You really don’t have to eat boring chicken. Try new ways of preparing chicken and serve it with new and different garnishing ingredients.
Dry chicken isn’t appealing. To avoid this:
- Don’t overcook chicken – 155 to 160 degrees F on an instant read meat thermometer is perfectly safe.
- Cooking chicken for most of its grilling time over indirect heat keeps it tender and juicy and it does not burn.
When I grill chicken, I always make extra because it is so delicious and there are so many other dishes you can make with the leftovers.
I also add vegetables to the grill, if I am grilling the main dish. Saves lots of time and clean up.
- 2-4 bone-in chicken breasts or 2-4 boneless breasts or/and 2-4 bone-in thighs
- Olive oil
Turn all burners to high and heat the grill with the lid down until very hot, about 15 minutes. Scrape the grate clean with a grill brush.
Dip a wad of paper towels in oil; holding the wad with tongs, wipe the cooking grate. Leave the primary burner on high and turn off the other burner(s).
Grilling bone-in breasts:
Cook the chicken on all sides over the hot part of the grill until lightly browned and the meat has faint grill marks, 4 to 6 minutes. Move the chicken to the cooler side of the grill, with the thicker side of the breast facing the hot side of the grill.
Cover with a large piece of aluminum foil, close the grill and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the breast registers 145 degrees, about 20 minutes longer.
Move the chicken, bone-side down, to the hot side of the grill and cook until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue to cook until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 – 160 degrees F, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil, for 5 minutes.
Grilling bone-in chicken thighs:
Cook the chicken on all sides over the hot part of grill until lightly browned and the meat has faint grill marks, 3 to 4 minutes. Move the chicken to the cooler side of the grill. Cover with a large piece of aluminum foil, close the grill and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 145 degrees, about 20 minutes longer.
Move the chicken, bone-side down, to the hot side of the grill and cook until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn chicken over and continue to cook until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 155 – 160 degrees F, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil, for 5 minutes.
Grilling boneless breasts:
Place chicken on the cooler side of the grill, smooth-side down, with the thicker side of the breasts facing the direct heat. Cover with a large piece of aluminum foil, close the grill and cook until the bottom of the chicken just begins to develop light grill marks about 6 to 8 minutes. Using tongs, turn the chicken and rotate it so that the thinner side faces the hot side of the grill. Cover with the foil and continue to cook until the chicken is opaque and firm to touch and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 140 degrees, 6 to 8 minutes longer.
Move the chicken to the hot side of the grill and cook, without the foil, until dark grill marks appear, 1 to 2 minutes. Using tongs, turn the chicken over and cook until dark grill marks appear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 155 – 160 degrees F, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let rest, tented with foil, 5 minutes.
With just a change of a sauce, you can create a totally different taste every time. Serve the grilled chicken topped with one of the sauces below.
I made this sauce last week and it was on my blog for Earth Day. (see recipe here)
Creamy Herb Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs that are in season
- 1/2 small shallot, minced
Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, tarragon and shallots to a small bowl and whisk until smooth and emulsified.
Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 1 2/3 cups ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons all natural hickory liquid smoke
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
In a large saucepan combine all the ingredients and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Let it cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Seasonal Fruit Sauce
I used raspberries because that is what is in season and I had them in my refrigerator. Come summer, peaches would be very good in this sauce. Don’t be afraid to try this sauce, it was delicious on the chicken.
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small garlic clove, grated
- 1 small hot pepper, finely chopped
- 2 cups fresh raspberries, or any fruit in season (peaches, berries, kiwi, pineapple, etc.)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the fruit is soft. Serve warm over grilled chicken or pork chops.
Stuffed Grilled Zucchini
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped celery
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped bell pepper
- 1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out the pulp, leaving 1/4 inch shells. Brush with 2 teaspoons oil; set aside. Chop pulp.
In a small skillet, heat the remaining teaspoon of oil and saute the zucchini pulp, celery, bell pepper, garlic and onion until the vegetables are soft.
Add bread crumbs; cook and stir.Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the mozzarella cheese, seasoning and salt.
Spoon the filling into the zucchini shells. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Place the zucchini on the cool side of the grill while the chicken is cooking on the hot side.
Grill, covered, over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until the zucchini are tender and the tops are crispy.
Like burgers and hot dogs or a rack of ribs, grilled chicken is a regular during the summer months. Whether skewered, flattened, brined, spiced or upended on a beer can, there are lots and lots of ways to cook it. However, just putting a breast or leg on the grill and serving it with a couple of sides can get pretty boring. Having a few recipes for how to make that grilled chicken look like a special dish are good to have in your file. When it is hot or you are busy, you don’t want to have to do a lot of preparation, either. You can even grill extra chicken on the weekend and use it up in a number of different recipes during the week – and it won’t even look like the same grilled chicken.
