I’ve actually made this Smoky Chicken and Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potato Meal Prep three times in the last month and a half (and I’m still not sick of it), so it’s about time I posted this wonderfully simple combo. Each component in this meal prep isn’t even a real “recipe” on its own, so I’m posting the directions for everything together in one recipe below. It’s simple food. Simply seasoned, simply cooked, simply good. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times—good food doesn’t have to be complicated.
For more information about meal prepping, how it works, and why I do it, check out Meal Prep 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Prepping and Portioning Meals, or check out my entire Budget-Friendly Meal Prep Archive.
These Pyrex 3-Cup Glass Meal Prep Containers can be found here. (affiliate link)
Because this combo is so simple, it’s also quite flexible. If you don’t like green beans, broccoli is an excellent substitute. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a good option when chicken breasts are too pricey. You can even use this spice rub on salmon, if that’s in your budget! If you don’t have a well stocked spice cabinet, a store-bought BBQ dry rub can be used in place of the spices listed to season the chicken. Want to take things a little further? Try a small drizzle of BBQ sauce over that chicken or add a simple slice of cornbread to round things out. And you can cook the chicken on a grill, or even on a countertop grill, like a George Foreman, if you prefer.
Cooking times can vary quite a bit depending on your equipment, size of the food, and alignment of the planets (just kidding about that last part), so I’ve included visual cues to help you know when your food is finished. Keep an eye on your food as it cooks, poke at it a bit to test the texture, listen to the sound it makes, take note of the changing aromas, and with a lot of practice this part will become intuitive. For more tips, check out my 10 Tips for Recipe Success.
Smoky Chicken and Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potato Meal Prep
Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 2 sweet potatoes (about 3/4 lb. each) ($1.49)
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon ($0.05)
- pinch cayenne pepper ($0.02)
- pinch salt ($0.02)
- 1 lb. green beans ($0.99)
- 1 Tbsp butter ($0.12)
- pinch salt and pepper ($0.04)
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash the sweet potatoes, pat them dry, and prick their skins a few times with a fork. Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle the cooking oil over the potatoes, then use your hands to smear the oil over their entire surface (skin and cut sides), leaving a liberal amount of oil on the baking sheet under the potatoes to keep them from sticking.
- Place the sweet potatoes with the cut side up, then sprinkle with cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and a pinch of salt. Flip the sweet potatoes over so they are cut side down, then roast for 45-50 minutes, or until they are soft all the way through and the juices are caramelized and bubbling out of the holes in the skin.
- While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the chicken and green beans. Combine the spices for the chicken in a small bowl (smoked paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and freshly ground pepper-about 20 cranks of a pepper mill).
- Pat the chicken dry, then sprinkle the spice rub over both sides. Heat a large skillet over medium, then add the cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the chicken and cook until they are deeply browned on each side and the internal temp has reached 165ºF. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the green beans. Add about one inch water to a sauce pot and place a steaming basket in the pot. Add the green beans to the basket, place a lid on top, and place them over medium-high heat. Allow the water to come up to a boil and steam the green beans for 7-10 minutes, or until they are bright green and only slightly softened.
- Remove the green beans from the pot, pour out the water, and place the beans back in the pot without the steaming basket. Add 1 Tbsp butter and allow the residual heat from the beans to melt the butter. Stir to coat, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Slice the chicken breasts into strips. Divide the sweet potato halves, green beans, and chicken between four containers or plates. Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat later.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
Step by Step Photos
Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Wash and pat dry two sweet potatoes (mine are about 3/4 lb. each), then prick the skins several times with a fork. Slice the sweet potatoes in half length-wise and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle 1 Tbsp cooking oil over the potatoes, then use your hands to smear the oil over their entire surface. Make sure some of the oil is smeared on the baking sheet too, to prevent the sweet potatoes from sticking. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne, and a pinch of salt over the cut surfaces of the sweet potatoes, then flip them over so they are cut side down.
Roast the sweet potatoes for 45-50 minutes, or until they are soft all the way through and the juices are caramelized and bubbling up out of the holes in the skin. You can use foil on the baking sheet for easy clean up, if you like, but I find that a quick 5 minute soak dissolves all the caramelized sugars.
While the sweet potatoes are roasting for 45-50 minutes, you can work on the chicken and green beans…
Prepare the rub for the chicken by stirring together 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 20 cranks of a pepper mill).
Sprinkle the seasoning over both sides of two chicken breasts (mine were about 2/3 lb. each).
Heat a large skillet over medium, then once hot add 1 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the seasoned chicken and cook on both sides until deep brown and the internal temperature has reached 165ºF. I highly suggest getting an instant read thermometer to take the guesswork out of cooking meat. There’s nothing worse than cutting into your chicken to find the inside still a bit raw. Once cooked, transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest for a few minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, you can quickly prepare the green beans. Place one inch of water in a sauce pot, add a steamer basket, then add one pound of green beans (you can snap them in half first, if you prefer). Place a lid on the pot, then place the pot over medium-high heat. Allow the beans to steam for 7-10 minutes, or until they are bright green and still slightly crunchy. It’s best to slightly under cook these if you plan on reheating your meals later.
Once the green beans are steamed, remove the basket from the pot, pour the water out, then return the beans to the pot without the basket. Add 1 Tbsp butter and allow the residual heat from the beans to melt the butter. Stir to coat, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Finally, slice up the chicken breasts. The sweet potatoes should be done roasting at about this time as well, so now it’s time to pack up your meals.
Divide the sweet potato halves, green beans, and chicken between four containers. Eat immediately, or refrigerate and reheat later.