Moroccan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Moroccan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Can you tell I’m a huge fan of roasted chickens?

I’ve got this recipe, and this recipe, and this recipe to show for it 😛

And here we are again, with another delicious spin, this time with lots of veggies packed in.

Moroccan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables-3

Now, I’m sort of conflicted about whether or not to roast a chicken straight in the pan with the veggies.

On the one hand, it keeps the chicken tender and moist since it’s nestled amongst the produce…. but then it doesn’t get that lip-smacking ultra crispy skin around the outside.

But on the other hand, all the succulent juices seep out of the chicken and baste the vegetables, giving them way more flavor than normal.

After a bit of testing, I’ve come up with a pretty great solution.

Let the bird cook by itself for a little bit, on high heat, to develop a nice crispy skin.

THEN add the veggies, turn down the heat a bit, and let the chicken and vegetables finish cooking together.

This method = nice crispy skin on the top of the bird, but really tender, fall off the bone meat on the legs and thighs, along with tender and flavorful veggies.

Moroccan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables-4

As you might be aware, one of my goals for 2017 is to make an effort to serve my food sensitivity clients with my blog posts.

So, this Moroccan Roasted Chicken recipe is 100% LEAP-friendly.

It’s got chicken, leap-tested spices (paprika, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, and black pepper), lemon, and leap-tested veggies (onion, cauliflower, and sweet potato). Add a little salt & your choice of cooking oil or fat, and you’re good to go.

And don’t worry if you have to omit the black pepper. You won’t even miss it with all the spice going on in this dish.

My goal is to show that even meals that are prepared with relatively simple ingredients can be mouth watering and taste like a treat. There’s no need to suffer through bland food while in the midst of an elimination diet!

So, stay tuned for more creative LEAP-friendly recipes in the future.

Cheers!

Moroccan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables-6

Moroccan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 5-6 pound whole chicken (preferably pasture raised)
  • Kosher salt for seasoning
  • Ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 2.5 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Zest of 1 lemon, the rest of the lemon cut into quarters
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil (or other approved oil)
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1 inch florets
  • 1 extra large red onion, peeled, halved, and each half cut into fourths, lengthwise

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Grease the interior bottom and sides of a large 4.5 quart baking dish (usually a Pyrex or glazed ceramic dish) with olive oil or another approved cooking fat.
  • While the oven preheats, remove the chicken from its packaging, remove the giblets from the interior cavity and save for another use or discard. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then place it breast-up in the greased baking dish.
  • Carefully slide your fingers underneath the skin on the breasts (starting from the bottom near the cavity), creating a pocket between the skin and actual chicken breast flesh. Wash your hands well with hot water and soap before moving on to the next step.
  • Next, sprinkle the outside of the chicken well with kosher salt (about 1 tablespoon total) and ground black pepper. 
  • In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, cumin, cayenne, and lemon zest. Spoon out 1 tablespoon of the spice rub mixture for the vegetables and set aside. 
  • Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the main spice rub mixture (NOT the 1 tablespoon you reserved) to create a paste, and rub it all over the chicken. Start with the pockets between the skin and chicken breasts, and then rub the rest over the entire outside of the chicken. If you have any left, you can rub it inside the chicken cavity too. 
  • Finally, stuff the lemon quarters inside the chicken cavity, and place the whole baking dish in the oven to roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes. 
  • While the chicken roasts, place the chopped sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and onion in a large bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper. Add the reserved spice mixture to the vegetables, and toss until evenly coated.
  • When the chicken has roasted for 30 minutes, remove the baking dish from the oven and place on a stove-top or heat-proof surface. Carefully spoon the vegetables into the pan, surrounding the chicken entirely. Be careful not to accidentally touch the hot baking dish!
  • When the vegetables are evenly nestled around the chicken, place the whole baking dish back in the oven, reduce the heat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and let cook for another 45 minutes. 
  • When the 45 minutes are up, use a meat thermometer to verify that the thickest part of the thigh has reached at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If it has, then the chicken is done. If the chicken has not reached the proper temperature yet, continue roasting until it does. 
  • When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving alongside the roasted vegetables and pan juices.
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Veggie Packed Couscous with Lemon Oregano Chicken

Veggie Packed Couscous Salad with Lemon Oregano Chicken

One of the best parts about pilafs is how much good stuff you can pack into them, without the dish feeling overly heavy.

Simply cook a grain or starch, toss it with a whole bunch of veggies and herbs, drizzle with a flavorful dressing, and top with a protein of your choice.

Voila! You’ve got a balanced meal in a bowl.

Veggie Packed Couscous Salad with Lemon Oregano Chicken

This delicious recipe takes things to flavor town.

Tender, fluffy, buttery couscous, tossed with crisp tender broccoli and asparagus, sweet bell pepper and tomato, fresh cucumber, parsley, and green onion, briny olives, and tangy feta cheese. A drizzle of lemon-garlic-oregano dressing and a liberal pinch of salt and pepper ties it all together.

What makes it even better?

