Lemon Cumin Mint Chicken

Lemon Cumin Mint Chicken is a quick  and easy Middle Eastern-inspired meal that uses ingredients you likely already have. The cumin and lemon add a spicy, citrusy flavor. Think of it as the sort of meal you might have sitting outside at a café along the Mediterranean sea.

I’ve adapted this from Epicurious but made several changes. First, since it’s one person, we don’t need a mixture of chicken pieces. Second, I don’t like the boneless thighs (I want the bones to make chicken broth).

The original recipe also called for lemon-infused oil (which takes three weeks to make).  Probably good, but that’s too long to wait, and I suspect it would overwhelm the chicken.

Third, the instructions said to reserve some of the garlic and scatter it over the chicken. I didn’t do that either, as I didn’t want raw garlic. And, I upped the cumin a bit.

Lastly, instead of broiling the meat, which tends to lead to dried out food (especially chicken), I simply baked it instead. About 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then baste, then another 25 minutes or so until the chicken is done and the juices run clear.

The potatoes are crispy garlic basil potato bites (without the basil).  Tomatoes were fresh from the Greenmarket.

Don’t be put off by the “prep” time. It’s really five minutes of prep, and the rest is waiting for the marinade to flavor the chicken.

Lemon Mint Cumin Chicken Substitutions and Variations

  • Try coriander instead of mint (or a mixture of the two)
  • If you have time (and patience, make the lemon oil: 1 cup oil with 3 T of lemon zest, kept refrigerated for 3 weeks, then strained).
  • Swap the lemon for lime
  • Layer portobello mushrooms and thinly sliced potatoes under the chicken

More Lemon Chicken Recipes

crispy lemon chicken thighCrispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Crispy, lemony, with just a touch of sweetness from brown sugar. Think fried chicken with a lot less oil and bother.

 

Jewish chicken curry chitarneeJewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

A one pot meal with chicken, lemon juice, tomatoes, and potatoes. All simmered together until they become sweet and aromatic.

 

homemade chicken shawarmaHomemade Chicken Shawarma with Yogurt Sauce

Transport yourself to a NY schawarma shop (like the Avengers movie), without leaving home. You don’t even need a rotisserie.

 

feta brined roast chickenFeta Brined Roast Chicken Recipe for One

Elegant enough for company, this chicken requires only a few simple ingredients. The brine keeps the chicken juicy and flavorful.

Peruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe

I tried this Peruvian roast chicken in green sauce recipe for the first time last week, and I can’t stop eating it! It’s not just the chicken either, it’s the sauce. I loooove the sauce. I made enough to have extra, and I’ve been putting it on everything. It’s tangy, spicy, garlicky, and just spectacular.  And the chicken is lip-smackingly good too!

There are two stages to this recipe, which I adapted from Epicurious, but since we’re only making it for one person (instead of a whole chicken) we can cut some steps and speed everything up. The reviews on the original commented that it was a lot of work (but worth the trouble). But, my way, it isn’t a lot of bother at all.  There’s a lot less to chop and a single chicken thigh cooks a lot faster than a whole bird. You wait less and you don’t have to baste as much either. No need to butterfly/spatchcock one piece of chicken!

First you mix up a spice rub for the chicken and spread it on the meat. While the chicken cooks, you make up the sauce, which is essentially tossing ingredients in a mini chopper or blender and then mixing them together with some mayonnaise. Baste the chicken once and then serve it with the sauce.

The chicken cooks at a higher temperature than usual, so it ends up with crispy skin, while still retaining its juices. Plus, it’s ready in 35-40 minutes instead of an hour and a half.

If you like, you can add a salad of cucumber, avocado, lime, olive oil, and scallions on the side.




Peruvian Roast Chicken with Green Sauce Substitutions and Variations

Unlike the usual changes, this list is largely focused on the sauce, rather than the chicken.

  • Try different herbs or combinations of herbs and leafy greens instead of the spinach. You could use basil, coriander (the original recipe), or some sage
  • Instead of mayonnaise, try Greek yogurt or lebne
  • Serve the sauce over eggs with crusty bread
  • Use the sauce as a dip with fresh cut up carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumber wedges
  • if you don’t have fresh lemon, use dried lemon peel and bottled lemon juice

More Chicken Recipes

crispy lemon chicken thighCrispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Great hot or cold, this is perfect for picnics. There’s three kinds of lemon (don’t worry, nothing unusual), and a crispy crust that tastes like you fried it (but you won’t have to).

