Recipe: When life gives you lemons, pick up some chicken and broccoli

When life gives you lemons, I definitely want you to make them into something yummy that isn’t sour, but lemonade is a bit high in sugar. Can we compromise on your optimistic response to the lemons with a delicious, healthy dinner instead?

Lemons actually have a lot to offer, so technically, if life gives you lemons, you should say “thank you”, because they’re a positive in their own right.

Lemons are great for normalizing blood pressure, body temperature and tissue inflammation, regulating the body’s water balance, cleansing your other organs (including your epidermis), easing digestion, boosting immunity, repelling insects, and they are also a nondairy source of calcium.

Below is a recipe I made over the weekend after picking up some fresh lemons at a market. As convenient as it is that seasoning companies make lemon flavored blends, the blends are nothing compared to the taste fresh lemon juice and zest add to a dish.

Ain’t nothin like the real thing baby. Ain’t nothin like the real thing. Turn on some groovy music (yes, it’s 2011 and I say “groovy”) and get to cooking.

Lemon-Garlic-Herb Chicken and Broccoli Recipe

  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • Juice of 2 large lemons
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian herbs
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • s&p to taste


Marinate chicken in juice and zest of one lemon, 2 tsp minced garlic, 1Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp Italian herbs for at least 2 hours. Grill 10-12 mins on each side at med-low heat.

Cook quinoa in water as instructed on the package.

Heat butter, remaining 1 tsp of garlic and juice of one lemon in a skillet. Add broccoli and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until liquid evaporates. Add quinoa, feta and a sprinkle of sea salt and cracked pepper.

Serve with chicken.

Enjoy your dinner knowing that you’re getting your greens, grains, protein, fiber, vitamin C and calcium in a delicious, low fat meal you can feel good about.

Eat your beans in the yummiest way possible

This recipe is an adaptation from an Italian fagioli bean recipe I learned in a cooking class here. I changed it to be a full meal instead of a bean appetizer by adding chicken. I also used a mix of beans that are readily available in the states and was able to achieve the same awesome flavor. Some people serve it with pasta, but it doesn’t need it, and I’d rather have some freshly baked bread next to it if I’m going to add carbs.

It is ridiculously easy, and it got rave reviews in my house. As a bonus, the protein and fiber are extremely filling and hold you for a long time. This will definitely be entered into our dinner rotation!

Recipe as listed below serves 3 adults as an entrée, or more as an appetizer.

Beans, Chicken and Pancetta alla Italia


1/3 pound of pancetta (chopped into pieces)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1.5 tsp of minced garlic

2 large chicken breasts diced

1/2 bottle white wine

1 can red kidney beans

1 can pinto beans

1 can tomato paste (with nothing added – they’re getting real fancy these days)

2 tsp dried basil (fresh is best, but dried works fine)

2 tsp red pepper (or to taste, but a bit of heat is nice for your taste buds and your metabolism)

salt and pepper to taste

Heat up first three ingredients in a skillet and add chicken. Cook partially through and add wine and beans. Cook another 3-5 minutes and add remaining ingredients. It’s ready when the liquid is thick and mostly reduced, but still saucy.

Sprinkle with a bit of fresh Parmesan and serve with fresh bread for dipping. Enjoy!