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Foodie Friday: Grilled Chicken Paillards with Peach and Arugula Salad

Labor Day, summer’s last hurrah, is a feast day. And mostly — tell the truth! — we tend to overdo it. Ribs, steaks, burgers and hot dogs? Check!

Vegetables and other light fare? Not so much. The standard routine amounts to the summer version of Thanksgiving, except that after the meal everyone collapses onto the lawn rather than a couch.

Allow me to propose an alternative — a dish that’s simultaneously light and refreshing and substantial: chicken paillard. Paillard is a French culinary term referring to a piece of meat pounded thin, then grilled or sautéed. In this case, we’re going to marinate and grill chicken breasts, then top them off with a peach and arugula salad glorified with a full-fat blue cheese dressing.

Where do you find these skinny cuts of chicken? Chances are you can pick up thin chicken breast cutlets at the supermarket. Or you can buy chicken breasts of average girth, pop them in the freezer for 30 minutes, then cut them horizontally into two thin cutlets.

Whatever kind of breasts you start with, you’ll need to pound the cutlets to the desired thinness. And you’ll want to avoid shredding them in the process, which happens sometimes.

Here’s a little trick to avoid any shredding. Sprinkle both sides of the cutlet with cold water before putting it between two sheets of plastic wrap (or in a zip-close plastic bag). Then pound away, as planned, with a meat pounder or a rolling pin. You’ll notice that the water cushions the meat, preventing it from sticking to the plastic and shredding.

Next, it’s time to bathe the cutlets for an hour in a simple marinade of olive oil, lemon and garlic. Their thinness helps them to soak up the flavor fast. Grilling the cutlets takes almost no time at all, about 1 minute per side. Let them rest for 5 minutes, and they’re good to go.

They also happen to be delicious at room temperature an hour later, which gives you the option of grilling the chicken ahead of time, thus cutting down the stress of cooking while the party people are swarming the grill. However you do it, remember to save the juices from the plate on which the cutlets were resting; you’ll want to drizzle it onto the chicken before topping it with the salad.

And the salad is a cinch — sliced fresh summer peaches and baby arugula (or your favorite greens) tossed with a blue cheese dressing. Happily, a little bit of full-fat blue cheese goes a long way. In this recipe, 1 ounce serves four people. Indeed, it’s so rich that I’ve combined it with low-fat mayonnaise, Greek yogurt and a little bit of water to thin it out. Toasted walnuts (a king among nuts, health-wise) provide the final touch.

See if this dish doesn’t allow you to kiss off the summer with abandon without knocking you to your knees in the process.

[yumprint-recipe id=’29’]By Sara Moulton
Associated Press

Recipe: Delicious Crock Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken (perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!)

I hope I don’t tick off any Irish people but I’m not a big fan of the food. Sorry. Corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, soda bread and Haggis just don’t do it for me. What they do is something rather unpleasant to my body.

But I love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and so I stick to a green theme. I recently found a recipe that everyone in my family loves (a true rarity, indeed) and as we were devouring our green dinner, I thought it would be a great fit for St. Patty’s Day.

I don’t know what it is about chicken, crock pots and me but my poultry sometimes come out a bit dry. Not with this recipe. In fact, the chicken is always so moist it literally falls apart when I try to shred it.  If you’re serving it on St. Patrick’s Day, make sure to throw in a side of asparagus or broccoli. Talk about a delicious, nutricious and green celebration!


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One rotisserie chicken, 25 dinner ideas

After a long day, who hasn’t stumbled into the grocery store without the faintest idea of what to put on the table, when suddenly the tempting whiff of a freshly roasted chicken puts everything into perspective?

And although a rotisserie chicken is great served on its own, it lends itself to so many dinner options. Casseroles, pizza, salads …

Here are 25 easy dinner ideas incorporating rotisserie chicken. These aren’t formal recipes but rough outlines you can tweak to suit your family’s or friends’ tastes. Most involve only a few ingredients, and almost all can be made in an hour or less. No matter your skill level in the kitchen, there’s something here for everyone. And with so many ideas, you’re bound to find something to please even the most picky dinner guest.