Can I just keep it real for a moment and tell you that when it came to making this chicken recipe, I was the big jerk last night.  First of all, grilling is not my forte.  I can handle your basic burger, flank steak, and even fish … but when it comes to chicken, I’m usually an epic failure, as was the case last night.  Second of all, though I fully recognize that I’m a terrible chicken griller, that didn’t stop me from chatting on the phone, updating my Facebook status and correcting math homework when all the while, dinner was morphing into a carncinogenic nightmare out on the patio.
You’re looking at the one piece of chicken that wasn’t a petrified disaster.  And I’m going to blog about it because despite how the chicken looked, after we scraped off the charred parts, it was really, really good.  And the peppers?  Wow, delish.  I’d make the entire meal again and pay better attention next time.

You heard it here first:  I will master chicken on the grill this summer, I promise you.

These recipes come from the “Dinner Tonight” column in the May issue of Cooking Light.  While I do agree that this meal is entirely doable on a weeknight, there is just no flippin’ way this meal is getting pulled together in the 40 minutes they promised, especially if you have to stop prepping to drive tennis pick up.  Then track practice pick up.  And chase down a dog who’s decided to run off with one of your favorite flip-flops.  For 40 minutes to work, minions would be required.  If you don’t have minions willing to assist, you should count on an hour from start to finish.  : )

Don’t be like me: mind your grill, mind the flame, mind your chicken.  This will be my mantra next time I attempt this menu!

JERK CHICKEN & STUFFED MINI BELL PEPPERS with GRILLED GARLIC BREAD
SERVES:  4
SOURCE:  Cooking Light Magazine, May 2012; p. 62.  Recipes by Mary Drennan.

1/3 c. sliced scallions, divided
1/3 c. chopped shallots, divided
1 T. brown sugar
3 T. fresh lime juice, divided
2 T. olive oil
1/4 t. ground allspice
4 cloves garlic
1 large serrano chile, stemmed (seeded and deveined if you’d like less heat)
8 bone in chicken thighs, skinned (I used Sendik’s Boneless Thighs; Smart Chicken Brand are on sale)

1/3 c. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 T. light sour cream (Organic Valley Sour Cream is on sale in two sizes)
8 – 10 mini bell peppers

Preheat grill to medium high heat.  After preheating, reduce one side to medium low.

Combine 1/4 cup scallions, 1/4 cup shallots, sugar, 2 tablespoons juice, oil, allspice, garlic, and serrano chile in a mini food processor; process until smooth.  Combine half of scallion mixture and chicken in a medium bowl; toss well.  Season with kosher salt.

Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray over medium high heat.  Cover and grill 5 minutes on each side, watching carefully and spraying down flareups with a spray bottle of water **see note **.  Move chicken over to low heat.  Cover and grill 5 minutes on each side or until done.  Brush chicken with remaining scallion mixture.

Combine remaining scallions, remaining shallots, remaining lime juice, cream cheese, cilantro, and sour cream.  Halve bell peppers lengthwise; discard seeds.  Divide cheese mixture evenly among pepper halves.  Place peppers on grill rack and grill 7 minutes or until peppers are lightly charred and cheese is melted.

FOR THE GRILLED GARLIC BREAD:  Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 minced garlic cloves in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on HIGH for 10 seconds.  Brush both sides of 4 slices of good quality bread (Ecce Panis Country White or Sendik’s Artisan Panini Breads are both on sale and either would be great choices) with oil mixture.  Place bread on grill rack; grill 1 minute on each side.

**NOTE** This is where I went wrong, clearly.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous, News | May 15th, 2012