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Lemony Chicken Three Ways

Please see the March 10, 2011 blog for how to photos.

Super simple Lemony Chicken is a cook’s delight that keeps giving and giving. Marinated in a simple mixture of lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, a bit of sugar and cayenne pepper it yields sandwiches, entrées and salads. By marinating more than what’s needed for a single meal, it can be used in a variety of ways throughout the week.

The entrée can be prepared in less than 30 minutes for a scratch meal that is healthy and inviting. Couscous, which is becoming more and more popular as a side dish is the perfect accompaniment as it literally takes minutes to make. Often described as a grain, couscous is actually very fine pasta made with semolina flour. The quick cooking couscous is actually precooked and only needs to be rehydrated which takes about 5 minutes. Fairly bland on its own, couscous takes well to stock as its liquid. In this case we are adding dates, almonds and parsley to heighten the flavor. When rehydrating, it can become gummy and clumpy – not good! However, years ago when I owned an upscale take out food shop, I discovered that by toasting the couscous first for about 8 to 10 minutes at 350 until a deep golden brown it eliminates this problem so long as the liquid measurement is correct. The toasting also enhances its flavor. There is another product, Israeli Couscous, that is a completely different item and not to be used here.

When it comes to the herbed tomato, these crumbs are definitely good to keep in the freezer. Just multiply up the batch, seal in a freezer proof container and they are ready to bread chicken or pork, top a casserole or make even an out of season tomato taste special.

Perfect for tailgating, picnics or the office, the Lemony Chicken Sandwich is fresh and light. The Lemon Basil Mayonnaise that finishes it teams up with cucumbers and tomatoes for a salad on a bun. By the way, the mayonnaise is great for tuna or egg salad also.

The Greek Salad, redolent of all the flavors associated with wonderful cuisine – green peppers, cucumbers, calamata olives, tomatoes and feta is bound together in the traditional yogurt dressing tatziki but with a kick of cayenne.

So get your whisk and your microplaner out and in less than 15 minutes you can prepare 3 Lemony Chicken meals with minimal preparation to enjoy during the week.sandwich Salad entree chicken  food photo

Lemony Chicken
8 – 6 ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 lemon zested
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove minced

Trim any noticeable fat from the chicken breasts if needed.

Whisk all but the chicken breasts together.Place the breasts in glass or plastic container preferably with a lid. Pour the marinade over, making sure to lift the breasts so the marinade goes underneath.Cover with the lid or with plastic wrap. Marinate overnight, turning once or twice.

Line a sheet pan with foil. Spray lightly. Roast 20 minutes or until a themometer registers 165.

Lemony Chicken Dinner
4 Lemony Chicken Breasts, marinated and baked as above

Cayenne Butter Sauce (Optional)
4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

If using butter, melt it. Add the remaining ingredients; stir well. Serve 1 tablespoon over each chicken breast.

1 package 5 minute couscous
1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the couscous in a jelly roll pan in a single layerand toast for 8 to 10 minutes until a medium golden brown.Cool completely.

Place the almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Toast at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes until golden brown.

Bring 1 1/3 cup water to a boil.Add the couscousCover and set aside for 5 minutes.  Remove the coverand fluff with a fork.

In the meantime, cut the dates in half and remove the pits.  Dice.Combine the ingredients.Mix well.

Keep warm.

Herbed Crumb Topped Tomatoes1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated asiago
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tomatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil

Combine the crumbs, asiago, basil, oregano and garlic powder.Mix well and set aside.

Cut the tops of the tomatoes off and scoop about a small amount of the tomato along with the core.Fill with the herbed crumbs. Place in a baking panand bake for about 20 minutes until heated through and the crumbs are lightly browned. These should be baked with the chicken.

To Serve: Place the couscous on a plate, top with chicken breast. Top with Cayenne Butter Sauce. Serve the tomato on the side.

Yield: 4 servings

Per Sandwich
Brioche Buns or any good Sandwich Bun
Lemony Chicken Breast
Leaf Lettuce
3 to 4 slices cucumber
1 to 2 slices tomato
2 tablespoons Lemon Basil Mayonnaise (recipe below)

Slice bun in half. Cut the chicken into 5 or 6 slices. Spread half of the mayonnaise on the bottom of the bun. Layer lettuce, tomato, cucumber and chicken. Spread the top of the bun with the remaining mayonaise.

Lemon Basil Mayonnaise
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup fresh basil, finely cut (about a ..67 oz. package)
1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Zest of 1/2 large lemon, grated

Whisk all together.Chill. This will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Per Salad
1/4 cup grated peeled cucumber
1/2 cup plain fat free yogurt
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Whisk all together. Set aside.

1 Lemony Chicken Breast
4 to 5 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1/4 green pepper, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/4 cucumber, peeled and seeded, cut into half moons
4 calamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled

Cut the chicken breast into bite size pieces. Combine all in a large bowl. Add as much or little dressing as desired.


sandwich Salad entree chicken  food photo

2 comments to Lemony Chicken Three Ways

  • John Martin-Rutherford

    As usual, Mrs. F, these recipes make me want to quit my job and head home to the kitchen and get started. Dirk won’t let me do it, however.

    • Helen S. Fletcher

      You are the best! Thanks for taking the time to comment. Tell Dirk I said you could. Thanks for reading.

      All best,