Grilled chicken is the perfect summer food. Whether you are having a cook-out for a group or just dinner for the family, my Marinated Grilled Chicken with Blackberry Salad is sure to please! This salad has all the summer flavors of fresh fruit and juicy marinated grilled chicken. Read my steps on mastering your grill.
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On a beautiful sunny day there is nothing I love more than firing up my grill! I've experimented with everything from chicken, fish, shrimp, burgers, steak and vegetables. I even grilled crab cakes on my grill during a hurricane party when we lost power! Grilled chicken definitely needs a great marinade not only for flavor but to keep it moist. My latest creation, marinated grilled chicken with blackberry salad is both juicy and flavorful.
My most creative recipes come from trying to use the ingredients that I have on hand and not making a special trip to the store. It's sort of like my own version of Iron Chief. The idea for this salad recipe came from looking through the fridge and pantry trying to come up with an idea for dinner. I had a bottle of apple juice, chicken and blackberries, and so my recipe was born!
How do I prepare chicken for marinade?
I usually use boneless skinless chicken breast. There is no need to wash the chicken. I know this is something people did in the past, however it can actually spread bacteria to your sink. I always start with trimming the fatty pieces off my chicken breast. If the pieces of chicken are large I will make chicken cutlets by simply cutting the chicken breast in half horizontally. To do this you need a cutting board and a sharp knife. After you run the knife through the chicken breast, opening it up like a book, you will need a meat mallet to pound the chicken thin. I keep the piece of chicken on the cutting board and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap (to keep any bits of chicken from splattering). If you do not have a mallet you could use a sturdy saucer and carefully pound the chicken thin. The thicker end of the breast is what needs the most attention. The goal is to make the pieces even for better cooking results.
Next mix your marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add chicken to marinate, turning it with a few times to really coat the chicken. Keep in refrigerator until time to grill.
How to reduce blackberries for vinaigrette
While the chicken is marinating, I make the salad dressing. First, I start by placing a ½ cup of blackberries in a small sauce pan with a quarter cup of water. The berries will start to breakdown from the heat and you can help them out a bit by smashing them with the back of spoon while you stir. Once the berries are more of a liquid state, you will want to push them through a fine mesh sieve. This will remove the seeds from your vinaigrette and give it a nice smooth consistency. Once the seeds are removed let the blackberry syrup cool down before you add the remaining ingredients honey, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Set this aside while you finish making the rest of the salad.
How do you use a propane grill?
I decided years ago to teach myself how to grill with a little help from my dad. He walked me through the steps of how to turn on my propane grill. Since then I have mastered a few techniques. If this is something you aren't familiar with read through my tips. Grilling is a great way to get delicious and healthy meals on your table quick!
Starting your propane grill.
I have a Weber Spirit Grill and love how easy it is to use. I always turn my tank on so that the propane tank is open. Then, with the grill lid open I turn the three burners to the on position and push the ignite button. If this is your first time turning on a grill be careful not to have your face too close to the flame, you wouldn't want to singe your eyebrows! Now that your flame is on, make sure you turn the burner to high heat and close the lid. This will help burn off any food particles from the last time you grilled. Let the grill heat up while you prepare the salad.
How to Clean your grill grates
After 15 minutes check your grill. It should be very hot now. I use a cleaning stone to scrub the grates really well once the grill is heated. I prefer using the cleaning stone rather than a bristle brush because in the past I had bristles break off of the brush and stick to my food. These stones are scratch resistant so they are safe for the porcelain grill grates. After the grill is thoroughly scrubbed, I wet a balled up paper towel with water and using tongs, wipe the grates clean.
How to grill chicken breast
Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Lay each piece of chicken horizontally down across grill. The cooking time will vary depending on how thick your chicken is. If you cut your chicken into cutlets then it will only take 2-3 minutes per side, while a large breast may take 7-8 minutes per side. Always test your chicken with a meat thermometer for an internal temperature of 165 degrees or until it is no longer pink in the center.
how to assemble a grilled chicken salad
Remove the chicken from the grill and let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Resting allows the juices in the chicken to redistribute back into the meat, otherwise when you slice the meat the juices will run out giving you dry chicken. This is an important step that I neglected in the past thinking I needed to get the meal on the table before it had a chance to get cold. Now, I simply cover it with aluminum foil for 5 minutes while I finish dinner preparations. Divide the salad greens into the four bowls along with the sliced apples, grapes, crumbled goat cheese, and slivered almonds. Slice the marinated grilled chicken and arrange on top of the salad and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Now you have a restaurant quality salad that will impress your family!
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Marinated Grilled Chicken with Blackberry Salad
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast (about 4 ounces each)
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup blackberries
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons balsalmic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 2 bag spring mix
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1 sliced apple
- 1 cup grapes
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- ⅓ cup toasted almonds
- Prepare chicken for marinade by trimming fat and cutting into cutlets if necessary.
- In small pan over medium heat, cook blackberries on stove top with ¼ cup water. After 3-4 minutes blackberries will start releasing their juices and breaking down. Use a spatula to help the process by pressing them against side of pan. When completely reduced pour into a sieve and press to remove seeds. After reduction cools add other ingredients. Set aside while preparing chicken.
- Heat grill and cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes per side for cutlets or 7-8 minutes for whole breast.
- Assembly the salad. Divide spring mix evenly between four bowls. Arrange blackberries, sliced apples, grapes, crumbled goat cheese and slivered almonds. Slice the chicken and arrange on top of salad and drizzle dressing over the top.