Two Easy 10-minute meals perfect for spring-time weather

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Whenever the weather warms…even just a little…my entire diet changes. All of a sudden, the heavy, comforting foods just aren’t all that appealing anymore. Yesterday, I turned down fried food. What?!

And, it doesn’t stop there. Even the **way** I cook changes. Slaving over the stove or having the oven running for hours just isn’t my thing.

So, when the two new me’s collide and I find the perfect recipe…I’m hooked. Lucky for you, I’ve got two this week!

Grilled Chicken topped with raw Puttanesca sauce over crusty bread.

Grilled Chicken topped with raw Puttanesca sauce over crusty bread.

Years ago I got Rachel Ray’s 30-minute Meals: 365 as a gift. It’s a 30-minute meal for each day of the year organized by season. I don’t use it that often because I’m usually cooking based on a particular craving or special occasion. But the more I think about it, the more cooking by seasons is truly brilliant.

You can find all the ingredients in season, tasting their best. Your “food mood,” subconscious or not, is more in line with the seasons than you realize — comfort in the winter, lighter in the summer. And, the cooking styles are in line with seasonal lifestyles…grilling in the summer, baking in the winter, etc.

So, I pulled it off my bookshelf and browsed some chicken recipes. I made two (with my own spin) that were so easy and delicious, I just had to share.

1. Chicken Picatta

  • 1 chicken breast, halved lengthwise like a book. You’ll use one half for this recipe and the other half for the next recipe.
  • Bread crumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of capers

Pound out the halved chicken breast between some parchment paper. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over both sides of the halved breast. (no worry to do all that dredging…extra steps, extra time. but, if you like that, go for it!)

Heat a sautee pan over medium-high heat. Heat a tablespoon of butter and a splash of oil in the pan. When bubbling and clear in color, add the breaded chicken breast. Cook both sides until golden brown — 3 minutes per side.

Remove the chicken breast to a plate. Pour another splash of oil in the heated pan OFF THE HEAT. Add the garlic for just a second. When it starts to cook add both liquids (lemon juice and chicken stock). Add back to the heat over medium heat and reduce by half.

Add the capers and cook for half a minute to marry the flavors. Pour the sauce over the chicken and your done. Serve with whole wheat spaghetti or basmati rice.

2. Chicken with Puttanesca sauce

  • Other half of the chicken breast
  • tomatoes (1 roma, handful of cherry, or 1/2 regular)
  • 1 tablespoon of onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of capers
  • 1 slice of bread (just whatever you have)

Season both sides of the halved chicken breast with salt and pepper. Heat a sautee pan over medium-high heat. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. When the oil is just starting to ripple, add the chicken and cook both sides until golden brown.

Meanwhile, toast some bread under the broiler. Make a quick puttanesca sauce by chopping some tomatoes, garlic, and onion. Mix them all in a bowl and top over the cooked chicken. Alternatively, you can make my marinara sauce and just spoon some of that on top, which is what I did.

Serve chicken with sauce over the crusty bread. Garnish with the capers and some parsley if you have it. Sliced olives are also divine.

Please let me know if you make either of these recipes and let me know what you think!

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