Staying at vacation rentals allows you to have more control over the food you eat but that doesn’t mean you want to spend all day in the kitchen. This feature highlights simple quick recipes that make big meals the whole family can enjoy.

One of the best things about staying at a vacation rental is the full kitchen. I worry about staying healthy on the road and with good reason. Did you see this article about “healthy” children’s options at restaurants that are not healthier than a twinkie?

And really, how many days can your child eat chicken fingers, french fries, cheeseburgers, mac and cheese or spaghetti with butter without seriously compromising your ability to serve them “real food” at home?

I like to cook, but I don’t want to spend the day in the kitchen, so I’ve asked family and friends to share simple, quick recipes. This week we tested out Lemon Caper Chicken with pasta and mixed vegetables.

You’ll need three pans: one to boil the pasta, one to fry the chicken and one to make the sauce.

First boil water

1 box of your favorite pasta

I like Dreamfields pasta, but you may have your favorite. Follow the recipe on the box to prepare. This takes the longest so set the pot to boil first so everything finishes about the same time.

Make the sauce

1 small jar Capers
1 sweet onion minced
4 tbsp butter
2 lemons

In a small sauce pan melt butter. I don’t like to use so much butter so I went half and half with olive oil. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent. Use fine grater to scrape rind of one lemon into the mixture. Then cut that lemon into quarters and squeeze juice into the sauce pan. Add juice from the other lemon as well. Add capers. Allow to simmer.

Prepare the Chicken

4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup Romano or Romano cheese blend
1 teaspoon Greek Seasoning
2 tbsps olive oil or butter

In a bowl combine flour, cheese and seasoning. Cut chicken in half to make thinner filets, this will cut down on cooking time. Rinse the chicken in water then dip into flour mixture coating both sides. (When I cook with the kids I put it into zip lock bags and we shake.)

In frying pan heat oil. Cook chicken on both sides until crispy.

Don’t forget the veggies

1 bag your favorite veggie mix
Your favorite seasoning

I like the cook in the bag veggies, but prefer to keep things crisper. Instead of 3-4 minutes I set the microwave to 1 1/2 minutes then check to see if they are soft enough. Transfer into serving bowl and season. I like to use the greek seasoning and lemon juice with this meal.

How to serve

My kids are picky so I don’t mix. First I put the pasta on the plate, followed by the veggies. Then I add the chicken and ask where they want the sauce. You might want to add Romano or the three cheese blend to the pasta and veggies as well.

We’re staying at a vacation rental on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, MD and have a wonderful balcony for people watching. So I’m serving the adults outside with a nice Italian Pinot Grigio. Someone had the nerve to ask where we picked up our dinner!