 

chili citrus chicken thighChili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

The flavors of Buffalo wings, without any frying. The garlic adds zest and the chili packs the heat (but not too much heat). Cheaper than wings too.

 

feta brined roast chickenFeta Brined Roast Chicken

Bathed in a briny blend of of feta cheese and lemon to keep it moist, and lock in flavor. Serve the finished chicken on a bed of earthy spinach.

 

honey sticky garlic chickenHoney Sticky Garlic Chicken

Delight your taste buds and fight colds with this crispy/sweet/spicy chicken. Ready in 30 minutes, from pantry ingredients.

 




Oven Roasted Lemon Garlic Broccoli

I know, broccoli is controversial (though not quite as much as brussels sprouts). Some love it, some hate it.  If you’re not a broccoli fan, this recipe for oven roasted lemon garlic broccoli might change your mind. Roasting helps reduce the bitterness and gives the broccoli a nutty flavor (from the caramelization).  It also makes the broccoli crispy outside, tender and sweet inside.

I have used frozen broccoli florets, because they cook more quickly (and I had a big bag of them). This is also more practical, since it’s tough for one person to eat an entire head of broccoli all at once!  This way I can take out just what I need and the rest can stay frozen until I want it for something else.

Plus, frozen vegetables often have more vitamins and better nutrition than fresh vegetables do.  That’s because the frozen version has been picked and then preserved (by freezing) immediately, while fresh produce may have traveled for days from some other state (or even country) before it gets to your supermarket.

If you have fresh broccoli (or a farmer’s market nearby), you can use that too.  Don’t toss out the stems, they are just as good as the florets.  They do cook faster (and better) if you remove the tough outer layer from the stems first. A vegetable peeler will work just fine for this.

You’ll also need to cook fresh broccoli a bit longer (since the frozen broccoli has been blanched first).  Roast the fresh broccoli for about 25 minutes. If you like it super-crispy, roast it for half an hour (turning it once).




Oven Roasted Lemon Garlic Broccoli Substitutions and Variations

  • Toast some breadcrumbs or panko and sprinkle them over the broccoli
  • Sprinkle some pine nuts or chopped walnuts over the broccoli
  • Make it a full meal by topping it with a fried egg or mixing the cooked broccoli with some pasta
  • Use the same roasting technique and change the seasoning to make it Asian with garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil

More Broccoli Dishes

pasta with broccoli, mushrooms, and chicken sausagePasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

Easy, delicious, and adaptable. If you don’t have sausage, use bacon. No broccoli? Try asparagus instead.  It’s got all your veggies, your protein, and your starch in a single bowl.

Lmab keema with potatoes and broccoliLamb Keema with Potatoes and Broccoli

A sort of South Asian shepherd’s pie. Made with ground lamb, this isn’t overly spicy, and only needs one pot. Ready in about half an hour.

More Vegetable Side Dishes

honey mustard glazed carrotsHoney Mustard Glazed Carrots for One

Savory mustard, tender sweet carrots, and a little bit of honey. These carrots go great with roast chicken, pork, or a steak.

 

sauteed garlic parmesan spinachSautéed Garlic Parmesan Spinach

An Italian side dish that’s fairly pantry-friendly too. The original version was too much bother, so I simplified it. It’s now also time and effort friendly.  Great with some grilled fish.

 




Greek Lamb Breast Recipe

Great for a cold weekend, this Greek lamb breast recipe requires very little active preparation time.  Just make the marinade, zip it in a bag, and let it sit.

The longer this marinates the better.  You can leave it for an hour (if you don’t have lots of time), but it’s better overnight, or all day while you do something else.

I let this sit in the fridge for two days (because I unexpectedly ate out), and it was divine.

It cooks slowly in a low oven, just enough to heat the house a bit, but not so much that you’ll overheat yourself (this is, incidentally also a great way to cook roast beef, low and slow).




The recipe is adapted slightly from a recipe I found on Epicurious.  That was for lamb chops or a leg of lamb.  I reduced that marinade recipe and substituted the NY Times’ lamb riblet slow roasting technique instead of grilling.

