we will be making on repeat for meal prep for the weeks and months to come.
Related: A Beginner's Guide to Meal Prep
"[This was] one of the most popular dishes at my store," Garten says, introducing the 2011 episode of Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro, and referring to the Hamptons, New York specialty food store she owned from 1978 to 1996. "Simple enough to make for every day, but elegant enough for the fanciest dinner party."
The Lemon Chicken Breasts recipe on Food Network's website has more than 930 reviews, and an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars, and each 393-calorie serving has a well-balanced 19 ½ grams of fat, 49 grams of protein and 3 grams of carbs.
"I just throw it in the oven and forget about it. The sauce has garlic, thyme and lemon, and has so much flavor," Garten says. "And the whole thing takes like 5 minutes to put together...The best thing about this is that it makes the chicken and the sauce at the same time." Serve it over rice or quinoa, and the grains can absorb all of the sauce, Garten recommends. "Mmm...so good!"
Begin by preparing up the sauce: Chop about 9 cloves (or 3 tablespoons) of garlic, and add it to a saucepan over medium-low heat along with ¼ cup olive oil. Pour in ⅓ cup of "good white wine," and watch the pot to ensure the garlic doesn't brown or burn. Next, stir in zest from 2 lemons, juice from 1 lemon (or about 2 tablespoons), plus 1 ½ teaspoons of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme and 1 teaspoon of salt. Boom: Your marinade and sauce is all set! Pour the lemon-garlic mixture into a baking dish.
"Lemon and garlic is a great combination, and it really wakes up the boring flavor of chicken," Garten explains.
Pat boneless chicken breasts dry, season with salt and pepper, then pop them skin-side up over the sauce. (Adding the sauce to the bottom of the pan rather than drizzling over the chicken is a pro move, Garten says, "so the chicken browns nicely.") Brush the tops with olive oil, then slice that second lemon into wedges to snuggle up alongside the chicken and roast in the same pan, infusing even more citrus flavor.
Bake for about 35 minutes at 400 degrees, "and that's about as easy as dinner gets," Garten concludes.
Once cooked, cover the pan tightly with foil for 10 minutes to allow the juice to redistribute within the meat. Enjoy ASAP, or if you can handle waiting with all those enticing aromas wafting through your home (seriously, we agree with the fan who left this review: "This is delicious and I will make it again just to have my kitchen smell like this!"), save it for lunches later in the week.
Here's how to make these Lemon Chicken Breasts meal prep-friendly: Store the sauce, lemons and chicken (sliced or as whole breasts), in the refrigerator in a storage container for up to 3 or 4 days, per USDA food safety guidelines. Reserving it with the citrus-infused pan juices keeps the chicken breasts—which can err on the dry and rubbery side once reheated—remarkably moist. And don't toss the lemon wedges: "The lemon gets tender enough that you can actually eat [it], which is incredible," Garten says.
After taking a bite, Garten raves, "so moist and delicious. Now I know why I make this all the time!"
Her fans agree, sharing reviews like, "This is the tastiest chicken breast I've ever made, with no fuss and every ingredient was already in my pantry. A slam dunk!" and "I've made it twice in one week. Meal-prepping my work lunches feels much better than eating out. I pair this with your roasted Brussels sprouts recipe."