How To Use Household Cleaners With Safety

Shelves in pantry with cleaners for home close-up - household cleanersToday’s household cleaning products not only make life easier, they are said to make it a lot healthier, as well. Whatever the cleaning challenge, you can probably find a product that’s perfectly suited to getting the job done right.

Cleaning and killing germs are serious business, plus the medical community agrees that cleanliness practices — such as regular hand washing and keeping your living area clean, are key in reducing the spread of infectious diseases.

Today many individuals, like us here at Splendid Recipes and More have turned to cleaning products that have been labeled “Green,” meaning their products that are environmentally friendly to the earth, as well as the one using the product.

Using Household Cleaners With Safely

But what if you the reader hasn’t decided yet to give up traditional cleaning products as of yet, like all-purpose cleaners, ammonia, bleach, and toilet bowl cleaners, among many others, are you cautious when using them?

The following information are reminders for cautious cleaning when using such cleaning products.

all-purpose cleaner - household cleanersAll-Purpose Cleaner

Some commonly purchased all-purpose cleaners include:

These type of products are designed for diverse in home tasks.

The FDA recommends not using such cleaners that contain antibacterial properties, like dimethyl benzyl ammonium, which is an organic salt (note: not all salts are inorganic like NaCl), composed of the (negative) anion Chloride (Cl-) and an organic (positive) cation, dimethyl ethyl benzyl ammonium ion (Yahoo Answers).

The FDA says that cleaning products with antibacterial agents can actually help create forms of bacteria that are much harder to kill or disinfect.

The Journal Antimicrobial Chemotherapy published a study in 2008 on the use of antibacterial consumer products containing ammonium compounds and drug resistance in the community.

The researchers reported that after 1 year of assigned product usage, were one group used cleaning products with ammonium compounds and triclosan, were as the other group received cleaning products without antibacterial agents – and found that the group using ammonium compounds and including triclosan made bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli resistant to one or more antibiotics.

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The More You Know

Antibacterial Cleaners: Can They Do More Harm Than Good?

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Ammonia

ammonia - household cleanersTrace quantities of ammonia are found in the earth’s atmosphere, which is produced by the decaying process of nitrogenous animals and vegetable matter. Ammonia and ammonium salts are also found in rainwater but in small quantities.

The global industrial production of ammonia in 2014 was 176,300,000 tonnes,  a 16% increase over the 2006 global industrial production 152,000,000 tonnes (Waste Disposal Professionals).

Ammonia can cut grease, but so can many other cleaners. If you use this solution for doing so, it is best to dilute it with 8 parts water to 1 part ammonia. When mixing, always add the water to the ammonia, and not the other way around.

When working with ammonia wear gloves and in a ventilated area. The solution though found in nature, can cause blindness if splashed into the eyes. It may be best to wear eye coverings when using it.

CAUTION: Never mix ammonia with bleach. If you do, it will cause a vapor that will immediately cut off your breathing as the vapor enters your lungs. If you pass out, CPR will not revive you.

Bleach

clorox bleach - household cleanersBleach is a powerful bacteria killer. It is best for use to wipe away mildew or cleaning the kitchen surface after preparing raw meats.

CAUTION: Be careful not to mix bleach with toilet-bowl cleaners or ammonia.

Always wear gloves and work in a ventilated area to protect yourself when cleaning with bleach.

Glass Cleaner

windex - household cleaners

The name speaks for itself, as glass cleaner is used to clean glass and windows.

It is best not to use full strength ammonia-based window cleaners.

Test performed by Consumer Reports noted that you can dilute glass cleaners and still get your windows and glass clean.

Toilet-Bowl Cleaner

These cleaners are used to not only clean, but also disinfect your toilet. A word of Caution from the American Association of Poison Control Centers, corrosive toilet-bowl cleaners are top on the list as the most dangerous toxic cleaning solution found in homes.

It is recommended to only use such toilet-bowl cleaners when you really need them for rust and stains.

