Quick and Easy Meal: Lemon-Pepper Chicken & Couscous

Raise your hand if you were stuck in that GOD AWFUL traffic this past Thursday in Northern Virginia. We're talking such a CF of cars that even WTOP said "damn." 395 and 495 joined forces to create a nightmare commute. I get depressed just remembering it. This area seriously cannot handle the population increase and it's makes going anywhere miserable.

Usually this sort of thing does not phase me.


This time- little burnt out. As I stared at the car ahead, trying to will myself to teleport, the thought of dinner whispered in my ear. Well, more like my tummy growled. Didn't want to pick anything up nor did I want to slave away in the kitchen.

Instead, this super quick, healthy, and tasty meal came to mind. It's very "Mediterranean" and light. I cannot give precise measurements- but be brave! Taste as you go along and you cannot fail!

The main entree is lemon-pepper chicken prepared on the stove-top. This is much quicker than baking and you can keep an eye on it. You don't want dry chicken so keep the heat on medium-low!

The salad- just go to the salad bar at your grocery store. Not only can you customize it, you pick the portion. Be cheap and only get toppings you need. There were carrots, peppers, and onion at home so I refrained from adding the extra weight to my grocery receipt. The dressing was standard issue from my childhood: a little bit of salt, a splash of olive oil, and a bigger splash of vinegar. It should be just enough to coat the leaves- not soak them!

For the carbs- there was some left over bread and I made a small pot of couscous on the side. This was the first time making couscous and it's ridiculously easy. It's a very light side and is like popcorn rice. Drizzle the left over lemon-olive oil juice and throw in some raisins or dried tart cherries for dimension!

This meal was designed for a 2 person serving size.

Oh... and don't forget the booze. Just a little sip of a mudslide won't hurt. Gotta love Kahlua!


Lemon-Pepper Chicken

Chicken Breasts or Chicken Tenderloins, cut into bite sized pieces (standard package of chicken tenderloins for about $5.00 at Giant)
1 Lemon, halved
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional)

Place the chopped chicken into bowl and drizzle half the lemon juice on top. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Coat a medium saute pan with olive oil and add chopped garlic. Optional: add some grated lemon zest for a strong lemon flavor. Cook on medium heat until very lightly browned to infuse the garlic. Lower the heat and add the seasoned chicken- do not dry out the chicken!

Taste test- if you want more lemon, squeeze the remaining half in. Cook until all pink is gone. Top with fresh rosemary and give one finally stir in the pan.


1 1/4 cup water
1 cup couscous
1 teaspoon butter
Dash of salt
Raisins or dried tart cherries to garnish

Bring the water to a boil with butter and a dash of salt (about 1/4 teaspoon). Add couscous and give a good stir. Immediately remove from heat and place lid on top. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Couscous should be fluffy and absorbed all the water. Add garnish (optional) and drizzle some of the lemon-oil from the chicken on top.