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30 minute Grilled Lemon Chicken

for some of you, grilling season may have just begun. For those of us living in the Mountain West, we’re not there yet. So while we still have to wear jackets to grill outside, the weather doesn’t lessen our desire.

This recipe is based on one I’ve used for years in various adaptations, and sent into Fine Cooking Magazine’s ‘America’s Best Cook’ cooking contest. It won for our region and became one of five nationwide final recipes. The original winning recipe was called ‘Grilled Orange Chicken Salad’(topic for another post), and followed the specific requirements for that contest.

Since then, I’ve used the marinade for salmon, pork loin, and even lamb chops. The chicken is delicious eaten on its own – and is also great served with a salad base. Yesterday, we decided to serve it with pasta, dressed up with lemon zest, butter, and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • Zest of 2-3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon ground OR rock salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix together the last eight ingredients and pour into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. 

Add the chicken breasts and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight in the refrigerator (we like a good hour for tenderness that still makes it a quick dinner).

Place chicken on a pre-heated grill and drizzle 1/2 of remaining marinade on the first side of the chicken. 

Cook for 8-10 minutes then flip, and pour the remaining marinade on the other side. Grill with left over lemon wedges for an additional squeeze of citrus when serving.

By adding citrus to marinade ingredients cuts down the cooking time, as citrus juice creates a slow-cooking chemical reaction to food. It’s easy, delicious, and, if you have marinated the chicken and suddenly decide to go out someplace exotic, throw the whole bag in the freezer for another day because as it unthaws it will continue to marinate, doing the work for you. Food always tastes more delicious when it has worked for you!


last time we made this soup, our President’s Day skiing weekend was interrupted by a complete whiteout winter storm. One that left visibility that didn’t go beyond the end of the deck outside. The vegetables were limited to what we had on hand as you can see in the photos, but it was a great soup for a cold winter’s day!

Our version, which adds the chicken from a store bought rotisserie chicken as well as broth derived from the same chicken, creates a soup with a richness that is a big hit with the whole family. As we are cooking for children, we leave the chilies out and let the adults add according to their own taste.  Sometimes we add a tablespoon or two of fish sauce.

Traditionally seasoned with kaffir lime leaves, this recipe simply uses both lime zest and juice. Straw mushrooms give it an authentic look, while creamy coconut milk adds an enticing aroma. Thai Coconut Soup is almost always served with rice.

Ingredients for soup base:
3 cans (14 oz.) coconut milk (lite or regular, not sweetened)
2 stalks lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed
3 tablespoons minced ginger
3 kaffir lime leaves, or 1 teaspoon lime zest
1 stalk celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup minced cilantro
2 cups chicken broth (or one can)

To prepare soup base:
This is a great soup to make with a store bought rotisserie chicken. Make chicken broth by placing the chicken in a large stock pot and cover with water just over the top of the chicken. Add a bay leaf, about 5 peppercorns, a few sprigs of parsley, a few sprigs of thyme if you have it, a teaspoon of salt and a few cloves of garlic, crushed with the back of a heavy knife. Bring the liquid to a boil,and simmer for an hour or two.



Ingredients for vegetables noodles or rice:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 scallions, slice into 1/4 rounds
1 carrot, diced
1 red pepper, diced
5 oz. dry rice noodles, or 2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup basil, chopped
Leftover rotisserie chicken (and broth), OR 1/2 to 1 lb. medium shrimp, cooked, OR 1 lb. Skirt steak

Place the coconut milk in a large saucepan. Cut the lemongrass in half across, and then lengthwise. Crush with the back of a heavy knife and add to the pan. Add the ginger lime leaves or zest, celery, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, broth, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil gently for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat and let infuse, covered, while cooking the broth and vegetables.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion, carrot, and red pepper and sauté over medium heat for about 2 minutes.


Strain the coconut liquid into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until tender. (Or, if serving with rice, just add rice to the soup as desired before eating.) Add the basil, cooked beef, shrimp, or chicken and season to taste. This soup is also delicious served with shredded pork, lobster, or scallops.