Panzanella Salad with Grilled Chicken
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- One quarter of an Italian loaf of bread, cut in 1’2 inch slices
- 2 medium red peppers, sliced
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 2 lb. plum tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves
Prepare outdoor gas or charcoal grill for covered, direct grilling on medium. Oil the grill grates.
In a large serving bowl, whisk together wine vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil until blended; set aside.
Place bread slices, sliced peppers and sliced onions on a baking pan, brush bread slices, red pepper and onion slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil to lightly coat both sides; sprinkle vegetables with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper.
Brush chicken breasts with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.
With tongs, place bread slices, red peppers, onion slices and chicken on the hot grill. Cover grill and cook bread about 3 minutes or until lightly toasted, turning over once. Cook peppers and onion about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and tender, turning over once. Cook chicken about 12 minutes or until chicken loses its pink color throughout, turning them over once. As the bread, vegetables and chicken finish cooking, transfer them to a cutting board. Cut bread slices, chicken, peppers, and onions into 1/2-inch pieces.
Add the diced tomatoes, basil, bread, peppers, onion and chicken to the bowl with the vinaigrette; toss to combine. Let rest about 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to blend and serve.
Chicken, Sausage and Pepper Skewers
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 2” pieces
- 2 bell peppers (red and green), cut into 1 1/2″-wide strips
- 1 1/2 lbs. fresh Italian sausage cut into 2” pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat an outdoor grill to medium and oil the grates.
On low heat in a small saucepan, heat oil and the chopped rosemary leaves. Once oil and rosemary start to sizzle, remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. This can be done in advance.
Whisk together 1/4 cup of the rosemary oil and the vinegar; add the chicken pieces and marinate for 30 minutes. Reserve balance of oil for grilling.
Remove chicken pieces from the marinade and lightly season with salt and pepper. Alternate the chicken, peppers and sausage on the skewers. Discard the marinade.
Reduce grill temperature to low and cook the skewers over low heat, turning frequently to avoid burning, about 5 minutes on each side. Brush with the remaining rosemary oil during cooking.
Pizza with Grilled Chicken, Kalamata Olives and Fresh Mozzarella
- 1 portion pizza dough
- 1/2 cup quick tomato basil sauce (recipe follows)
- 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives , thinly sliced
- 2 ounces leftover grilled chicken breast, cut in julienne strips
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Quick Tomato Sauce
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic minced
- 8 Roma (plum) tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons basil , chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Press pizza dough out in a pizza pan. Lightly spread some of the tomato sauce over the dough. Arrange mozzarella slices, olives and chicken on top.
Bake at 450°F for 15 – 20 minutes or until the dough is crispy.
Quick Tomato Basil Sauce
(Makes about 3 cups)
Heat a medium saucepan and the oil over medium-high heat and sauté onion with garlic until the onion is golden, 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Carefully ladle tomato mixture in a blender or use a hand blender and process until smooth. Season sauce with basil, salt, pepper and sugar.
Store any remaining sauce in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or freeze for about 1 month.
Pasta with Grilled Chicken and Spinach
- 1 lb. chicken breasts, skin removed
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 8 ounces uncooked linguine
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for grilling
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
- 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
- 4 cups fresh baby (small) spinach leaves
Prepare an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. Oil the grill grates.
Brush the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 8 minutes on each side or until done. Let stand 10 minutes and thinly slice.
Cook the pasta al dente. Drain well; keep warm.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan; swirl to coat. Add flour and garlic; cook until garlic is browned (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly.
Slowly, add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk; bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.
Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper and spinach; stir until spinach is barely wilted. Add pasta and chicken; toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Warm Chicken Salad
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 pound asparagus
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 8 cups salad greens
- 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered
Prepare an outdoor gas or charcoal grill for covered, direct grilling on medium. Oil the grill grates.
In a serving bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt and black pepper. Remove 2 tablespoons of the dressing and set aside.
Break off the woody ends of the asparagus but leave the rest of the stalk whole for grilling.
Brush the chicken and asparagus with the reserved 2 tablespoons of dressing.
Grill the chicken about 12 minutes and the asparagus for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the asparagus are tender.
Cut the chicken into ½ inch slices. cut the asparagus into thirds.
Add dill and honey to the remaining lemon dressing in the serving bowl..Add the tomatoes, sliced chicken and asparagus. Mix well.
Line each plate with 2 cups of salad greens. Equally divide the chicken mixture over the greens. Top with quartered hard-cooked eggs and serve.