Easy Grilled Chicken + Guest Blog

I started my cooking adventures in college.  I think it’s because I discovered it was really easy to make friends (and meet boys!) if you cooked for people!  Well one of the friends I made was Tisa Leal (now Guillory).   We were in the same choir and became instant friends.  We discovered that we both loved to cook and entertain.  She is still one of my very best friends.  She is one of the most amazing women I know.  She balances being a wife, hostess and the mother of 3 perfect kids like she was born to do it!  She spends a good portion of her day in the kitchen making meals for her family.  I wanted to share this recipe that she sent me with you guys.  She took the time to email several of her friends and this is what she had to say…  Enjoy!

“To all of the girlfriends that I can think of that may benefit from this:

My sweet sister-in-law (Erika Guillory) came to visit for a few weeks this summer and we exchanged a couple of recipes (yeah, for me-they were great :o). However, this one is my favorite;let me tell you why.1. it’s delicious 2. it’s easy 3. it’s unique 4. it’s beautiful 5. it’s versatile 6. you can do it ahead and bake it while doing other things instead of having to be over the stove (sometimes I put it in the oven  before I leave for Wednesday night church, and set it on that fancy “delayed start/stop” and it is done when we get home). 7.my entire family loves it.  Those are just a few plusses that come to mind, although I’m sure there are more….I love it (did you get that?!?). Thank you Erika :O)

Ok here’s how it goes….boneless, skinless chicken breasts- pound them with one of those great metal pounder thingys (many good whacks on each side- you want to get them the same thickness, as close to between 1/4 & 1/2″ as possible -(the ones that i cooked tonight were monsters.  I beat them up pretty good; they even started to come apart a little, but that’s ok, it felt good to get that out :o). Also I put them in 2 plastic grocery bags and take them outside- it can get pretty loud (I usually prep when the kids are down) and it can be messy if the chicken starts to slip out-hence the double bag.

Season the chicken on both sides: here’s where your creativity and/or limited pantry comes in.  I have used steak seasoning Ii have this great seasoning called “simple organic-chophouse seasoning”-you grind it out of the jar-yum). There’s season salt, nature’s season (morton brand),  salt/pepper, salt/pepper/garlic/onion powder, salt/pepper/garlic/ cumin/paprika (you get the drift)- just make sure it’s seasoned

Now comes the fun part……… it’s rolled- you can put whatever you want inside.  When Erika was here, she did fresh spinach, provolone cheese, and roasted red peppers- so good….. put the ingredients in a line toward one side (I put a lot) and roll it over- you don’t have to toothpick it or anything , as long as it can roll once, and bake that way, it will stay put; it does not have to be perfect, it’s very forgiving (another plus)-just get it rolled over the best you can.  She (Erika) drizzles a tiny bit of balsamic dressing over the top, about 2 T (or just a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar). Cover w/ foil, and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.–because there is so much moisture in the ingredients, it comes out moist and delicious every time! (insert yummy noises)—we let them rest for 5 minutes or so out of the oven , and then sliced them on a diagonal….gorgeous!

you can use your imagination with what to put in the middle depending on what you have or what your family likes. here are some of my ideas:

kind of greek- same as above (fresh spinach, roasted red pepper, any kind of cheese (today i used white cheddar and monterey jack ’cause that’s what i had-not really greek, but my kids pick the feta cheese out- see there are a couple of things they “don’t care for” :o) I add kalamata olives,  and thinly sliced onions *this one is my favorite*

French- brie or swiss cheese, mushrooms, and lightly blanched asparagus (trim tips, bring salted water to boil, drop asparagus in for 1 minute, then place in ice bath- remove, pat dry roll it up). I would season this one with salt, pepper and granulated garlic

Mexican (viva la Mexico!)- zucchini (cut into matchsticks-we Mexicans don’t eat a lot of veggies), tomato, onion,  jalapeno (optional), Monterey jack cheese, or asadero cheese- you could put salsa over this one (or just a little olive oil if you wanted to keep the spice down)- season chicken with salt/pepper/garlic/cumin/chili powder/paprika

Italian- spinach/shredded parm, mozzarella /tomato. salt/pepper/oregano/basil (be careful w/the herbs. they are powerful and can really ruin a dish, so…TAKE IT EASY!!- or just use salt & pepper :o)

The sky is the limit (well, i do have a problem with a few ingredients (ie:papaya) but whatever floats your boat. Other possible ingredients: chopped artichoke hearts, any kind of cheese, – or use the above ingredients in different combinations .

You can use the dressing that we pour over to vary it up as well- italian dressing, honey mustard, champagne vinaigrette, french dressing, cheese garlic (good seasons brand- the kind that you make yourself), probably not ranch- it would curdle i think…..not appetizing. Those are just a few that i make or have on hand. ENJOY!”

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