Several weeks ago, Ben and I mapped out a series of mini home renovation projects with the goal of having them completed by this weekend. Current completion count: zero. At least our dinners have been running on schedule, courtesy of easy, one-pan recipes like this Lemon Basil Chicken.
My sister—who is in the midst of some home projects that make ours look as invasive as reorganizing a coat closet—warned me that real life is “not HGTV.”
I wasn’t entirely sure what she meant…until I was driving to an IKEA in a different state to pick up several missing parts of the shelving units that the store forgot to ship.
Add the shelf snafu to our first round of curtains being too short (the right length is now back ordered until July), the guy installing our blinds leaving halfway through the job for another appointment (he still hasn’t been back), and the fact that the only concrete step we’ve taken towards repainting our kitchen cabinets is to narrow down the color options from 17 shades of “white” to 7, and you have a situation that is a far cry from the 48-hour flips as seen on HGTV.
Easy Skillet Meals – Lemon Basil Chicken
We have made some progress. Over the weekend, we built and installed the aforementioned IKEA shelves, which I gleefully loaded with stacks of plates, serving bowls, glassware, my entire cookbook collection, and heavy cast-iron skillets. It took the better part of an afternoon, but in the end, every dish and spoon had its perfect place. My cast iron skillets were going to be used in short order to make easy, one skillet meals like lemon basil chicken, skillet chicken and tomatoes and sausage white bean gnocchi.
Then, two hours later, we realized the shelves needed to move three inches to the right. We had to pull every single item from the shelves, and a good number of them are still scattered around my office. I feel like this probably doesn’t happen on HGTV.
Because we’ve been dedicating the majority of our free time toward the house, I’ve been appreciating quick and easy dinners like this Lemon Basil Chicken even more so than usual. Chunks of juicy chicken stir-fried with garlic, fresh lemon, and basil, this recipe requires hardly 5 minutes of prep and can be on your plate in 20.
How to Make One-Pan Lemon Basil Chicken
To make Lemon Basil Chicken a complete meal, I added several handfuls of fresh spinach. You can feel free to bulk it up further with any other sautéed veggies you enjoy or have on hand. We served our Lemon Basil Chicken over brown rice for dinner, and the next day, I tossed the leftovers with my salad for lunch. This would also be great served alongside Oven Roasted Potatoes (make the baked potatoes in oven while cooking the Lemon Basil Chicken on the stove top).
When getting a healthy meal on the table feels like a project of its own, keep this simple Lemon Basil Chicken in mind. While it might not be reality TV-worthy, in the reality of NEED DINNER NOW, it’s a star!
Recommended Tools to Make This Dish
Lemon Basil Chicken
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion finely chopped, about 1 cup
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 5 cups loosely packed baby spinach about 5 ounces
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Prepared brown rice for serving
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. Once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 additional seconds.
- Add the chicken, increase the heat to medium high, and let cook for 3 minutes, browning all sides. Stir in the soy sauce and black pepper. Let cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.
- Stir in the spinach a few handfuls at a time, letting the heat of the pan wilt it as you go. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and basil. Cook and stir just until the basil is wilted, about 1 additional minute. Taste and season with additional salt or pepper as desired. Serve warm with rice as desired.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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