I’ve been trying to simplify lately – my home, my schedule, my expectations, my wardrobe – pretty much every area of my life. Since having twins, it has become more apparent than ever that I can’t do it all. I’m saying no to adding good things to my calendar so that I can have time for the best things. I’m getting rid of items in my house that have been collecting dust for years, because my kiddos need room to play. I’m learning that paper plates are perfectly acceptable, ordering takeout isn’t a dinnertime failure and giving away those super small skinny jeans that I wore in college doesn’t mean my body has let me down.
I think my desire for simplicity, at its core, is a desire for right priorities. I am a wife and a mom. I am also other good and worthwhile things, and I strive to be excellent in those roles. But sometimes, I complicate my life by attempting to do and be everything to everyone perfectly. Motherhood is hard enough without adding to it the stress of being a flawless amalgamation of every other mom on the planet. I’m craving simplicity – getting rid of both the external and internal clutter in my life so that I have the space to focus on what’s most important.
My most recent exercise in simplicity has been food. I’ve been gravitating towards recipes that can be made ahead, have few ingredients, or -- like this Orange + Balsamic Chicken -- require washing as few dishes as possible. I want to provide quality food for my family, but I don’t want that to come at the expense of quality time spent with them. And so, I simplify.
This recipe can be cooked and served in the same dish. You can make rice, couscous or potatoes to go with it (if you don’t mind a few more dishes). Or to keep things simple, serve it alongside a fresh baguette and call it a day.
One-Dish Orange + Balsamic Chicken
Yields 4 servings
½ cup plus 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper
1½ - 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
½ pound broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 medium oranges, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch-thick slices
Add ½ cup of olive oil, the orange juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper to a zip-top bag. Seal and shake to mix everything together. Add the chicken thighs to the bag, and give everything another shake so all the chicken is evenly coated. Seal the bag again, and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for 1-4 hours.
When you’re ready to bake, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Add the broccoli to a 9x13 pan and toss with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt.
Take the chicken out of the zip-top bag, and shake off any excess marinade. Add the chicken to the 9x13 pan, spreading all the pieces out evenly among the broccoli. Top with the orange slices. Discard the zip-top bag and marinade left in it.
Bake for 24-28 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the broccoli is tender but still slightly crisp. (Chicken should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees.)
Remove from the oven, cover and let it rest for a couple minutes. Serve with additional salt and pepper to taste and the pan juices. Enjoy!
Recipe and photos by Sarah Hauser.