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Summer Rubber Chicken makes 3 meals

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These are truly the dog days of August — hot days that only air conditioning turned down to polar can cool you off. Hot days when turning on the oven is a form of torture and eating a heavy meal is punishment.

I have a recipe called Rubber Chicken that takes one roasted chicken and makes three meals out of it. Sort of the mother of all frugal recipes, if you will.

But with the heat being what it is in these dogs days, making Rubber Chicken would just be wrong. What you need is a Summer Rubber Chicken recipe like this one! (I came up with this recipe out of necessity, and you're going to love it as much my family does, I'm sure of it!)

Here is how it is done:

Day one: Marinate as much chicken as you need to make three meals.

We are a family of five and I use 12 chicken breasts total. I marinate 12 breasts in two bags (6 each) with teriyaki sauce, balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of lemon or lime, garlic powder, oregano and a liberal grinding of pepper. Or if I'm in a huge hurry, I'll split a bottle of Italian salad dressing between the two bags and call it a day. Remember, the longer you marinate, the more time the flavors of your marinade have to infuse themselves in your chicken. In other words, I'd do this first thing in the morning so your chicken is wonderful that night.

On your outdoor grill, barbecue all of the chicken, reserving six breasts for later. I will serve coleslaw, green salad and maybe a potato salad with the meal.

The breakdown of the 12 breasts is six used the first night (my husband or teenage son usually eats the extra one), three used the second night and the last night, three more get used.

Day two: Take three of the leftover chicken breasts and cube them for Chicken Taco Salad. Use a bag of prewashed salad (I like the spring mix), shredded cheese, a can of drained and rinsed black beans, chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes and anything else you like. Toss altogether with a little Italian dressing and you've got a nice dinner. You can make quesadillas to go with this salad, if you like.

Day three: Take the remaining chicken breasts and chop for Summer Chicken Salad Sandwiches. Add chopped hard boiled egg, chopped red onion, pesto (you can buy it in a jar or make it if you have a bounty of basil), mayo (use low fat), salt and pepper to taste. Serve on hearty wheat rolls with sliced tomato and leaves of Romaine lettuce. Add a tossed salad and you're there!

There you have it — Summer Rubber Chicken. Chicken cooked once and stretched into three tasty and easy meals! Notice we never turned on any appliance in the kitchen — your kitchen will stay cool and so will you!

Leanne Ely, a k a Dinner Diva, is the author of the best-selling "Saving Dinner" and "Saving Dinner the Low Carb Way" (Ballantine). What's for dinner? Go to www.savingdinner.com and find the solution!