One of the things I am doing while I have some time off is teaching my father-in-law how to grill. They have recently purchased a home in the Phoenix area, and put in an awesome grill in the backyard. I got to start breaking it in! We started with grilling some shrimp on rosemary skewers ( just a coating of olive oil and chopped rosemary) to honor the grill, and give us substance to move on to grilling chicken. We made up a marinade I have done for many years, a spiced onion paste, which was combined with chunks of chicken for kabobs. Salads are handy to do with a grilled meat, since they can be done ahead. I would usually do a pasta salad (who me, more pasta?) but for a nice change did a rice salad with farmer’s market vegetables and lemon juice / olive oil dressing. My other grilling tricks: Use a zip-loc baggie for marinating (in addition to reducing dirty dishes, by pressing out the air, you get better contact between meat and marinade), spray the hot grill with Pam, and let the meat cook about 4-5 minutes before turning. The hard part is learning when its done, that’s just takes some practice!
Cajun Chicken Brochettes
This marinade (done in a food processor) is a nice thick consistency. It’s always better to marinate longer, but even a couple of hours is OK.
½ small onion
1 medium garlic clove
¼ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
Several grinds of pepper
4 boned chicken breast halves, skinned, cut into 1 ½ inch squares
1 large onion, cut into 1 ½ inch squares
12 medium mushrooms (about 6 ounces), trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 ½ inch squares
Lime Quarters (optional)
In food processor fitted with steel knife, and machine running, drop 1/2 small onion and garlic through feed tube and mince, stopping to scrape down sides of work bowl if necessary. Add oil, lime juice, spices, and mix. Transfer marinade to ziplock bag, add chicken pieces; seal bag and turn several times to coat with marinade. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, turning bag occasionally.
Thread chicken and vegetables on ~6 skewers in following order. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead, covered and refrigerated.)
Grill over medium heat until chicken is just opaque, ~ 10 minutes, turning once. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Grilled Savory Chicken
This chicken always comes out nice and moist -- a good one to fix for company (especially since you have to think ahead a little bit to marinate the chicken). Of course, you don't have to marinate overnight, 20 minutes works. It comes out best if you use at least half fresh herbs.
4 half chicken breasts
1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme (or 1 teaspoon dry)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dry)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dry)
3/4 teaspoon fresh minced marjoram (or 1/4 teaspoon dry)
3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, cut into wedges (garnish)
Skin, bone and flatten chicken breasts to 1/4-inch thickness. Combine all herbs, spices, lemon rind, and oil. Rub cutlets with mixture. Place in Zip-lock baggie. Cover and chill overnight. Sprinkle cutlets with salt and pepper to taste. Grill 3-5 minutes on each side. Optional: Serve with lemon wedges.
Vegetable Rice Salad
This salad goes great with chicken or grilled fish. Fine to use leftover rice.
1 cup of rice (raw), cooked per package directions
1/2 cup olive oil
6 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt, more to taste
Freshly ground pepper
Vegetables: Need about 2 cups of vegetables, finely diced (4-6 kinds).
Possible options: Bell Pepper, cucumber, carrots, celery, green onions, sweet onions, sugar or snap peas, or thawed frozen peas, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes
1/4 cup minced parsley or other mild herb
Cook rice and cool to room temperature in a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Mix vegetables together the rice, then add enough dressing to moisten. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if needed.
Serve room temperature or chilled.