Spoil yourself and plate the meal. You eat with your eyes first and you worked hard today! Enjoy the meal!

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast (buy these in bulk packages, usually 8-9 per package, and freeze in individual meal portions i.e. if cooking for 2 – freeze 2 per bag and label the bag using a permanent marker with the item name and date “2 Chicken breasts 020717” – really, everything looks the same when frozen!)
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. za’atar spice mix
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 400f
Line an 11” x 17” rimmed baking tray with parchment paper – trust me, this will make clean up easier
In a small microwave safe container, add some olive oil to your spice mix and stir, olive oil should cover the spice mix – microwave in 10 second bursts 2 times – you only want to warm up the oil so the spices release some flavors – set aside
Trim the boneless skinless chicken breasts of any fat – rub with the cooled spice mix/oil – set aside – the longer your meat marinates, the tastier it is, so if you think of it, marinate it the night before
Cut up the vegetables – keeping them the same thickness, and add to the baking sheet, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper
Add the chicken breast and any marinade left in the bowl to the tray
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the breast reaches 170F – remove the tray from the oven, using the instant read thermometer, insert the tip half way through the thickest part of the meat – the temperature should read 170F or 76C. Always check at the minimum time, in this case 20 minutes, as you can always add more time if it needs it, where as if it is overdone, that’s a dry dinner!

Substitutions and Alterations:

  • Don’t want chicken – use fish or some type of meat – this is a light marinade and will work best with milder tasting food – pork or salmon or most any other type of fish. I wouldn’t use beef with this, I would use a stronger mix of spices
  • Want more veggies – use squash, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers – and of course jalapenos or Thai chillies, onions – you get the idea. Just take a walk down the produce aisle of your grocery store
  • Want it spicier – add Thai Chillies or Jalapenos to your veggies. Add cayenne powder to your spice mix. More exotic – add cumin powder, curry powder, coriander powder, Chinese 5 spice powder etc. one at a time or a mixture – just remember to taste it before you add it to what you are cooking – if it doesn’t taste good here, it will not taste good on your chicken – make it tasty!
  • Want it milder, just use olive oil, salt, pepper and dried rosemary or thyme (fresh is always best, but most of it ends up in the garbage as you usually need a little, but it’s only sold in bunches
  • Want more carbs – serve it with plain rice or pasta.  Less carbs – serve it with more veggies!
  • Buy expensive items such as meat when it’s on sale and freeze in dinner size portions. Label the bag with contents and date. It’s less expensive and gives you more money for the low fat, double shot of espresso, no foam… latte 🙂

Most important – things in place, “mise en place”. Cut vegetables, marinated chicken, trash bowl, parchment lined tray.

Marinated chicken and vegetables on the parchment lined baking tray.

Checking the temperature at the thickest part of the chicken – it’s done!