When Life Hands You Lemons…

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In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a wee bit obsessed with lemons these days.

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They’ve been so plump and pretty lately, and whenever I roll one of those bright yellow fruits between my hands and a cutting board to get the juices flowing, the tart and pure aroma that releases from its peel never fails to make my mouth water.

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That unmistakable scent always reminds me of Ben’s and my trip to the tiny, seaside town of Praiano, Italy, where lemon trees were so abundant the fruit seemed to fall out of the sky. I love that one sniff can take me back there!

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Plus, let’s be real, lemons juice adds a ton of flavor to the dishes you add it to without adding a bunch of extra calories. Loves it! :D

Tonight, after recently gussying up Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes and Wild Salmon with Lemon CousCous with the jazzy juice, I mainlined it into a bright and sassy dinner of Lemon Chicken Pasta.

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Oh baby this was good!

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I started by plunging some Just Bare chicken breasts into a lemon-infused marinade.

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This super simple marinade contained the juice of a couple lemons, a splash of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of dried thyme, and garlic salt and pepper.

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I squished the marinade up in the bag, then added the chicken and rolled it all around to make sure everything was coated and covered.

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While the chicken marinated, I took Eloise to get new tires (her transformation is officially complete!) – about 30-45 minutes. Marinating for any longer would cause it to start cooking in the lemon juice.

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I popped the chicken breasts on a flat top skillet to cook (still out of propane for the grill!) but since I forgot to employ my secret technique for perfect chicken,  the breasts were cooking totally un-even. #Ownsecrettechinquefail

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I took them off the heat, sliced them up, then added them back onto the skillet with a splash of leftover marinade. All good!

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Meanwhile I roasted a tray of broccoli tossed with EVOO, salt & pepper for 10 minutes, then added a couple big handfuls of baby spinach on top and continued cooking for a few minutes.

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Roasted broccoli = totally worth having the oven set to 425 degrees on a 100 degree day. I promise!

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While everything was cooking away, I got to work on a Lemon Vinaigrette to bring all the ingredients together with 1/2 pound of pasta.

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This was similar to yesterday’s Lime Vinaigrette for the Quinoa Salad, and came together in a snap!

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It was faaaabulously fruity from the EVOO and wonderfully tart from the lemon!

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Once the chicken & vegetables were done, I added them to the cooked pasta, poured on some of the Lemon Vinaigrette, and tossed everything together.

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Yum, yum, YUMMY!

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Lemon Chicken Pasta

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8oz dried pasta

For the chicken:

2 chicken breasts

Extra virgin olive oil

2 lemons, juiced

pinch of dried thyme, salt & pepper

For the vegetables:

1 head broccoli crowns

Extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper

2 handfuls baby spinach

For the Lemon Vinaigrette:

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

pinch of dried thyme, salt & pepper

Directions:

1. For the chicken: Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness and marinate in EVOO, lemon juice and seasonings for no longer than one hour. Cook on the grill or in a skillet until chicken is no longer pink inside.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain & set aside.

3. For the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place broccoli crowns onto a foil-lined & non-stick sprayed baking sheet, drizzle on EVOO, salt & pepper, toss, then roast for 10 minutes. Add spinach on top of broccoli and cook for 4 more minutes.

4. For the Lemon Vinaigrette: whisk ingredients together. Taste & adjust seasonings as necessary.

5. Mix pasta, chicken & vegetables together. Pour on 1/4 cup of the Lemon Vinaigrette and toss again to coat. Enjoy!

When life hands you lemons, make this dish. The raw lemon juice in the vinaigrette almost tastes sweet when compared to the more sour taste of the cooked lemon on the chicken. The combo of the two is wild!

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The roasted veggies totally take it over the top. Deeeeefinitely worth the extra heat in the kitchen. DO YA’ FEEL ME?! ;)

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For dessert, I am digging into a bowl full of cherries.

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Can I say once again how much I freaking love summer produce?!?!?!?!?!

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In other news, it is like 4,000 degrees outside but I think Ben and I are going to go brave the heat for a walk! Last night on the news a soldier who had served in Iraq was being interviewed about what he thought about the sudden and oppressive heat wave that’s recently graced central Iowa. He said,

“Well, it’s really not that bad when you consider the fact that it regularly reached 152 degrees while I was serving in Iraq.”

Ben and I looked at each other and officially zipped our whiny lips for the summer…! 8O

Have a great night!

~~~~~

What is something you like in one form, but hate in another?

I heart fresh cherries, but I hate maraschino cherries. I also love chocolate bars, but hate chocolate icing!

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