Grilled Lemon Chicken and Fried Rice with Winter Vegetables

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Grilled Lemon Chicken

Serves 4

I have had this recipe cut out of an old magazine and taped onto a 3×5 card in my recipe box for about 50 years. It was called Chicken Ah-Yum then, and it really is yummy. I rarely use the butter or oil in the recipe; it is more intensely flavored without it and much healthier.

  • 4 small chicken breasts or 3 large (about 1 pound)
  • ½ cup butter or good olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 packages Good Seasoning Italian Dressing Mix

Mix butter or oil, lemon juice and salad dressing mix together with a small whisk and marinate chicken pieces in it for about 30 minutes before grilling; baste with the marinade while grilling until just done through.

Stir-Fried Rice with Winter Vegetables

I use my favorite rice/whole-grain mix grown and marketed by Rice Select — their Royal Blend Whole Grain Mixture. Cook three cups and cool to room temperature.

In the meantime, sauté over medium-high heat ½ medium onion, 1 small fennel bulb, and ½ large green or red pepper, roughly chopped, in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Add to the pan 1 cup roughly chopped carrots and 2 cups small Brussels sprouts (or large ones cut in half), previously blanched for 4 minutes. Incorporate into onion mixture over medium-low heat for one minute.

Add the cooled rice and cook, stirring to mix, for about 2 minutes. Add about two cups baby greens of your choice and stir in till wilted, about another 2 minutes. Season to taste with a good soy sauce while greens are wilting and sprinkle with a little more sesame oil before serving.

You can use any mix of vegetables you choose for this stir-fry. In the summer I use carrots, red pepper, zucchini, and sometimes fresh corn. In the spring, sugar snaps and English peas work well with baby bok choy.

Use your own imagination throughout the seasons; just about any vegetable will work. Some need only to be sautéed; some will require blanching.

Sausage and Peppers Over Pasta

This is one of my family’s favorite recipes. Like much of my cooking, this is a wing-it recipe that does not require exact measurements for anything. I often make it when I have ingredients in the refrigerator that I need to use up fast. We now use local Italian sausage and Cavanna’s fettuccine or taglierini.

For Sauce:

Sauté one medium onion and two garlic cloves in 3 tablespoons olive oil until softened. Add 1 35-oz. can of Italian plum tomatoes in sauce. (I prefer Cento brand, now available at Safeway.)

Bring to a low boil and then lower heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Along the way, add about 1 tablespoon each of dried basil and dried oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.

In summer, you can always use fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped coarsely, or a combination of fresh and canned. For the full recipe, you would need about four pounds of tomatoes, and a mix of varieties makes for a very flavorful sauce. You could even halve cherry or grape tomatoes and cook them down also.

When available, always opt for fresh herbs too — just add in nearer the end of the cooking time. And feel free to add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste if you like.

For Peppers:

Sauté 1 medium onion and 1 medium fennel bulb, both trimmed and peeled of outer layers and sliced into thin slices, in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 3 minutes over medium heat. Core and peel 2–3 sweet peppers, preferably several colors of peppers, and add them to the onions and fennel. Sauté for another 5–10 minutes until the vegetables are softened but still have a bite.

For Sausage:

Cook your favorite hot or sweet Italian sausage as you normally would but end up with the sausage sliced into ¼-inch slices and tossed in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until slightly browned. Remove sausage from the pan and deglaze it with ¼ cup of good red wine and add the mixture to the tomato sauce. Then add sausage to the sauce.

All of these steps can be done almost simultaneously or can be made in advance and reheated for the final presentation.

Cook one pound pasta according to package directions and drain. Divide among four (or up to six) plates or pasta bowls and top with sauce and then with peppers. Sprinkle with good Parmesan cheese and enjoy! Really enjoy!