Steamed Lemon Chicken and Rice Dinner

Steamed Lemon Chicken and Vegetables (500x332) My fellow night shifters, this post is for you!

I’ve worked night shifts since I was 19 years old, and I can tell you all about an eerily quiet hospital. During the day, the hospital is a hubbub of activity – visitors, procedures, surgeries, doctors, specialists, etc. Even though it can get really busy at night too (let’s face it, it’s a hospital, all kinds of crazy things can happen), it’s based only on emergencies. I’ve always been a night owl, so it’s easy for me to stay up all night. You either love working nights or you don’t.

As a night nurse, I still have to make sure that we have something to eat for dinner, even if I worked the night before, and have to go back to work the next night. Since I work 12 hour shifts, that means that there’s not a lot of time left to sleep, take a shower and get ready to go back to work again. That’s why I really appreciate dinners like this one.

We’ve been making this delicious dinner for many years, since I was a teenager in my parents’ home. One of the best things about it is that I can do all the prep work ahead of time and it takes less than half an hour to get it all cooked. I marinate the chicken and cut the vegetables whenever I have a little extra time, a few days before or in the morning when I come home from work. Take 10-15 minutes in the morning for the prep, and then get some sleep, knowing that dinner will come together in 15-20 minutes, and it will taste SO mouthwatering and bursting with flavor. Most people expect steamed chicken to be bland and dry, but not this one. 

Ingredients:

Rice Pilaf 

Chicken:

2 chicken breast halves (boneless, skinless)

2-3 Tablespoons mayonnaise or Greek yogurt

lemon juice from half a lemon

1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon dry thyme and paprika, each

Vegetables:

4 carrots, peeled and chopped into coins

1 1/2 – 2 cup broccoli florets

1 1/2 – 2 cups cauliflower florets

1/2 Tablespoon oil

salt, pepper

3/4 – 1 cup chicken broth

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tablespoon butter

lemon juice from half a lemon

1 Tablespoon fresh minced parsley

Prep all your ingredients.

Cut the chicken into 1 -1 1/2 inch cubes. IMG_7092 (500x334) Combine it with the mayo (0r Greek yogurt), lemon juice, salt, pepper and spices. Set aside to marinate while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

You can prep it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it. It’s a really convenient dinner to have on hand. IMG_7095 (500x334)

IMG_7097 (500x334) I love the way the lemon juice gives so much refreshing, tart flavor to the chicken. It’s absolutely phenomenal in this recipe. The mayonnaise or yogurt, whichever you choose, coats the chicken giving it creaminess.

Chop the carrots into coins and cut the broccoli and cauliflower into florets.

IMG_7101 (500x334) Start cooking your rice.

Pour enough water to cover the bottom of a deep skillet. Place a steaming basket inside the skillet, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the steaming basket. Bring the water to a boil. IMG_7103 (500x334) Place the chicken inside the steaming basket, leaving a little room around the chicken so the steam will be able to get through to the chicken. IMG_7104 (500x334) Reduce the heat to medium, cover the skillet with a lid and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes, just until the chicken is no longer pink.

Don’t overcook the chicken, I beg you! If you’re nervous about under cooked chicken, just break one of the chicken pieces in half, if there’s no pink in the center, the chicken is cooked though. It rarely ever takes more than 5 minutes total.

Take the chicken off the heat and keep it covered to stay warm. You will be blown away with how juicy and tender the chicken is. Every time I serve this to guests, they all rave about the juiciness and succulent flavor of the chicken.  IMG_7118 (500x334) Meanwhile, in another skillet, heat half the oil on medium high heat, add the carrots, season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the carrots are slightly golden. IMG_7112 (500x334) Add about 1/8 – 1/4 cup of chicken broth to the skillet, and cover the skillet, reducing the heat to medium. Cook for about 3 more minutes, until the carrots are cooked through and tender. (If you don’t have any chicken broth on hand, use water instead. I love how the chicken broth infuses the veggies with such rich flavor, though.) IMG_7120 (500x331) Remove the carrots from the skillet and set aside in a covered bowl. In the same skillet, add the remaining oil, turn the heat back to medium high, add the broccoli and cauliflower florets, season with salt and pepper. Cook on high heat until the florets begin to wilt and brown around the edges. IMG_7122 (500x334) Add about 1/4-1/3 cup of chicken broth to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, cover the skillet and cook the florets until they are cooked through but still vibrant and crisp, another 3 minutes or so. IMG_7124 (500x334) Transfer the broccoli and cauliflower into the same bowl as the carrots. Add the minced garlic to the skillet and cook for about 30 seconds. IMG_7126 (500x334) Add the lemon juice and the rest of the chicken broth to the skillet, turn the heat up to high and cook for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced to half the amount that you started with. IMG_7128 (500x334) Take the skillet off the heat and add one Tablespoon of butter, whisking it into the sauce. IMG_7130 (500x334) This will make your sauce velvety and rich. Add the fresh parsley. IMG_7131 (500x334) The sauce is absolutely optional. You can just serve the chicken and vegetables with the rice pilaf, no sauce needed.