If you don’t have breast of lamb, you can use a lamb chop instead.  Just let it marinate, then broil the chop 3-5 minutes per side, depending on how thick it is.

Tools and Ingredients for Greek Lamb Breast Recipe


Cuisinart 12-Inch Pan with Glass Cover

This pan is shallower than most roasting pans, which means it’s easier to remove your food. The relatively small size makes it a great option for smaller portions (and smaller ovens). It’s also great for pan pizza for one (the pizza fits perfectly).

While I don’t usually like nonstick surfaces, this one has held up nicely since I bought it two years ago. I haven’t used the glass cover with the pan, but fits over my other pots and pans (so I can see what’s cooking).


Oxo Good Grips Kitchen Tongs

A good pair of tongs is invaluable when cooking.  These are easy to hold, and they lock back together for storage.  Use them to turn meat, or pick up and turn food in the oven, without burning yourself.

The ends are nylon so they won’t scratch your nonstick pan. Dishwasher safe if you have one.  I’ve had mine for eight years (!) and they’re in perfect condition. Worth every cent I paid for them.

More Lamb Recipes

lamb breast provencale with rosemaryOne Person Slow Roasted Lamb Breast Provencal Recipe

About 15 minutes prep, then a slow roast in the oven yields tender, moist lamb, topped with garlicky bread crumbs.

 

leftover roast lamb eggplant spinach saladLeftover Roast Lamb, Eggplant, and Spinach Salad

A salad of earthly delights, with luscious lamb, tender eggplant, earthy spinach,  and crisp cucumbers. Served with a garlicky lemon mayonnaise.

 

spinach lamb meatballsSpinach Lamb Meatballs

A bit of serendipity and some cross-country collaboration and poof! Meatballs! Made with cumin, spinach, and just a touch of piquant vinegar to balance the flavors.

 

lamb kofta meatballsLamb Kofta Meatballs

Don’t like eggs? Or don’t have any? These meatballs hold together with no eggs, and no bread crumbs.

Flavored with toasted nuts, cumin, and sweet minty green cardamom: a feast both for your mouth and your eyes!




Crispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

I adapted this crispy lemon chicken thigh recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. If you love lemon, this is for you. It’s full of citrusy flavor from lemon juice, lemon pepper, and lemon zest. Even if you don’t love lots of lemon, don’t worry. The lemon is balanced by brown sugar for sweetness and a touch of paprika for a hint of bite.

It’s also quite versatile. Eat it hot right out of the oven, or make extra and have it cold for lunch the next day.  It’s also good for picnics when the weather is good.

I cut the original recipe down to serve one (instead of six), but also made a few other small changes.  The cookbook recipe called for lemon extract. It’s an ingredient I’m never going to use up (unless I make lots of lemon chicken). So, I increased the lemon juice a bit.

I then swapped the plain black pepper for lemon pepper. Lemon pepper is a bit exotic, but I do use it for other things (try it on string beans or broccoli). This way, I kept the lemony flavor without having to buy a special ingredient only to use a spoonful or two (which annoys me).

You end up with a crispy crust, almost like fried chicken, except there’s very little oil, and a lot less mess. You start it in a frying pan to get crispy and then finish by baking it in the toaster oven.

Incidentally, the recipe on the facing page of the cookbook is for Chicken Monterey, made with orange juice.  I haven’t done it, but I bet orange juice and zest would work for this too.  You might try a bit of orange juice concentrate, or upping the zest to substitute for lemon pepper/extract. I’d also reduce the brown sugar, since orange is sweeter than lemon.

For the best flavor, let the chicken marinate overnight (or all day) in the fridge. If you don’t have that much time, let it sit for at least half an hour.

If you can’t have flour (or gluten) substitute potato starch or rice flour instead.  It might even be good with almond flour.  That way it’s gluten-free (and Pesach-friendly).




More Chicken Thigh Recipes

chicken with tomatoes and olivesChicken with Olives and Tomatoes for One

Chicken, olives, garlic, and a bit of ginger add up to a rich, flavorful meal. This is a North African dish from a Jewish cookbook (really!)

 

peruvian roast chicken with green saucePeruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe

Juicy chicken, crispy skin and a tangy, spicy, garlicky sauce I just can’t stop eating.

