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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to dinner: Quick Lemon Chicken a tangy, tender keeper

Thursday, November 18, 1999

Tested by Nancy Anderson, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Margot Bernabo was looking for a fast and simple gourmet-type meal for dinner, so she invented today's Countdown winner, Lemon Chicken.

"The flavors sounded like they would work out," she said, "and it's so easy to make."

She's right on both counts. The chicken was juicy, tender and slightly tangy, and there was plenty of time to make the side dishes.

While the chicken was cooking, we placed boil-in-bag rice and canned chicken broth in a casserole with a lid and stuck in the microwave. After turning the chicken, we chopped broccoli into a pan of lightly salted water and put it on to boil.

Everything was done at about the same time -- in less than 25 minutes.

We garnished the platter with thinly sliced lemon rings and drank the remaining wine with our dinner.

An industrial hygienist for PPG in Allison Park, Bernabo makes chicken and pasta dishes often for her husband, Donald, and children David, 17, Dina, 15, and Maria, 11 in their Franklin Park home.

As a working mother, she's had to come up with family-pleasing dinners that don't take a lot of time.

Besides Lemon Chicken, some of her staples include a quick tomato sauce made from plum tomatoes and seasonings for pasta and a beef stroganoff minus the cream.

Since traveling is part of her job, Bernabo also gets to eat out two or three times a week. When she's away her husband and kids share the cooking or go out themselves.

Lemon Chicken

6 to 8 boneless chicken breast halves (can pound if you want them thinner)
Flour for dredging
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine

Trim any fat from the chicken breasts. (Ours were thick so we pounded them a bit.) Dredge in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat oil and butter in large frying pan (can do in two batches). Place the chicken in the pan and cook until golden brown. Turn when one side is done. Squeeze lemon juice over the browned side. Add about 1/2 cup white wine. Cover and cook on low about another 10 minutes. The wine makes a delicious sauce. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Do you have an entrée, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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