Wednesday, March 7, 2018

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Creative Touches Add Pizazz to Quick Chicken Meals

Creative Touches Add Pizazz to Quick  Chicken Meals

Creative Touches Add Pizazz to Quick  Chicken Meals

Creative Touches Add Pizazz to Quick  Chicken Meals

As much as we may talk about Slow Food, it's a rare household that has the luxury of low, slow, all-day preparations. In a world where dinner is sandwiched between the exhaustion of work-work, homework, and housework, we need Slow Food fast.
So when it comes to fast, easy weeknight meals, we all tend to play foul.
It's no wonder -- boneless, skinless chicken breasts make for inexpensive, no-brainer suppers. Slap them on the grill or toss them in a saute pan. Could anything be easier?
But, it's awfully easy to run afoul of the fowl. We overcook the tender bird. Or fall into a chicken rut and make the same old, same old over and over.
So, we're offering up fabulous new guises for everyone's favorite dinner ingredient, including something dressy, something grilled and a quick saute. Because of the beauty of chicken, former Bon Appetit food, ready to become something special.
"Adding chermoula and salsas, sprinkling it with Indian, Moroccan or Latin flavors just brings it to life. It's versatile, and it takes to so many flavorings and preparations.
The fact that it's affordable and healthful, especially when you're talking organic and free-range, is a plus, says the Los Angeles-based food writer, who also serves as food editor for the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch. But the real delight lies in using fowl as a foil for wonderful flavors and taking clever shortcuts to get a truly delicious dinner on the table in minutes.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are perfect for that. And when they're cut into bite-sized pieces first, and simmered in green curry paste, coconut milk, and lime zest.
Don't wander too far away. You don't want to overcook it. A little protection on the chicken -- some flour or breadcrumbs -- helps seal in the juices.
Dredged in flour and quickly sauteed, that chicken cutlet becomes a tender companion to a flavorful lentil salad with fresh mint, chopped celery and sliced radishes and a zippy mustard vinaigrette, for example.
The general concept behind that dish is you make a sauce or a vinaigrette and put it on the chicken and the vegetable. For very little work, you end up with a complete meal, filled with lots of flavors.
If you are grilling chicken, you save a few tablespoons of the marinade, before it's used on the meat and the vegetables, and drizzles it over both at the end.
I love to mix and match my recipes, pairing simple grilled or sauteed chicken breasts with elements borrowed from other sections of her newest cookbook. And the basil-walnut sauce that dresses up grilled albacore tuna works equally well drizzled over lemony grilled chicken breasts.
Those toppings, sauces, and marinades elevate the lowly chicken to lofty heights and allow it to shine at dinner parties, or picnics and barbecues.
What I cook totally depends on my mood and the time of year. I especially look forward to summer because it means grilling outdoors. And the one recipe I've been craving is grilled chicken with a tangle of multicolored marinated peppers, served over a piece of toasted sourdough bread to absorb it all and give it texture.
It's a perfect midsummer dish. Roasted peppers are marinated in olive oil and golden balsamic vinegar -- fruitier than its rosy cousin -- with enough garlic to ward off vampires plus bright pops of orange zest.  


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