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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Cleaned Up" Honey Orange Basil Chicken and Balsamic Citrus Dressing (Vita-Mix)

Last night I was inspired to try and use some of the oodles of basil I have in my garden. I had the idea of pairing basil and the juice of fresh oranges, but after that... my inspiration hit a dead end. I then had the idea to use the "ingredients" function on and found a recipe that suited my fancy. After reading that it required marinating I decided I would put it off for tonight's dinner. You just can't shortcut a marinade.

I know, I know- displaying a nice photo of the finished recipe is blog convention and I do enjoy seeing them myself as I'm a 'a picture is worth a 1,000 words' type gal. One hindrance to my placing a photo is my beloved camera being away for repair. The other? I have five kids and a slight disability that is especially pronounced in the summer. I often forget to look at the clock. After's still light outside it can't possibly be dinner time yet! Either that or I have failed to plan so it's not uncommon for dinner to be delayed due to one or both of these factors. By the time dinner is ready to be served I'm often being pressed by a number of ravenous children and they can be unrelenting. A photo op is simply not going to happen. At least, not often

OK- so to the recipes. :)

You can find the Honey Orange Basil Chicken on allrecipes. The photo does not adequately display the yumminess of this dish!

As is often the case with recipes I will adapt as I go. My goals are two-fold. 1- to "clean up" the recipe, if needed and to increase anything I think may require it in order to make the flavor more robust.

How I adapted this recipe:

To make it a "Clean Eating" recipe I simply changed out the vegetable oil for olive oil. Easy!

With flavor in mind I doubled the OJ and the orange zest. I juiced my own oranges from which I also got the zest called for in the recipe. If you use store bought OJ you will likely get a stronger orange flavor. I pulled some frozen parsley out of the freezer and I used freshly ribboned basil. I cannot tell you how much basil I used as I did it by eye, however I know I at least tripled the recipe amount. I used 8 5-oz chicken bre*sts. (Amended for internet filters.)

The chicken was delicious!! A key test- everyone in the family ate it. :) My husband did say that he preferred the chicken that had cooked with more of the basil and zest pieces on it. I agree. I think next time I make it I will strain the juice out and sprinkle the chicken with the basil and zest as it's grilling. I will probably also add in at least a TBSP of pre-minced garlic. If one only uses 1/4 cup of the OJ as the recipe is written I'd recommend starting at 1 tsp. I find garlic to always be helpful. :)

I served this with brown rice that was cooked with half chicken broth (home made), half water as well as a few larger zest pieces tossed into the rice cooker.

We also had salad with a new dressing which I really love, Balsamic Citrus Dressing. I had printed this off of the Vita-Mix site some time ago. I'm sorry I waited so long to make it! The oranges really do an excellent job of mellowing the tartness of the balsamic vinegar.

Substitutions I made according to what I had on hand and to clean it up: I used 2 pretty large oranges, a sliver of white onion (perhaps a tsp chopped?), honey for the sweetener, and one small whole lime, peeled. I halved the salt and used freshly ground black pepper.

Because I was in a hurry I did not fully read the directions and I blended it all at the same time instead of adding the oil after blending the rest. It worked out just fine. :)

If you adore citrus, as I do, these recipes will not disappoint! They make for very pleasing light summer fare. I'm already planning my lunch for tomorrow- a salad with chopped leftover chicken and dressing. :)

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