Home Made

Ras El Hanout and Lemon Garlic-Herb Grilled Chicken

 

 

Just when you think life could not get any busier, it does.  It already feels like you are in a whirring blender of way too much, then suddenly a few more things get added in, and someone pushes the button to high.  You are stressed and time crunched, and that is just exactly when you need a home cooked meal the most.  Grilled chicken is a fast, easy solution for tonight’s dinner and several more meals to come.  Here are two quick, flavorful recipes you can choose from that will have you eating something really good in less time and effort than it takes to get take-out.

Have a little time?  You can throw the easy marinade together for the Lemon Garlic-Herb Chicken and let it sit a bit in the fridge.  Have hardly any time?  Rub the Ras El Hanout spice blend on, add the garlic, thyme and olive oil and hit the grill.  No time at all?  You can toss that chicken on with some salt and pepper, or just leave it be.  Au Naturel grilled chicken is excellent – no added work necessary.  Depending on how much time you have, you can make some of each and see for yourself.   No matter what you do, make sure to fill that grill as much as possible.  You are already cooking, so make it worth your while and cook extra.  Store in a zip top bag in your fridge and you have fast food.  Leftovers can be rewarmed on a foil covered baking sheet in the toaster oven, added to salad or soup or sandwiches, or just eaten cold.  On the off chance that you have more than you need, transfer that bag to the freezer, ready to eat for another time.

Use a baking sheet covered with foil when working with raw chicken  This is easy to clean-up, and germ free.  If not, quickly rinse the tray and put it straight into the dishwasher.  More and more stores are now carrying diverse spice blends that are worth keeping on hand because they give you great flavor you can add quickly at a moment’s notice.  You can find Ras El Hanout spice blend at Trader Joe’s, Fred Meyer, or World Market.

While the chicken is grilling, you can make a quick yogurt sauce to serve with the Ras El Hanout chicken.  Whole milk yogurt, a little lemon juice, some grated garlic and salt are stirred together to make a delicious, tangy topping.  Leftover sauce keeps well refrigerated for several days and goes well with other meat and vegetables.

Hang in there.  You may not be able to do anything about all the other chaos in your life, but you can make dinner.

Ras El Hanout Spiced Chicken

Pat chicken dry with paper towels.  Dredge both sides of chicken in Ras El Hanout seasoning until lightly coated, but not overly thick.  Place on a baking sheet and scatter thyme and garlic over chicken.  Pour olive oil over and let sit while grill heats.

Yogurt Garlic Sauce

Stir together grated garlic, salt, yogurt and lemon juice.

Grilled Lemon Garlic-Herb Chicken  

1/4 – 1/3 cup olive oil
1 organic lemon
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 heaping tablespoon capers, optional 
crushed red pepper flakes
fresh ground black pepper
sea salt 
2 – 3 pounds chicken cutlets, or skinless pieces 

 

Measure oil into a liquid measuring cup.  Rinse lemon well and zest entire surface of lemon directly into the measuring cup.  (A microplane grater works well for this.)  You do not need to use organic lemon, but I like to, because you are using the peel.  Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice into olive oil-zest mixture.  Don’t worry about removing the seeds, they will get discarded with the marinade at the end.

If you have time, you can chop fresh garlic.  If not, 1 tablespoon of jarred garlic, or 1 teaspoon of garlic salt or powder works fine.  Add herbs, dried, or fresh.  I like to go heavy-handed, so I use about 2 teaspoons (total) of dried herbs or about 1/4 cup of freshly chopped.  Oregano and Italian seasoning are my favorites, but feel free to use whatever your favorite savory herb combination happens to be.  If you have some fresh herbs growing, start using and enjoying them.  Thyme, rosemary, some basil?

If you want to add capers, chop them roughly and add them now.  Add several shakes of red pepper flakes and fresh ground black pepper.  Add sea salt, if desired, but omit this if you used garlic salt.  Stir well to combine.  Put chicken into ziplock bag(s), and pour marinade over, sealing bag well.  Turn bag over several times, to coat all sides of chicken.  Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.  More is better, but less will still be okay.  Remove from refrigerator at least 15 minutes before you are ready to grill.

 

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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