Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Grilled Chicken Dinner

We all know that this has been a phenomenally lame season of cooking (or not) for me.  On Sunday, when I was meal planning for the week, I asked the family if there was anything they wanted for dinner.  The husband requested corn on the cob, so I built this meal around it.  I think I have been redeemed... this is a meal for a family of four with a bit of leftovers depending on the appetites involved.  Clockwise, from the top:

CORN: You actually don't have to cook it at all.  I like my corn Very fresh and almost crunchy.  These cobs spent eight minutes on the grill rolling around for even color.  I don't soak it or slather it in anything; just shuck and grill. (6 ears for four people)  Serve with butter and salt.

CHICKEN: this is a dry rub.  (Yes, I blackened it a little).  Cut up your chicken into eight pieces.  I like to leave the wing attached to the breast and cut the breast in half.  Rub with the following mixture:

1 3-4 lb. chicken, cut into eight pieces
2 T. Light brown sugar
1 t. chili powder
1 t. paprika
1 t. dry mustard
1 t. onion powder
dash cayenne pepper
1 t. salt (kosher or sea)
1 t. pepper

After 15 minutes, heat the grill on high.  After the grill has preheated for 15 minutes, brush the grates and use long tongs to hold a wadded up paper towel that has been dipped in vegetable oil to coat the grates.  (the chicken sits in the rub for a total of 30 minutes pre-grilling). Reduce heat to low and place chicken pieces skin side down on grill with larger pieces in the center.  Close the lid.  After 10-15 minutes, check it.  Turn and close the lid.  Temp it after another 10 minutes.  White pieces should be 160, dark pieces 175.  When finished, remove to platter and tent with foil while you finish preparing the meal.  The chicken is really flavorful.  You might be thinking about adding some bbq sauce at the end.  DON'T.  It's awesome as-is.

CILANTRO/LIME SLAW: this is pretty basic, but is my summer favorite.  You can keep all your mayonnaise-y based fatty slaws.  I like mine to be fresh and tangy.

1 bag coleslaw mix (the kind with the red cabbage and carrot in it)  If you are an over-achiever, shred your own cabbage
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced

Mix the above in a bowl, then mix dressing in a separate bowl.  Do not toss completed salad until inside 30 minutes from the meal.

juice of 1/2 lime
2/3 c. light sour cream
1/4 c. lowfat buttermilk
salt and pepper

That's it.  You may need to adjust the dressing a bit by adding or reducing buttermilk to make it the proper consistency.  Be careful not to over-salt this.

BAKED BEANS: I like to make mine with beer and bacon.

3 slices bacon, chopped~1 c. chopped onion (this was 1/2 lg red onion - use what you have)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. chili powder (if you have chipotle, so much the better, but cut it by half)
3 14.5 oz cans beans, rinsed and drained (I like pinto (low sodium) and black, but do whatever you want)
1 bottle beer (I used a pale ale.  Amber is also nice, lager isn't really appropriate here.)
3/4 c. ketchup or chili sauce (whatever you have)
1/3 c. brown sugar (light is better here)
2 T. Dijon
1 T. Worcestershire
pepper to taste at the end (this likely won't need any salt)

Saute the bacon until crisp.  About halfway there add the onion.  When the onion is golden, add the chili powder and garlic and cook for one minute until fragrant.  Add everything else.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer at least 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently, until beans are thick and infused with flavor.  If you need to thicken the sauce a little, add a little tomato paste.  If it's too thick, add a little water.

This meal was a big hit with my family.  It's doable on a weeknight as it's not that much labor and lots of things can be happening at the same time.  Happy Summer!

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