There are many simple ways to help our planet, and it’s not just about turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth or using reusable shopping bags. Buying your food locally helps support your community and local economy, and also reduces the amount of pollution created when products are transported in from afar. This Earth Day you can feel great about serving up a more sustainable meal with this recipe, featuring delicious, local ingredients, like Miller Amish Country chicken breasts and fresh herbs from The Herbal Gardens, all of which can be bought at your local Sunset Foods.
Chicken breasts are coated with a tangy and tart lemon-Dijon dressing, topped with a crumbly crust loaded with fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, parsley, and basil, and then baked to golden perfection. The herb crust is crispy and full of flavor, keeping the chicken breast moist and succulent, and a simple side dish of fresh green beans, sautéed in a spicy lemon pepper seasoning, will fire up your taste buds.
This week’s recipe: Herb-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Lemon Pepper Green Beans
Why we like it:
Miller Amish Country Poultry, a small, family-owned business in Northern Indiana, produces chicken that is completely free of antibiotics, growth stimulants, hormones, and animal by products. Their chickens are cared for in small flocks by Amish families, raised on all vegetable feeds in stress-free environments. You can feel just as good when you’re picking out your fresh herbs, knowing that The Herbal Gardens, an Illinois-based company, focuses on growing their herbs with environmentally friendly methods.
For the chicken:
1/3 cup lemon juice (approx. 2 lemons if using fresh squeezed juice)
¼ cup Dijon mustard
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
2/3 cups breadcrumbs
½ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup basil leaves, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp rosemary, chopped
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
For the green beans:
1 lb green beans, trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1-2 tbsp lemon zest
salt and pepper, to taste
You’ll begin by preparing the coating for the chicken, but first, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, Dijon, and pepper and stir well. Set aside.
Now you’ll chop up all your fresh herbs. Chop your parsley and basil as finely as you can.
Remove the leaves from the thyme stems, chop your rosemary leaves and combine both with the parsley and basil.
Pour the breadcrumbs into a medium-sized bowl and add the Parmesan cheese. Drizzle the olive oil on top and add the fresh herbs to the rest of the ingredients, stirring everything together with a fork.
Add 3-4 tbsp of the lemon-Dijon mixture to the herb-crust coating and stir together. The herb coating should be crumbly, but not soggy or full of large clumps.
Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and spoon the leftover lemon-Dijon mixture over each breast. You can use the spoon to rub the mixture into the breasts and coat the entire top and sides. Now sprinkle the herb crust coating on top of the chicken and press it into the breasts with your fingers. Coat each breast on top and around as evenly as possible (not too thickly or too thinly), but don’t worry about the bottoms.
Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees until the herb crust is golden and crispy and the chicken is fully cooked.
While the chicken is baking, you can get your green beans prepped and ready for cooking. Put a medium saucepan of salted water on the stove to boil, and trim the ends of the beans, setting them aside until the water is boiling.
Zest your lemon until you have about 1-2 tablespoons, and press or mince your cloves of garlic. Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and water and set aside.
Place your green beans in the boiling water and let them blanche for about 2 minutes until they are bright green but still crisp. Drain the water and immerse the beans in the ice water to stop them from continuing to cook.
Now heat a large skillet over medium heat and combine your olive oil and butter. Once the butter is fully melted, add the red pepper flakes, ground pepper, and garlic, and sauté for a minute or two until fragrant.
Drain the ice and water from the beans and add them to the skillet, sautéing for about 5 minutes until they are hot and fully coated in the butter sauce.
Garnish with lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve up your chicken breasts and green beans together, and savor your scrumptious and sustainable dinner that’s helping the planet one bite at a time!