Tag Archives: lemon chicken

Simple Lemon Chicken with Zero Talent Required! (serves 6 – 8)

 It will take more time to read this recipe than it will take you to prepare this dinner – I’m dead serious! It is dinners like this that have saved me from ordering take-out many an evening and I suggest that you add this to your repertoire.

Fast Lemon Chicken

Fast Lemon Chicken

I made this last night because right when I should have been making dinner I had to pick my kids up from their grandmother’s house. How was I going to make dinner and have it ready when they got home if I was the one picking them up?

Easy: I put this together in 5 minutes, popped it into the oven and it was ready when we got home. It was so lovely to walk into the house and smell the wonderful aroma of roasting chicken.

The lemon and herbs in this dish made the flavor happen magically and it tasted like a dish that I had labored over  – I’ll never tell!

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*This is a Great Blood Type A Diet recipe, just omit the black pepper and pepper flakes if you are strict*

You will need:

1 1/2 lbs chicken thigh cutlets (that means, no skin and de-boned. They are sometimes called thigh oysters)

2 chicken breast fillets, cut in half lengthways

sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper flakes for seasoning

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 large sweet onion, halved, then sliced thinly

1 cup baby carrots (if very small leave them whole, if larger quarter them lengthways giving you “skinny sticks”)

1 sprig rosemary (about 3 inches)

4 sprigs thyme

1 lemon, quartered

3 cups chicken broth

Method:

Preheat oven 425*

1 – Prep veggies and season meat with salt and  pepper.

2 – Scatter onions, carrots, rosemary, thyme, and lemon in bottom of pan, roasting dish or baking tray. Add the broth. Place chicken breast on top in 4 completely separate spots. Lay one of the chicken things on top of each of the breast pieces and the rest of the things in-between.

3 – Sprinkle a little cayenne pepper flakes over the chicken (if using) and drizzle the entire dish with the oil.

4 – Place in your preheated oven for 40 minutes.

DONE!

DONE!

Remove from oven and remove the lemons and herbs. Serve with anything you like: pasta, rice, bread, boiled potatoes or a salad.

Pollo al Limone e Spaghetti (Lemon Chicken with Equally Lemon-y Spaghetti !) serves 6

This recipe came about because of the excess of lemons in our house due to my daughter’s Lemonade Stand this past Memorial Day (Read all about it HERE). I was in no way flummoxed as to what to do with bunches of lemons, as the lowly lemon can be thrown into so many dishes. With so many however I decided that the lemon flavor would be the star of this dinner.

A great use of lemons!

This dinner makes great use of lemons!

You may know that you can make a quick emulsion if you whip lemon and butter together. I have tasted many pasta dishes with a lemon zing, which is usually achieved by using this basic premise.

the zest of a lemon adds punch to any dish

The zest of a lemon adds punch to any dish

I had chicken, I had spaghetti, I had butter, and I had lemons: this dish is the result. What can I say; it will be a staple from now on!

a cool glass of good lemonade

A cool glass of good lemonade (I’m sure adding a shot of vodka or gin to this would make a great Summer cocktail!)

Cheers!

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You will need:

3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

2/3 cup water

sea-salt (for seasoning meat and to taste)

2 lbs chicken thigh cutlets (no skin, no bones)

1 medium red or sweet onion, diced

1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes

zest and juice of 3 lemons

8 tbs unsalted butter

sea salt & black pepper for seasoning

1 lb spaghetti pasta (I use Barilla brand)

Method:

Preheat oven 400*

* Cook the pasta while the chicken is resting. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining and reserve (you may need it at the end). Do not rinse the pasta. Add directly to the lemon sauce after draining*

1 – Scatter onions in bottom of big saute or roasting pan. Add zest from 1 lemon to pan, the water and 1/2 tsp of pepper flakes. 

scatter onion, lemon zest and pepper flakes into pan

scatter onion, lemon zest and pepper flakes into pan

2 –  Lay chicken on top (it is good if it’s snug). Season lightly with medium to coarse sea-salt, and the rest of the pepper flakes. Drizzle with the oil and place in the oven for

place chicken on top and season

Place chicken on top and season

3 – Remove chicken to a plate and cover loosely with foil.

remove chicken to a plate

Remove chicken to a plate

4 – Put the pan on medium/high heat and add the lemon juice and remainder of the zest. Bring to a boil and let it bubble for 1 minutes. Take off heat.

add lemon juice and boil

Add lemon juice and boil

5 – Add butter and swirl into sauce until melted.Taste sauce for addition of salt and pepper and adjust according to your liking.

add butter

Add butter

6 – Add the pasta immediately and toss everything together.

add pasta

Add pasta

Serve as it is with a grating of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and more cayenne pepper flakes…

It is great without the chicken also!

