Whole30: Day 11 (Chicken Lunch Meal-Prep 4 Ways)
Dear Whole30 diary: I have something very special for you today. Last weekend I did some meal prep work, and I’m excited to share the results of it with you! Clockwise from top left, we have Tuscan Chicken with Mushrooms and Asparagus, Deconstructed Chicken California Salad, Lemon Chicken with Rosemary Potatoes and Onions, and Rosemary Chicken with Broccoli and Harissa Sweet Potatoes. I chose chicken because it’s inexpensive, versatile, delicious, and widely-accessible. Each of these was crafted in my Lunchbots Classic Trio 1 bento lunch container.
To unpack these flavor combinations a bit more, first we have (what I’m calling) Tuscan Chicken with Mushrooms and Asparagus. The “Tuscan” aspect is the sun-dried tomatoes. Simply-prepared yet tasty mushrooms and asparagus seemed like a good pairing for those sun-dried tomatoes, plus a dash of heat from red chili flakes.
Next we have the Deconstructed Chicken California Salad, which is essentially a Cobb salad without the egg, since space was getting a bit tight in my bento lunch container after I added a sizable piece of chicken, avocado, bacon, and cherry tomatoes to the bed of salad greens.
Third is the Lemon Chicken with Thyme Potatoes and Onions. The principles of these chicken lunch combos is simple: the vegetables get roasted together on baking sheets (divided by long and short cooking time) while the mushrooms and chicken cooks in a skillet. The chicken is then divided by four and dressed up with herbs and other flavor agents separately.
Last is Rosemary Chicken with Broccoli and Harissa Sweet Potatoes. Not to worry if you don’t have harissa (a Tunisian powder or paste made of dried peppers) on hand, simply substitute smoked or sweet paprika.
Now let’s get to it! Lastly, this recipe makes enough for two servings of each combo, because doing the work for two meals is just incrementally more work than doing the work for one! 💪
- 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 4 pieces of bacon
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 red onion
- 1 head of broccoli
- 1/2 bunch of asparagus
- 1/2 lb fingerling potatoes
- 1/2 lb button mushrooms
- Olive oil
- Harissa powder (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh rosemary, minced
- Fresh thyme
- Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- Red chili flakes
- Cherry tomatoes, salad greens, avocado, and Ranch dressing (Whole30-compliant version)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Cook the bacon until crispy in a skillet over medium heat. Set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain and cool, then chop. Reserve the bacon grease.
- Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and arrange them on a baking sheet. Separate the asparagus and broccoli (short cook time) from the onions, sweet potatoes, and potatoes (long cook time). Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and black pepper and toss to coat the vegetables. Sprinkle the sweet potatoes with harissa, if using, then toss to coat.
- Cook in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then remove the broccoli and asparagus. Leave the onions, potatoes and sweet potato to cook an additional 20 minutes for a total of 40 minutes.
- Clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth. Slice in half, then cook in the bacon grease over medium heat in the skillet for 20 minutes or until they are very soft and brown, and their water has cooked off. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
- Coat the chicken thighs with olive oil, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper on both sides. Cook the chicken thighs in the skillet over medium-high heat until crispy on both sides and the meat is cooked through. Set aside to cool, then slice and/or chop.
- Toss sliced chicken with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and red chili flakes, then pair with roasted asparagus and sautéed mushrooms.
- Top chicken thighs with ranch dressing, arrange on a bed of salad greens with cherry tomatoes, half a sliced avocado, and chopped bacon.
- Squeeze a sliver of lemon over sliced chicken, toss the potatoes with the fresh thyme, and pair them with the roasted onions.
- Combine the minced rosemary with chopped chicken, then pair with the roasted broccoli and harissa sweet potatoes.
by Fresh Planet Flavor