Toilet-Bowl Cleaner - Household cleanersKeep in mind that there is no US law that requires manufacturers of cleaning products to list ingredients on their labels or to test their products for safety.

It is also estimated that the average US home contains anywhere from 3 to 25 gallons of toxic materials, most of which are in cleaners.

Labels of household cleaners that contain the words,  DANGER, WARNING and POISON give only a general idea about the seriousness of the substances a product contains. In fact, a New York Poison Control Center study found that 85% of product warning labels are inadequate (GAIAM Life).

These are household cleaners that contain the words DANGER, WARNING and POISON:

  • Drain cleaners
  • Oven cleaners
  • Laundry detergents
  • Glass cleaners
  • Floor and furniture polish

The take away of this article should be to use caution and safety when using traditional household cleaners.

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What Would We Do Without Vinegar?

What Would We Do Without Vinegar? - white distilled vinegarWhite Distilled vinegar is great for cleaning. Cleaning with vinegar is much safer than using commercial products that are filled with chemicals.

Were you aware that distilled vinegar can be made from rice, malt, wine, fruit, balsamic, apple cider, kiwifruit, coconut, palm, sugar cane, raisins, dates, beer, honey, and kombucha (fermented tea), among other food items?

Not only can vinegar be make from many foods, it also has many uses around the home, inside and out.

After reading what those uses are, you might just ask – What Would We Do Without Vinegar?

Many Uses For Vinegar Other Than In Culinary

White vinegar contains a higher percentage of acidic content, therefore making it more ideal a household cleaning agent over darker vinegar’s, like apple cider vinegar.

Glassware – 1/2 cup of distilled vinegar added to a gallon of rinse water, will remove soap scum or film from glassware.

Coffee Maker -Till the coffee maker reservoir with vinegar and run it through the brewing cycle. Doing this will remove stale coffee residue. After running vinegar through one brew cycle, run fresh water through it twice to remove any vinegar taste.

Top Cleaning Secrets

Image credit: Top Cleaning Secrets

Iron – Have stains on your electric clothes iron? Remove them by mixing one part salt with one part vinegar in a heated small aluminum sauce pan. Use this mix as well to polish your iron the same as you would silverware.

Chrome – To polish chrome and stainless steal, moisten a cloth with distilled vinegar and wipe clean.

Windows – Are your windows stained with water spots dew to your sprinkler system? Straight vinegar will remove the spots.

Bathroom – Vinegar and baking soda together will remove the soap film build-up from your bathtub, as well as deodorize your toilet. Just pour some undiluted vinegar into the toilet bowl and let stand about 5 minutes, then flush. If you have hard to work with stains, you may need to use some elbow power.

Grease – They say that vinegar will remove filmy dirt residue from the stove and refrigerator. we found it works best when baking soda is used with it.

Culinary Uses For Distilled Vinegar

wilted vegetables restored

Image Credit: Food Hacks

Vegetables – Any slightly wilted vegetables in your kitchen? Bring them back to life by soaking them in cold water and vinegar.

Cabbage – Add vinegar to the water before cooking cabbage. Doing so will prevent the smell of this cruciferous vegetable’s smell from penetrating the house.

Meat – 1/2 cup of your favorite vinegar and a cup of liquid bullion makes a great meat tenderizer.

Rice – when cooking rice, add a teaspoon of vinegar to the boiling water for fluffy rice all the time.

Fish –  Maybe you might know where we are going with this one, as fish can smell up the house. Reduce the fishy odor by rubbing the fish with white distilled vinegar before scaling it.

Cheese – This one was a knew one for us…To keep your cheese fresh for longer, just wrap it in a clean cloth that has been dampened with vinegar and then sealed in a air-tight container.

Eggs – To produce better formed egg whites, such as when poaching eggs for Eggs Benedict, just add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water.

A guest post at Thrifty Fun wrote, “If you want to make poached eggs, vinegar is very helpful. If you add a tablespoon of it to the boiling water and then slide your eggs into the water, your egg whites will stay together and not mix with the water very much. Your poached eggs will look like the shape of an egg as opposed to looking like a pancake. I just learned this trick and I’m quite pleased with it.”

