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Baked Chicken and Potato Dinner: healthy, flavorful and easy

Baked Chicken and Potato Dinner calls for half a cup of lemon juice, which tenderizes the meat while imparting flavor.

Associated Press

Baked Chicken and Potato Dinner calls for half a cup of lemon juice, which tenderizes the meat while imparting flavor.

Autumn might be the official season of the one-pot wonder. Kids are back in school, the office watercooler gets crowded as we trickle back from vacation, 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 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.

The first trick: 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: 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.

Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."

BAKED CHICKEN AND POTATO DINNER

½ cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon granulated garlic, or 1 garlic clove, minced

Salt and pepper

1 pound fingerling potatoes, cleaned

1 ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

1 red onion, sliced lengthwise

½ cup small cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Lemon wedges, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, 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, garnish with lemon wedges and serve with a green salad.

Serves 4.

Nutrition information per serving: 401 calories (131 calories from fat), 15g fat (2g saturated, 0g trans fats), 124mg cholesterol, 326mg sodium, 25g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 3g sugar, 41g protein.

Baked Chicken and Potato Dinner: healthy, flavorful and easy 09/01/16 [Last modified: Thursday, September 1, 2016 1:27pm]
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