Monday, April 1, 2013

Meal Planning Monday: When life gives you lemons, lemonade shouldn’t be automatic

By Christine Luken
KyForward columnist
 
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” right? Not me! When life gives me lemons, especially Meyer lemons, I’m making Lemon Caper Chicken, Lemon Poppy Seed Cake, or Grilled Island Chicken. If you’ve never tried Meyer lemons, you should! They are a fragrant blend of sweet and tart and will give your recipes a blast of pure sunshine. I tried them for the first time just a few short weeks ago. My produce co-op had bags of five Meyer lemons for just $1.00. Now I’m hooked!
 

I’ve been squeezing fresh Meyer lemon juice in just about everything, from drinks, desserts, marinades and even yogurt! Here are some of my favorite uses for this gem of a fruit. (Feel free to use regular lemons in all of recipes.)
 
Lemon-Caper Chicken – I found this recipe back in 2005 on the Cooking Light website, but the exact variation isn’t on there anymore. It’s tasty, healthy and easy to make, so I’ve included the recipe below. I like to serve it with brown rice because it soaks up the tangy sauce. Delicious!
 
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake – To me this cake says “Spring is here!” I usually make it for Easter brunch or Mother’s Day. Sometimes I’ll make a lemon glaze to pour over the top of it. Fortunately, there’s never much in the way of leftovers, so I’m not tempted to eat half the cake by myself!
 
Lemon Greek Yogurt – Take six ounces of plain Greek yogurt, add one packet of Stevia, the juice of ¼ of a lemon and mix well. Top with half of a sheet of crushed graham crackers for a tasty protein-packed snack.
 
Lemon Spritzer – I will juice ¼ of a lemon and add it to sparkling water as a refreshing and healthy alternative to Diet Coke when I’m in the mood for something fizzy. (I gave up Diet Coke when I did my Detox Drop in January and haven’t had it since.) It’s also a great addition to green tea or plain water.
 
Grilled Island Chicken – Since our grill is broken and we need to buy a new one, I broiled the chicken after letting it marinade for six hours. My husband and I both loved it!
 
 

Lemon-Caper Chicken


 
(from Cooking Light magazine)
 
Ingredients
 
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
4 Thinly Sliced Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (4 oz. each)
Salt & Pepper
4 tsp. Whole Wheat Flour
1 Medium Shallot, minced
2 Tbs. Drained Capers
½ Cup Chicken Broth
¼ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1 – 2 Tbs. Fresh Chopped Parsley
 
Directions
 
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Rinse and dry chicken breasts. Season with salt and pepper and lightly coat with the flour. Add chicken to the skillet and cook 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Turn chicken and cook 2-3 minutes more until both sides are golden brown and chicken is no longer pink. Transfer chicken to a serving platter.
 
Reduce heat to low. Add shallots and capers to the skillet. Cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broth and juice and cook 1 minute. Stir in parsley. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.
 
Nutritional Info: 260 Calories, 17 g fat, 5 g carbohydrates, 21 g protein, 1 g fiber, 72 mg cholesterol, 142 mg sodium per serving. Recipe makes 4 servings.
 

Meal Planning Monday is a regular feature of yourstrongtower.com, a website dedicated to promoting the financial well-being of families through the use of coupons and good money management principles. Financial coach and self-proclaimed Coupon Queen Christine Luken, along with partner Craig DeLisle, aims to reduce the cost, time and stress of shopping and meal preparation so families have more time and money to invest in the things that matter most to them. Read more of Christine’s money management tips and check out her Coupon Wizard at yourstrongtower.com.
 

Read more “Meal Planning Monday” columns here.

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