So I did what I have been strictly avoiding for a very long time. I cooked on live TV. The thought of preparing something delicious in two to three minutes while chatting with the host and remembering to look at the camera–with no chance of a do-over–was, well, fear inducing!
When I got a call last month to do several live segments for Fox 43’s morning news program, I decided that I should take the advice I would logically give my kids…or anyone else for that matter. Take a risk. Break out of your comfort zone. So I did. And it went well! (Funny side note: When I got home, my younger son gleefully ran up to me and gave me a big hug. He said, “Mom, you did great and you didn’t mess up! (Pause) I really thought you would mess up, but you didn’t!!”)
In order to give the viewers something that they might find appealing and could easily remember, I chose my favorite 3-ingredient marinade, which I have made countless times. I demonstrated how it can be used in a variety of ways for both easy weeknight dinners and casual summer entertaining. The utterly simple advance prep keeps you out of the kitchen yet, based on the taste, everyone will think you worked really hard.
- Up to 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or cuts of choice; see comments above)
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup soy sauce (low-sodium and/or gluten-free as needed)
- Optional: 1 tablespoon sesame oil (I use this when grilling salmon or tuna)
- Other options: asparagus, portobello mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, onions, scallions, bell peppers, or other veggies of choice for grilling *plus additional marinade*
- Mix together all of the marinade ingredients. For added ease, you may do this right in a resealable bag. (Place it in a bowl or a baking sheet with sides so it doesn't spill out.)
- Prior to grilling, allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for at least several hours and up to all day. Seafood and vegetables are best soaked for at least 20-30 minutes but not more than two hours. When grilling vegetables, too, marinate in a separate bag. Flipping the bag from time to time will redistribute the liquid throughout the items being marinated.
- When ready to eat, allow the chicken to sit at room temperature as the grill is preheating. Drain and discard the marinade, and then grill the chicken over medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Total cooking time will vary based on size of chicken breast. Remove to a platter and allow the chicken to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- When grilling vegetables, cook for just long enough for grill marks to appear and the veggies to become crisp-tender. I like to slice zucchini lengthwise in thick slices instead of rounds, which are more likely to fall through the grates. Thicker slices will develop a nice sear without turning mushy. Thicker slices of onion or a hard vegetable like carrots will require a few extra minutes on the grill. Scallions are delicious and cook quite quickly.
- I have tried this recipe using lime juice instead of the lemon juice. Lemon juice is my preference, although lime could certainly be substituted if that is what you have on hand.
The most important rule when making this meal: plan for leftovers!
What to do with the leftovers:
- My mother-in-law loves to make her basic chicken salad recipe using the marinated and grilled chicken for a taste that’s anything but basic.
- Leftover grilled vegetables are delicious in a Grilled Pesto Veggiewich.
- Use the chicken as a salad topper, transforming a simple green salad into a hearty dinner salad. Add ingredients that complement the Asian theme, like chopped red pepper, avocado, cooked shelled edamame, sliced cucumber and/or radishes, etc.
- Make tacos, shredding the chicken for the base and topping with coleslaw mix (from a bag is fine) tossed with your favorite Asian dressing or peanut sauce. Fish tacos are delightful when using the marinade for your favorite seafood.
- Create a chopped salad with the leftover assortment of marinated grilled vegetables and the chicken. Chop into bite-size pieces and toss in some baby spinach–or chopped romaine or cabbage for added crispness. A sprinkle of roasted sunflower seeds or peanuts adds extra crunch.
- Add the chopped leftovers to cooked pasta, adding a drizzle of olive oil and a spritz of sesame oil and/or soy sauce. A cilantro-lime, Thai peanut, or coconut curry sauce complement the ingredients nicely, too. Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature. A few handfuls of your favorite greens are a welcome addition when serving cold.
- Eat the leftovers as is, either reheated or at room temperature, with or without a side of rice.
If you have other ideas to add to the list, I’d love to hear.
For my second TV spot, I made a recipe I make often for my family but have never shared on this blog. It uses two leftover chicken breasts and a bag of broccoli slaw with a super speedy 4-ingredient Thai peanut sauce. If anyone is interested, leave a comment below. I’d be happy to share that light-yet-satisfying meal soon. The weatherman really liked it. : )
The cooking begins with Fox 43’s Amy Lutz.
Following is the shockingly easy salad recipe I shared as a bonus. It uses leftover chicken, a bag of broccoli slaw, and a super quick 4-ingredient Thai peanut sauce. Even my teenage boys love this.
And one more great way to enjoy leftovers… Grilled Pesto Veggiewich