Ina’s Gazpacho

I have never considered myself a “cold soup” person. I have tried cold soup before and liked it, but would I make it at home? Not so much. Or so I thought.

I was happy to see Gazpacho as one of this month’s Barefoot Blogger recipes chosen by Meryl of My Bit of Earth. What a great opportunity to make this popular summer soup for myself. Why wouldn’t I like it? It’s made from a ton of fresh vegetables, and it is easy to whip up in a food processor or blender. What’s not to like? Hmmm…uh…it’s cold soup.

Well…let me tell you…I loved this gazpacho!! I was so pleasantly surprised. I followed Ina’s recipe here, but substituted jarred roasted red peppers for fresh because it’s what I had on hand. Also, feeling inspired by Pioneer Woman’s recent beautiful Gazpacho post, I added some zucchini. I couldn’t resist throwing in a jalapeno from the garden and of course some lime. I would have probably preferred it a little more chunky, but because I don’t have a large food processor (why don’t I have one??) and had to use a blender it got slightly over processed. I thought it tasted perfectly though and enjoyed a big bowl alongside some chopped avocado and roasted shrimp for dinner.

Ina’s Gazpacho recipe can be found in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook or here on Food Network’s site.

Check out the Barefoot Bloggers for more versions of this great recipe!


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Curried Couscous

Summer has definitely begun for us…though I know not officially on the calendar. The weather is hot, real hot, and the kids are out of school. We have had a busy week visiting with classmates and friends, not leaving me much time for cooking it seems.

Lucky for me, this week’s Barefoot Blogger recipe, chosen by Ellyn of Recipe Collector and Tester, was an easy one. I’m not kidding when I say easy. That’s what I love so much about couscous, it’s ridiculously simple to make and I love flavoring it up by adding veggies, nuts and currants to it…just like Ina did in this recipe.

I made a few adjustments and additions to the original recipe like adding chopped yellow bell pepper and substituting whole wheat couscous. I also decided to leave out the red onion…and as I’m writing this post am realizing that I apparently left out the sliced almonds…oops.

I loved the curry yogurt dressing called for in this recipe…though, next time I will probably double it and use a little extra to keep it from becoming too dry as it sits out. This dish is served at room temperature and would be a great side dish for any barbeque or summer get together.

Curried Couscous
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
or find original recipe here on
Food Network

1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous
1 tablespoon unsalted olive oil
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 carrots, small-diced
1/2 cup dried golden raisins
1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1 yellow bell pepper

Place the couscous in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in the boiling water and pour over the couscous. Cover tightly and allow the couscous to soak for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Pour over the fluffed couscous, and mix well with a fork. Add the carrots, parsley, currants, almonds, scallions, and red onions, mix well, and season to taste. Serve at room temperature.

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Barefoot Bloggers – Chinese Chicken Salad

YUM!
This salad is officially a new favorite in my book. I had no idea it would be this good! I made this the other night for dinner for a friend of mine and I. We served it over fresh spinach leaves for a light weeknight dinner and it was perfect. Leftovers for lunch the next day were even better.

The salad was really easy to put together. I had roasted the chicken earlier in the day so that it was ready to be shredded. I also blanched the asparagus at the same time and kept them in the fridge to chill. The dressing was a breeze to throw together – I just love making my own fresh salad dressings. I originally thought about serving this salad over some cold sesame noodles or even in a pita, but the fresh spinach leaves worked out wonderfully to make this a great dinner salad.

Thank you to Kenzie over at Kenzie’s Kitchen for choosing this month’s recipe…go check her out along with the rest of the Ina Garten fans over at Barefoot Bloggers! The Barefoot Bloggers are a group of cookers and bakers brought together to test out the talented Ina Garten’s always fantastic recipes…come join us!

Chinese Chicken Salad
Recipe from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties! and Food Network

4 split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on) (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound asparagus, ends removed, and cut in thirds diagonally
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
2 scallions (white and green parts), sliced diagonally
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted

For the dressing:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup good apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub with the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred the chicken in large bite-sized pieces.

Blanch the asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain. Cut the peppers in strips about the size of the asparagus pieces. Combine the cut chicken, asparagus, and peppers in a large bowl.

Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the chicken and vegetables. Add the scallions and sesame seeds and season to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature.


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PS…I will be posting my Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe tomorrow…it’s dinner tonight!!

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Barefoot Bloggers – Chinese Chicken Salad

YUM!
This salad is officially a new favorite in my book. I had no idea it would be this good! I made this the other night for dinner for a friend of mine and I. We served it over fresh spinach leaves for a light weeknight dinner and it was perfect. Leftovers for lunch the next day were even better.

