Easy summer dinner: Grilled Caesar salad with chicken breast

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I have blogged here before that I did not like chicken breast.  I used to find the meat bland and dry.  Last year, I found a few recipes that work really well for chicken breast, and I have been converted ever since.

This particular chicken breast recipe was found on The Kitchn.  The recipe guarantees moist and tender boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Once the breast meat is cooked with this recipe, the possibilities are endless.  I’ve served the meat with salads, cubed it to throw in curries, added to stir fries, etc.  One of my favorite salads is a grilled Caesar salad, so I’m also going to share a recipe here for it.  I love the romaine lettuce grilled because it gives it an extra layer of flavor.  Of course, if you don’t grill the lettuce, that’s fine too (I’m looking at you, Itti!).  You can use the dressing on the uncooked lettuce.

The chicken breast and the Caesar salad can all be made ahead of time, and pulled out of the fridge to eat the next day.  It makes for a great summer dinner.

Chicken Breast

Ingredients

1 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon freshly chopped herbs (optional)
Olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter

Equipment

10-inch sauté pan with lid

Direction

1. Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness with the handle or flat of a knife.

2. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts.

3. Mix about a half teaspoon of salt in with the flour along with a little pepper. Chop the herbs finely, if using, and mix in as well.

4. Quickly dredge the chicken breasts in the flour, so that they are just lightly dusted with flour.

5. Heat the sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it is quite hot, add the olive oil and butter. Let them melt, and swirl the pan.

6. Turn the heat to medium. Add the chicken breasts. Cook for just about 1 minute to help them get a little golden on one side (you are not actually searing or browning them). Then flip each chicken breast over.

7. Turn the heat to low. Put the lid on the pan. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and walk away. Do not lift the lid; do not peek.

8. After 10 minutes have elapsed, turn off the heat. Reset the timer for 10 minutes and leave the chicken breasts in the pan. Again, do not lift the lid; do not peek.

9. After the 10 minutes are up, take the lid off, and tada! Soft, tender, juicy chicken breasts that aren’t dried out in the least. Doublecheck them to make sure there is no pink in the middle. Slice and eat.

 

Grilled Caesar Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 canned rolled anchovy fillets with capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 to 3 large head romaine lettuce, cut lengthwise into halves

Direction

Mince 3 garlic cloves in processor. Add mayonnaise, anchovies with capers, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and mustard and process to blend. Transfer to medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush the dressing on the romaine lettuce halves.  Grill the lettuce on medium-high heat on the BBQ for 2 minutes, turning occasionally. Cut the grilled lettuce into bite size pieces.  Drizzle more dressing on the lettuce.  Sprinkle 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese on the salad.  Serve with chicken breast (see recipe above).

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Summer dinner: Garlic and Pepper Marinated Flank Steak and Summer Salad

We put on a lot of weight while we were on vacation. I really blame my parents for cooking all the amazing food for us.  Hehe.  So Cliff decided that he needs to go back on South Beach and cut out carbs for a week.  I’m going to somewhat follow that, but still eat whole wheat toast and bran cereal.

So for dinner tonight, I made a steak and salad entree.  This combines two recipes from Epicurious, which by the way, is a life saver of a gazillion recipes.  I tend to rely on the rating of the recipes quite a bit to decide if I want to attempt something.  Flank steak is something that is less pricy and really easy to make.  You can easily just do salt, pepper, olive oil and rosemary and it will taste great.

I found this recipe on Epicurious to try, which I happen to have all the ingredients for.  But when I read the reviews, a number of people commented that adding lime juice to the marinade will really up the game of the steak.  Lime juice?  I would have never thought of putting lime juice on a steak.  But I figured if 5 reviewers in a row said the same thing, I should try it.  Then I got the salad recipe from here.  It sounded good.  I like all the ingredients, and it sounded easy.

So the modified recipes are as follows:

Steak:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 large flank steak (about 2 pounds)
  • juice from 1 lime

Combine first 4 ingredients in shallow baking dish. Add steak and turn to coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate 3 to 6 hours.

Prepare barbecue (high heat) or preheat broiler. Season steak generously with additional pepper. Grill or broil steak to desired doneness, brushing occasionally with marinade, about 5 minutes per side for medium rare. thinly slice steak across grain and serve over the salad.

Salad:

  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup baby arugula or chopped regular arugula
  • 1/2 cup (generous) diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded, finely chopped (about 4 teaspoons)

Mix tomatoes and all remaining ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

So, I have to say, adding the lime juice to the steak marinade was a really good decision.  I think I would have liked the steak without the lime juice, but I REALLY liked it with the lime juice.  It brightened the flavor of the steak and also lightened up the taste.  I really didn’t expect the effect to be so life changing, but I don’t think I can live without lime juice on my flank steak anymore!  Two thumbs up for the flank steak.  Cliff really enjoyed it too.

Now, the salad.  It was just, meh.  It was not bad or anything, but it really wasn’t all that impressive.  It felt like I ran out of ideas and just threw together something to get a check-mark on the daily veggie intake box.  Now I’m going to be on the hunt for a good salad to go with my new favorite flank steak!

Just in case you’re wondering, no, we didn’t give Joshua this dish for dinner.  I wasn’t sure if he should be eating medium rare steak at 18 months.  So I grilled up a tomato basil marinaded pork chop for him and served it with some noodles he loves.  Jackson’s on W. 4th sell these marinaded pork chops and they are super tender and takes no effort to prepare.