Memorial Day in my Texas family always meant Dad manned the barbeque or pit while the rest of us put together the side dishes and appetizers. One of the greatest holidays all year, Memorial Day meant cooking out, great food, sparklers, laughter and family with LOTS of friends. Memorial Day was important not only because it was so festive and signaled the kick-off to summer, but also because Dad served in WWII as a Marine on a light cruiser in the Pacific Campaign. It was our chance to give tribute to his brethren and all the men and women who fought to keep our country free. It was also an opportunity to express our inner Texan. Yee Hawww! And you know, we’d never miss an opportunity like that!
Today, we still look forward to celebrating our nation’s service men and women. Sometimes we depend on a tried and true Hot Dog, Hamburger, and Texas Hot Link grill and other times we go a bit more refined like with this high-brow Grilled Lemon Rosemary Chicken. I swear! It tastes like you dropped big bucks on the ingredients but including your backyard herbs a few pantry items, you should be able to pull this entire meal off for under $30 including appetizers and dessert.
Happy Memorial Day! Go make a few memories with your family and friends and raise a beer to our hard working and hard fought military heroes!
Feel free to check out a couple of refreshing Buttermilk Ice Cream recipes on the Fluffy Chix Cook blog at http://fluffychixcook.blogspot.com.
God Bless the USA,
Fluffy Chix Cook
Caprese Appetizer Bites
Prep Time 10 Minutes
Cooking Time 0 Minutes
16 Grape Tomatoes
16 Basil Leaves
16 Cubes Fresh Whole Milk Mozzarella
16 Wooden or Bamboo Mini Skewers or Toothpicks
2 Tbsp. House Vinaigrette (See recipe with Chopped Salad and House Vinaigrette)
Wash and dry tomatoes and basil leaves.
Place basil in a salad spinner or carefully dry leaves with a paper towel to keep leaves from turning brown when water sits on the leaves.
Cut fresh, Whole Milk Mozzarella into 1/2-inch cubes.
Make mini skewers by piercing the edge of a basil leave, then stacking a grape tomato and a cube of cheese. Pierce the second end of the basil leave to make a â€œCâ€ shape around the tomato and cheese stack.
Skewers can be made ahead and stored in an air tight container up to 4 hours before serving. Make sure all elements of the appetizer are dry! Brown basil is yukkyâ€¦
Just prior to serving, arrange skewers on a serving plate. Drizzle with House Vinaigrette. (See recipe with Chopped Salad and House Vinaigrette).
These make a light and refreshing appetizer for the Grilled Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Grape Tomatoes and Garlicky Green Beans and Asparagus. Allow 4 per person if this is the only appetizer being served. If you are serving other apps, then cut the per person quantity to 2-3 per person.)
Grilled Rosemary Lemon Chicken
Serves – 4
Serving Size – ¼ Chicken
Prep Time 25 Minutes
Cooking Time 1 Hour 15 Minutes
1 3-5lb. Chicken, Fryer
4 Lemons, Zested and Sliced
1 Lemon, Juiced
2 Tbsp. Parsley, dried
1 Tbsp. Granulated Garlic
1 Tbsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
6 sprigs Rosemary, fresh
10 sprigs Thyme, fresh
6 sprigs Oregano or Marjoram, fresh
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 recipe Lemon Garlic Basting Sauce(recipe to follow)
1 Herb Grill Brush (recipe to follow)
Garnish Roasted Grape Tomatoes (optional)
Up to 6 Hours Ahead
Wash and dry chicken parts. Fluffy Chix Cooked their chicken as individual pieces, eight total: 2 wings, 2 breasts, 2 legs and 2 thighs.
(You may cook the chicken spatchcocked which means the chicken is split down the spine and pressed open so it lays flat on the grill. You may also split the chicken into halves or quarters. Seal the neck, giblets and back in an airtight container and place in freezer to make stock at a later date.)
Sprinkle chicken pieces on both sides with granulated garlic, Kosher salt, black pepper and dried parsley flakes.
(Be generous. It’s almost impossible to over- season the meat at this point, since so much of the seasoning will come off during cooking.)
Zest lemons directly onto chicken pieces. Zest both sides!
(By zesting directly over the meat, the zest will not clump and will evenly distribute over the chicken.)
Slice the zested lemons into even slices about 1/8â€ thick.
Squeeze the 5th lemon over the chicken pieces and tuck the squeezed halves in between the chicken parts.
(Oh what the heck, go ahead and zest this lemon over the chicken first. No use wastin’ good zest!)
Drizzle olive oil over the chicken both sides, too!
Using the back of your chef knife, give the herbs a few brisk â€œwhacksâ€ with back of the knife.
(Don’t use the cutting side! Your goal is to bruise the leaves of the herbs so the oils and flavors can be released during marinating.)
Spread the leaves throughout the chicken pieces, both sides as well.
Place slices of lemon liberally over all the chicken parts.
Cover chicken and store in the ice box until 1 hour prior to grilling.
Remove chicken 1 hour before grilling, uncover, allow chicken to come close to room temperature.
1 Hour and 35 Minutes Before Serving
Heat one side of the grill to medium high with the grill lid down in order to build up the heat.
