Sometimes, when I have no ideas for dinner, I will go to the grocery store or farmer’s market and wander around looking for inspiration. Mango Chicken Salsa is one of those inspired dinners. I used a pre-made mango marinade that is pretty good. Good enough that I marinated some pork chops in it last night. The Mango Salsa below is similar but slightly different from the Mango Salsa recipe found in Shrimp Soft Tacos with Mango Salsa.
As you see in the picture above right, the salsa ingredients are very few. What is there makes a large batch, but there are plenty of ways to use what is leftover. I sautéed some of it and broke a couple of eggs into the skillet and had an omelet.
I had about 3 pounds of chicken breast (any chicken parts will be fine, you will just need to adjust the time on the grill). Put the chicken into a resealable plastic bag and add about half (8 ounces) of the marinade. Seal, shake and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Take it out when you start-up your grill to relax before putting on the heat. Grill over a hot fire (see Method Cooking for charcoal temps), at least 5 minutes each side. Since the marinade is sweet, it will carmelize as it grills. If it starts to smell charred, however, you’ve had it over the coals too long.
For the Mango Salsa: 4 medium sweet peppers, 1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow, 1 orange, all diced; 1 large mango, diced; 1/2 red onion, diced; 1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed; the juice of 2 limes. In a large bowl, put diced peppers, mango and onion. Add the garlic and mix thoroughly. Juice the limes directly over the salsa and mix again. My bowl has a lid, so I also gave it a few really good shakes. If you prepare the salsa the morning before serving or even the day before, the peppers, onion and mango will soften up a bit and the flavors will meld a bit more than if you wait to prepare just before serving with the chicken. I love super fresh, so I made the salsa while the chicken was marinating.
Fried or grilled potatoes and steamed broccoli and/or carrots will round out this meal. Sometime soon I need to post my method for potatoes on the grill. I just looked through my blog and see that I have yet to do that!
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
Grilled chicken is great on a salad. Grilled chicken is great period. I believe it is the best way to cook chicken. As long as it is done correctly, you end up with moist, flavorful and tender chicken that lends itself well to just about anything you want to put it in or eat it with. Although I put this chicken recipe on a salad, it will be just as good with rice or on a sandwich with a honey mustard mayo.
I had mixed greens with iceberg lettuce for the salad. I don’t normally buy iceberg lettuce since it has very little nutritional value. Generally, it is the dark, leafy greens (including spinach) that I eat. There is a bigger nutritional bang in the darker greens.
As far as making up the salad, I always have a variety of options. No one in our household like the same things on his or her salad, so a salad bar is set up and each can pick whatever to put on their own salad. Tomatoes, nuts or sunflower seeds, Craisins, different cheeses (I like feta and goat cheese) are some of the items on our salad bar. I grilled up this chicken when tomatoes were ripening, so we had homegrown tomatoes. The yellow grape tomatoes went very well with the raspberry balsamic chicken. Fresh raspberries would be a nice salad addition as well. Honey mustard, raspberry vinaigrette and balsamic vinaigrette dressings are excellent choices to finish off the salad.
The chicken will marinate for a few hours or overnight to fully absorb the flavors. I had a 2 pound chicken breast that I left whole. For the marinade you will need: 1/2 cup of oil, 1/4 white (or dark) balsamic raspberry vinegar (or you can make your own. 1 pint raspberries will yield about 1/2 cup of juice. To juice the berries, press through a sieve and discard the pulp and seeds. Add the juice to 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar. If that is not a strong enough berry flavor for you, add more juice. This uses fresh berries, so I recommend making this right before you are going to use it), 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and 2 medium cloves of garlic, pressed. Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor to emulsify. Emulsification blends the oil with the other ingredients in order to keep the oil from separating. This is definitely a time when you want the oil and vinegar to stay blended. You will know the ingredients are emulsified when the mixture is thick and you can no longer see the individual ingredients. In a plastic bag, add the marinade to the chicken and seal. Store in the refrigerator at least a couple of hours before grilling.
To grill, prepare a fire for indirect grilling. While the coals heat up, take the chicken out of the fridge to warm-up in anticipation of the hot fire. I’ve mentioned this before, but it doesn’t hurt saying again-the meat is just like us when it gets cold. It tenses up and needs to relax prior to being placed over direct hot heat. When the coals are ready, place the chicken directly over the coals, searing each side for about 3 minutes. Move the chicken to the opposite side and place the lid on the grill. In about 20 minutes, the chicken will be ready.
In these photos, you can see how moist the chicken remained. No dry, rubber chicken here!
I chose a honey Dijon mustard dressing to top my salad. It was very good!
Enjoy your grilled chicken! Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
The last time we had chicken fajitas (unfortunately, not cooked on the grill), we had enough leftovers to do something else with the ingredients. This recipe is one thing you can do with leftovers from the Sizzlin’ Chicken Fajitas ( http://wp.me/p1ExcU-3 ).
You’ll need about 2-3 cups of shredded chicken and about the same amount of sauteed onions and peppers. Additional ingredients:
6 8″-10″ flour tortillas
2 16 ounce cans of refried beans
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 cups of salsa
4 cups of shredded cheese (I like the mexican blend of Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Queso Quesadilla and Asadero)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine well the refried beans, sour cream and 2 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese. In a greased 9×13 baking dish, lay 2 tortillas side by side on the bottom. Spread 1/3 of the refried bean mixture over the tortillas. Sprinkle 1/3 of the chicken and peppers over the mixture. Finally, spread 1 cup of salsa over all. Repeat layers 2 more times. You will have 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese left. Set this aside for later. Once all layers have been assembled, cover the lasagna with foil. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the lasagna is bubbling. Take out, remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over all. Bake, uncovered for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
Delicious! That is how I describe this chicken. A moist, tender, melts in your mouth, sweet and salty all at once, taste bud happy piece of meat.
