Before summer is truly over, before I start thinking about cooking more complex meals again, before I even consider turning on the oven again, I wanted to tell you that this summer was the year I finally figured out how to make chicken - grilled chicken that is - a little better.
It was also the summer I hit a few things on my bucket list, but I won’t speak of that just yet.
I cannot let the summer end until you know how to make grilled chicken a little more interesting, too.
Oh, I know, I’ve made chicken a few hundred times in my life, but nothing has bored me quite as much as a grilled piece of chicken. So much so, I almost have to force myself to eat it and the first two bites usually make me do that awkward chew that’s intentional and oh so dry. I never finish a whole piece no matter how much I season or pound it into submission in order to make it tender and delicious. It’s always been disappointing to me.
But one day, I decided to think outside the box and do something a little different. I call it my Italian chicken. When I first proposed this to Christian, who has now become my food consultant simply because he’s seasoned himself and will not let me slide with his opinion just because he’s hungry, he kept saying as he watched me assemble this meal, I hope you do more to it than you’re doing because it looks tasteless. No, he tells me the truth no matter if he’s hungry or not and he’s not afraid I’ll stop cooking for him, mainly because I’ve taught him a thing or two and he’ll just cook for himself if my food doesn’t dazzle him. In the end, after 85 people at a catering event went on and on about this dish, Christian said this was a fabulous dish.
It’s full of olives, pecorino cheese, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and one secret ingredient I’m only going to tell you. If you’re interested in giving your grilled chicken a makeover, try this recipe. It’s a different kind of delicious you will want to make over and over.
4 chicken breasts pounded to 1 inch thick
1 can black olives
1 jar kalamata olives
1 quart cherry tomatoes
1 small jar of capers
1 small jar of green olives
1 bottle of home made Italian dressing
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup pecorino cheese grated
Season the chicken with garlic and onion powder and Grill it. Slice the chicken in 1 inch strips against the muscle grain. Place in a baking dish and layer with the olives, tomatoes, capers and cheeses. Pour over the dressing and bake until the cheese is melted.
Janet McCormick is the author of “10-Minute Meals” and owner of Let’s Eat in Huntington. She lives in Lawrence County, Ohio. She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.