*Ingredients for beef or shrimp:

1 lb. skirt steak, cut across grain into pieces about 1/8″ thick
2 tablespoons soy sauce (LA CHOY is Gluten Free)
2 tablespoons sesame oil

Meat Prep (for Beef or Shrimp):
Place the beef or shrimp in a bowl, add the soy sauce and sesame oil, and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, or preferably 2-3 hours. Heat a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the beef or shrimp and the marinade and sear for 8-10 min. for beef, and 4-5 min. for shrimp, or until liquid has evaporated.

Mango Sticky Rice is a favorite of traveler’s to Thailand, as well as the dish I hear ordered most at our favorite Thai Restaurants. Often parents order this dish for young children as an introduction to great Thai food and is an easy one for kids to cook at home. We included this recipe in a Cooking With Kids class called Asian Fusion and the kids loved it. It is delicious cooked with bits of dried mango as in this recipe, or served with ripe fresh mango, cut and served on the side. Adding a squeeze or two of fresh lime over the fresh mango really gild’s the lily! Ingredients 1 can unsweetened coconut milk (can use sweetened for dessert) 1 can chicken broth 1 cup sticky rice (Botan is our favorite) 4-6 pieces dried mango (chopped small) 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh …

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Buried Treasure Cupcakes, by Martha Moench

This is a two-part recipe. Last week  we introduced Buried Treasure Cupcakes, this week we are topping them with Swiss Meringue Buttercream! Once you have gotten thus far in the process it is wise to refrigerate the cupcakes or let them cool for awhile – especially if you have used warm caramel – so that they can set up and be ready to frost. Upon cooling it is time to frost! Swiss Meringue Buttercream 1 lb. unsalted butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 4 large egg whites, (1/2 cup) at room temperature 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar pinch of salt 2 teaspoons vanilla 12 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled (Use the same amount of white chocolate such as Tobler Narcisse for a white chocolate buttercream.) Chop the chocolate and melt in a bowl over simmering water until smooth. Let …

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This is a two-part recipe. This week we will cover the cupcake and filling, next week Swiss Meringue Buttercream! I have been involved in the food industry for more years than I care to admit. I owned my own catering business, have taken and taught cooking lessons, and have won a few cooking contests. So, I have favorite recipes, recipes that have many incarnations, the tried and true, and the truly creative great new ideas. Some of the great new ideas happen while cooking with kids. Kids are unabashed and often willing to try more than you think they will. They have a love for experimentation and aren’t afraid of failure. It was while cooking with kids that we came up with today’s recipe technique. One of our longtime cookie favorites is called the Rolo cookie. It is basically a chocolate shortbread …

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Mayan Chocolate Cheesecake by Martha Moench

The combination of peppers, cinnamon and allspice reminds me of a chocolate truffle called the ‘Mayan’ made by a boutique shop that is now out of business. It was a truffle that you thought about as you ate because the flavors married so well; one whose taste you wanted to make last a long time. My attempt to re-create that taste experience resulted in this cheesecake. If you’re not sure about the spice combination, take them out (leaving the vanilla in) and make it the first time as a rich chocolate cheesecake. But in my opinion, if you want to knock it out of the park, spice up your life with the original recipe. The double whammy of chili peppers with their natural ability to stimulate nerve endings and release endorphins creating a natural high, perfect for Valentine’s Day. Mayan Chocolate Cheesecake …

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Well, it’s me again. Dingbat’s mama (the other Martha) writing about one of my favorite recipes. With February approaching I thought we’d kick off our Monday with a Valentine’s cookie. My favorite for the past few years (well, maybe five or six) is a chocolate shortbread cut into a 2-inch heart. It has a very rich taste, so two hearts brought together with pink strawberry frosting or chocolate ganache in the center is better in a smaller amount. This is a great do ahead recipe – the dough seems to meld into its true persona if left for a day or two in the fridge before baking. It can also be frozen, which is good to know ahead of time, especially on a day like today when it’s snowing so much outside that one naturally thinks of baking while listening to great …

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