The Ultimate Weeknight Chicken and Broccoli Dinner


Every so often, a new friend will confess that they’ve been reading my blog and when I ask, “Did you make anything?” the response is often, “Well I work, so I barely have time to get dinner on the table.” I understand where they’re coming from, though I usually end the friendship at that point. To prevent that from happening again, I’d like to share with you now a dinner anyone can make right after work that is so winning and so wonderful, you’ll want to hug me once you learn it. I like it so much, it’s pretty much a staple now of my repertoire.

It’s as simple as this. Heat your oven to 425. Take two (or four, depending on your crowd) large chicken breasts–with the skin and bones still attached–season them with lots of salt and pepper and heat a large skillet with a big splash of olive oil inside. When the oil is almost smoking, lay the chicken breasts in skin side down. You should hear a loud sizzle.

Walk away. In a few minutes, with a pair of tongs, try to lift the chicken. If it won’t lift, that means the skin is still crisping; once the skin is deep, golden brown, turn the chicken breasts over and take the whole skillet and pop it in the oven. It’ll take about 40 minutes for the internal temperature of the chicken to reach 165 (use a thermometer to start checking after 30 minutes, though; nothing worse than overcooked chicken breast).

While that’s cooking, take two heads of broccoli, cut into florets, toss the florets on a cookie sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper and some whole heads of garlic still in their skins (I do this so the garlic doesn’t burn) and pop on to the other shelf of your oven. (For reference, see The Best Broccoli of Your Life.) Roast until the broccoli is brown all over and cooked all the way through.

When everything’s done, take everything out of the oven. Remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board to rest for a bit. Your kitchen will look like this:


(Note the oven mitt on the pan handle: that’s to remind me that it’s hot!)

Here’s how to bring this dinner together like a champ.

See these brown bits in the pan?


They’re your best friends. They’re packed with chickeny flavor. So here’s how to use it: squeeze a lemon into the pan and add a big pat of butter.


Turn up the heat and start whisking.


What you’ve just made is the most wonderful lemony, buttery, chicken sauce. Scoop some broccoli on to your plates, put the chicken breasts next to it and pour this sauce on top.


It’s a dinner for the ages and, if you ignore the butter and olive oil and chicken skin, relatively healthy too. I hope I’ve changed your life for the better. Now when you meet me, you can tell me you make this ALL the time and we’ll be friends for life.