Easy dinner recipes: Great weeknight chicken options

When you're looking for a simple dinner option, you can't beat chicken

When you're looking for a simple dinner option, you can't beat chicken. It's versatile, cooks relatively quickly and lends itself to so many flavorings and preparations. Check out these ideas:

Roasted chicken with grape sauce: This recipe turns green grapes into a light but savory sauce, drizzled over freshly roasted chicken. The sauce is bright with the flavor of grapes and a little lemon zest, balanced by sage, chile and garlic. You can find the recipe below.

Old Venice's Greek lemon chicken: It only takes a handful of ingredients to make this tempting dish, roasted chicken and potatoes flavored simply with fresh lemon, oregano and rich olive oil. Serve the chicken and potatoes with a little of the flavored oil spooned over the top.

Lunch's green apple chicken salad: This chicken salad is a deliciously simple dish. It combines diced chicken with a little red onion, celery, currants and apple for a nice crunch, great color and a wonderfully fresh combination of flavors not unlike a classic Waldorf. And it's just as easy to prepare.

ROASTED CHICKEN WITH GRAPE SAUCE

Total time: About 1 hour, 20 minutes | Serves 2

Note: Adapted from Massimo Ristorante. The restaurant recommends using organic chicken. The recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce; you may have sauce left over. Sides for this dish change seasonally at the restaurant; recently it was served with sauteed vegetables and roasted potatoes.

9 ounces ripe green seedless grapes (about 2 cups)
1 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
Small pinch of white pepper
2 tablespoons best-quality olive oil, divided
1 small whole chicken, about 2 to 3 pounds
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped lemon zest
1 teaspoon chopped sage
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1 pinch red chile flakes
4 peeled and halved grapes for garnish.

1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove the stems from the grapes and wash them in cold water. Place them in a medium saucepan with 1 teaspoon salt, white pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add enough water to cover the grapes. Cook over medium heat, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the grapes are thoroughly cooked and softened.

2. Using a blender or immersion blender, blend the mixture until it is a smooth sauce and the grape skins are completely dissolved. If the skins do not completely break down, return the pan to the stove and cook a few additional minutes until they dissolve when blended. Check and adjust the seasoning if needed. Set aside in a warm place.

3. While the grapes are cooking, cut the chicken in half using kitchen shears and remove and discard the backbone. Heat a grill over high heat. Season each chicken half with three-fourths teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper, and rub with the lemon zest, sage, garlic and red chile flakes. Drizzle lightly with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and place on a hot grill.

4. Sear the chicken for 3 minutes on each side to brown. Remove the chicken from the grill and place it on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast 30 to 40 minutes until done; the meat will be firm, and a thermometer inserted will read 165 degrees.

5. Remove the chicken to two plates and drizzle with the warm grape sauce. Garnish each half with the peeled and seeded grapes. Serve immediately.

Each serving: 798 calories; 75 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 47 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 297 mg. cholesterol; 2,547 mg. sodium.

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