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 marinated, 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
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup orange juice
1 shallot, minced
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
½ pound broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 medium oranges, peeled and sliced
In a 9x13 baking dish, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, shallot, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. Add the chicken, broccoli and oranges, and toss everything so it’s all evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to a couple hours.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Give everything another quick toss (I just use my hands).
Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. (Chicken should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees.) If you want to brown the dish a bit more, turn the oven to broil, and broil for about 2 minutes.
Remove from the oven, cover and let it rest for a couple minutes. Serve with additional fresh thyme, orange slices and pan juices. Enjoy!
Recipe and photos by Sarah Hauser.