Whitesburg KY
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Lemon juice makes chicken and potato bake into a breeze

This photo shows baked chicken with potatoes. . (Photo courtesy Melissa d’Arabian via AP)

This photo shows baked chicken with potatoes. . (Photo courtesy Melissa d’Arabian via AP)

Autumn might be the official season of the onepot wonder. Kids are back in school, the office water cooler gets crowded as we trickle back from summer vacations, and suddenly dinnertime feels like more of a time-squeeze.

Busy lives need quick meals that don’t require a ton of prep, crazy ingredients or lots of dishes because the last thing I want to do after a long day of work, kids activities and homework-checking is a counter loaded up with dishes.

Baked dinners are a classic weeknight solution, but how to make one that is healthy, flavorful, and easy? This basic chicken and potato bake is so simple, you might breeze right past the recipe.

But the trick is: lots of lemon juice. Half a cup sounds like a ton, but it’s what makes the chicken super flavorful in just minutes. The high acid level gets right into the chicken and tenderizes it, and yet as it bakes, the acid mellows and softens into a gorgeous gentle tang. The second trick to this dinner-in-a-pan is a super quick turn in the microwave for some baby potatoes (Note: you can cube up larger potatoes if you don’t have tiny ones).

I’m using boneless skinless chicken breast, but you can use pork chops (bone-in recommended) or even fish. My weeknight strategy: pop this pan into the oven, toss together a green salad, and set the table while the chicken cooks. Easy, healthy, and even comforting in a fall-night sort of way.

Baked Chicken and Potato Dinner
Start to finish: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon granulated garlic, or 1 garlic clove,
1 pound fingerling potatoes, cleaned
1 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts,
1 red onion, sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup small cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
lemon wedges, for garnish
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, mix together
the lemon juice, olive oil, granulated garlic and salt
and pepper. Pierce each potato a couple of times
with a fork (to allow steam to escape), and place the
potatoes in a medium microwave-safe bowl and toss
with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice mixture. Cover
with a lid slightly askew to allow steam to escape, and
microwave on high until potatoes begin to soften,
about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the chicken breasts, onion and
tomatoes in the lemon juice mixture and toss to coat.
Let sit for a few minutes.
Spray an oven-safe baking pan with nonstick
spray. Pour the potatoes on the bottom of the baking sheet. Pour the chicken, onions, tomatoes and
remaining marinade on top of the potatoes. Bake
until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are
tender, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh thyme
and serve with a green salad.

Nutrition information per serving: 401 calories;
131 calories from fat; 15 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans
fats); 124 mg cholesterol; 326 mg sodium; 25 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 41 g protein.
Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian is an expert
on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the
cookbook “Supermarket Healthy.

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