Onion Odors – After you have prepared your culinary dish that called for onions, just apply some distilled vinegar to your hands to remove any onion odor.

White distilled vinegar is also best to use when pickling. Dark vinegar’s, like cider, red wine, dark balsamic, are great for pickling, but these darker vinegar’s can discolor lighter colored pickles, like pears, onions, or cauliflower. White vinegar will not discolor your lighter colored pickles.

Other Uses For Distilled White Vinegar

got weeds use vinegar

Image credit: Pinterest

Molly Maid (located in the U.K.) shares these many uses for vinegar outside the home.

Weed Remover – Pour or spray white distilled vinegar onto weeds growing in the cracks between paving stones or in your driveway. Saturate them so that the vinegar reaches the roots. Reapply on any new growth until the weeds are gone.

Barbecue Cleaner – Vinegar can help remove charcoal build-up from your grill. Spray white distilled vinegar onto the cooking grate and clean the surface with a soft cleaning brush. Scrub the grate thoroughly, then rinse.

She also explains how white vinegar can be used to clean garden furniture, shine your dogs coat, prevent mildew, and how to keep your cut flowers fresher for longer. Link here to find out more: Molly Maid.

We mention how you can use white distilled vinegar to make poached eggs for Eggs Benedict – try our recipe by linking here.

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How Too Eleminate Pungent Kitchen Smells

Woman washing a cup in white kitchen. Vegetables on the background - How Too Eleminate Pungent Kitchen SmellsWe all enjoy good aromas in our kitchen. But let’s face it, there are just some smells which we can’t avoid while cooking and are hard to get read of after making dinner.

If you made some fish, then you know how hard it is to get to eliminate the smell from your cutting board or the air? Even preparing onions on cutting surfaces and your hands leave you with that unwanted onion smell? We’ve all been there.

But there’s no need to fret, as there are simple ways without synthetic chemicals to tackle common kitchen odors. And if you want to go – “Green” – you will like employing these ideas.

Let’s start with general everyday kitchen odors.

baking soda to clean odors from cutting board

Image Credit: Homedit

General odorsBaking soda is not just for baking and cooking, it can also be used for removing odors from all over the kitchen. Just as baking soda placed in your fridge will remove odors, but it will also remove odors from your hands.

You can also create a paste with a little water and baking soda and apply to your cutting board or other cooking services to remove any unwanted smells.

You can even wash your garbage pail with a mixture of water and baking soda. Also remove odors from dishrags and sponges by soaking them in baking soda and water as well.

raw fish on a cutting board

Image Credit: The Canadian Way

Fish Odors– Slice a lemon in half and use the lemon flesh down on the cutting surface and your hands to cut that fishy odor. You can also chose to mix lemon juice with water to rinse your hands and cutting surface.

The citric acid in the lemon turns a group of decaying organic compounds called amines. When the lemon juice makes contact with the compounds that are causing that “fishy” smell, they are turned into ammonium salts which are less offensive to your nose.

Garlic Odors – Coffee ground are great at removing garlic smells. Wash your hands and then scrub with the coffee grounds. This exfoliates the skin, removing the dead tissues which is where the stink resides.

Onion Odors– Use some organic made toothpaste, like Dessert Essence made with natural tea tree oil and ginger oil or fennel oil . This will work for any of those strong fish and garlic smells as well.

More Techniques To Removing Fowl Odors From The Kitchen

Have you ever used parsley to combat your garlic breath? Rub it on your hands to remove that garlic smell as well. Not only parsley, but any fresh herb will absorb those odors. Just tear the herb into pieces and rub between your hands.

Most herbs are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Meaning they kill germs, and with the germs gone, so is the odors they can cause.

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The Go Green Initiative Starts In Your Home

The Go Green Initiative Starts In Your homeIn 2002 the “Go Green Initiative” was started in Pleasanton, California by Jill Buck. The program is all about environmental education and a stewardship program that is located in all 50 US states and in 13 other countries.