(5 Minutes should be plenty of time to bring the grill up to temperature.)
Place chicken over the direct heat side of the grill.
Grill chicken for the first 10-15 minutes, over medium high direct heat.
(This is a hands-on time. You will want to have a water bottle ready to spray any grill flare ups. There will be grill flare-ups from the fat in the chicken skin and also from the oil. If left to burn, it will give your chicken an off-flavor. Spray at the fire, trying to avoid the chicken as much as possible.)
Alternate cooking the chicken with the grill lid up and the lid down during this first 15 minutes 2 minutes lid up, 1-2 minutes lid down.
(Let the flare-ups be your guide when the fire is too high and hot and when the grill lid needs to be raised. Your purpose is to sear the meat and get a bit of color on the chicken. It will still be very raw after this initial grill time.)
Turn the chicken only once during this time.
(Now, this is important don’t poke or prod or otherwise smash or play with this chicken! Every time you poke or prod, you’ll lose valuable moisture from the bird. Your sole mission during this time is to put out any flare-ups and to turn the chicken at the 5 to 7-1/2 minute mark!)
After 10-15 minutes, remove the chicken pieces and place on the cold or indirect side of the grill.
(There should not be any fire directly underneath the chicken pieces at this point and for the remaining cooking time.)
Cover with the lemon slices you used during marinating. Add any of the herbs from the marinade, too.
Cook on indirect heat with the lid down for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175°.
(About half way through the cooking time, I like to stack the thighs on top of the breast. The thighs baste the breasts and it helps keep the breast meat juicy. An easy way to check for doneness is to pierce the chicken (only once each) in the thickest part of the meat on the thigh and breast. If the juices run clear, it’s done. )
During the indirect cooking, baste the chicken every 15 minutes with the lemon garlic butter.
(Recipe for the Lemon Garlic Basting Sauce follows.)
If desired, you may finish the meat back on direct heat for about 2 minutes per side, grill lid down.
(This will further develop the color without murderizing the juiciness of the meat! It also helps crisp the skin.)
When done, remove chicken pieces from the grill and tent with a piece of aluminum foil. Allow the chicken to rest at least 10-15 minutes, while setting out the other elements of your meal.
(This will allow time for the juices to redistribute in the chicken and not run out and get lost on the bottom of the platter. The chicken stays moist and juicy!)
Serve with Roasted Thyme Grape Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic and Garlicky Green Beans and Asparagus.
A Blue Cheese Chopped Salad with House Vinaigrette makes a fresh accompaniment for this gourmet Memorial Day grill out! Everyone will think you spent a fortune on the food and had a 4-star chef in to cook for you. The reality is, if you have the herbs growing in your backyard, your cost for the chicken portion of the meal is well under $8-10! Happy Memorial Day.
Lemon Garlic Basting Sauce
(This basting grill oil yields enough to baste 1 chicken with enough left over to coat the blanched green beans and asparagus.)
4 Tbsp. Butter, unsalted
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
8 cloves Garlic, whole
1 Lemon, Zested and Juiced
2 pinches Kosher Salt
4 sprigs Rosemary, fresh
6 sprigs Thyme, fresh
Butcher’s Twine or Uncoated String
Using Butcher’s Twine or uncoated string, tie sprigs of rosemary and thyme together to form an herb brush. It doesn’t matter how many sprigs of each. Use enough to get good coverage with the basting liquid.
Peel the garlic. Zest and juice the lemon.
Place all ingredients into a small sauce pan and bring to a slow simmer. Don’t boil the sauce, you don’t want the basting sauce to brown.
Place the herb brush into the basting sauce and allow it to flavor the Lemon Garlic Basting Sauce. Cook until garlic cloves soften and become tender.
Remover garlic cloves and reserve for later.
(You will also reserve the herb basting brush after grilling the chicken. Use both of these, along with the remaining basting sauce, to toss with the green beans and asparagus.)
While basting chicken with this sauce, allow sauce to sit over a warm burner with the herb brush submerged in the simmering sauce.
(This helps sterilize any possible contamination from basting raw chicken.)
Roasted Grape Tomatoes
Serves – 4
Serving Size ½ c Raw Measure
Prep Time 5 Minutes
Cooking Time 45 Minutes 1 Hour
1 pint Grape Tomatoes
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4 sprigs Thyme, fresh
½ tsp. Kosher Salt
¼ tsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground
Can Be Prepared Up to 1 Day Ahead
Preheat oven to 350°.
Wash and dry tomatoes.
Leave tomatoes whole and toss with olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper and fresh thyme leaves. You may either keep the thyme leaves on the stems or you may run your hand down the length of the stem and remove the leaves.
Cook until tomatoes are browned and soft, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Remove from heat and serve with Grilled Rosemary Lemon Chicken.
The tomatoes can be roasted up to a day ahead and stored in an air tight container in the fridge.
These tomatoes are fantastic as an appetizer or with a main dish. Fluffy Chix Cook the Roasted Thyme Tomatoes and toss them with many different veggies. They work well with controlled carb pasta and potato substitutes and give great flavor for the price and carb count!
