This lemon-garlic chicken dinner for two is so flavorful! And the creamed spinach that goes with this meal is really, really easy to make!
If you're bored with the same old chicken dinner routine, I'm here to help! This tasty one-skillet dinner is actually the first of a two-part chicken dinner recipe series. The inspiration behind it is using one main ingredient (in this case, chicken thighs) and prepping two separate meals at the same time.
I know, you might be thinking, "chicken thighs? I thought those weren't healthy?" And while dark-meat chicken does have more fat than boneless, skinless chicken breast, I think all foods can fit into our meal plans just fine, and it's important to have variety in our meals! So for those (like my husband) who love the dark meat, it's totally okay to enjoy it every once in a while!
Another bonus of using chicken thighs for the two recipes in this recipe series is the price. I cook for two people at home, so I got a pack of 4 chicken thighs for under $3.50 at the grocery store. Score!! :) Side note: if you're cooking for four, just double the recipe!
These chicken dinners start with two simple marinades. Since I was making both recipes at the same time, I got two zip-lock bags out (one for each recipe), and both marinades were ready in five minutes!
Both mixtures started with some salt and pepper. For this lemon-garlic version, I also added Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Then I tossed chopped garlic, red onion, lemon juice, and olive oil in the bag.
For the other recipe (BBQ chicken thighs) I added some paprika, the other half of the onion, garlic powder, and some oil to the other bag.
I put two of the chicken thighs in the lemon-garlic marinade and the other two in the BBQ mix bag. Both hung out in the fridge while I was at work and were ready to cook when I got home.
Here's a sneak peak of the BBQ chicken thigh recipe that's part two of this chicken-dinner series, so stay tuned for that recipe coming to the blog very soon!
As a side for this one-skillet meal, I tossed some spinach with reduced fat whipped cream cheese, salt, pepper, and a bit more lemon juice and added it to the pan to cook with the chicken. It's the perfect side with this dish, and it's also probably the easiest creamed spinach recipe ever!
For both of these recipes, I started by searing the chicken thighs on the skin side for a few minutes to get great golden color on the skin, and also to cook out some of the fat. This method gives you the chance to drain a whole bunch of oil from the pan before continuing to cook the chicken in the oven.
I love one-skillet meals, and this one definitely did not disappoint! Stay tuned for the BBQ chicken thigh recipe for part two of this chicken dinner series!
One-Skillet Lemon-Garlic Chicken with Creamed Spinach
Makes 2 servings
For the Marinade:
- 2 chicken thighs
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- black pepper to taste
- red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- juice of 1 lemon (save one tablespoon of juice for the spinach)
- 1/2 chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons light olive oil
For the Spinach:
- 1 large bunch spinach (large-leaf, not baby spinach)
- 3 tablespoons reduced fat whipped cream cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (reserved from marinade mix above)
- Add chicken thighs and marinade ingredients to a zip-lock bag. Lightly squish the bag for a few seconds to coat the chicken in the spices and marinade, then place the bag in the refrigerator to marinate at least one hour or overnight.
- For the spinach, wash and lightly chop the spinach. Place the spinach in a bowl, add cream cheese and seasonings, and use your hands to mix the spinach, cream cheese, and seasonings, making sure to coat the spinach evenly with the cream cheese.
- To cook the meal, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Preheat a large cast-iron or oven-safe non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until that side is golden in color.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and drain off all of the oil. Add the spinach to the bottom of the skillet, then top with the chicken (skin side up).
- Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (internal temperature should be 165 degrees).
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Elizabeth Shaw (Monday, 07 March 2016 16:55)
You are reading my mind with this! I have a ton of spinach to use up, and I think this is just what the MD ordered! Can't wait to try it!
Sara - The Organic Dietitian (Tuesday, 08 March 2016 07:51)
What a delicious dinner! I am a fan of cooked spinach too and your version sounds so flavorful. I can't wait to make it.