Lemon Oregano Chicken and Vinaigrette

Chicken breasts are one of those foods that are healthy and convenient, but often boring and repetitive.  So one night when we were going to have chicken salads for dinner, I looked for a new way to add flavor that wouldn’t be too difficult.  My first stops for dinner recipes are generally Epicurious and the Food Network, and it was on the Food Network website that I found the most simple lemon chicken recipe with the most amazing reviews.  The marinade and salad dressing combined have only 5 ingredients, all of which are easy to have around at all times.  Is it the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted?  No, but when you factor in the healthfulness and convenience, this recipe is a total winner!

The original recipe by Dave Lieberman is for a Greek salad, but I just used the marinade and dressing recipes to create a salad using whatever I happened to have around – usually some nuts, avocado, and a few kinds of veggies.  I’ve also tossed the leftover chicken with pasta, olive oil, and romano cheese for a very enjoyable lunch.  And I think the chicken could even stand on it’s own as a main course with a yummy side dish (garden risotto?  more on that another time!) – so versatile!

 

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Lemon Oregano Chicken and Vinaigrette
adapted from Food Network

For the chicken:
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
A couple good pinches salt
10 grinds black pepper
1 whole boneless skinless chicken breast (approx 1.5-2 lbs)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk all ingredients except the chicken in a non-reactive baking dish (e.g., glass or corningware).  Add chicken breast, cut into whatever kind of pieces you’d like (halves, tenders, etc.) and turn to coat.  Cover and let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  It does not really need longer than that, and the outside of the chicken will begin to “cook” a little bit from the lemon even in that short time, but the original recipe says you can marinate up to 4 hours if you want.

Bake chicken until cooked through, about 25 minutes for a split whole chicken breast.  Time will vary depending on the size of your chicken pieces.  Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

Note that the original recipe calls for cooking the chicken in a skillet or grill pan, but I have learned over the years that I am very prone to drying chicken out this way, so I prefer baking.  Another advantage is you can marinate and cook in the same dish – easy clean-up!

For the dressing:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon honey
3 pinches salt
10 to 15 grinds black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a resealable container and shake vigorously, or wisk in a measuring cup. Refrigerate until ready to serve, and then bring to room temperature before tossing salad.
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