Mediterranean Chicken Bowl

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I’ve mentioned it a thousand times, but my Mom is incredible in so many ways. However, since I’m blogging about food, we will narrow this down to what a great cook she is. From the time my siblings and I were young, she introduced us to all kinds of delicious home cooked meals. Some were met by her five children with smiles, some with confused looks. But looking back on it, “adult me” would LOVE to have had these meals, while 6-year old Hannah was a bit unsure of things like stuffed grape leaves, gazpacho, eggplant (cooked any way…young Hannah was not a fan), shad roe (this may have been more my dad than my mom), goulash (yes – I know – it’s meat and sauce and noodles and delicious, but as a kid the name creeped me out) and putting plain yogurt on rice??  What was with that??  **Mom, if you’re reading this, don’t say you’re sorry for this lol.  I love you, your food is delicious, and I was a silly silly child who didn’t realize how good she had it lol. I love you.

But a funny thing happened when I grew up…I make gazpacho all the time in the summer, I’ve sought out shad roe at my local fish market, and it brings back memories of home – never met anyone else that eats it lol, stuffed grape leaves are a treat when I find them at a good restaurant, BRING ON THE GOULASH, eggplant – well, I’m still working on that one.  And the yogurt on rice? Growing up, I would usually decline the yogurt when I saw my mother putting it on her rice, because my brain could not comprehend how yogurt on rice could be even remotely tasty. Well, years later, I tried it, and once again I was reminded that my Mom is always right.

While I still may not be a huge fan of PLAIN yogurt on rice, I AM a fan of tzatziki on rice.  Tzatziki on it’s own is such a versatile condiment. I love it to pump up a somewhat plain dish to make it feel a bit “extra”, especially in the warmer months. Something about the cool yogurt, the crisp cucumbers, and the fresh dill with a zing of lemon makes it a near perfect combination for hot summer days.

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One of my clients requested some ideas for meal prepping, so here we go!  I’ve made all the pieces of this before but have never put it all together until now! I love this Mediterranean chicken bowl because it is essentially three recipes in one, so you can mix and match this pretty easily. Check it out!

INGREDIENTS
Chicken:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbs garlic, minced (adjust according to your love of garlic…I love it, and 2T was plenty)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs dried oregano
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cucumber Tomato Salad:img_4163.jpg
2 English cucumbers, peeled and sliced
2c. cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 Tbs minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Tzatziki Sauce:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber, finely diced
1 tsp – up to 1 Tbs minced garlic (adjust to garlic preference. I use the garlic press for theist get a little of that squeezed juice in there too)
1/2 Tbs dill weed, or 1 Tbs fresh dill, chopped fine
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh mint (optional – but add it – makes it way better)
1/2 tsp chopped fresh mSalt and pepper to taste
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

Other Ingredients:IMG_4159
2-3 cups cooked brown rice, or quinoa (I do half and half and mix them up!)
1/2c. Red onion sliced

 

mmm…tzatziki…
(also great as a veggie dip!)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • In large ziplock bag, combine all ingredients for chicken marinade, zip it, mix it, then add the chicken to it, and seal the bag shut.  Squeeze it around with your hands, making sure the chicken is covered with the yogurt marinade, then put in the fridge.  Let it sit for at least an hour, but longer is better!
  • While the chicken is soaking in all that delicious flavor, cook your rice (or quinoa or both) according to package instructions. When rice is done, divide it out to your meal prep containers.
  • Now that your chicken has marinated for a while (an hour +), take it out, and remove the chicken from the bag, and discard the bag with remaining mixture.
  • Heat up skillet with a little olive oil (or throw it on the grill!), and add chicken breasts. Cook chicken until done – depending on thickness of the breast,  timing may change.  Internal temp should be 165ºF, and when you slice into the chicken, make sure it’s fully cooked through.
  • Once finished, remove from pan, and let cool. When it is cool, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, and set aside. When I made this in the past, I cooked the chicken breast as a whole, and it worked great. This time for some reason, I chopped the chicken before it marinated without thinking, and the sear wasn’t as good (missed out on that extra flavor and color)- still tasted great, but it was a bit of a whoops moment.
  • Make the cucumber tomato salad by chopping the cukes and tomatoes, and adding all other ingredients into a bowl, and stir together. Stir to coat everything in the dressing, and set aside.
  • Next up is the tzatziki.  Combine yogurt, cucumber, garlic, dill, lemon, mint, S&P, and lemon zest (optional) into a bowl, and mix together.
  • Now, start fully assembling your bowls.  You already have your rice in your Tupperware containers, add some chicken, cucumber-tomato salad, some red onion, and a dollop of tzatziki to it, and you are good to go!  That tzatziki will be the dressing for this, but a little bit goes a long way – I used a little less than 1/4c. of it for my bowls.

*These will last 3-5 days or so in the fridge, but I wouldn’t push much longer than 5 days.  
*If raw red onion is not your style, and you want to take the edge off a little, just slice them up and let them sit in ice cold water for 8-10 minutes and they will be less oniony.  

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ENJOY!!!

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