You will marinate the chicken overnight or 6 to 8 hours before grilling. The longer meat marinates, the juicier it will remain through the grilling process. The recipe makes enough to marinate about 2 pounds of chicken.
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup each: cooking sherry, soy sauce, vegetable oil (I used safflower)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix very well. Place chicken in a resealable plastic storage bag and pour marinade over. Seal tightly, removing as much air as possible. Turn the bag until all of the chicken is coated. Refrigerate until about 1/2 hour before grilling, turning once to be sure all parts of the chicken spend time in the marinade.
To grill: Prepare coals for indirect cooking (see http://wp.me/p1ExcU-1B). Make a small pile of charcoal near main fire, close enough for the main fire to heat the coals without lighting them. These will be added to main fire before putting the lid on the grill. When coals are ready, spread and put the cooking grate on the grill. Drain the chicken, discarding the marinade (if you would like to save some of the marinade for basting, you will have to bring it to boil and boil for 2 or 3 minutes before using. Marinades may contain bacteria that must be removed before using as a baste. You should follow this rule as a safety precaution, no matter what you are cooking). Place chicken directly over the high heat coals to sear, turning after 5 minutes to sear the other side. The second side should take less than 5 minutes.
When all visible pink is gone, move to chicken to opposite side of the cooking grate, with the thicker section of the chicken closest to the fire.
Place reserved coals over main fire (those would be the mostly black coals in the picture above) and put the lid on the grill. The vent cover will be directly over the chicken. This allows the heat to spread out over the chicken before venting. If the vent cover is directly over the coals, the heat will escape. The chicken should be ready in about 25 or 30 minutes with the lid on the entire cooking time. I served the chicken with foil potatoes and Fresh Express Pear Gorgonzola salad. Delicious!
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
I am a big fan of fajitas. Grilled veggies and meat encased in a tortilla and smothered in guacamole and sour cream, topped with fresh, cool salsa and some sharp cheddar jack cheese is a fantastic all-in-one meal. Prepare a fajita bar with many possibilities so everyone gets to put together their own combination of meats, veggies and toppings for a unique taste-bud pleasing experience!
On the morning of the day I was grilling the fajitas, I started with 1 large whole chicken breast (it was about a pound and a half to 2 pounds). I sliced the chicken into small strips, a little bit bigger than a bite. Place the strips into a resealable plastic storage bag. In a bowl, combine about 1/4 tsp of GARLIC POWDER, 1 tbsp of ONION POWDER, 2 tsp to 1 tbsp CUMIN, 1/2 tsp of CHILI POWDER, GROUND CAYENNE PEPPER to taste, 1 tsp PAPRIKA and 2 tsp CORIANDER. Pour over chicken and toss until the chicken is covered in the rub. Let sit in fridge for 6-8 hours. Take out no more than 1/2 hour before putting on the grill.
Slice a variety of peppers and a large onion for the fajitas.
To grill: Remember, I use only charcoal and wood, so if you have a gas grill, you may need to adjust. Prepare coals for cooking over direct heat. I have a cast iron skillet and grill pan to use on the grill. If you do not, an aluminum grill pan or disposable aluminum pans would be a good substitute. For fajitas, high heat is ideal to sear the meat and quickly cook the veggies, so once the coals have reached that state (hold your hand about 8-10 inches above coals and count. 2-4 seconds is high heat) spread the coals and replace the cooking grate. Place the pans over the coals and allow to heat up. Add 1-2 tbsp oil (I use extra-virgin olive oil or canola). Once they are hot, add the chicken, tossing every minute or so to prevent burning. The veggies won’t take as long, and I cooked mine in 2 batches, tossing frequently as well. The chicken will take less than 10 minutes to cook through. Remove from grill and keep warm until serving. If you have room, warm-up your tortillas, wrapped in foil, on the grill. As you can see, I don’t, so the microwave suffices.
I also grilled some ears of corn to go along with the fajitas. Peel the husks back and remove as much of the silks as you can. Leaving several layers of the husks, soak in water for 20 minutes before putting on the grill. I cooked these off to the side as much as I could this time and rotated the corn often. They will need about 20 minutes to cook until tender. Other times, I close the lid and have the corn over indirect heat, turning every 5 minutes or so.
The Guacamole and Salsa are very simple. For my Guacamole, I simply mash up one ripe avocado and combine it with the juice of one lime and one minced garlic clove (I have a garlic press that does the job for me and I use it almost every time I cook). Mix well and refrigerate. The Salsa is just as easy. I use all of the colorful bell peppers-green, yellow, red and orange-as well as a sweet onion and roma tomatoes (they are a fleshier, firmer tomato). Dice all and combine with a tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro, a minced garlic clove and some lime juice. The last time I made this, I diced half of each pepper and a small onion, one large roma tomato and a small garlic clove with the juice of one lime. It made about 2 cups of salsa. I like this type of chunky salsa better than the more saucy kind. Although, technically, it isn’t really a salsa because it’s not saucy! This chunky pepper combination is great later on combined with the guacamole and eaten with multi-grain or blue corn tortilla chips.
Next time, I will tell you more about cooking with charcoal. Until then, Grill, Baby, Grill!