Amazingly robust yet light pasta dish 

or you can also add chicken

I also cooked some brest meat for 1 person in ur house who cowers at the mention of dark meat

I also cooked some breast meat for 1 person in our house who cowers at the mention of dark meat

Chicken Breast in Lemony Rosemary Broth (serves 8)

I made this to use up a mountain of chicken breast fillets that were in danger of getting ignored in the back of the fridge, (also, I cannot stand wasting food, especially meat, where an animal’s life would serve no purpose if thrown away). There was a general outcry of hunger at lunchtime yesterday, and it was the perfect opportunity to make a big batch of something tasty!

Chicken Breast in Lemony Rosemary Broth

I decided to cook a very “hands-off” dish which left me free to leave the kitchen and get on with other important things (like reading: another equally yummy activity). The chicken was seared, then cooked in wine, water, herbs and some choice veggies. There is nothing I cannot cook if I have a bouillon cube and some celery in the house!

A brisk walk after eating is always nice

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*This is a Blood Type A friendly Dish*

You will need:

4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

8 chicken fillets

1 onion, diced

5 scallions (green onions), sliced, including green parts

4 inner ribs celery, including green leaves, sliced

2 sprigs rosemary

1 lemon, quartered

1 cup white wine

2 cups chicken or veggie broth (or 1 good quality bouillon cube & Water: I use Rapunzel brand)

sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper to season meat

Method:

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Season meat with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Put roasting pan or oven-proof saute pan on high heat and add 1/2 of the oil. When it is hot, add 4 chicken fillets and sear on both sides until slightly golden in color. Transfer to a plate, then add more oil to the pan and sear the last batch.

sear chicken

2 – Turn heat down to medium and add all of the chopped and sliced vegetables, including the lemon wedges and rosemary. Saute for about 6 or so minutes.

Saute rest of ingredients

3 – Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the broth (or bouillon and water) and bring to a boil.

add liquid

4 – Nestle chicken into broth in an even, snug layer and cover with lid. Place in oven for 25 minutes. Take out and test meat by piercing center of breast with a knife. If it is white and tender, it is cooked. If it is not quite there, put it back into the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, until you are satisfied.

add chicken to broth

Serve with plenty of broth, and maybe some pasta, rice, bread or a salad.

Lemony deliciousness

Easter Dinner in the Breakfast Room

Good Friday Procession in Cortona, Italy

 Easter is a big deal in the United States but for different reasons than in Italy. I know this is a blanket statement, but after living in the United States for many years, combined with being born and raised in Ireland, and finally, being a witness to the Easter procession this past Good Friday in Cortona Italy, I have a definite opinion on the matter.

View from the wall outside the school

The reason I know Easter is approaching in the United States is I begin to see front lawns and yards decorated with everything from trees and bushes strung with painted plastic eggs, to giant blowup Easter bunnies tied down to lawns (not discounting wheelbarrows full of eggs, inflatable yellow chicks, and giant Easter baskets sporting colorful ribbons). North America takes on every holiday, religious or not, with a tacky kind of gusto that you either love, or hate.

The Breakfast Room

I came from a country where the only visible sign of a Holiday was during the Christmas season when sometimes you caught a glimpse of the neighbors christmas tree lights through a window. There was no question that anyone would decorate the outside of their house with bunnies at Easter time (in fact, I had never heard of the easter bunny!), giant plastic snowmen at Christmastime, big red hearts on St. Valentine’s day, shamrocks and leprechauns on st Patrick’s day, or fake turkeys and pumpkins during Halloween.

Flower arrangement by some of the creative students at UGA

I’m not saying that all of this hype is completely abhorred by me. It is just something I was not used to, and still find it a little odd, although it does make for interesting driving with plenty of stuff to distract your eyes from the road. My point is that the glitz and the commercial hype that surrounds a religious holiday suffocates the actual reason for the observation in the first place.

The door to the students living area and classrooms

The first sign that Easter was on it’s way in Ireland was when my teacher would ask what selfless act we were going to do during lent. From that day I knew it was exactly forty days to Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is to prepare you for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, through acts of prayer, penance and self-denial. Good Friday was a day of fasting, with fish for dinner, and Easter Sunday was marked by a colorful mass and a great feast afterwards, usually involving a leg of spring lamb.

Chicken roasted with rosemary, lemons and white wine

It was not without it’s commercial side, because I also looked forward to being given (and devouring) a giant hollow chocolate egg after dinner. These brightly wrapped eggs were displayed in shop windows for the duration of lent, which was a painful temptation if you happen to deprive yourself of chocolate for the whole forty days as an act of penance and self-denial!

