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Summer finally arrived. It’s even warm in Chicago, so I know we must all be basking in the heat. (And by heat in Chicago, I mean at least 60 degrees. No humid, scorching days here yet. But I’m ok with that.)
No matter the weather, the grills are flaming and we’ve all resolved to eat a little lighter during the summer months. As we approach a festive Independence Day, try this quick and easy meal option straight from the farmers market to your grill grates that satisfies everyone at the table from carnivore to salad specialist.
I don’t eat a ton of salad. When I do jump on the veggie trail, I don’t care for most salad dressings. Aside from the taste, they’re deceptive. Sometimes, a mound of healthy vegetables becomes a sugary and calorie-filled swamp in the blink of an eye when salad meets dressing.
Plenty of salad dressing options can be great, don’t get me wrong. But to avoid this pitfall all together on occasion, I swap out salad dressing for a spicy marinade on the salad’s protein. When I add flavorful and juicy grilled chicken with summer vegetables like red and yellow peppers, squash, and cucumbers, the marinade and veggies provide enough moisture so the dressing-free salad has plenty of flavor and doesn’t taste dry (at least to me).
I’ve used various marinades, always on chicken in my case, but the world is your oyster so choose your own adventure. I typically opt for spicy flavors which I feel bring a little more zest to the dish. Today, I opted for the El Yucateco Hot Sauce. You can find it at Publix stores, if they have those in your area, though many other retailers carry it in the Hispanic foods section or hot sauce aisle as well.
I grabbed the Green Hot Sauce and Red Hot Sauce. M loves anything spicy but I didn’t know which he’d prefer, so I bought both. I did know, however, that he’d love the XXX Hot Sauce (Kutbilik) so I bought a bottle of that for him to add in addition. I don’t think I could handle that, so we’ll keep that in his arena.
From our farmers market haul over the weekend, I grabbed fresh lettuce, asparagus and zucchini to complement the grilled chicken and red pepper (which isn’t quite in season yet in our neck of the woods). I also picked up two quarts of strawberries and a box of cherries, because who can resist those straight from the bush?!
I kept the chicken recipe super simple: marinade the chicken in El Yucateco Green Hot Sauce for an hour or two and then grill to perfection. I used an entire 4 oz. bottle for two boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
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While you could certainly grill it and eat it the same night for dinner, you could also grill up the chicken and cut up the veggies on the weekend. Come tired Thursday night, sauté the veggies and add cold chicken atop the lettuce and you’ll have a healthy, balanced meal in about 15 minutes. Seriously! (We did both.)
As a final random observation, this would make a great festive, green meal for St Patrick’s day. I could pair it with St Peppermint Patty’s Day brownies and have a grand old meal. I’ll have to keep that in mind!
If you’re often on the lookout for new recipes and meal ideas for quick and easy weeknight dinners, sign up for weekly CMO MEMOS. Exclusive to subscribers, I send out my favorite resources I discovered during the week to all the Chief Mom Officers living in a set of shoes similar to me. I always include one meal you can add to your weekly menu. I know we’re always looking for more variety in our mealtime rotation!
As usual, we grilled up some extra chicken to have as leftovers. Preparing a double or triple batch of almost all our meals helps keep us sane during the busy weeks!