I sometimes struggle with meal prep. Lunch is normally the meal that I splurge on and quite honestly, I don’t want my splurge meal for the day to be bland and boring. As I have gotten older and a little more adept at cooking, my biggest pet peeve is bland food. I think that I would rather starve than to eat a meal with no flavor or spices.
Recently I came across a recipe on Pinterest for Greek Meal Prep Chicken Bowls. Greek food is one of my all time favorites. I think it is the bold combination of the red wine vinegar, fresh garlic & oregano. As I read the recipe, I saw all of my favorites and then a surprising new ingredient…plain Greek yogurt. Who would have thought to add yogurt to a marinade for chicken?? That’s insane!
Recipe: Eazy Peazy Mealz
However, I decided to try it and I am very happy to say it was a huge hit! Well, at least a hit with my husband, oldest son and Wayne. They easily took care of all 4 of the bowls that I made.
The marinade for the chicken is what made this dish. You basically start out with a homemade Greek dressing, then add the Greek yogurt. This one simple ingredient amped up the flavor of the chicken so much! I don’t think that I will ever marinate chicken in anything else.
If you know me at all, you know that while I love chicken breasts…my heart belongs to boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They have so much more flavor, cook more quickly AND are typically cheaper than chicken breasts.
The original recipe says to cook chicken for a few minutes on each side. I found that my chicken thighs were not completely done after following these instructions. I ended up having to chop into fairly good sized chunks and cook a few minutes longer. Next time, I will brown each side of the chicken then finish it off in the over at 350.
I started prepping this meal about mid-afternoon on Sunday. My first step was to make the marinade and get this chicken in there to soak up all of that marinade goodness.
The next thing that I did was get my brown rice on to boil. Rice has been a struggle for me. Usually it turns out undercooked or just plain crunchy. I have recently discovered a fool proof (me being the fool) method to cook a perfect pot of brown rice.
30 Minute Cooking Method: To prepare up to 2 cups of brown rice bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Stir in rice. Return to a boil. Cook, uncovered for 30 minutes. If desired, 1 tablespoon tub margarine and 1 teaspoon of salt per cup of rice can be added to the water while cooking. Drain water. Serve
After the rice was done, I put it in a large Rubbermaid container and stuck it in the fridge until I was ready to start assembling the bowls.
This recipe also called for one of my favorite side dishes…cucumber & tomato salad. I have learned over time that the trick to meal prepping this salad is to cut your cucumber & onion into fairly large chunks. This ensures they are still firm and crunchy up to 2 days after you make it.
I have saved the best part for last…the Tzatziki Sauce. It is the perfect combination of creamy & tangy that really ties all the flavors of this dish together.
I hope that you enjoy this as much as we did!
Chicken & Marinade
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs – 6 (You Can Also Substitute Boneless Chicken Breasts)
Olive Oil – 1/8 – 1/4 Cup
Fresh Garlic – 2 Cloves Chopped Finely
Fresh Lemon Juice – 1/3 Cup (I Used Bottled)
Red Wine Vinegar – 1/3 – 1/2 Cup
Dried Oregano – 1 Tbsp.
Plain Greek Yogurt – 1/3 Cup
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Cucumber & Tomato Salad
Cucumber – 1 Large
Grape Tomatoes – 1 Cup Sliced in Half
Purple Onion – 1/2 Cup Chopped
Black Kalamata Olives – 1/4 Cup Chopped (Optional)
Lemon Juice – 1/3 Cup
Olive Oil – 2 Tbsp.
Red Wine Vinegar – 2 Tbsp.
Dried Oregano – 1 Tbsp.
Fresh Garlic – 1 Clove Chopped Finely
Salt & Pepper To Taste
Plain Greek Yogurt – 1 Cup
Cucumber – 1 Finely Chopped
Fresh Garlic – 1 Clove Finely Chopped
Fresh Dill – 1 Tbsp. Chopped
Lemon Juice – 1 Tbsp.
Salt & Pepper To Taste
Brown Rice – 2 Cups
Water – 10 Cups
Olive Oil/Butter – Optional
Mix 7 ingredients for marinade together. Taste to make sure you do not need to add any additional amount of ingredients to balance out marinade. I had to add a little more vinegar to mixture because it tasted a little too much like the olive oil. Add chicken to marinade, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Allow to marinate at least 30 minutes up to 6 hours.
While chicken is marinating, cook your rice according to directions listed above. Drain & set aside until you are ready to assemble the bowls.
Peel your cucumbers (1 each for the salad and tzatziki sauce) Chop cucumbers in half length wise and then cut in half width wise. Using a small spoon, scrape out the cucumber seeds. You should be left with a hollowed out cucumber that resembles a boat.
Slice each cucumber boat in half width wise and then chop 1 into large chunks for the salad and finely chop the other for the tzatziki sauce.
Add grape tomatoes, purple onion & olives to the cucumbers. In a separate bowl, mix together the next 7 ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and set aside until bowls are ready to be assembled.
Mix all of the ingredients together for the tzatziki sauce. Your sauce should be a little on the loose side initially. It will thicken up once it is refrigerated. Taste sauce to see if you need to tweak anything. I had to add a little more salt & pepper.
Take your chicken out of the marinade and gently shake to remove any excess marinde. Discard remaining marinade. Place chicken on a slightly oiled grill pan on medium to medium high heat and brown on each side for about 3 minutes. If chicken is not cooked all the way through at this point, place on a baking dish and finish off in a 350 over for roughly another 8 – 10 minutes. This chicken would also do really well on the grill!
Once cooked, allow chicken to rest for a few minutes before chopping. This will ensure that your chicken stays nice and juicy!
Now to the fun part…assembling your bowls! I started each bowl out with 1/2 cup of brown rice and covered the rice with chicken. Next, add your cucumber & tomato salad. At this point my bowls were full so I had to create a little space for the tzatziki sauce by condensing the rice & chicken.
These will keep well in the refrigerator for about 3 days…if they last that long!
**If you are pressed for time, you can easily use a high quality store bought Greek dressing and reduced fat tzatziki sauce.**