Wisteria at the Gino Severini Building

Here in Cortona the first sign of Easter was at the bakeries in the form of a bread made only during lent called Spoleto. This Umbrian spelt bread is considered a humble enough breakfast for devout Easter observers, which is a little deceiving as it is more of a treat than a punishment.

Potatoes roasted with rosemary, sea salt and olive oil

The culminating event in Italy is the Good Friday procession where massive statues of Jesus Christ are carried through town to the steps of the Commune Building in the main piazza. These statues represent Jesus on the day he was crucified, and the stations of the cross are reenacted. A statue of the crucified Jesus is laid on a bed in front of the steps (while also being reunited with Mary, his mother), and prayers are said by the officiating priests and cardinals, before the body of Jesus is removed in another solemn procession to his resting place, before rising on Easter Sunday. The whole community of Cortona either participated in the procession or was a witness in the piazza. It felt serious and sad, and whether I admit to being a good catholic or not, I was moved by the devotion and respect displayed by the entire country who were having processions like this one at the very same time.

Window in The Breakfast Room

The American students who had been studying abroad in Cortona for the past three months were also thinking about Easter, and, whether catholic or not, were sure to have been missing some sort of Easter celebration back home. From living there I know that many families have a big Easter egg hunt where eggs are hidden (egg could be anything from a real painted egg, to a plastic egg with a prize inside) and found. This is followed by a big Easter dinner, which varies from culture to culture.

The School Yard

So, there was something that these students were probably thinking about, perhaps making them homesick and a little sad, missing their families more pointedly. I had the idea that I could cook them an Easter dinner in their dining room, and have them all eat together as this new family. When I made the suggestion the response was an overwhelming “yes please!” and so I began to plan it out.

detail of beautiful ceramic sculpture set in an alcove at an outdoor altar on the school's property (by my friend Shawn Ireland)

We had a meeting to collect names, money for food, and to discuss the menu. I told them that they could help in certain important ways (set the table, wash the lettuce, show up!), but that I wanted to cook for them, just like their mother would have done. For this project, I wanted to treat them like my children and the task was to feed them, and hopefully make them feel like it was a special day, and they were being taken care of in a more maternal way.

The sausages were added to remind everyone they were in Italy for Easter

The worst part of the whole event was going to the town in the valley (Camucia) to buy the food from the giant supermarket there. I had become so use to shopping on a very local level that being in this place with aisles and aisles of food made me want to cancel the whole thing. I spent the most gruelling hour of my life since arriving here, pushing a giant trolley of food from one department to the next under the glare of hideous lighting, while dodging other tormented shoppers. I knew for absolute sure that cooking for over 20 people would be a breeze after that nightmare.

Cafeteria style

On sunday morning I went to the school to see what I could snag from their kitchen by way of pots and pans. My rental apartment was adequate enough but had nothing much when it came to baking trays and containers that could hold large vats of food. I decided to borrow four or so big oven proof tray and planned to cook in steady batches. When it comes to figuring our food, quantities and timing, I will admit to being experienced. I cooked for a solid seven hours and was ready exactly when a group of the students rang my doorbell to carry everything up the steep hill to the school’s Breakfast Room.

Tofu, spinach and puy lentil curry

After several trips the food was safely installed in their modest kitchen area. It was a challenge to keep everything warm, but I managed. The thing that took any stress that I might be feeling away was the atmosphere in room. All the students were milling about doing everything from making beautiful flower arrangements for the long clinical tables, to sticking bunny ears made out of white napkins on the handles of every fork. Another reason I smiled is that all of them dressed for the occasion. There was a parade of spring dresses, high heels, fancy scarves and sophisticated hairdos. I was delighted that they were genuinely excited, and not just happy to have a convenient meal.

Silverware bound with handmade paper and bunny ear napkin

Lettuce was washed, cheese was sliced and arranged on platters, and within an hour of my arriving everyone was ready to sit for Easter dinner. Each place mat was a piece of drawing paper, and each student decorated their mat with all sorts of Easter-themed doodles. When everyone was served I sat with them and experienced my moment of belonging to a group that had knit itself together into a family of sorts. I thought about the day I had met all these strange faces in Rome and felt daunted by the task of trying to get to know their names, forget forming any sort of connection beyond that.

A little bit of everything on this student's dinner plate

I was now sitting in the Breakfast Room on Easter Sunday with each of their names firmly in my mind, and also aware that despite myself, I had formed enough of a connection I was compelled to feed them like I do my own children, to make sure they were happy on this Holiday away from home. I will remember this Easter Sunday, not alone because I was here in Cortona, but because I got a chance to cook for a gracious group of college students, who found they were missing Easter more than they had realized.

The collage the students made from their place mats (which they hung on the wall in the dining room)