 

chicken with basil peaches and gingerChicken Thigh Recipe with Peaches and Ginger

Juicy peaches balanced with spicy/warm ginger and summery basil. Just toss it all together and bake.

 

chicken with balsamic vinegar sauce

One Pot Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

Tangy balsamic vinegar, mellowed cooked onions, and sweetness from an unlikely ingredient.  All in one pot.

 




Greek Fish with Lemon and Tomatoes

I seem to be making a virtual trip around the Mediterranean. This week, instead of Israel, we’ve “landed” in Greece. This recipe for Greek fish with lemon and tomatoes is adapted from a recipe in The New York Times.

The Times recipe is good, but a bit too fiddly and time consuming. It also requires a whole fish. That’s generally too much food for one person.  And, it has to be cleaned, then stuffed, and finally baked. Probably delicious, but too much trouble.  So, I decided to make it easier and faster and used fish fillets instead.

Plus, the original recipe requires that you cook the tomatoes. I love fresh tomatoes, and tomato sauces, but don’t like the taste of freshly-cooked tomatoes. So, I simplified everything and added the tomatoes just at the end.

In my version, you make the marinade, leave out the tomatoes, and let it sit for a bit so the flavors combine. Then season the fish fillet, pour the marinade over it, and cook it. Add the tomatoes at the end, and serve. Also, I didn’t make it in the oven (too hot!). I grilled the fish in a pan instead.

 




 

Greek Fish with Lemon and Tomatoes Substitutions and Variations

  • Follow this suggestion from the comments of the original recipe: fry the fish for a minute or two with olive oil.  Then add the marinade, a splash or two of white wine, and simmer (covered) for 5-10 minutes.
  • If you don’t mind cooked tomatoes, add them to the marinade at the beginning.
  • Try cod instead of tilapia.  Or, use a small whole trout.
  • If you want more lemon flavor, slice some lemon and squeeze it over the fish.
  • Add some olives or capers to the marinade.
  • Add 1/4 C sliced zucchini to the pan when you start cooking the fish.

More Quick Fish Recipes

pan-fried tilapia with lemon butter saucePan Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce

A quick dinner, enlivened with a touch of mustard for bite, and rosemary for herby flavor, with a squeeze of lemon juice. Even simpler and easier than the Greek fish on this post.

salmon greek yogurt dill sauceSalmon with Greek Yogurt Dill Sauce

Thick, creamy yogurt plus fresh dill, and refreshing cucumber mixed into a sauce that gets better the longer it sits.  Serve the sauce over simply cooked salmon.

 

fish fillet with yogurt sauceIndian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce

Flaky, moist fish with a hint of heat from garam masala, cumin, and ginger. It’s subtle, not overpowering.  Ready in about 20 minutes.

 

fish in peppery tomato sauceSephardic Fish in Peppery Tomato Sauce

A bit spicier than the other recipes on this page, but still not super-hot.  It’s flavored with garlic, coriander, and briny capers, bathed in a peppery tomato sauce.

 




Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

This recipe for spaghetti with spinach and lemon cream sauce was a bit of an accident. I innocently ordered a bunch of spinach (along with other groceries) from Fresh Direct.  I expected, well a standard bunch of spinach. What I got was a “spinach tree.” It’s enormous. It’s so large I had to prop it up against a bottle of seltzer and a plant to take a photo of it.

spinachSo, if anyone from Google noticed a spike in searches for  ‘spinach recipes’ over the last few days, it was me.

I adapted this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen. She used basil (or arugula), and while I have basil growing in my window, I don’t have arugula.

Besides, there’s that enormous bunch of spinach to use up!

So, I combined the two.  A bit of basil, and a handful of spinach, some diluted Greek yogurt instead of the heavy cream (didn’t have the cream and couldn’t leave to get some), and dinner is served!




Substitutions and Variations for Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

  • If you don’t have heavy cream, melt 1/3 C unsalted butter and add 3/4 C whole milk. This makes about a cup.
  • Use plain Greek yogurt and thin it out with a little milk. If you do this, add a little hot water to the mixture first, before putting it in the pasta. This will prevent it from curdling.
  • Use frozen peas instead of spinach (add to the pasta while it’s cooking and save yourself an extra pot to clean; put the peas in for about 3 minutes).
  • Add some leftover cooked chicken for more protein.


Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

I love the Smitten Kitchen blog (as does a friend who is a professional chef). Deb’s recipes are consistently good. And, her original kitchen was nearly as small as mine. Which just proves you don’t need a lot of space, drawerfuls of gadgets, or an enormous pantry to create delicious food.

Everything is made from real ingredients, and ingredients that are easy to find. I know it really bugs me when some recipe calls for a teaspoon of some exotic ingredient I’ll never use again! One thing about this book is that the format spreads the recipes over more than one page, so it can be a bit hard to follow.


Spaghetti Spoon

It’s a small thing, but this spoon makes it much easier to toss your spaghetti and coat it with the sauce. It’s also a lot easier to get it out of the pot and into a bowl for serving. And because it’s OXO, it’s comfortable to hold too.

Microplane Zester

This is one of my favorite tools. It’s just the thing for zesting lemons (and getting only the zest without the bitter pith). Hard cheese can be tough to grate with a box grater, but this produces perfect little curls that practically melt into your pasta. It’s also ideal for grating nutmeg, ginger, or even garlic. Since it’s long and thin, you can just perch it right on top of the bowl while you grate. Note that it’s sharp, so be careful!

More Spinach Recipes for One Person

strawberry spinach salad balsamic dressing feta cheeseStrawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Feta Cheese

Crisp, crunchy, sweet, and salty, this salad is a festival of flavor, color, and texture. Just the thing when it’s hot and actual “cooking” is a big nope.

spinach and feta cheese omeletteSpinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

Spanaokopita (spinach and feta pie) flavors without a lot of fussing with phyllo dough. And it comes together quickly.

 

sauteed garlic parmesan spinachSauteed Garlic Parmesan Spinach

An easy side dish with mellowed garlic,  sharp parmesan, and earthy spinach. Takes only a few minutes to make too.

 

spinach lamb meatballsSpinach Lamb Meatballs

Get your veggies and your main dish at the same time. The tangy red wine vinegar complements the robust flavor of the lamb beautifully.

 




Pan-Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce

This single serving of pan-fried tilapia with lemon butter sauce is quick, easy, and delicious. I was never a big fish fan growing up, but I’ve grown to like it as I have gotten older.  If you’re a bit wary of fish, tilapia is a good “starter fish.” It has a mild flavor and doesn’t overwhelm your taste buds (or your kitchen).

I got the idea from someone who said she made tilapia with butter, lemon, and rosemary.  I thought that sounded good, but that it would be even better with some olive oil and mustard powder (it was).

You can put the whole thing together and have dinner on the table in less than fifteen minutes. Make the fish, steam (or zap) some veggies and you’re good to go.

I made this recently (just as spring is finally showing signs of arriving, after a truly nasty winter), but it would be great in the summer when you want something fast.  There’s no need to heat the stove or the oven for an hour.

By the way, the fish came from Trader Joe’s.  They have great frozen fish. The tilapia was in a package with individually-wrapped fillets. Normally, I don’t like extra packaging, but in this case it was perfect, since I only had to defrost one fillet, instead of the entire bag.




 

Pan-Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce Substitutions and Variations

  • If you don’t have tilapia, use another mild, white fish such as cod, flounder, or Dover sole
  • Swap the rosemary for some capers
  • Skip the mustard and the rosemary and use dill instead

 

More Easy Fish Recipes

fish fillet with yogurt sauceIndian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce

Fish in a rich, tangy sauce that seems more decadent than it actually is.  There’s a bit of warm spiciness from cumin and garam masala, but it’s not “hot” spicy.

 

greek fish with lemon and tomatoesGreek Fish with Lemon and Tomatoes

Make a quick marinade, let it sit, and pan-fry the fish. Dinner is done.

 

fish in peppery tomato sauceSephardic Fish in Peppery Tomato Sauce

In America, we tend to think of “Jewish” food as brisket, potato pancakes, and bagels. But there’s a whole world of spicier and more varied foods from India, Lebanon, and the Mediterranean. This is one of them.

easy mediterranean fish stewEasy Mediterranean Fish Stew

A variation on the classic cioppino, popular in San Francisco, this stew is easy and accessible.  You can even start it in advance (up to the point where you add the fish).