Marinating chicken in a lemon-garlic-oregano marinade, then grilling for extra smoky flavor, and serving on top of the couscous salad.

Sure, this dish requires a lot of chopping of veggies, but boy, is it worth it. And it makes A TON, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers for lunches during the week. Enjoy!

Veggie Packed Couscous Salad with Lemon Oregano Chicken

Veggie Packed Couscous with Lemon Oregano Chicken

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the couscous:

  • 10 ounce uncooked plain couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or butter
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound asparagus, woody ends removed, spears cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 pound broccoli, florets cut into 1/2 inch pieces, stems saved for another use
  • 2 small red bell peppers, seeded & diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 large English cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup halved kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley
  • 6 ounces crumbed feta

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • pita bread (optional)

Instructions

For the chicken:

  • Add the chicken cutlets to a large ziplock bag or medium baking dish and set aside.
  • Whisk together the chicken marinade ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper) in a small bowl. 
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to coat well. Let rest at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the salad.

For the couscous:

  • Add the dry couscous, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter to a large heat-proof bowl. Pour two cups of boiling water over the couscous, cover with a large plate, and let steam for five minutes. When the couscous is done cooking, remove the plate, and fluff with a fork. Set aside and let cool.
  • Meanwhile, add two tablespoons of olive oil to a large nonstick skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the chopped asparagus and broccoli, and sautĂ© for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are bright green and crisp tender. Add the broccoli and asparagus to the bowl with the couscous and let cool.
  • While the vegetables and couscous cool, make the dressing. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients (extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper) in a small bowl and set aside. 
  • When the vegetables and couscous are no longer piping hot, add the bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, green onion, parsley, and feta to the bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix until evenly coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Finally, warm a grill pan over high heat on the stove. Add the chicken cutlets and cook, about 3 minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked through & has grill marks. Remove from the grill and let cool for 5 minutes. Slice into strips, and set aside. 
  • If desired, brush pita bread with plain or garlic olive oil and lightly grill. Serve on the side of the salads. 
  • When ready to eat, spoon the couscous into individual serving bowls, top with sliced chicken, and enjoy. 

Easy Herbed Chicken and Rice

Easy Herbed Chicken and Rice in a Large Bowl

The key to always having dinner available on a busy weeknight?

Frozen chicken breasts + pantry staples.

They’ll get you through anything!

This delicious chicken & rice dinner was the result of an effort to clean out the fridge & pantry, and it’s freaking amazing.

Easy Herbed Chicken and Rice with Fresh Herbs

First pantry staples? Rice and broth.

Cooking rice in broth gives it WAY more flavor, and allows it to form the base of a pilaf without being boring.

Next up: carrots, celery, and onion.

Simply sauté over medium heat for like 30 minutes, until the carrots and onions are nicely caramelized and FULL of flavor.

Add frozen peas and minced garlic.

(Two more ingredients that are almost always on hand)

Dump in a large bowl & toss with the warm rice.

Stir in: lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley.

This mixture alone is SO yummy, and makes a great side dish, but you can turn it into an easy meal by adding sautéed chicken pieces.

Enter, frozen chicken breasts.

I always always have a bag of these in the freezer. They are a LIFESAVER on busy weeknights

Simply defrost, cut into cubes, season with salt, pepper, and a little dried oregano, and dredge with a light coating of flour. Pan fry until golden and crispy, and toss into the rice pilaf.

When it’s all said and done, you’ve got a well balanced meal in a bowl. Protein + veggies + grains + healthy fats. Yum.

Easy Herbed Chicken and Rice with Vegetables

Easy Herbed Chicken and Rice

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Erica Julson

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white or brown rice
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 extra large carrots, diced
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 head garlic, cloves peeled and minced
  • 1 medium bunch parsley, minced
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fat or oil of your choice (I used leftover olive oil from turkey confit, but regular olive oil, lard, or other animal fat would work as well)

Instructions

  • Add the rice and broth to a rice cooker and cook until done. Let sit on “warm” while you prep the rest of the dinner. (Alternatively, cook the rice in a saucepan according to package directions until tender, if done early, keep warm by storing in the oven or microwave).
  • As the rice cooks, add the carrots, celery, and onion to a large nonstick skillet along with 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Season generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each). Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are nicely caramelized and golden brown.
  • Add the frozen peas and garlic to the pan, and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and the peas are defrosted. Transfer the entire mixture to a large serving bowl. Add the cooked rice, chopped parsley, fresh lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and toss to combine. Set aside. (I put mine in the microwave to keep it warm, but putting it in a turned-off oven works too).
  • Next, sprinkle the cubed chicken with the flour and season with about 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and ground black pepper. Sprinkle with the dried oregano and toss to coat the chicken evenly.
  • Add the 2 tablespoons fat or oil of your choice to the same skillet that you browned the vegetables in. Warm over medium-high heat and add the chicken (don’t add any of the extra flour from the plate, as it will burn). Cook, stirring occasionally, until well golden brown on all sides, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the golden chicken pieces to the rice mixture and toss to combine. Spoon into bowls, and serve.
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