I used to associate meal-planning with a Type A personality, or maybe someone who does CrossFit and has a full-time job. Either way, it was exclusively for those who have their lives together, not for a struggling college student.
I was dead wrong.
Meal planning is a cheap and easy way to have hot, home-cooked food every day. I don’t have the luxury of my mom cooking for me every day anymore. If I want good food, I have to cook it myself, and meal planning is the easiest way to make that happen.
I usually cook one big meal on Sunday evening and package the leftovers into single servings that I can reheat throughout the week. That way, I only cook and clean one day. It’s a great way to save time and energy.
At first, the idea of eating the same thing all week may sound bland and boring, and sometimes that’s true. What you cook, however, can make an enormous difference. I’ve found that the simpler a recipe is, the easier it is to eat multiple times in a week. I usually like to meal plan with something basic, and there aren’t many meals more basic than chicken and vegetables.
Today, I am sharing my personal recipe for broiled chicken and vegetables. It’s easy to prep and doesn’t take long to cook. Chicken thigh is dark meat and more tender than breast, so I prefer it when I’m cooking in the oven. Thighs tend to vary drastically in size, however, so use your better judgement when it comes to choosing how many thighs to cook for the week.
I usually use a mix of frozen vegetables — like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots — but I’ve also used fresh broccoli and it works the same way. You don’t have to defrost the frozen vegetables since they are in the oven long enough to fully defrost and cook.
This recipe will serve a single meal for 4-6 people or a week of meals for one person. It takes 10 minutes to prep and 45 minutes to cook.
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
one 16-20-ounce bag of your favorite frozen vegetable mix (I usually use a broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mix) or 1 head of broccoli
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Place the chicken thighs in a 13 x 9 inch cake pan lined with tin foil. Lightly drizzle them in olive oil and rub salt and pepper on both sides
Line a second cake pan with tin foil and empty the frozen vegetables into it. (If using fresh veggies, cut them into bite-sized pieces first.) Slice the potatoes into thin circles and add to the pan. Drizzle everything in olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. (My roommate always puts garlic salt on her veggies for a pop of flavor.)
Place both pans in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. When done, turn the oven to broil on high and broil both pans for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Sometimes, if the thighs are particularly big, it can take longer to cook them all the way through. The vegetables may be ready sooner.