The goals of the initiative are to teach and help others learn to conserve and protect natural resources for future generations, and to protect human health through environmental stewardship. Their focus is on…

  1. Recycling and Waste
  2. Water
  3. Energy

What does it mean to “Go G.R.E.E.N.?”

Generate less waste

Recycle everything that cannot be reused

Educate the community on eco-friendly options

Evaluate the environmental impact of actions

Nourish discussions and activities that integrate environmental education into existing curriculum

children running at schoolThough the “Go Green Initiative” is all about helping schools create a campus-wide culture of conservation by teaching kids how to be environmental stewards, we all can contribute to the initiative, though we may not be in school.

Do you have school aged children, or grandchildren in your home? Why not set an example for them by getting involved with the Go Green Initiative, starting in your home. How? By using household cleaners that are earth friendly.

One of the goals of “The Go Green Foundation” is to educate young people about climate change, global warming the earth in a woman's hand with green grass and blue sky in the back groundcrisis and sustainable living practices (Go Green Foundation).

Let’s focus on the later, sustainable living practices.

Going green and using the power of all natural green products to clean your home, can help keep you and your family healthy, as well as keep the environment healthy. This is a great place to start, that is to initiate, and practice sustainable living at home.

Here are some great examples of all natural green products to clean house, that you can prepare at home in your very own kitchen.

Cleaning Wood Floors

1/2 cup white vinegar

3 drops orange oil

3 drops lemon oil

3 drops grapefruit oil

cleaning wood floors with earth friendly products2 drops tea tree oil

1 quart water

Put into a hand sprayer and apply to wood floor, and clean with a damp mop.

General Purpose Bathroom Cleaner

 General Purpose Bathroom Cleaner 1/2 cup baking soda

1/4 cup vinegar

3 drops tea tree oil

2 drops eucalyptus oil

1 drop thyme oil

 5 drops orange oil

5 drops lemon oil

Carpet Cleaner

8 ounces baking soda

5 drops grapefruit oil

 Mix ingredients in a jar, covered with a lid. Shake out on to carpet and vacuum up. It is also recommended for use in a steam cleaner when cleaning carpets.

Carpet Cleaner

cleaning the carpot with all natural earth friendly cleaners 8 ounces baking soda

5 drops grapefruit oil

Mix ingredients in a jar, covered with a lid. Shake out on to carpet and vacuum up. It is also recommended for use in a steam cleaner when cleaning carpets.

Bathroom Mold and Mildew Cleaner

 Bathroom Mold and Mildew Cleaner4 ounces water

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

3 drops lemon oil

1 drop clove oil

5 drops tea tree oil

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle, and spray onto tile and other surfaces that have mold or mildew, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing off.

Dish Washing Soap

 1/2 cup castile soap

1/2 cup vinegar

1 quart water

6 drops lemon oil

natural earth friendly dish soap2 drops geranium oil

3 drops tea tree oil

Mix in a soap dispenser, and add to dish water, and mix in.

Castile soap originating in the Castile region of Spain, is not the same as caster oil soap. Castile soap is made from 100% olive oil, were as caster oil soap, is made from the caster seed, and therefore is considered a vegetable based soap.

The More You Know

Old Farmers 2016 AlmanacYou will find Wikipedia and other sources referring to castile soap as a vegetable based soap made from 100% olive oil, when in fact olives are not a vegetable, but a fruit.

The natural all green recipes were adapted from the Herbal Remedies Magazine – published by Harris Farmers almanac.

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Roasted Herb Chicken In Red Wine

Roasted Herb Chicken In Red Wine

There are many varieties of vinegar’s. Like red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, rice vinegar, cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar, and white vinegar.

Vinegar’s are used for pickling, de-glazing pans, marinating meats, making sauces and is found in some desserts. White or cider vinegar’s are even used for house cleaning and disinfecting as well.

Commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine is red wine vinegar, and is a common staple in most French homes. Most red wine vinegar’s can be matured up to two years. White wine vinegar is tangy in flavor and can be used in place of lemon juice in sauces like, Hollandaise and Bearnaise sauces, can also be used in making vinaigrette’s, soups, and stews.

It’s also an excellent base for homemade fruit or herb vinegar’s. Wine or white distilled vinegar’s are flavored with herbs, spices or other seasonings, like garlic, basil and tarragon, making a tasty and aromatic addition to dressings.  As for fruit infused vinegar’s, they are that commonly done with balsamic vinegar’s, like raspberry, blueberry or pomegranate.

From the kitchen to cleaning house, doing the laundry, and even used for medicinal purposes, vinegar is the most versatile of products, and versatile is defined as “capable of turning with ease from one thing to another.”

Our featured recipe is – Roasted Herb Chicken In Red Wine -, and yes it uses red wine, and red wine vinegar. Here is what you will need.

herb - wine marinade for Roasted Herb Chicken In Red Wine2/3 cup red wine

6 tablespoons tomato paste

3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked from steams

3 sprigs marjoram, leaves picked, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

½ cup red wine vinegar

3 1/2 pounds of chicken parts, legs, thighs, or breast, with bone and skin

Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, optional

1 pound tri-color baby potatoes, do not peel

3 small red onions, quartered

6 carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise

½ cup water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

chicken marinading in herbs and red wineMix together the wine, tomato paste, thyme, marjoram, and vinegar. Season the chicken with salt and pepper (optional), then place in a large bowl with the wine mixture. Coated the chicken pieces well, and set aside in the refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

vegetables arranged in a glass baking dishPlace the potatoes in a medium to large saucepan of cold water, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 to 2 minutes, drain.

Arrange the onions, carrots, and cooked potatoes in a large glass baking dish and pour in the water. We were not able to purchase the tri-colored baby potatoes, so we used small red potatoes cut in half.

marinated chicken and vegetables in a glass baking dishArrange the chicken pieces skin-side up on top of the vegetables. Pour the marinade over the chicken-vegetable layer. Cover with tin foil and roast for 30 minutes.

Roasted Herb Chicken In Red Wine - fresh out of the ovenRemove the foil and baste the chicken with the cooking liquid. Roast another 15 minutes, uncovered, or until the skin is crisp.

Platted - Roasted Herb Chicken In Red Wine and VegetablesPlate and serve.

Here’s another recipe using white wine, that we are sure you will also enjoy. Link here to view: Roasted Chicken Drumsticks and Vegetables with Mustard-Tarragon Sauce. You will enjoy the aroma of the fresh tarragon, in this recipe!!

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Natural Cleaners For Healthy Household Cleaning

Natural Cleaners For Healthy Household CleaningPlant based products not only help keep us healthy, but they also can do the same for our environment. Using essential oils and other plant based products to clean your home, not only makes it healthier, but can keep you healthy as well.

Using oils derived from plants and flowers, mixed with some other food products we use weekly if not daily in our cooking and baking, like lemons, salt, vinegar, and baking soda only makes since.

Most modern day cleaners that are purchased might help clean the home, but they do have toxic chemicals as well. Chemicals we breath in, and absorb into the skin. These toxic chemicals are endocrine disruptors, meaning they can effected our health in a negative way.

Common Toxic ChemicalsIn the USA, the “Toxic Substances Reform Act” (TSCA) was passed into law in 1976 to limit the use of toxic chemicals.

When passed into law, TSCA approved more than 60,000 chemicals that existed prior to 1976, and only 200 of the original 60,000 chemicals have been tested for safety, with only 5 of them being restricted for any use (Safe Chemicals – Healthy Families).

But to date (2015) there are still over 80,000 chemicals in use, with some of them in household cleaners.

The most common is triclosan, which has been linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, and low levels of triclosan have shown to disrupt thyroid function. Treatment of waste water does not remove all of the chemical, and therefore ends up lakes, rivers and water sources. Triclosan is also very toxic to aquatic life (EWG’s Guide to Triclosan).