Garlicky Green Beans and Asparagus
Serves – 4
Serving Size 3-4oz Raw Measure each Vegetable
Prep Time 5 Minutes
Cooking Time 10 Minutes
1 lb Green Beans, fresh
1 bunch Asparagus, fresh
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
8 cloves Garlic (Reserved from Lemon Garlic Basting Sauce recipe)
1 Herb Basting Brush (Reserved from Lemon Garlic Basting Sauce recipe)
2 Tbsp. Lemon Garlic Basting Sauce (see recipe above)
1 Ice Water Bath
Up to 24 Hours Prior to Dinner
Fill large sautÃ© pan with water and add Kosher salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Prepare Ice Water Bath. Use large stainless or glass bowl and fill with ice water. Reserve to shock green beans and asparagus in order to stop the cooking process.
Wash green beans and asparagus.
Cut stem ends off of green beans.
When water comes to the boil, reduce heat and let water gently simmer. Blanch green beans for 7-8 minutes in the salted simmering water. Setting a timer helps avoid over-cooking and mushy green beans.
Remove green beans from boiling water and shock in an ice water bath. Green beans should be al dente.
(The ice water bath stops the cooking process and keeps the beans crisp. It helps hold the bright green color, too!)
Remove green beans as soon as they have cooled off and place on a clean kitchen towel to drain.
While green beans are cooking, trim asparagus. You can simply cut the bottom 2â€ off of the spears in one motion or you may also bend each spear and allow it to break naturally along the line where the woody part of the stem stops and the tender part of the shoot begins. The asparagus will vary in length if using the bend and snap method.
Bring blanching water back to a boil after removing green beans. Reduce heat and gently simmer.
Place asparagus in simmering water and set a time for 3 minutes. No more. No less.
Remove asparagus at 3 minutes and shock in ice water bath. Place cooled asparagus on a clean kitchen towel and allow to dry.
As soon as all veggies are dry, they may either be stored in an air tight container until the final time of meal service or you can simply let them hang out on the towel until dinner.
The veggies can be made up to 24 hours in advance to this point.
5 Minutes Prior to Dinner
Heat large sautÃ© pan over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of reserved Lemon Garlic Basting Sauce.
Heat oil and add herb basting brush used while grilling the Grilled Rosemary Lemon Chicken dish. Using a spatula, sear the herbs and turn a few times in the pan.
(You are trying to further sterilize the herb brush and also trying to flavor the basting sauce a bit more.)
Add garlic cloves used to flavor the Lemon Garlic Basting Sauce. Brown lightly.
Toss the green beans in the flavored oil. Heat thoroughly and remove beans to a serving platter.
Add another portion of Lemon Garlic Basting Sauce and reheat pan with garlic cloves. Add asparagus and allow to heat through.
Serve green beans, asparagus and toasted garlic on platter with the Grilled Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Roasted Grape Tomatoes.
If desired, you may drizzle chicken and veggie platter with olive oil and serve warm or room temperature. Blue Cheese Chopped Salad makes a great side dish to this impressive Memorial Day feast!
Chopped Salad with House Vinaigrette Dressing
House Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
Serves Many, many (About 14 Servings)
Serving Size 2 Tablespoons
Prep Time Ten Minutes
Cooking Time None, it’s a dressing!
2 cloves Garlic, pressed
1 Rounded Tbsp Country Style Dijon (you can sub regular Dijon)
4 Dashes Tabasco Sauce
4 Dashes Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
Pinch Kosher or Sea Salt
3 Pinches Black Pepper
3/4c Bragg’s Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (regular ACV works too)
3/4c Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use a good one)
3 Tbsp Filtered Water
Peel and press garlic into glass jar. Add remaining ingredients. Seal glass jar and shake to combine. Shake well before each use.
Use dressing to flavor salads, sandwiches, wraps and as a base for marinades!
Dressing will keep up to 2 weeks in the ice box.
Change the flavor of the dressing up by switching out the acids and oils. Add herbs for an extra fresh bite. Limitless recipe!
Dress Chopped Salad with 2 tablespoons of dressing per person. (Chopped Salad recipe follows)
Serving Size 3 Cups Mixed Salad
Prep Time Ten Minutes
Cooking Time None, it’s a dressing!
1 sm. box Spring Lettuce Mix
1 sm. box Baby Spinach
1 Cucumber, peeled and chopped
½ sm. Red Onion, chopped
4 lg. Radishes, chopped
½ Red Bell Pepper, stem & seed, chopped
3 Baby Carrots, chopped
4 oz. Blue Cheese, crumbled
2 oz Pecans, toasted (optional)
Wash and dry veggies.
Peel and chop cucumbers.
Chop remaining veggies about the same size, about 1/2â€ size.
Toss well and reserve in the ice box until serving time. Make this up to 2 hours ahead.
Just before serving, add blue cheese crumbles and toasted pecans (if using) and toss salad with about 8-10 tablespoons of House Vinaigrette (recipe shown above).
Serve with Grilled Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Grape Tomatoes and Garlicky Green Beans and Asparagus. This makes an All Star Memorial Day Meal for less than $20 bucks for the entire meal. Score!