The salad was really easy to put together. I had roasted the chicken earlier in the day so that it was ready to be shredded. I also blanched the asparagus at the same time and kept them in the fridge to chill. The dressing was a breeze to throw together – I just love making my own fresh salad dressings. I originally thought about serving this salad over some cold sesame noodles or even in a pita, but the fresh spinach leaves worked out wonderfully to make this a great dinner salad.

Thank you to Kenzie over at Kenzie’s Kitchen for choosing this month’s recipe…go check her out along with the rest of the Ina Garten fans over at Barefoot Bloggers! The Barefoot Bloggers are a group of cookers and bakers brought together to test out the talented Ina Garten’s always fantastic recipes…come join us!

Chinese Chicken Salad
Recipe from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties! and Food Network

4 split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on) (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound asparagus, ends removed, and cut in thirds diagonally
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
2 scallions (white and green parts), sliced diagonally
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted

For the dressing:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup good apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub with the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred the chicken in large bite-sized pieces.

Blanch the asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain. Cut the peppers in strips about the size of the asparagus pieces. Combine the cut chicken, asparagus, and peppers in a large bowl.

Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the chicken and vegetables. Add the scallions and sesame seeds and season to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature.


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PS…I will be posting my Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe tomorrow…it’s dinner tonight!!

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CEimB and Barefoot Bloggers…

Another week of good food in our house…every couple of weeks, the two cooking groups I belong to, Craving Ellie in my Belly and Barefoot Bloggers will collide…but who can complain right?

This week’s Ellie Krieger recipe was my choice! It didn’t take me too long to pick Chicken with Mango Barbeque Sauce…if you are living anywhere in the south these days then you probably have spring fever like I do. I love being outside this time of year, and even more so enjoy cooking outside. I pictured this recipe grilled, and over a fresh salad. So that’s what I did …

The “barbeque” part of this sauce seems almost a bit misleading…it was not what I expected at all at first. The sauce is based on a puree of sauteed red pepper, onion, spices and tomato sauce as well as mangos and jalapenos. It’s not lacking in flavor that’s for sure. I thought the sauce was wonderful, and would be great with seafood too. It had a nice kick to it from the jalapenos and a nice fresh sweetness from the red peppers and mangos.

I served the chicken sliced over a large tossed salad with romaine, grape tomatoes, red onion and red pepper. The salad was tossed in a smoky vinaigrette I put together and then topped with the grilled chicken and additional Mango Barbeque Sauce. I have quite a bit of sauce left over and am going to throw it in the freezer to save for another time. Another great Ellie recipe!

Chicken with Mango Barbeque Sauce
Recipe by
Ellie Krieger, The Food You Crave

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 red pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup low-sodium tomato sauce
1 mango, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 to 3 jalapenos, minced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 pound each)

Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the red peppers, garlic, salt and pepper, and allspice and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice and tomato sauce and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the mixture into a bender and add the mango and jalapeno. Blend until smooth.

Put 1 cup of the barbeque sauce into a sealable plastic bag with the chicken and marinate for 1 hour.

Preheat the broiler. Put the chicken on a broiler pan and discard the marinade. Broil the chicken on high for about 12 minutes, turning once. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Spoon about 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce over the meat slices and serve.

Smoky Vinaigrette
Recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen

1 part red wine vinegar
1 part olive oil
salt and pepper
dash chili powder
dash cumin
dash garlic powder

Put all ingredients in a jar or bowl…shake or whisk until combined.

Check out the Craving Ellie in my Belly blogroll
to see how everyone else cooked up their recipe!

Next up is Barefoot Contessa’s Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart, chosen by the sweet Anne Strawberry. I can not get enough of these types of dishes…I absolutely love tomatoes and goat cheese, throw in some caramelized onions and its just perfection in my book. Good stuff.

I don’t normally cook with puff pastry, I love eating it, but cooking with it just makes me nervous. It’s just so delicate, and I just don’t do well with delicate. I decided to make my own version of these tarts using a whole wheat pizza dough that I found on Two Peas in Their Pod. I’ve been wanting to start making my own pizza dough, and I’ll tell ya, I’m glad I did. These were great served as personal pizzas…add a small salad to it and you’ve got yourself a great meal.

Thank you Anne for picking this fabulous recipe…I will try it again using the puff pastry, I promise. I will tell you though, I was excited to find some nice basil in my garden…I call this basil “miracle basil” because it somehow survived our winter freezes this year…I recently trimmed it back and it has sprung back beautifully! I can’t wait to start making homemade pesto again…

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
Recipe by
Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics

1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
Good olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet)
1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.

Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.

Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.

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Phew…this girl needs a break in the kitchen!! 😉

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CEimB and Barefoot Bloggers…

Another week of good food in our house…every couple of weeks, the two cooking groups I belong to, Craving Ellie in my Belly and Barefoot Bloggers will collide…but who can complain right?

This week’s Ellie Krieger recipe was my choice! It didn’t take me too long to pick Chicken with Mango Barbeque Sauce…if you are living anywhere in the south these days then you probably have spring fever like I do. I love being outside this time of year, and even more so enjoy cooking outside. I pictured this recipe grilled, and over a fresh salad. So that’s what I did …

The “barbeque” part of this sauce seems almost a bit misleading…it was not what I expected at all at first. The sauce is based on a puree of sauteed red pepper, onion, spices and tomato sauce as well as mangos and jalapenos. It’s not lacking in flavor that’s for sure. I thought the sauce was wonderful, and would be great with seafood too. It had a nice kick to it from the jalapenos and a nice fresh sweetness from the red peppers and mangos.

I served the chicken sliced over a large tossed salad with romaine, grape tomatoes, red onion and red pepper. The salad was tossed in a smoky vinaigrette I put together and then topped with the grilled chicken and additional Mango Barbeque Sauce. I have quite a bit of sauce left over and am going to throw it in the freezer to save for another time. Another great Ellie recipe!

Chicken with Mango Barbeque Sauce
Recipe by
Ellie Krieger, The Food You Crave

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 red pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup low-sodium tomato sauce
1 mango, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 to 3 jalapenos, minced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 pound each)

Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the red peppers, garlic, salt and pepper, and allspice and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice and tomato sauce and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the mixture into a bender and add the mango and jalapeno. Blend until smooth.

Put 1 cup of the barbeque sauce into a sealable plastic bag with the chicken and marinate for 1 hour.

Preheat the broiler. Put the chicken on a broiler pan and discard the marinade. Broil the chicken on high for about 12 minutes, turning once. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Spoon about 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce over the meat slices and serve.

Smoky Vinaigrette
Recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen

1 part red wine vinegar
1 part olive oil
salt and pepper
dash chili powder
dash cumin
dash garlic powder

Put all ingredients in a jar or bowl…shake or whisk until combined.

Check out the Craving Ellie in my Belly blogroll
to see how everyone else cooked up their recipe!

Next up is Barefoot Contessa’s Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart, chosen by the sweet Anne Strawberry. I can not get enough of these types of dishes…I absolutely love tomatoes and goat cheese, throw in some caramelized onions and its just perfection in my book. Good stuff.

I don’t normally cook with puff pastry, I love eating it, but cooking with it just makes me nervous. It’s just so delicate, and I just don’t do well with delicate. I decided to make my own version of these tarts using a whole wheat pizza dough that I found on Two Peas in Their Pod. I’ve been wanting to start making my own pizza dough, and I’ll tell ya, I’m glad I did. These were great served as personal pizzas…add a small salad to it and you’ve got yourself a great meal.

Thank you Anne for picking this fabulous recipe…I will try it again using the puff pastry, I promise. I will tell you though, I was excited to find some nice basil in my garden…I call this basil “miracle basil” because it somehow survived our winter freezes this year…I recently trimmed it back and it has sprung back beautifully! I can’t wait to start making homemade pesto again…

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
Recipe by
Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics

1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
Good olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet)
1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.

Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.

Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.

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Barefoot Contessa’s Chicken Piccata

We have eaten very well this week. I made this chicken dish the night before I cooked up Ellie’s Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream…and I have been happily eating leftovers for lunch all week.

This chicken dish is a classic. Its one everyone should learn to make. You could really impress with this dish too. And honestly, there is not much to the recipe. It is just a wonderful combination of great flavors.

I decided to cook my chicken in the oven from the beginning, I just sprayed each breaded cutlet with nonstick spray (or you can drizzle with olive oil) to give the breading a little extra something. I also added capers to my sauce…because honestly, I can’t have chicken piccata without them. Instead of using lemon halves, I added sliced lemons to the sauce and served them with the chicken. It all went together perfectly with steamed broccoli and a roasted vegetable medley.

This Barefoot Blogger recipe was chosen by Lindsey of Noodle Nights and Muffin Mornings. What a great pick! Check out the rest of the Barefoot Bloggers and see what they cooked up!

Chicken Piccata
Recipe from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home or
Food Network
2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
Good olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine
Sliced lemon, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

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