New grilled chicken

I made a new grilled chicken last night. Keith took one bite and said “This is delicious”. A definite do-over. We used the leftover spice blend from a grilled chicken recipe we made a few weeks ago. It was a little different from what this recipe called for but it is a great rub for grilled chicken. Here is the spice mixture – it makes a lot so put it in a jar and label it.

  • 1 TB ancho chile powder
  • 1 TB ground cumin
  • 1 TB ground coriander
  • 1 TB ground ginger
  • 1 TB brown sugar
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 2 TB Koser salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 TB chili powder

I used bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. I rubbed the skin with the spice mixture and drizzled with olive oil. Keith grilled the chicken for 3 minutes skin-side down over high heat and then grilled on a mat for about 20 minutes. (They were big – temp needs to get to 145.

Remove from grill and slice. Top with mustard sauce.

Mustard sauce

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 TB Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green
  • 2 TB fresh chopped parsley

Whisk vinegar and mustard together and slowly whisk in olive oil. Then whisk in scallions and parsley. We had it with grilled zucchini.

Family picnic

Our socially distant outdoor family dinner on Sunday included a mix of old favorites and new experiments.

Appetizers

A few years ago I saw a recipe for a Mexican style shrimp cocktail. I tweaked and made my own variation which I wrote down on a piece of paper. While I can visualize the paper, I could not locate it. I tried to recreate from memory. I think it’s pretty adaptable to what you have on hand. Everyone seemed to like it.

Mexican shrimp cocktail

  • 1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 400 for 8 – 10 minutes. Cut in half lengthwise.
  • 1 bottle Clamato
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 2 minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 minced shallot

Toss all ingredients together and refrigerate for 1 – 4 hours. Serve in small bowls or glasses with spoons.

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Entree

Keith wanted to try a new grilled chicken recipe and also offered up burgers. The chicken was amazing!

Slaw

  • 1 cup chopped scallions (white and green)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, chopped
  • 4 TB mayonnaise
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 package slaw mix
  • 1 package purple slaw mix
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 tsp poppy seeds

Combine first 6 ingredients in a blender. Toss with slaw mix and onion. Add in poppy seedss and refrigerate until ready to serve chicken.

Chicken

  • 1 TB ancho chile powder
  • 1 TB ground cumin
  • 1 TB ground coriander
  • 1 TB ground ginger
  • 1 TB brown sugar
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 2 TB Koser salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • 2 whole boneless, skin-on chicken breasts (if you don’t want to bone the chicken breasts, ask your butcher to do it for you)
  • canola oil

Combine all spices. Brush chicken with canola oil and season with spice blend. (Save the rest for another time.) Cook on hot grill about 5 minutes skin-side down to sear. Cook on grill mat on reduced heat until done. (Our chicken breasts were big so it cooked for another 18 minutes.) Bring inside and pour sauce over breasts (see below). Let rest for 10 minutes.

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 TB Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sides

Deviled eggs

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1.4 tsp dry mustard (more if you want them spicier)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 4 TB mayonnaise

Place eggs in a pot just big enough to hold them and add water to cover.  Bring to a rapid boil, turn off heat and cover for 17 minutes.  Remove from heat and add cold water and ice cubes to stop cooking.  Chill eggs in refrigerator.  Peel eggs and cut in half.  Put yolks in a bowl and mash with a fork.  Add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, paprika and mayonnaise.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.  Fill egg whites with filling and top with additional paprika.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Potato Salad

There are lots of recipes for potato salad and I like most of them but once I discovered this one, it is my default.

  • Red potatoes, 3 pounds
  • scallions, 1 bunch thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • fresh dill, chopped
  • freshly ground pepper

Boil potatoes until tender.  Let cool until you can handle and then chop potatoes.  Combine mayonnaise and lemon juice (adjust to your taste) and toss over potatoes.  Add sliced scallions and pepper.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dessert

Congo Squares

  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 lb brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 package chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Melt butter over low heat.  Remove butter from heat and stir in brown sugar.  Beat eggs into butter, sugar mixture one at a time.  Stir in flour mixture and then chocolate chips.  Bake in a 9 x 13 pan for 25 – 30 minutes.   Let cool and cut into squares.

