Last week, after 16 weeks of being home with Ben, I returned to work. There are so many thoughts swirling in my brain about maternity leave, child care, balancing work and spending time with my son while also leaving time for dusting, mopping, sorting, washing, folding, combing, carrying, drying, combusting, reading, painting nails, etc. You get the point. But, I want to start with the relatively practical items. First things first, we can't fall back into bad habits of ordering or dining out on weeknights because (1) it's not healthy (2) we're paying for daycare now (3) I'd rather spend that money on cute baby clothes.
So, here we are. If I thought I didn't have time to cook before, HAHAHAHAHAHA. I was wrong. I had all the time, I was just... Who the hell knows what I was. By the way, let's bookmark this one? A post all about, "What did I do with all that free time?! I could've read all the books and learned how to knit or something."
Anyway, back to the problem at hand: Cooking at home but not having it take hours, so there's no downtime, and having leftovers BUT not so many that by Wednesday we're ordering out again. because who wants to have the same thing three times in one week? Not us.
The solution? First installment in a new series! Quick dinners for busy parents. recipes that you can pull together in an hour or less and use leftovers the next day in a different meal that takes even less time.
All you need for this meal are chicken thighs, tons of fresh basil, tomatoes of all sorts, shallots, red peppers, and garlic. Also, one big oven safe pan. Ready? Here we go.
But first, here are some pictures because this is a blog.
tomato basil chicken
(loosely based on this Jamie Oliver recipe)
- 1 package skin on chicken thighs (breasts would work too)
- 1/2 lb fresh basil, rough chopped. Stems and all!
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, cut length wise
- 4-5 Roma tomatoes, quartered
- 1 pack cherry tomatoes
- 1 heirloom tomato, chopped up
- 1 red pepper cut up into quarter inch pieces
- 1/2 lemon, 3-4 slices and the rest reserved for squeezing
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- salt + pepper
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
I also used Trader Joe's "Everything but the Bagel" seasoning, because I use it on everything now. It's the best. You can substitute any poultry or spice rub that you have, or skip and make your own spice mix from what's listed above and whatever you have on hand.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Pour a glug of olive oil into your pan and heat it up.
- Toss in tomatoes, garlic, shallots, red pepper, and basil. Cook down for just a few minutes. No more than five.
- Dry your chicken thighs and rub spice mix into the skin.
- Turn off the heat on the vegetables and squeeze chicken into the tomato/basil/pepper situation.
- Place slices of lemon on each piece of chicken and drizzle the remainder of your olive oil on top.
- Bake in the oven for 35-40 min. Finish off on the broil setting for an additional 5 minutes. The chicken should be browned and the spice mix will look blackened a bit. It's not. Don't worry.
- Serve on a bed of mixed greens and freshly grated Parmesan or cheese of choice. Squeeze the remainder of your lemon on top of everything.
- You're going to have leftovers. Scoop them all, including the juices in the pan, into some Tupperware (not endorsed).
Ok, so what to do with the leftovers tomorrow? Stay tuned!