I don’t know whether it’s the heat, the longing for a good iced tea (good = real Southern-style like my Grandma makes), or the fond memories of childhood lemonade stands, but something about summer makes me crave lemons.
So, after my massage on Monday, I waddled through the grocery store searching for dinner inspiration. (Yes, I’m that person who weaves, doubles-back, and otherwise wanders around Central Market in any darn order that I please. On a weeknight, at least. Do not try this on a weekend. You will run away kicking and screaming.)
Lemons are tricky in our household because I adore them, but lemons and the flavors that traditionally are paired with them (think capers, seafood, and dill) are not Brad’s favorite. This requires some creativity, but, as I continue to learn, being forced to venture outside the ‘norm’ leads to some of the most fantastic results.
Enter :: Provence-Style Chicken with Orzo & Vegetable Salad.
This chicken is a no-brainer. It requires only 5 ingredients, and I bet you have most of them sitting around. It’s super-easy. And, it’s delicious. You simply marinate chicken breasts in a mixture of oil, vinegar, lemonade concentrate, and herbs de Provence, and toss it on the grill. (Exact measurements are here on the recipe page.)
Ahhhh, this orzo salad. I’m so excited to share it with you because it is, by far, one of my favorite go-to side dishes. I usually make it differently every time, depending on what vegetables look good and make my taste-buds happy that day. But, this time, it was so great that I actually wrote it down!
Whole wheat orzo + Asparagus + Roasted bell peppers + Toasted pine nuts + Caramelized shallots & garlic + Feta + Basil + Mint. Tossed in a light dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, and white balsamic vinegar.
It’s great warm, at room temperature, or cold. It’s even better the next day after the flavors have married. It can be served as a side dishes or as a main dish with sliced chicken, beef, or shrimp.
What’s not to like?
You can find the recipe, complete with nutritional information, here. A few notes about the preparation: I’m all about limiting the number of dishes that I dirty in the cooking process, so read through the whole recipe to get the big picture before diving in. I re-use pans wherever I can. And, although the individual prep containers look great on TV, this salad ends up getting tossed together in one big bowl and most of us don’t have a dish-cleaning staff on stand-by. So, after prepping/blanching/sauteing each ingredient, you can simply toss it into your final mixing bowl where it will patiently wait for all of its friends to arrive for the party.
I hope you’ll try it, and let me know how it turns out!