Putting together a nice meal takes some thought and a good deal of organization. Often too much attention is given to the main dish, and the accompanying vegetables are an afterthought, or forgotten altogether.
In his book ''60-Minute Gourmet'' Pierre Franey always includes a vegetable dish that can be prepared in just a few minutes, and whose flavor and texture will bring out the best in your entree. Here are some of his suggestions.
Rice is usually a good choice with chicken, and for a simple sauteed chicken dish that is mild in flavor, curried rice makes a nice contrast.
Curried Rice 2 1/2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons minced onion 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic 1 cup uncooked rice 1 tablespoon curry powder 1 1/2 cups chicken broth 2 sprigs parsley 1/2 bay leaf
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy saucepan and cook onion and garlic stirring with a wooden spoon, until onion is translucent. Add rice and stir briefly over low heat until all the grains are coated with butter. Sprinkle with curry powder and stir to blend.
Stir in broth, making sure there are no lumps in the rice. Add parsley and bay leaf. Cover with close-fitting lid and place in oven.
Bake rice for exactly 17 minutes. Remove cover and discard parsley and bay leaf. Using a 2-pronged fork, stir in remaining butter. Makes 4 servings.
Pierre recommends noodles with carrots and poppy seeds with veal and chicken dishes.
Noodles with Carrots and Poppy Seeds 2 carrots, trimmed and scraped Salt to taste 1/2 pound medium noodles 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon poppy seeds Freshly ground pepper
Cut carrots into quarter-inch slices. Stack slices into quarter-inch strips. Cut strips into one-inch lengths. There should be slightly less than 1 cup. Set aside.
Drop carrots into boiling salted water and simmer 3 minutes or until crisp tender. Drain.
Drop noodles into boiling salted water and simmer until tender. Return noodles to saucepan and add butter and carrots. Add poppy seeds and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.