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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lemon Grilled Chicken and Perfect Asparagus

I'm always on the hunt for easy, healthy recipes that my family will like, and these are both definite winners!  I found this first one on the Better Homes and Gardens site, and adapted it a bit.  I  used chicken tenders instead of the chicken breasts, marinated it for two hours, and then cooked them on our little George Foreman grill.  So super easy!

Lemon Grilled Chicken
photo from Better Homes and Gardens 
4 chicken breasts
1/2 fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 c lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp finely snipped fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1/4 tsp black pepper

For marinade, combine broth, zest, juice, thyme and pepper.  Trim the fat from the chicken, and place it in a  freezer bag.  Pour the marinade over the chicken, seal the bag, and place it in the refrigerator.  Marinate for 1-2 hours, turning occasionally.

Drain the chicken, but save the marinade.  Our George Foreman is one of the older, simpler ones, so there are no settings to adjust; you just plug it in, and it heats up.  If yours is adjustable, I'd say to set it to medium, let it warm up, and throw your chicken on there.  We only had to cook ours for a few minutes, because our pieces were so small, but we had a lot of them.  If you'd like, brush some of the marinade on the chicken when it's about half way done, flip it over, and brush it on the other side as well.  We skipped this step on ours, and they were still super moist, tender, and lemony-delicious.  

While Brandon tended to grilling the chicken, I took care of the asparagus.  I found this recipe for "perfect" asparagus" here, and I'm telling you, it is aptly named.  That asparagus was delicious.  I'd never tried blanching my veggies before, but I will definitely be doing so again.

Perfect Asparagus, with Lemon
photo from the original post at afamilyfeast.com
fresh asparagus
fresh lemon
1/2 tbsp butter

Wash your asparagus, then snap off the hard ends and discard (compost!) them.  Prepare your ice bath: basically, you just need to have a big bowl full of iced water handy by the stove.  Boil water in a large pot.  Once it's come to a boil, add the asparagus and allow it to return to a boil.  Set a timer, and boil the asparagus for about two minutes.  Skinny asparagus will finish faster, thicker ones may take a little longer, but don't let them go for more than three minutes!  They will be a bright, vibrant green when they're ready.  At this point, use a pair of tongs to move the asparagus to the water bath, and leave it there for about two minutes.  Use the tongs again to remove it and set it aside.  I just placed mine in a strainer in the sink, until the chicken was just about done.  
When he put the last two pieces of chicken on the grill, I melted my butter in a non-stick skillet over  medium heat, added the asparagus, squeezed the juice from about half a lemon over it, and sauteed it for only a minute or two and then served it immediately.  

I'm trying to focus on meat and veggies at dinner, to avoid over-doing on the carbs, so that was our entire dinner: chicken and asparagus. We each took healthy helpings of both, especially the asparagus.  And man, oh man, was it good.  All of it.  Strangely, neither of the girls was the least bit interested in any of it--I can usually count on Kaylie to eat hers, but not this time.  Still, there was not a bit of asparagus left by the end of the meal, and there were only 3 little pieces of chicken.
I think that next time I do this asparagus, I'll try doing a balsamic glaze instead of the lemon, and maybe pair it with a Mediterranean chicken?  Oh, this is making me hungry!