I wish I could say that we live footloose and fancy free, munching fresh, pre-washed berries and throwing together a beautiful salad on the fly with the ingredients I just so happen to find floating around the fridge. But that's not really the case these days. As much as I may begrudge it, pre-planned and pre-prepped dinners give me breathing room and piece of mind on the days when we're rushing around from here to there. Or on weekend nights when I'd rather be lounging and puttering in the yard than stuck in the kitchen cooking, yet again. My goal is to eat better and cook less. Chop and slice and dice less. So dinners like this are just the thing.
I cook large batches of dried, soaked beans then store in bags in the freezer. In this recipe, when the beans break down they mix with the mayo and chicken juices to make a nice, slightly creamy sauce. The lemon juice and olives make this dish bright and tangy. Bonus: all the components are large enough to pick out, depending on your taste.
We serve this with white rice cooked with chicken stock and lots of butter or roasted garlic cauliflower and a big green salad.
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/3 cup avocado or olive oil
- 1/4 cup Tessemae's Zesty Ranch Dressing OR replace with additional 1/4 cup oil and 1 cup chopped fresh herbs
- 1/4 cup mayo (such as Sir Kensington's)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3 pinches sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- optional: generous shake of your favorite seasoning blend such as Sunny Paris or 21 Seasoning Salute
- Juice of 1 small lemon or half large lemon
- 2 cups cooked white beans
- 8 oz artichoke hearts
- 1 1/2 cups pitted kalamata olives
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 3/4 cup dried apricots
- Chopped arugula or parsley to garnish
Place chicken thighs in a gallon ziploc bag or large container. In a pyrex or bowl mix together the oil, herbs, mayo, honey, salt, pepper, seasonings and lemon juice. Pour over the chicken. Add beans, artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes and apricots to bag. Close bag tight, squeezing out excess air and gently massage the ingredients so that everything is nice and coated. Place in the fridge for 2-24 hours as needed. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400° and pour contents of bag into a 9" x 13" baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Flip the chicken and gently stir other ingredients so ensure even browning. Cook another 20-30 minutes, until chicken is fork tender and slightly browned. Remove from oven, cool for 10 minutes and serve with arugula or parsley.