If it's quick and it tastes good, I'm in.
The meal I chose from the Taste of Home cookbook was very easy with just a few ingredients, and I think it would fit into the schedules of today's busy family cooks. The only planning required is to gather those few ingredients and get the chicken thawing the day before.
It's also nice for summer - just a little stovetop cooking.
Salsa chicken, grilled corn on the cob and lime sundaes are shown. This is a light and summery choice for a tasty dinner.
The main dish was salsa chicken. The preparation is to cut peppers and boneless, skinless chicken breasts into strips. Put a little oil in the pan, cook the chicken, add the peppers and cook some more - during these two steps, stir often. Then stir in the salsa and simmer.
At the same time, start some water boiling for the rice with lemon pepper seasoning in it. The recipe calls for 1 to 2 teaspoons of the seasoning - I would definitely go for the 2 teaspoons, or you may not taste it.
In the cookbook, the chicken mixture is pictured served on top of the rice. I wasn't sure of this flavor combination, but was pleasantly surprised at how they complemented each other. Next time, I might try medium salsa with the chicken instead of mild.
Grilled Corn on the Cob
8 medium ears sweet corn
1/2 cup better, softened
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Soak corn in cold water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the butter, basil, parsley and salt. Carefully pull back cornhusks to within 1 inch of bottoms; remove silk. Spread butter mixture over corn.
Rewrap corn in husks and secure with kitchen string. Grill corn covered, over medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. Cut string and peel back husks. Yield: 8 servings.
Prep/Total Time: 15 min.
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium green pepper, cut into thin strips
2 cups salsa
In a large skillet, saute chicken in oil for 3 minutes. Add the green pepper; cook for 3 minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender. Stir in salsa; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Yield: 4 servings.
Prep/Total Time; 10 min.
2 cups water
1 to 2 teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning
2 cups uncooked instant rice
In a saucepan, bring the water and lemon-pepper seasoning to a boil. Stir in the rice. Remove from the heat; cover and let the rice stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Yield: 4 servings.
4 large limes
1 cup lime sherbet
1 cup vanilla ice cream
Fresh mint, optional
Cut limes in half lengthwise; scoop pulp and save for another use. Fill each lime half with 2 tablespoons of sherbet and ice cream. Return to the freezer until serving. Garnish with mint if desired. Yield: 4 servings.
The woman who submitted this meal for the 30-minutes-or-less section of the cookbook included with it a dessert called Lime Sundaes. These treats are tiny but tasty. If you're looking for a big dessert, this isn't the way to go. But if you'd just like that after-the-meal taste of something sweet, these are the ticket.
Start by cutting a lime in half then scooping the pulp out of half the lime. Next, take about a tablespoon each of lime sherbet and vanilla ice cream and fill the empty rind. Finally, pop the "natural" sundaes into the freezer until ready to serve.
Patty Burk, who offered this recipe to Taste of Home, says to set aside the pulp for another purpose. I have yet to look up lime recipes, but that should be an interesting kitchen adventure. Plus there's the rest of a bag of limes to use, and unless there's going to be a big party, they can't all go with tequila.
The cookbook includes suggestions for variations of these sundaes, such as using scooped-out lemons or oranges or even a Christmastime combination of raspberry sherbet with the limes. You also could top them off with whipped topping and a maraschino cherry.
To round out the meal, I chose a recipe for grilled corn on the cob. If not for this addition, the meal truly would've been prepared in less than 30 minutes.
The corn recipe uses fresh basil and parsley, which smell wonderful when chopped. The parsley was flat-leaf from a generous neighbor's garden.
Start by carefully pulling back the corn husk to keep as much of it intact as possible. Then spread the herbs and buttar on the exposed corn and replace the husks completely, as this helps keep it from burning on the grill.
We have a little tabletop grill, so I only made five ears. And although it did catch on fire a couple times and a few kernels turned black, the finished product had a nice, light flavor to it that also brought out the sweetness of the corn.