Chicken souvlaki

Tonight was another new dish and it was another win for the cook!  Easy to fix, light and healthy – this is a definite do-over!

Tzatziki sauce

  • 1 container plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cucumber, halved lengthwise and seeded, then finely chopped
  • 1 TB minced parsley

Combine all ingredients.

Chicken

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 TB minced parsley
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and quartered
  • 1 red onion, peeled halved and cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 pita bread per person

Combine oil, parsley, zest, juice, honey and oregano.  Pour about half of the mixture over the chicken, reserving remainder.  Skewer vegetables and chicken (I did one skewer of vegetables and 3 skewers of chicken as it makes it easier to get the chicken cooked.)  Grill for 12 – 15 minutes until chicken is done.  Toss cooked chicken and vegetables with remaining marinade and let sit while you toast pitas at 300 in a toaster oven.

To serve, top pita with tzatziki sauce, chicken and vegetables and serve.  The picture is of Samantha’s and she skipped the onion.

chicken souvlaki

Spicy grilled chicken

I’m always looking for inspiration and always looking for easy when it comes to weeknight cooking.  Often you will find recipes in magazines that sound good but unnecessarily complicated.  This spicy grilled chicken falls into that category.  The original recipe called for wrapping bricks in foil and weighting down this chicken.  That is too much effort for a weeknight meal but the marinade sounded excellent.  With a little tweaking, this turned into a delicious meal and the leftover chicken breasts made fabulous chicken salad.  I made the marinade the night before and then marinated the chicken for a few hours before cooking.

Spicy grilled chicken

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 TB assorted herbs (I used a mixture of thyme, rosemary, parsley and basil from my herb garden), chopped
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1 TB ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TB Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp caused red pepper flakes
  • 1 bone in, skin on chicken breast per person plus one more for leftovers

Combine garlic, herbs, lemon zest and juice and salt and pepper in a blender or food processor.  With the machine on, add oil.  then add mustard and red pepper and pulse to combine.  Marinade will be thick.

Spread on chicken and refrigerate covered for 3 – 4 hours.

Grill chicken 5 minutes over direct heat and then 20 – 25 minutes over indirect heat or until chicken is cooked through.  Let rest for 5 minutes and serve with:

Hasselback zucchini

  • 1 small zucchini per person, cut crosswise, about every 1/2 inch, slicing almost but not through zucchini
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • shaved parmesan cheese

Combine olive oil, oregano and garlic powder in a small bowl.  Stuff Parmesan shavings into each zucchini cut.  Brush zucchini with olive oil mixture.  Grill in a grill pan about 18 minutes.

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Planning ahead

I have a longer day on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I try to set myself up for success by planning ahead for something that requires minimal effort when I get home tired from a long day at work.  This Thai grilled chicken is just the thing.  I made the marinade last night and all we needed to do was fix rice and grill it.  If you think Thai food is complicated or too spice, try this recipe anyway.  The flavors are actually quite mild and the coconut milk makes the chicken really moist.

Thai marinade

  • 4 – 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 TB cumin seed
  • 2 TB coriander seed
  • 1 TB peppercorns
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar and/or honey (or 1/4 cup of each – that is what I did)
  • 1 TB turmeric powder
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp ground Thai chili peppers
  • 1 cup coconut cream
Toast the cumin seed, coriander and peppercorns in a dry pan over the stove for a few minutes until aromatic.  Grind together in a mortar and pestle.  Add garlic and continue grinding until ingredients make a paste.  Put paste in a bowl and add brown sugar, soy sauce, juice from lime, ground chili pepper, turmeric and coconut cream.  Mix well.  Marinate chicken up to overnight overnight and grill, basting with marinade.  Serve with rice.

