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When Life Gives You Lemons…

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I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately.  I didn’t always live in the Cayman Islands.  I grew up in Durant, Oklahoma before heading to Germany when I was 16.  Durant is a small town.  The kind of place where you can’t get away with anything because someone is always there to bust you and call your mom.  I hated it at the time but I’d like to think I’m a better person for it.  Anyway, I’ve been thinking about my time there recently because a childhood friend of mine passed away last week. He was 28.  While I hadn’t spoken to him in 12 years, he was most definitely a fixture in my life when I was living in Oklahoma.  We had the same friends, participated in the same activities and were inevitably stuck next to each other all through primary school because his last name started with ‘U’ and mine with a ‘W’ (not too many V’s.)  We were even married!  Well, the mouse characters we were playing in the school play were at least.

It’s always sad when someone dies. In this case, it made me think about people, places and experiences that I hadn’t for a long time.  I think that’s a good thing.  When I was signing the online guestbook at the funeral home, I ran across an entry from one of the teachers at our primary school and a little red flag shot up.  I went to where I keep my cookbooks and found ‘Here to Cook and Serve: Recipes from the Staff, Family and Friends of the Durant Police Department.’  Inside it, was a recipe from that teacher.  It’s a wonderful comfort food kind of meal.  Much needed and much appreciated. Enjoy 🙂

Italian Lemon Butter Chicken by Jeanie Hazell, adapted by Parsley Sage (changes in red)
Print this recipe

You will need:
1/4 cup champagne
Juice from 2 lemons
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup butter, chilled
1/2 lb spaghetti
4 skinless/boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
4 oz bacon
6 oz mushrooms


  • Pour the champagne and lemon juice into a saucepan over medium heat
  • Cook at a low boil until the liquid is reduced by 1/3
  • Stir in cream and simmer until it thickens
  • Gradually add the chilled butter, stirring until completely incorporated
  • Season with salt & pepper
  • Remove from heat and keep warm
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil
  • Add pasta and cook as directed
  • Drain and set aside
  • Coat chicken with breadcrumbs and grill until cooked (the original recipe calls for you to fry the breasts in hot oil.)
  • In skillet, stir bacon, mushrooms and garlic in olive oil until mushrooms are soft and bacon is cooked
  • Cut the chicken breasts into bite-size strips and add them to the skillet with the mushroom mixture
  • Stir half the lemon butter sauce into chicken mixture
  • Taste and adjust seasonings if needed
  • Stir in additional lemon butter sauce as desire
Serves 4
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  1. Oh YUM! I just found your blog and I think I have some new inspiration. 🙂

  2. What a lovely tribute to your friend :)This really looks delicious to me right now 🙂

  3. I am so sorry about your friend. It is difficult when someone who is so young dies. Memories can be painful and healing. I know food can be comforting, especially as it reminds you of the people who are missing him too.
    The recipe looks great.Thanks for sharing about this.

  4. It is sad to lose a friend. This blog post is a lovely tribute to your friend and home town. Beautiful job on the comfort meal. This recipe is a keeper.


  5. That is so sad … esp when he had to leave so young. And finding that old recipe … super nostalgia! Turned out great! I am so drooling right now.

  6. Sorry for your loss, a lovely tribute to your hometown…yummy recipe..I love your adaptation.

  7. It is always very sad when someone we know pass away, it's nevertheless a lovely story…! I didn't know that you used to live in Germany…Sprichts Du auch Deutsch :)?

    Btw, the lemon butter chicken looks so mouthwatering, love it that you combine it with pasta, yum!

  8. So sorry to hear about your childhood friend. One tends to think those people will always be around somewhere. I hope this delicious sounding dish and the memories it evoked bring you solace.


  9. What a great recipe to make to remind you of the days past and to think of your friend. Very sorry to hear about your loss.

  10. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. 'I'm sorry' doesn't really seem to represent what I want to say, but I'll say it anyway… I hope you take care of yourself during this time.

  11. 28 years old is tragically young for a life to be lost. Brings me back to reality with a thump. I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Lack of contact doesn't make it easier – in fact sometimes it makes it worse.

    thinking of you (and your yummy lemon sauce….)

  12. It's hard to lose a fiend, even someone who you haven't had contact with for a while. That someone was a part of your life and it's hard to close that portion. I'm sorry for your friend…. so young.
    My husband was asking the other day if you were from the islands. We often dream of pitching it all here and moving over to be your neighbor! Funny, he spent 6 years at Vance AFB in Enid, not sure if that was near you or not.
    A wonderful dish you have here… one that my family would like and that would fit into my citrus obsession!

  13. I am so sorry for your loss, it's always hard to loose someone, no matter how long it's been since you've last seen them. I can see that you definitely turned your lemons into lemonade, as that pasta looks and sounds delicious.

  14. Hi, You have been tagged for some fun. Check it out.

  15. I am sorry for your loss. I hope lovely memories will erase the pain.

  16. So sorry for your loss… this dish looks very tasty.

    New to your blog; happy I found you.

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  17. Sorry for the loss of your old friend. The pasta looks comforting and delicious.

  18. This pasta looks so good! Sure looks a lot better than the salad I'm eating for lunch… Going to have to try this one and bring leftovers to work! Yum!

  19. You've got all the right flavors – this must be absolutely delish 🙂

  20. It is a lovely recipe. Those that come with memories are better still. I am sorry for the loss of your friend. It is especially sad to have to bury those who are so young. I'm sending hugs and blessings to you today. Take heart …Mary

  21. Great story and dish. PS~ I grew up in OK too!

  22. Sorry to hear about the loss of a friend.
    That's a wonderful recipe and it does look delicious. Have a good weekend.

  23. Beautiful symbolic recipe to honour the memory of a cherished childhood.
    It is incredible how time goes on and we have a tendancy to take relationships for granted. This one sounded charming…I'm really sorry for your loss.

    Ciao for now,

  24. Wow, very cool to have dug up this old recipe and made it in honour of a very old friend who passed away. It looks like a fantastic meal, too, I am sure your friend would be honoured.

  25. I love how much meaning this recipe has for you! I'm so sorry you lost a classmate. 🙁 It sure does make you think about the past and the big picture, doesn't it? I also grew up in a very small town (my stepmom knew EVERYTHING I did!) and I know how easy it is to get nostalgic, especially when life is lost. Thanks for sharing this story and recipe, too!

    ps. You live in the Cayman Islands???

  26. You got me on this one kiddo! I feel so sorry for his parents! Makes me want to snatch you up and lock you in your room to keep you safe from harm. Recipe is awesome, I'm going to forward the blog to our “po-po” friends so they can in turn share it with Mrs. Hazell! She'll be thrilled. Good Job! Mrs. Herb Garden

  27. Sending hugs to you from far away; how trajic for one so young. Your dish sounds perfect! I am always attracted to anything lemony.

  28. Sorry about your friend – indulge in the food, it makes almost everything a little better.

  29. So sorry for your loss- hopefully this dish brings a smile to your face!

  30. very sorry about your friend..its a big lose really…

    dish gives worthy look..

  31. How sad to lose a friend at any age, but particularly so young. This sounds like exactly the right sort of dish to eat when in need of comfort and seems like a plateful of pleasant memories too.

  32. Very sorry for your loss thats way to young, but then again every age is for someone we care about, this dish is very Drool worthy and would be comforting!

  33. What a sad and lovely story. Love the lemon butter sauce. Sure looks tasty.

  34. lovely and heart warming post

  35. Sorry to hear about your loss. This dish looks tasty and comforting. I'm glad it helped you during this down time.

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