Thursday, November 7, 2013

Return To Cooking, Chicken Marinades

I don't think I have cooked at all in three weeks.  Oh I have made a meal here or there but I am not sure grilled cheese and tomato soup count as real cooking.  Pretty sure slicing a hot dog into kraut and heating it doesn't either, but that is what you do when you are in the process of re-doing a small place at the lake.

As of mid-October we are the owners of a little house on a gorgeous lake lot.  The Hub is thrilled beyond belief to have a place to escape from civilization.  I am not as thrilled as he is.  For the past three weeks Son2 and I have painted and scraped and cleaned  and scrubbed and done minor repairs to the house.  The Hub has mostly come after work to tell us that things look good.  Rah.

So__rather than cooking I have been covered with paint and dirt and sawdust and living off of whatever food is brought to me in whatever paper bag whichever take-out place uses.  I think I ate the grilled chicken salad from Jack's for 4 consecutive days.

Now that the place is livable and furniture is in, I am no longer having to go there daily. I am returning to a  more normal life, which is wonderful since The Pig is having incredible sales in it's meat department.  $1.99 per pound for boneless skinless chicken breasts, means I buy at least 20 pounds of it.  The down side of buying that much means I also have to process 20 pounds of it. Tonight I grilled about 10 pounds and then vacuum sealed it for the freezer.  ( Thanks to my newest toy, the Food Saver)

We are trying to eat as many unprocessed foods as we can, so bottled marinades were out.  I looked at a couple of recipes and couldn't find anything that  I had the ingredients for  sounded good, so as usual I punted.

Italian-ish Marinade

1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons red wine
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl and pour into a food safe zip lock bag.  Add chicken breasts and let marinate for about 15-30 minutes (I put 10 whole chicken breasts in the bag of marinade)
Cook over a medium grill for 5 minutes, turn and cook for 3 more minutes, if freezing or until done if eating immediately.  I always allow for a little more cooking time when I plan to thaw and reheat. This purposely has no salt in it at all.  I have found when freezing the salt tends to draw the moisture out of the chicken.  I will add a bit when I reheat it.  If you are eating it immediately salt it while it is on the grill or add 1/2 teaspoon to the marinade bag.

Asian-ish Lime Chili Marinade

1/4 cup neutral oil ( I used grapeseed)
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
1/4 cup lime juice (fresh or bottled, I am not judging)
2 cloves  minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and pour into a zip lock bag.  Put the chicken in and seal.  Using your hand mash the bag to get the marinade over every piece.  Let it sit for about 20 minutes and follow the same steps as above for grilling.  Once again this has no salt by design, so salt it while on the grill if you are eating it right away.  Otherwise salt it while reheating.

I only tasted a small bit of each and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite at this point.  They are both very tasty, but very different flavors.  Because of the brown sugar, the Asian marinade is a little sweet, while the Italian is absolutely just savory.  I say try the both and decide for yourself.

Meanwhile I now have a lot of ready to go foods in the freezer.  When we go to the lake I can pull a few out to take with us.  It will make lake cooking a non-issue.

I still have a boatload of chicken to grill.  Tomorrow I am trying 2 different recipes.  Who knows, I might even go to the store and buy everything so there will be no punting!

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