Healthy Chicken Meal Prep

Chicken pomodoro meal prep with garlicky spinach and faro risotto.

This recipe is with main ingredient


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Chicken Pomodoro Meal Prep

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 5 meals
Author: Bobby Parrish


For the chicken:

  • 5 chicken breasts ask your butcher to butterfly them for you
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce or homemade sauce recipe below
  • Pecorino romano cheese or parmesan
  • 1-2 tablespoon Italian flat leaf parsley chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper

For the marinara sauce:

  • 1 medium size onion chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic finely diced
  • 2 carrots peeled & chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon capers drained from their liquid
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 28 ounce can whole or chopped san marzano tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil or parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Olive oil

For the barley risotto:

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • ½ an onion chopped
  • 1 large carrot diced
  • 2 stalks of celery diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 2 tablespoons grated pecorino romano cheese or parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons Italian flat leaf parsley chopped
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Olive oil

For the spinach:

  • 2 pounds of fresh spinach rinsed & stems removed
  • 5 cloves garlic finely minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Olive oil


  1. Marinara sauce can be made days ahead of time, for the sauce, pre-heat a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat with 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and next 3 ingredients along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a couple cracks of pepper. Cook for 7 minutes then add the next 4 ingredients. Cook 4 minutes so the base can develop deep flavors. Add the wine and stir well. Cook for 3-5 minutes until almost all the wine has reduced. Add the tomatoes along with 1 cup of water. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Bring to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 30-40 minutes. After 20 minutes stir in the honey and check for seasoning. It is probably going to need more salt. If the sauce gets too thick, add more water. Using a hand blender or regular blender, puree the sauce so it is smooth. Add the fresh basil or parsley and check for seasoning.
  2. For the chicken, make the Italian spice rub by combining the garlic powder and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl, mix well. Season the chicken with a generous pinch of salt, spice rub, and a couple cracks of pepper on each side. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes to marinate,
  3. For the barley risotto, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and season with a big pinch of salt. Add the barley and cook for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, add the chicken stock to a small pot and keep warm over medium-low heat. Pre-heat a large pan or shallow & wide pot over medium heat with 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and next 2 ingredients along with ½ teaspoon of salt and a couple cracks of pepper. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring a few times. Add the garlic, thyme, and cook another 4 minutes. Turn the heat off the pan and wait for the barley to finish boiling. After 20 minutes, drain the barley, and add all of it to the pan with the veggies set over medium-low heat. Add some hot chicken stock, about ½ cup, to the pan and stir well. Cook the mixture until most of the stock has been absorbed and add another 1/2 cup. The key is too stir pretty frequently and keep adding stock whenever the last batch gets absorbed. Keep repeating this process for about 20 minutes until the barley is cooked all the way though, but still has a little “bite” to it, you don’t want it soggy. If you run out of stock you can use water at the end. Take the pan off the heat and add the grated cheese, parsley, and lemon zest. Stir and check for seasoning, you may need a little more salt or a little squeeze of lemon juice.
  4. For the chicken, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F and pre-heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high with 1 tablespoon of oil heat for 3 minutes. Add 2 or 3 chicken breasts and carefully push down on them for 5 seconds to make sure they make maximum contact with the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the chicken has a nice golden brown crust that is slightly charred. Flip and repeat on the second side. Move the chicken breasts to a baking dish and repeat the same process with the remaining chicken breasts. You want to do this in batches otherwise the chicken won’t sear and get a crust if you overcrowd the pan.
  5. Place all of the seared chicken breasts in a large baking dish and cover with a good amount of the marinara sauce. Grate over 1-2 tablespoons of cheese and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. When the chicken is ready, pull from the oven and sprinkle over the freshly chopped parsley.
  6. For the spinach, pre-heat the largest and most wide pot you have with 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 minute stirring often. Add half of the spinach and use a pair of thongs to thoroughly coat and mix everything. Cook for 1 minute until the spinach wilts a little and then add the remaining spinach, mix well. Keep cooking and stirring frequently until the spinach wilts all the way down, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 5-7 minutes until the spinach has released all of its water and it can’t wilt down anymore. Season with ¼ teaspoon of salt, a couple cracks of pepper, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Check for seasoning, you may need a little more salt and/or lemon juice. Turn the pot off the heat and set aside.
  7. Slice the chicken breasts in half and add them to your meal prep containers along with some risotto and spinach. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

557 calories per meal
13 grams of fat per meal
46 grams of protein per meal
11 grams of fiber per meal
43 grams of carbs per meal

This recipe is:

4 thoughts on “Healthy Chicken Meal Prep”

  1. Seems like a great dish but ingredient list is way too long! Please try to make recipes with 10, maybe 15 ingredients at most but a list of over 40different measurements is just too much.

    1. We have plenty of recipes with 10 ingredients and under – hopefully you will enjoy some of those. Keep on cookin’!

    1. 7-10 min in a 350F oven. If you use a microwave, cover with a wet paper towel – times will vary.

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