Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken

As is evident by my recent Pinterest activity, I've become a little obsessed with accumulating recipe and decor inspiration for upcoming summer grill outs and backyard dinner parties.  I'm honestly still pretty novice when it comes to grilling, but I've declared that this summer I will {attempt to} master that glorious outdoor cooking machine.  I've been longing to host some small, intimate, not-too-stressful dinner parties and summer is the perfect time for such gatherings.  There is something so casual and relaxed about summer grill outs.  No one comes to a barbecue and expects the food to be ready and waiting, or presented in perfectly timed courses.  You grab a cold drink and talk, play a game of corn hole, or help the chef flip the burgers/steaks/chicken.  That relaxed, lazy atmosphere takes a whole lot of stress off the host and allows everyone to have a more enjoyable time.  I can't wait to host my fair share of casual backyard dinner parties this spring and summer.

After a long winter, spring has finally arrived in the Bluegrass and I could not be more excited!  I spent a couple of hours last Saturday bringing our grill out of winter hibernation with a deep cleaning.  Thrilled with the warm weather and a clean grill, I was eager to put at least a few grilled entrees on the menu for the week.

Chicken breasts have always been one of the most intimidating meats to grill.  Everyone knows how easy it is to leave the breasts on just a little too long and end up with a bland, rubbery meal.  In learning to master the grill, I decided to start with perfecting the juicy, flavorful grilled chicken breast.  This Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken, my first chicken attempt of the season, was a success!

I started with two chicken breasts which I cut into four thin cutlets and marinated for several hours before grilling.  The cooked chicken was moist and full of lemony flavor.  I'll definitely make these again and will be keeping the recipe on hand for company.  I served our chicken along with a Spring Vegetable Tortellini Salad, which was good, but didn't thrill the hubby or myself (so it won't be a repeat recipe, unfortunately).  Something about the lemony sauce on the cheese tortellini wasn't my favorite.  I think I'd like this combination better on plain pasta.

Tell me, what are you most excited about grilling this season?  What are you favorite, go-to, crowd-pleasing summer recipes?  I'd love to know!

Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken
via Mel's Kitchen Cafe
serves 2-4

Juice of 1 lemon, approximately 3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic, about 2 medium cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in half lengthwise into 4 cutlets)

In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano.  Place chicken in a ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken; toss to coat.  Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight, or at least 5-6 hours.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat for 15 minutes.  Grill chicken 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through and juices run clear.  Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes, then serve.

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