Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dinner tonight... Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Arugula Salad and Dilled Orzo

When we sat down to dinner this evening, Mr. Fritz said immediately, "Oh, an old favorite!" Considering I have only been cooking for him since May-ish and considering that he really isn't that interested in food in general, I was excited that he actually recognized the dishes I'd cooked. And I was also excited that we've been married long enough (more than five months!) that we already have an "old" favorite. Good times!

More importantly, he was right. This meal, Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Arugula Salad and Dilled Orzo has become a stand-by for us. It's fast, complete, and consistently turns out well. Plus, I get to use the very lovely baking dish that my excellent mother-in-law (The Original Mrs. Fritz) gave me for Christmas. Which means that I get to appreciate her thoughtfulness every time I prepare it.

That's been the case with many things recently. People were so generous to Mr. Fritz and me during the time surrounding our wedding, and as a result, our kitchen is filled with wonderful things that remind me of certain people. Every time I pull a cereal bowl or dinner plate out of the cupboard or a fork or spoon out of the kitchen drawer, I think of my sister, Mrs. Capaldi. When I set out bread plates, I think of Mrs. McConnell. When I reach for a mixing bowl, I think of The Original Mrs. Fritz's dear friend Mrs. Boersma. When I pull out the blender to make Mr. Fritz a smoothie, I think of my sister, Mrs. Plourde. When I grab a steak knife, I think of Mrs. Glade. When I grab a paring knife, I think of my new sister-in-law, Mrs. Bowers. And so on. It makes my time in the kitchen more meaningful by reminding me to be thankful for the amazing friends and family with which we've been blessed.

In any case, this meal really is simple to prepare. I generally mix up the marinade of minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, olive oil and oregano right in the baking dish to minimize clean up. Coat the chicken (I use thin-sliced boneless breasts) with it and lay them in the dish, place a few pieces of lemon on top and into the oven it goes at 450 for 17 or so minutes. Meantime, cook the orzo in a pot of boiling water on the stove. When it's finished, drain and toss with olive oil and dried dill. And while you wait for the orzo to cook, mix up the salad dressing (equal parts red wine vinegar and olive oil) and use it to dress the arugula. Plate the chicken and orzo together. Serve the salad in a separate bowl. Add a warm roll. And you're done. The whole meal only takes 20 or so minutes from start to finish. Seriously? Couldn't be easier.

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