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Jun 30, 2006 11:01 PM

how to make grilled chicken breasts interesting?

I'm having an impromptu, very casual BBQ this weekend, and I have a ton of chicken breasts I could use - is there anything I can do to make this interesting? A marinade or ...? I've just started cooking meat (esp. on the grill), and am kind of clueless in this regard...please help!

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  1. Make a marinade of whole-grain mustard, olive oil and thyme (preferably fresh). Marinate the breasts 2-3 hours. Grill (and be careful about overcooking, which will make the meat unpalatably dry). Slice on the diagonal and serve. If you plate with a side of salad, drizzle a bit of the vinaigrette on the chicken breasts.

    1. We're having chicken satays tomorrow night. If you google on satays you'll find a lot of good recipes for satay sauces and marinades. The sauce is what makes it special IMO, that and not overcooking the chicken.

      2 Replies
      1. re: cheryl_h

        Just what I was going to suggest - I had chicken satay last night for dinner. The peanut sauce is always a pleasant surprise for guests (just make sure no one has a peanut allergy).

        1. re: cheryl_h

          Yes, satay is the best! I made some last week for my parents, and even my mother, who will not touch anything out of the ordinary, gobbled it up.

          My satay marinade:

          1 cup lite coconut milk
          2 or 3 cloves chopped garlic
          1 tbsp red curry paste
          1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
          1 to 2 tbsp fish sauce
          1/4 cup chopped cilantro

          I served it up with a trio of dips - one peanut sauce, one sweet chilli sauce, and one mix of soy sauce/fish sauce/sambal oelek/sugar.

        2. Marinade in salt, olive oil, a little pepper, rosemary (or any other herb or mixture of herbs, dry or fresh). The salt helps to keep the chicken juicy, and the oil will also help keep the chicken from sticking on the grill. Simple and delicious.
          Usually, I half the breasts horizontally so that they are thinner pieces, cook more quickly and avoid drying out. Also usually I marinade over night.

          1. a quick note from the food safety police - stating the obvious perhaps, but you did say you're new to cooking meat - if you want to use some of the marinade as a sauce for the cooked chicken, set some aside before you put the chicken in to marinate. you don't want the cooked chicken to come in contact with marinade that has raw chicken juices in it. for the same reason you're supposed to be careful to put the cooked chicken on a clean plate to bring it from the grill to the table, not one that may have come in contact with the raw chicken. end of unsolicited advice-giving.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cookie monster

              Yes,but if you cook the marinade on the side - it's fine, right?

              1. re: cookie monster

                Thanks for the timely reminder about this! I made a recipe years back where the instructions were to reserve the marinade and cook it down to serve as a sauce. Even though I had to boil the marinade to get it to the desired consistency, the husband and I got major league sick and I will never ever do that again. Any time I marinate chicken, the marinade gets tossed.

              2. You can make an easy marinade with some soy sauce, a little sugar, ginger and black or white pepper.

                If you have a sweeter tooth, you can add a little hoisin OR more sugar and a little oyster sauce.

                3 Replies
                1. re: S_K

                  This would be my basic idea as well, but I'd add some lime juice for some acid, cilantro for an herbal note, smashed garlic and some ground coriander. I think it also needs a sweet balance, so I'd add honey, or hoisin as suggested, but be careful with the amount, as the sugar will cause overbrowning and potential burning if overused.

                  1. re: Aaron

                    You are right. I forgot to mention the garlic in the marinade. My family always puts in the garlic too.

                  2. re: S_K

                    Good suggestion. It can also be nice to replace the sugar with honey. And since cctc is fairly new to grilling, I'll add that it's important to be extra careful when grilling anything that's been marinated in or basted with a sweet sauce. Sugar caramelizes and burns very quickly, so to avoid serving a blackened mess, keep a close eye on the proceedings and the fire only moderately hot.