Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chicken with Lemon & Capers.

Mmmmm.  This is a no-fuss recipe that produces a  main dish that looks and tastes good!  Flavors were described as "intense," "bold," and "savory."  The dish could be prepared with fresh or frozen chicken breasts, depending on what you have available, and regular capers can easily substitute for the salted capers. I used frozen chicken breasts because they were in my freezer and I have this jar of amazing salted capers that I keep finding ways to use.  Serve with fresh bread or a simple pasta and a green salad.

  • 6 boneless chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • 3-4 green onions, chopped
  • 2-3 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp salted capers, chopped
  • 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 9 x 13 baking pan with foil.  Place chicken breasts in lined pan. Drizzle olive oil over chicken. Generously season with salt & pepper and Italian seasoning.  Bake for 30 minutes.  While chicken is in the oven, prep remaining ingredients.  Slice lemon so there is one slice for each chicken breast and leave the remaining end of lemon as one piece (you will squeeze the juice from this later).  Cut each lemon slice in half.  After chicken has baked for 30 minutes, squeeze juice from uncut lemon over chicken.  Sprinkle onions, basil, and capers evenly across chicken. Place two half-slices of lemon on each chicken breast, and return pan to oven. Bake 20 more minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

Note: Baking times are based on frozen chicken breasts; reduce baking time for fresh or thawed pieces.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Austin, Texas.

Just back from Austin, Texas, where I got to be full-time swim mom for four days.  Anytime you get to just be the mom as your kid shares a pool with athletes like Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin, it's a pretty amazing experience and one that I take seriously.  While I'm the mom, I'm also the support machine for my kid, his coach, and teammates: I get to focus on getting where we need to be on time and making sure everyone is well fed.  For the first time, we opted to rent a house, rather than stay in a hotel. We were near the University of Texas campus in a fabulous restored historic home that provided everything we needed, including great appliances, granite countertops, and sufficient cookware to get my job done.  This gave me the opportunity to cook, though certainly not for every meal, because there were new restaurants to try!  One of our rules when we travel to national meets is that we don't eat in any restaurants we can go to in MInnesota, and we make sure to try local foods.  Still, at the request of my swimmer, I did cook fresh breakfasts every morning and filled the fridge with fresh fruits and other healthy snacks for the times when we weren’t at the pool. Just might have fallen in love with H-E-B grocery store while I was there, too.  Produce in Texas in January is quite different from produce in Minnesota in January!  Great experience, great swimming, and some great meals.

My favorite restaurants from the weekend:
  • Roaring Fork - I ordered their incredible tortilla soup and Mexican street corn; my traveling partners loved the green chili pork (with plenty of water on hand), Big Ass Burger, and enchiladas.  If you're in Austin, check them out!
  • Chuy’s - I enjoyed more fabulous tortilla soup that was very different from the Roaring Fork and equally as good; the guacamole was fresh and the Wild Burrito filling, even for the kid who has a seemingly bottomless stomach!  There are locations in several states; we were in Barton Springs, just outside Austin.
  • Sao Paulo's - This restaurant offers both TexMex and Brazilian dishes. We went mostly Brazilian. Faves at our table included the Rocambole and Galinhade (Brazilian paella).  Good flavor and plenty of food!

And a couple of pictures...

This was our home away from home. Will definitely do house rental again.  And when we return to Austin, we'll return to this house!

And when we weren't at this house, we were at THIS house: The Texas Swimming Center

And now, back to Minnesota. And a quest to make a perfect bowl of tortilla soup!