Eggplant Napoleons

Tonight we had grilled chicken which I marinated in rosemary, shallots, olive oil, lemon juice and white wine.  I wanted something straightforward for the entree because I had a vision for the side dish.  There is a local restaurant, Petit Louis that makes an incredible Eggplant Napoleon.  My niece and I were talking about it on vacation last week so it’s been on my mind.  I thought I could make a modified, less fattening version.  I found heirloom tomatoes at Graul’s on Sunday so that made them even better.  Here is what I did:

Eggplant Napoleon

  • 1 eggplant, skin cut off and cut in rounds (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • kosher salt
  • panko (or breadcrumbs)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 tomatoes of your choice, sliced
  • pesto
  • goat cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Place eggplant slices on paper towel, salt well and top with more paper towels.  Let sit for at least 20 minutes to drain water.  Wipe off salt.  Dip eggplant slices in egg and then panko mixture.  Place on a non-stick pan (or a pan covered with aluminum foil and sprayed with Pam if you don’t feel like washing the pan) and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Top each eggplant slice with a little goat cheese and return to the oven for about 2 minutes.  (Goat cheese should be soft but not melted).  Place an eggplant slice on a plate, top with a slice of tomato, a little pesto and then repeat.  Aren’t they cute?

Light version of Eggplant Napoleons.

Light version of Eggplant Napoleons.

Dinner on the grill

I marinated the chicken overnight which made dinner quick to fix.  This is a great chicken marinade from my mother-in-law and the leftovers are terrific on salad and sandwiches.  And the best news of all, Samantha tried it and liked it!

Grilled Eastern Shore chicken

  • Chicken breasts, bone in (two per person for leftovers)
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 oz olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 tsp poultry seasoning
Combine marinade ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Let cool to room temperature and pour over chicken to marinate, preferably for at least 4 hours (can marinate overnight).  Grill chicken until done.  I served it with sautéed zucchini.

Thai grilled chicken

This is one of the easier and more accessible of the Thai dishes that I have made.  The ingredients are readily available and it doesn’t take long to make.  I’m fixing extra chicken so we will have leftovers.  You can use lowfat coconut milk if you prefer or you can buy a marinade or barbecue sauce and have grilled chicken with very little effort!  We’ll have this over rice.

Thai marinade

  • 4 – 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 TB cumin seed
  • 2 TB coriander seed
  • 1 TB peppercorns
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar and/or honey
  • 1 TB turmeric powder
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp ground Thai chili peppers
  • 1 cup coconut cream
Toast the cumin seed, coriander and peppercorns in a dry pan over the stove for a few minutes until aromatic.  Grind together in a mortar and pestle.  Add garlic and continue grinding until ingredients make a paste.  Put paste in a bowl and add brown sugar, soy sauce, juice from lime, ground chili pepper, turmeric and coconut cream.  Mix well.  Marinate chicken up to overnight overnight and grill, basting with marinade.  Serve with rice.

Summer dinner

Summer seems to be here and this dinner is one of our warm weather favorites.  The chicken is best if marinated overnight so I made the marinade yesterday and that made tonight’s prep time minimal.  I always make extra chicken since it is so good on salads or sandwiches – this week leftovers will make it into salad on Thursday.  Since this year’s basil crop is already getting tall, I’m not as stingy about using up the pesto that is in the freezer.  We’ll be making more soon enough.  Here are the recipes:

Eastern Shore Chicken
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 oz olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TB poultry seasoning
  • Chicken breasts with bone (you can also cook wings, legs or thighs)
Combine vinegar, olive oil, salt and poultry seasoning in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Let cool.  Pour over chicken and marinate.  Grill chicken until done.  My husband has discovered that the secret to get the breasts cooked perfectly is to cook over high heat (skin side down) for about 5 minutes and then turn off one set of burners and cook the chicken another 15 – 20 minutes with the chicken on indirect heat.  This makes the chicken moist and doesn’t burn the skin.  He cooks it until the meat thermometer shows 140 – it will come up a few more degrees while it rests.  You can see how good it looks in the picture.

Grilled Pesto Tomatoes

  • Ripe tomatoes (1 per person)
  • Pesto (either homemade or purchased)

Slice off ends of tomatoes and then cut in half for thick slices.  Top each slice with 1 – 2 teaspoons of pesto and grill for 5 minutes.