Meal-Prep-Worthy Chicken

I am not, by design, a meal-prepper. It takes a really delicious recipe to make me want to eat it for 4-5 days in a row. I am happy to report that this recipe has been meal-prepped (and eaten) no less than 3 weeks running. It’s really delicious and it’s healthy, too.

I used this method for baking the chicken, which I HIGHLY recommend. You will never encounter dry chicken breasts again. Seriously. The Piri Piri seasoning blend I use here comes from Carla Hall’s excellent Soul Food cookbook, which I also highly recommend. These two elements together come together for some seriously tasty chicken!

For the Chicken:

  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 12 cups warm water
  • Olive oil
  • Piri Piri Seasoning Blend (follows)

For the Piri Piri Seasoning Blend:

  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

At least 4 hours before you plan to bake the chicken (and up to 24 hours beforehand), whisk together the warm water and 1/4 cup salt until dissolved in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl, making sure the chicken is covered by the water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake the chicken.

At some point while the chicken brines, make the Piri Piri Seasoning Blend by adding all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisking until completely combined.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Remove the chicken from the brine and dry thoroughly on paper towels before transferring to the baking sheet. Rub 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on each chicken breast and sprinkle the Piri Piri Seasoning Blend evenly on the chicken breasts. Really work the spices into the chicken and oil so that the chicken breasts are evenly coated in the spices.

Bake the chicken until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken breasts (if you don’t have a meat thermometer, I highly recommend one. They aren’t expensive and they will save you from overcooking your proteins!). This has taken as little at 20 minutes and as much as 45 minutes for me. I would check the chicken after 20 minutes and continue to check every 5-10 minutes until the chicken is done.

Let the chicken rest for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving, or storing for meal prep. I really like this chicken cold from the fridge, served alongside roasted vegetables or in a low-carb wrap.

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