Sometimes my brain doesn’t work. Where clever synapses should be firing, there are just tumbleweeds and dry air. Brain cells decide to take an extra long coffee break and neglect to tell me. Thoughts go half-processed, ideas go unfinished, and plans fly out the window when my brain decides to go on vacation. However, the worst of it all is this: I am never informed that any of this happening.
When all rational, intelligent thought processes desert me, I continue to stroll through my day none the wiser. Take this afternoon for instance. As I was about to start taking pictures of this elegant, lemon-laden chicken dish, I commented to whoever was near enough to hear that I was very grateful to be using my dad’s 1.4 50mm lens from the horse-and-buggy-days (a.k.a. the 1970s) because it allows me to shoot with a very wide aperture (such as 1.4, 2.0, 2.8) on a slightly rainy sort of day. Declaring it “de-light-ful,” I paused to listen for the appreciative chuckles of my family members upon hearing my clever photography pun.
“Isn’t it de-LIGHT-ful?!”
“Get it guys? Light? Aperture lets in light?”
Then there are the times when I get sick. Earlier this spring I came down with a flu-like virus. For the previous several days, the only commercials that were being shown during my Korean dramas on Hulu were for meningitis awareness. Even though I knew that I had been vaccinated for meningitis, I think you kids can guess what my self-diagnosis was.
I had it narrowed down between meningitis and one of those incurable autoimmune diseases that they profile on Mystery Diagnosis.
When my brain deserts me, I am obsessively fascinated by herb-containing creations such as this beauty below. As someone who can rarely be bothered to carefully store herbs in a shallow container of water in the fridge, I was thrilled to see that someone else has done it for me! Vibrant, green sprigs of rosemary perfectly housed in what is technically a smoothie cup. But no matter—to me, it’s brilliant.
The point of all my ditzy stories is this: Sweet Lemon Chicken is an ideal recipe for when your brain flies out the window. Perhaps it’s because your schedule is packed. Perhaps it’s because you’re yanking your hair out from registering for classes for the fall semester (me!). Perhaps it’s because your kid just told you about their summer reading project. Whatever the reason behind your lack of brain power, this recipe is the solution. With simple, beautiful ingredients such as lemon, honey, butter, and fresh rosemary, how can you go wrong?
Plus it involves hitting things with a kitchen mallet, which is always good.
Fight back against your stresses, your anxieties, and your horrible sense of humor and give this little gem a try!
Sweet Lemon Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper, to taste
2 large lemons, scrubbed clean, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a chicken breast half between two sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap. Using a kitchen mallet, rolling pin, or small skillet, gently pound chicken until evenly flattened, about 1/2-inch thick. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Melt butter and honey in a small skillet over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth and blended.
Line a baking dish with nonstick aluminum foil or coat with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken pieces in a baking dish large enough to hold them all in a single layer. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Pour warm honey-butter mixture over the chicken and arrange lemon slices on top.
Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Allow chicken to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Spoon juices from the pan over the chicken and lemon several times. Serve warm, sprinkled with chopped rosemary.
Makes 4 servings.