This summer’s dinners are going to often be salads, especially now that we are growing our own lettuce and other veggies. This salad is prepared with a raclette grill and is based on a grilled salad we were introduced to over a Fourth of July celebration. The original salad featured veggies charred in a sauce pan. It’s a little difficult to clean a charred pan and I don’t like the burnt flavor.
Instead, I put our raclette grill into action. The grill has a granite top as well as an aluminum nonstick grill top. For this, I pulled out the granite. Here are the ingredients and instructions.
1 red pepper, sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 bundle of asparagus, washed and trimmed*
a couple of slices of cheese (raclette cheese is an option)
1 package of chicken tenders
fresh lettuce (we culled some from our garden)
Directions: To “trim” the asparagus, hold a spear’s end in between a thumb and index finder, and with the opposite hand, push down on the stem toward the flowery end with your other index finger. The spear will naturally snap at its break point. Discard the ends. Start the raclette grill. I put the granite top on medium-high heat. Once hot, spray with olive oil spray and place asparagus, onion slices and bell pepper slices on the grill top.
Turn your attention to the chicken. I bought a package of already cut chicken tenders to expedite dinner. I placed the chicken in a mixing bowl with a healthy sprinkle of Velata garden dill rub and a drizzle of olive oil. I hand tossed the chicken to evenly spread the oil and spice rub. As the vegetables finished grilling, I removed them and put them on a small platter. Once all the veggies were cleared off the grill top, I put the chicken pieces on. As the chicken browned on one side, I put the cheese in the raclette pans. Now, for the lettuce. We planted some from seeds and now the garden bed is full of lettuce heads. We better eat this lettuce like it’s going out of style. I washed and dried it before putting it in a large salad bowl.
Then, add the grilled veggies. Once the chicken is cooked, add it to the salad bowl atop the veggies. Take the raclette pans and pour the melted cheese over the chicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss the salad with your favorite dressing. I used olive oil and cider vinegar. Serve in big pasta bowls. Enjoy!
Ever notice those individually wrapped, overpriced chicken breasts that are already trimmed and come in a three-pack? Ever notice how expensive they are compared to the big tray of chicken breast with rib meat? When the big package of chicken breast goes on sale for $1.99/lb., then I buy at least one tray. Think about it: chicken freezes beautifully.
You can trim and season the meat before freezing. Next time you see those big packages of chicken, get one or two, and buy some large freezer ziplock bags. When you get home, break out a large plastic cutting board. Leave the meat in the fridge as you plan the next steps for preparation. I like to season the chicken pieces before they freeze. I think tossing the chicken in flour and spices seals the meat really well to protect it from freezer burn. Plus, once defrosted, it is ready to cook — you can put it right on an electric grill or into the oven or skillet. Once out on the cutting board, I like to prepare the chicken breasts in a variety of shapes: mostly intact, fajita strips and cutlets. For the cutlets, I place wax paper over the chicken breast and pound them out with the flat side of a meat mallet. You can separate the chicken into batches for meals. For instance, you can place the cutlets in a freezer bag with a combination of flour and Italian breadcrumbs. The fajita strips can go in a bag with flour and fajita seasoning (or just the seasoning). Another bag could contain flour and paprika. This time, I seasoned the meat with garden dill seasoning, flour and paprika. And, into the freezer it went. All ready to go. A few nights later, I lacked the time and inclination to cook. I remembered the frozen chicken and as soon as I got home, I put the freezer bag in a bowl of warm water in the sink. For the sides, I pulled out a couple of zucchini, a red pepper and a bunch of asparagus.
Plus, I cooked up brown rice on the stovetop (Minute Rice is really easy and there are no additives like the material in the microwave bags).
Meanwhile, as the chicken defrosted, I cut up my veggies and turned on our raclette grill. I misted the grill top with olive oil spray and got cooking. The floured seasoning on the chicken browns well and adds a comforting flavor. It also seals in moistness. Before long, we enjoyed a healthy dinner of grilled chicken, veggies and rice.
And, I barely lifted a finger because I already took care of all that chicken preparation with the previously frozen batches. Next time you see chicken on sale, think of all the possible future meals that you can take care of in one fell swoop.