Toss the vegetables in the sauce and serve with the Rice Pilaf and the Steamed Lemon Chicken. Steamed Lemon Chicken and Rice (500x334)

Steamed Lemon Chicken and Rice Dinner
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Steamed Lemon Chicken:
  • Rice Pilaf
  • 2 chicken breast halves (boneless, skinless)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
  • lemon juice from half a lemon
  • ½-3/4 teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dry thyme, paprika
Vegetables:
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped into coins
  • 1½ – 2 cup broccoli florets
  • 1½ – 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • ½ Tablespoon oil
  • salt, pepper
  • ¾ – 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 garlic cloved, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • lemon juice from half a lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh minced parsley
Instructions
  1. Prep all your ingredients.
  2. Cut the chicken into 1 -1½ inch cubes. Combine it with the mayo, lemon juice, salt, pepper and spices. Set aside to marinate while you prep the rest of the ingredients. You can prep it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it. It’s a really convenient dinner to have on hand.
  3. Chop the carrots into coins and cut the broccoli and cauliflower into florets.
  4. Start cooking your rice.
  5. Pour enough water to cover the bottom of a deep skillet. Place a steaming basket inside the skillet, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the steaming basket. Bring the water to a boil.
  6. Place the chicken inside the steaming basket, leaving a little room around the chicken so the steam will be able to get through to the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the skillet with a lid and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes, just until the chicken is no longer pink. Don’t overcook the chicken, I beg you! If you’re nervous about under cooked chicken, just break one of the chicken pieces in half, if there’s no pink in the center, the chicken is cooked though. It rarely ever takes more than 5 minutes total.
  7. Take the chicken off the heat and keep it covered to stay warm.
  8. Meanwhile, in another skillet, heat half the oil on medium high heat, add the carrots, season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the carrots are slightly golden.
  9. Add about ⅛-1/4 cup of chicken broth to the skillet, and cover the skillet, reducing the heat to medium. Cook for about 3 more minutes, until the carrots are cooked through and tender.
  10. Remove the carrots from the skillet and set aside in a covered bowl.
  11. In the same skillet, add the remaining oil, turn the heat back to medium high, add the broccoli and cauliflower florets, season with salt and pepper. Cook on high heat until the florets begin to wilt and brown around the edges.
  12. Add about ¼-1/3 cup of chicken broth to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, cover the skillet and cook the florets until they are cooked through but still vibrant and crisp, another 3 minutes or so.
  13. Transfer the broccoli and cauliflower into the same bowl as the carrots.
  14. Add the minced garlic to the skillet and cook for about 30 seconds.
  15. Add the rest of the chicken broth to the skillet, turn the heat up to high and cook for about 5 minutes, until the liquid reduced to half the amount that you started with.
  16. Take the skillet off the heat and add one Tablespoon of butter, whisking it into the sauce. This will make your sauce velvety and rich.
  17. Add the remaining lemon juice and the fresh parsley. The sauce is optional.
  18. Toss the vegetables in the sauce and serve with the Rice Pilaf and the Steamed Lemon Chicken.
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Comments

  1. Ruslana says

    I work the same shift as you but not as long as you cause I graduated a year ago, except I’m not married yet so I’m not always responsible for dinner, but it is hard to think of ideas when you have like 1 hour for food prep before going back to work.. So I appreciate you sharing these quick recipes :)

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