A process that’s potentially working itself into a regular routine of mine in our new pandemic normal is food prepping right before a home workout and letting meat marinate for the duration of that workout (usually about 30 min for me).

I end the work day around 6pm and enter my haven of a kitchen where chopping garlic (on a beautiful Boos cutting board – thanks to my parents in law) and enjoying its aroma is decompression.

Recently my husband got me the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook for a Christmas gift and I’ve been taking such delight in Tieghan’s recipes. As you know, and as I was pleased that she herself encourages, I never follow recipes to a T but rather use them for inspiration. New ideas on flavors I haven’t tried before, new spices, a whole new world! It can get boring seasoning chicken the same way over and over again, and this book has really opened back up the excitement of marination for me.

Twice now have I used the Moroccan Lemon Chicken marination recipe and it will definitely become a regular of mine as it is absolutely delicious and bursting full of flavor.

I don’t follow all the measurement suggestions which is my favorite part of cooking – you decide what you like! I can’t handle as much spice as some can, so I reduce the cayenne pepper by a quarter. I also change up the measurements on cumin, paprika, chili powder (and almost everything) but I did use a full lemon and its zest. I used very little ginger as I normally hate ginger, but this recipe is the very first time I ever bought fresh ginger so I was proud and excited to try something new.

I like using sesame oil (and find that 1 Tbsp is more than enough) and I use half the amount of salt and it’s delicious still. The mixing of everything with the chicken (I buy Trader Joe’s chicken breast tenders so there’s no chopping involved for me) takes only a few minutes, and then it sits in my fridge marinating while I further decompress with a Down Dog Yoga session.

The other part that’s also happening at the same time is Budget Bytes’ yellow rice – which I’ve changed up to add saffron, use basmati rice, and use 1.5 tsps of turmeric and 0.25 tsps of cumin, and 1.5 cups of chicken broth (Trader Joe’s). It comes out perfect EVERY time.

So when yoga is done, all I’m doing is sautéing some veggies (in this case chopped Kale – chopped pre-workout), and grilling the marinated chicken. About 10-15 min tops for it all because the rice is already done. Then dinner is served!

In summary – the order:

  • Work is over; it’s Kitchen time!
  • Food prep: chop up garlic, ginger, veggies, cilantro, zest lemon, put spices together needed for both rice and chicken marinade
  • Start rice: heat up the butter in a pan, cook the garlic in it for a bit, throw in the spices (turmeric, cumin, saffron), mix it around and then throw in the rice (1 cup) until the rice is fully colored and fragrant. 2 bay leaves on top of the rice, 1.5 cups chicken broth, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower flame to simmer for 20 minutes, still covered.
  • Meanwhile: marinate the chicken tenders with sesame oil, the spices, garlic, ginger, cilantro, lemon juice and zest. Cover and put in fridge. Generally speaking, the rice would’ve come to a boil during this time and you’d have brought it down to a simmer at this point.
  • Enjoy your workout. Your timer for the rice may ring during the workout so if you live with someone, have them turn off the fire for you, or if you can pause your workout for 10 seconds, turn it off yourself and go right back to your workout.
  • Workout done, time to finish up your dinner! Have your grill pan and deep skillet ready (or whatever pans you are going to be using) and heat them up and use some oil in both pans. Take the chicken out of the fridge, and start cooking it on the grill (with all the juices from the lemon)! I use high heat so it’s super fast. Once I throw on the chicken, I also throw in the kale in the skillet. These are cooking at the same time!
  • In about 10-15 minutes you’re done and ready to eat. Happy weekday night!

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