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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cold Weather Chicken

There's a reason you haven't been hearing much from me.  I'm just not in the mood.  I've had enough winter.  I've had enough braised meat.  I've had enough citrus.  And I've had enough cold, dreary days.  Yup, spring can't come faust enough for me.

Unfortunately, the weather gods have other ideas.  Snow is falling, the wind is blowing, and the snow drifts are growing.  Temperatures are plummeting.  Punxsutawney Phil wasn't kidding when he said six more weeks of winter.  We've settled in for the long hall.

I feel a little guilty complaining because Kate is up there in the wilds of Maine.  At last report, there was something like three feet of snow on the ground on the Bates campus.  The "icicle problem" has become so widespread that Bates sent an "Icicle Safety" email to all students.  My daughter, of course, thought this funny.  "What?  Do they think we're idiots?  Like we would walk under icicles?"  In a word, yes, they do think you're all idiots.  And for good reason.  You're college students.  Good judgment is never to be assumed.

So, anyway...

Despite my lack of interest in all things culinary, except for maybe hot cocoa, I had to cook dinner tonight.  I just couldn't justify macaroni and cheese, (what I really wanted), and instead opted for the cover recipe from this month's Cooking Light: Chicken 25 Ways, Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner.

I'm going to start by saying that this isn't really lemon chicken.  Rather, it's a chicken dish with all kinds of other good stuff (potatoes, green beans, mushrooms), and a couple of slices of lemon,  Yes, the lemon adds some nice sparkle to the dish, but it's really not lemon chicken.

What it is, is very good.  It's takes a couple of steps to get it going, but nothing too difficult.  The ingredients are monthly things you're apt to have on hand, and it's really tasty.  It's satisfying on a cold winter night, without being too heavy, and will make you feel less guilty about having mac and cheese tomorrow night.

Recipe:  Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner
Slightly adapted from Cooking Light, January/February, 2015


12 ounces baby red potatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 3/4-inch thickness
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 thyme sprigs
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup whole milk
5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
8 very thin lemon slices
8 ounces fresh trimmed haricots verts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Preheat oven to 450°.

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken and thyme sprigs to pan; cook 5 minutes or until chicken is browned. Turn chicken over. Place pan in oven; bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan.

Return pan to medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Add potatoes, cut sides down; mushrooms; and 1 tablespoon thyme; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring once. Combine milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add remaining salt, remaining pepper, flour mixture, stock, lemon, and beans to pan; simmer 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Add chicken; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender. Sprinkle with parsley.

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