Again today, we chose to make our dinner from the Giada’s Feel Good Food cookbook. For years, I have been the sort of chef who likes to experiment with her food, and I create most of my recipes on the fly. My family thinks it’s always a success, but I’m starting to see that there is something special about using a cookbook. Giada is using ingredient combinations and techniques that I simply would never have thought of. It’s like getting great advice from an old friend. What a blast!
Dinner, lemon cumin chicken with mint and spinach pesto from page 220, called for extra virgin olive oil, an ingredient I rarely keep around. When I went shopping for it, to my pleasant surprise, I found an organic bottle at Aldi for only $3.99! Of course I grabbed it, and it was lovely in the meal.
One of the first things that I did this morning was marinate my chicken. Giada tells you in the book that you should marinate for at least four hours, and I agree wholeheartedly. If you can marinate overnight, then even better! Just get that chicken soaked all up in her delicious marinade, which I’ll have to tell you now is some of the best I’ve ever eaten. For years, I’ve had a very specific method for marinading my meat, one that I will surely be sticking by for years to come. I begin my placing the thawed chicken in a Ziploc bag inside of a large mixing bowl. This way, you don’t get messy chicken juice all over the kitchen counters. I am very careful to always use tongs when handling my raw meat so that I only have to wash my hands once or twice during the entire process. Like Giada, I get my hands manicured weekly, something my mother has always taught me to do. In between the manicures, I like them to stay as full and moisturized as possible. I’m sure you know that constant hand washing is no friend to that kind of goal.
Then, I add all of the ingredients for the marinade, and zip that puppy right up. Be sure if you use this method to get most of the air out of the bag while you’re closing it tight. I find it best to use the Ziploc brand bags if you don’t want any leakage. Once I’m sure those yummy juices aren’t going anywhere, I place the bag on the counter and rub the marinade all over the meat, as shown below. It’s a little like a shake n’ bake without all the nasty gluten or preservatives!
This evening, once the chicken was all marinated, we got to grilling. One thing I’m absolutely sure to do every time I am searching for a new home in a new city is look out the windows. I cannot live somewhere if it doesn’t have a view. Well, lucky for me, not only did I get a great town-home with a lovely little forest of trees in this new city, but I got great neighbors who love to be outside just as much as I do. The view from my grill makes me want to go out there every day in the summer!
The marinated chicken grilled so perfectly out there today, too. When I was young, my daddy was the one who taught me how to own the barbecue, and while I’ll never be quite like him, I must say I’ve become quite the griller over the years. One thing to always remember when grilling is that you should never force it. If the chicken won’t budge, it’s not ready to flip. Life on the grill takes time and patience, and if you have it, then you can get great grilled chicken every time! I love the look of grill marks on a charred breast.
We paired the chicken and pesto with a butter lettuce salad which added just the right pop of green and red to the plate. To the salad, I added organic grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado. I learned recently that it is very important to purchase organic if you’re eating fruits or vegetables with a very thin skin (like tomatoes or apples). Pesticides can get through the skin and into the meat of the food, which is not something anyone needs!
Now, for that pesto! You need Giada’s newest cookbook, if only for that pesto recipe! You wouldn’t even know it has spinach with the tangy lemon and sweet mint to balance it out. I’m sure even your kids would love this light summer pesto! I can’t wait to make it again. What really tied it all together, though, was the cosmo that I made to go with the delectable dinner. Look out for my own personal recipe for that one later on.