My typical combo for meal prep bowls is grains-veggies-protein-sauce, and this bowl is no exception. It comes together quickly and keeps well throughout the week. And of course, it’s easy to grab and run out the door.
This sauce is based on a dish that I used to make (badly) when I was a kid. I think I must have invented that recipe, so it might actually be my first original recipe. I called it lemon pepper chicken, and it was so heavy on the packaged lemon pepper seasoning that it was pretty much straight-up salt. I sometimes look back on that and wonder if my family just ate it politely so not to hurt my feelings.
Eventually I stopped making it (probably when I went to college). So, I haven’t eaten it for 20 years.
This bowl is much more subtle in flavor and uses (gasp!) real lemons and pepper instead of packaged lemon pepper. The lemon brightens it all up and adds great flavor to the quinoa in the mix.
I made a simple garlic version of the roasted broccoli so the flavors wouldn’t compete, and it worked out well. Ideally, I’d double the broccoli to up the veggies in the bowl, but at the time, one head is all I had!
Feel free to double the quinoa if you’d like a little more volume. My standard serving for grains is usually ½ cup, so that’s what I stuck with here.
Heat the oil in a skillet and brown the chicken on all sides. I sprinkled it liberally with salt and black pepper as it was cooking. (Once the sauce is done you can test it and add more salt and pepper if you want!)
Once the chicken is browned, throw in the butter and mustard and let the butter melt. The butter will create a tasty base for your sauce and will combine with the flour that you’ll add next. That being said, sprinkle in the flour as soon as the butter melts and stir it all well. You’ll cook the flour butter mixture for a few minutes until it’s golden. Keep stirring it every few seconds throughout so it doesn’t burn.
Next, add in the broth, starting with a tablespoon or two. It should start to sizzle as soon as you add it. Use that sizzle to scrape up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Then add in a few more tablespoons, stirring constantly to create a smooth mixture with the butter/flour combo you made earlier. Once it’s smooth, you can add in the rest of the broth, followed by the lemon juice and the zest.
Then turn down the heat and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes to make sure the chicken is cooked through and let the flavors mingle. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if needed.
To assemble the bowls, add ½ cup quinoa, ¼ of your roasted broccoli, and ¼ of the chicken and sauce mixture. Enjoy!
The Recipe: Lemon Pepper Chicken Meal Prep Bowls
- 3 chicken breasts, cubed
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 c. chicken broth
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Juice and zest of 2 lemons
- 1-2 heads roasted broccoli
- 2 c. cooked quinoa
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet. Add chicken and brown on all sides. As chicken browns, sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
- After chicken has browned, add butter to chicken in pan. Sprinkle with flour. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly to allow flour to cook.
- Slowly add chicken broth, starting with a couple tablespoons. As the broth bubbles, scrape the bottom of the pan and stir vigorously to bring up any browned bits. Add the rest of the broth, lemon zest, and juice.
- Simmer 10 minutes to thicken.
- To assemble bowls, add ¼ chicken mixture, ¼ roasted broccoli, and ½ c. quinoa to bowl or container. Mix together to enjoy! These will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.