Natural Household Cleaner Recipes

It doesn’t make any since to bring toxic household cleaners into your home, when there are natural cleaners available.

Using vinegar, lemons, baking soda, salt with added essential oils, will get your home just as clean as any toxic chemical, but without the unhealthy side effects.

Be sure to purchase therapeutic grade and organic essential oils. Be sure the Latin name is included on the bottle.

wood floorCleaning Wood Floors

1/2 cup white vinagar

3 drops orange oil

3 drops lemon oil

3 drops grapefruit oil

2 drops tea tree oil

1 quart of water

Add all of the above to a hand sprayer and apply to the wooden floor and mop.

Mold and Mildew Cleaner 

bath room4 ounces of water

1/4 distilled white vinegar

3 drops lemon oil

1 drop clove oil

5 drops tea tree oil

Mix all of the above in a spray bottle, and spray on ares of the kitchen or bathroom that have mold or mildew. Let sit 20 minutes before rinsing away.

spray bottles General Purpose Cleaner

1/2 cup baking soda

1/4 cup vinegar

3 drops tea tree oil

2 drops eucalyptus oil

1 drop thyme oil

5 drops orange oil

5 drops lemon oil

Mix all of the above in a small spray bottle.

carpetCarpet Cleaner

8 ounces of baking soda

5 drops grapefruit oil

Mix in a small jar. Cover with lid. When needed, shake out onto carpet, let set about 5 minutes, and vacuum up. This solution can also be used in home carpet cleaning machines.

washing dishesDish Washing Soap

1/2 cup castile oil

1/2 cup vinegar

1 quart of water

6 drops lemon oil

2 drops geranium oil

3 drops tea tree oil

Mix all of the above in a container and use when ready to wash the dishes.

Article Inspiration By: Herbal Remedies Magazine (2016)

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Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus

Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and AsparagusAbout 70 years ago, way before fast food restaurants opened up, one pot meals were popular. The reason being that the women worked long hours in the fields or in factory jobs, and were often too tired to make a complete meal for their family. So instead they made meals that were quick and easy to put together.

One pot meals are quick and easy to prepare and do not not require a lot of time in the kitchen. On many occasions these meals are enjoyed by family and friends, and always include foods that go well together, like pinto beans and rice, macaroni and cheese, and spaghetti and ground pork.

A true one pot dish is literally using one pot to cook all the ingredients at the same time. The one pot meal can also include using one pot to cook the ingredients separately, and then combining them together at the end of the preparation and cooking time. These type of one pot meals are also not time consuming.

Our featured dish: Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus is the later description of the one pot meal. Here is what you will need.

produce ingredients for Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Italian dressing, your favorite, store bought or homemade

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 1/4 lbs chicken, sliced horizontally, and cut into 2 x 4 inch pieces

4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and black pepper for seasoning

1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed of tough ends, cut to 2-inch pieces (thinner stalks are the best to use, if you can find them)

1 1/2 cups rainbow matchstick carrots

1 cup grape tomatoes, mixed colors, halved

If you can not find rainbow matchstick carrots, then the orange ones are fine. We did take the time to make our own matchsticks using a red and yellow carrot with a julienne peeler.

In a large measuring cup, mix together dressing, balsamic vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes, and set aside.

cooking chicken in a large skilletIn a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with a little salt and pepper, then place chicken evenly in skillet. Cook about 8 minutes, turning chicken pieces once halfway through cooking, until it has cooked through.

Add half the dressing mixture to skillet and rotate chicken to evenly coat. Transfer chicken to a large serving platter, and leave sauce in the skillet (if there is any).

cooking asparagus and carrots in a large skilletNext add the prepared asparagus and carrots to skillet, season with a little salt and pepper (optional), and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer veggies to a serving platter with chicken.

Add remaining dressing mixture to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute.

Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus - closer viewAdd tomatoes to vegetables and mix in. Drizzle dressing mixture in pan over top of chicken and vegetables or return chicken and vegetables to pan and toss to coat. Plate and serve.

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