Supper Caper.

Once in awhile, you spend seven hours roasting a hunk of meat for dinner; usually, though, time constraints dictate a more immediately gratifying meal.

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If it’s healthy as well, so much the better.

This recipe for chicken piccata comes courtesy of Cooking Light, and it’s quick and easy (on the table in half an hour), if a bit workmanlike. After reading the readers’ comments, I doubled the sauce and maybe went slightly overboard on the lemon juice—it overpowered the rest of the flavors (white wine, capers, and garlic). Then again, I used the cheapest bottle of Sauvignon Blanc I could find at my neighborhood liquor store; perhaps something with more character would have been able to stand up to the citrus’s aggressive acidity. Nonetheless, with a serious helping of steamed spinach sandwiched between the pasta (whole-wheat spaghetti) and the protein, we had a vibrant, well-balanced one-plate meal.

Just a few dishes to wash, and a decent supper in less time than it would take to receive takeout from the local Mexican spot. Not too shabby.

Chicken Piccata with Capers
From Cooking Light, September 2006

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups hot cooked spaghetti (about 8 ounces uncooked)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Place each breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Place flour in a shallow dish, and dredge chicken in flour.

2. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add white wine, 1/4 cup lemon juice, capers, and garlic to pan; scrape pan to loosen browned bits. Cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve chicken over pasta. Top with sauce; sprinkle with parsley.

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