Cinnamon. Ranch Dressing. Cajun Seasoning. Dill Weed. Mayonnaise. Garlic.
Don’t worry that isn’t a shopping list for today’s recipe, it was the answer to a question I asked some friends…” What is a guilty pleasure ingredient you abundantly add to a dish when you are eating alone?”
For me, it is lemon pepper. (You know the Lawry’s bottle with the yellow top in the pantry.) It isn’t that I feel it is an authentic taste of fresh lemons and the bite of fresh cracked pepper…it is that particular mix that I like. The flavor is kind of sour but then there is a mix of ground pepper….it isn’t rocket science. There is just something about it that makes my mouth water.
My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t care for it. He might like it in little increments but I tend to shake it on pretty aggressively. Luckily, it isn’t a source of conflict because there is really only one recipe, my lemon pepper chicken, that requires that ingredient. (I mean, if he didn’t like garlic…. we would have an issue but I can give him some slack on lemon pepper.)
The problem is that I really love my lemon pepper chicken. It has chunks of chicken doused in the lemon pepper seasoning with a lemon wine sauce over pasta with A LOT of parmesan cheese. It is tart, peppery and a little nutty from the cheese. It is kind of one of those early things I learned to cook and I think it is 80% delicious and 20% positive food memory.
My solution is that I make it when he is out of town. The bad thing is that he doesn’t go out of town very often. (Okay, that is actually a good thing because I would rather have him then chicken…most of the time.)
So, the week of Halloween, Hubby had to travel for work. It was a dangerous time for him to travel (because it meant leaving me home with 15 pounds of Halloween candy) but we both had confidence that I could handle the danger. (It may sound dramatic but I was home with Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish…it could have gotten ugly fast!)
I missed him (terribly) but I knew my reward was a big bowl of lemon pepper chicken. (Honestly, I had no intention of posting this recipe…because there really isn’t one but some of my friends have been asking for it.)
Simply, I take a boneless, skinless chicken breast, pound it thin, cut it into pieces and shake lemon pepper all over it. (You can do the ol’ stick the chicken in a bag and shake it with the season if you really want to coat the pieces evenly).
How much you ask….enough so you can barely see the chicken underneath anymore and thee pepper wafts up enough to make you sneeze! (You don’t technically have to sneeze but if your nose starts to twitch…you probably can stop adding lemon pepper.) I heat up a skillet and get some pasta cooking. The chicken browns quickly and some of the pepper gets that wonderful burnt spice aroma. A little wine to deglaze the pan and a little more lemon juice and the dish is pretty much done. I add the pasta to the pan so each noodle can absorb up some of the lemony-pepper goodness and serve it with a hearty handful of parmesan cheese and fresh parsley if I have some in the house. Mmmm, it was so good.
I’m sure if I lightened the seasoning, it would be a dish that my husband would like too but in all of marriage’s compromises…this is one I won’t make…. I just wait until he is gone. (But in the grand scheme of things, I would rather have my hubby at home than a bowl of lemon pepper chicken…I think.)
- 1 chicken breast
- 1-3 Tbsp of Lawry’s Lemon Pepper Seasoning (I’ve never had any other brands so use your favorite)
- 3 ounces of pasta (or whatever you use for one serving)
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 1/3 cup white wine
- Juice from 2 lemons
- 3 Tbsp of fresh parmesan
- Handful of fresh parsley
- Olive oil
- Take your chicken breast and pound it until it is about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. Think of a cutlet.
- Cut into bite size pieces.
- Sprinkle each piece with lemon pepper. I don’t really measure it…I just shake it on until I can barely see the chicken anymore.
- Cook pasta per instructions, save about 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
- While pasta is cooking, heat up a medium sized nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
- Add a swirl of olive oil.
- Add the chicken and it should only need to cook a minute or two per side.
- If the spices start to burn too much, lower your heat.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add a swirl more of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and cook another minute.
- Add wine and cook another minute or two until the wine starts to reduce.
- Add lemon juice and cook another minute or two.
- Add the chicken back to the pan and coat with the sauce.
- Add the cooked pasta and smidge of pasta water.
- When all of the pasta is coated with little flecks of pepper, add the cheese and parsley and start eating.