Greek Inspired Lemon Chicken

This recipe comes to us from Pampered Chef. It’s been years since I last attended a Pampered Chef party. What about you? Those were always fun. A great excuse to get together with my female friends, have a few laughs and eat some good food. I’ve got a ton of Pampered Chef gadgets. Everything from Apple Peelers to Zester – literally everything from A to Z. When I make my Slow Roasted Kahlua Pig without the Pit, you better believe I use my big clay roaster from Pampered Chef. It has served me well over the years.

This recipe is popular among clay bakers. The clay baker allows the chicken to get a golden color that seems to be lacking in most glass casserole dishes. I suppose you could finish the dish off under a broiler for a few minutes to achieve that same golden roasted goodness.

The only things missing from this delicious dish would be a nice salad and maybe a loaf of warm, buttery bread or sourdough dinner rolls. Of course, a glass of wine is always welcomed.

Greek Inspired Lemon Chicken
3 Lemons, divided
¼ cup Olive Oil
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
¾ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
8 New Red Potatoes
1 medium red bell pepper
1 medium red onion
8 oz white mushrooms

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Using Zester, zest two of the lemons. You should get about 1-1/2 tablespoons of lemon zest. Set zest aside.

Cut one of the zested lemons in half, squeeze out the juice. You should have about 2 tablespoons of juice.

In a mixing bowl, combine the zest and the juice from the lemons with the olive oil.

Peel and press garlic over the lemon mixture.

Add oregano, salt and black pepper. Mix well.

Arrange chicken in a rectangular baking dish with a rim. (Pampered Chef has some very nice clay baking dishes).

Brush chicken breasts with the lemon mixture.

Cut the potatoes in half and set aside.

Cut the bell pepper into strips and set aside.

Cut the onion into wedges and set aside.

Thinly slice remaining lemon and set aside.

Combine the potatoes, bell pepper strips, onions, lemon slices and mushrooms with the remaining lemon juice mixture in the mixing bowl.Toss together to coat well.

Arrange the vegetables on the pan around the chicken. Bake in heated oven for 1 hour or until breasts reach 180 degrees at their thickest part.

Bush chicken with pan juices after 30 minutes of roasting, and again at the end.

Dijon-Lemon Chicken Vegetable Foil Packs

My husband thinks I’m crazy.  We’ve been married for over thirty years, and in that time I have given him ample reason to think I’m just a little nuts. Recently we made plans for our summer vacation. We’ve decided to return to an old favorite stomping ground – Yellowstone. A few years back, we discovered Rand Creek Ranch, an awesome place to call our home-away-from-home when visiting Yellowstone. We love this place for a lot of reasons. It’s centrally located between Yellowstone’s east gate and Cody, making easy day-trips to either place possible. The cabins, although be it rustic, are super cozy. Imagine all the joys of camping while having your own shower and a comfy bed at night. The ranch is a family owned and operated business and as such is a family-oriented destination. On the property, there’s a catch and release trout pond with fishing gear, horseback riding, and a nice picnic area complete with tables and a big gas grill for your use. Best of all, the owners build a camp fire each night. Everyone gathers around the fire, toasts marshmallows and shares their day’s adventures. Although there is no restaurant on the premises, every morning you will find a breakfast of fresh-baked goodies, fruit and juice waiting on your porch. While the cabins don’t have a real “kitchen”, there is a microwave, coffee-maker and refrigerator. We like to stock the fridge with hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwich fixings. In the mornings, before heading off to the park, we can pack a picnic lunch to take with us. In the evenings, we can grill up a simple supper of burgers or dogs.

This year, I thought I’d expand our grilling suppers to include foil-wrapped meals. In pursuit of different dinner-ideas, I  began to collect foil-pack recipes. Some are strictly for the grill, others are for the oven, while others still can be either. When I told Hubby of my brilliant idea, his response was “Are you crazy?”

This first foil packet is designed for the oven. While it’s not going to make the cut for our vacation suppers, it’s still a keeper. It’s easy to prepare, with very little clean-up. And my guys loved it.

Dijon-Lemon Chicken and Vegetables in Foil
1 lb baby red potatoes, halved or quartered
2 cups baby carrots
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon Miracle Whip
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
Zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lemon, thinly sliced (Use the same lemon that was zested if you like)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut four sheets of foil large enough to securely wrap the potatoes, carrots and chicken breasts. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, Miracle Whip, mustard, thyme, rosemary and lemon zest; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

In a large zip-lock bag, place potatoes. Drizzle potatoes with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste; then gently toss to combine. Place bag (open) in the microwave and par-cook potatoes for about 8-10 minutes.

Using a large serving spoon, divide potatoes into 4 equal portions and place in the center of each foil in a single layer. Scatter a handful of carrots around potatoes.

Cut each breast in half, creating four smaller breasts. Spoon some of the mustard mixture on top of each breast. Using your fingers, work the mustard mixture onto both sides of the chicken, turning chicken as needed. Top each foil pack of vegetables with one breast. Place a slice of lemon on top of the breast.
Bring foil up over the chicken, then fold down the top to firmly seal. Fold the sides of the foil over the chicken, covering completely and sealing the packets closed.

Place foil packets in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place into oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. (After 25 minutes, check for doneness. If necessary, bake longer, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender, checking every 5 minutes).

To serve, place packets on individual plates and let your diners unwrap their supper. A nice salad would round out the meal beautifully.

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For those interested, here’s a link to the ranch:

http://www.randcreekranch.com/cabins_yellowstone_codywy.php