When I wake up at five in the morning with a little bit of panic and think, “I’ve got a crowd of people coming for Labor Day. What am I going to serve?” I approach the menu by considering my entrées first. My go-to’s are grilled Premio sweet Italian sausage from Costco, hamburgers, and marinated chicken breasts. Next, I consider my sides, which I prepare depending on what is in season. Often, though, I delegate the “sides” to guests. The beauty of that approach is you get to try other people’s specialties and that is always a fun and tasty option. Desserts are my favorite food to cook and for a summer cookout, I like to make a hotel-size pan of bread pudding using whatever fruit is in season, and also everyone’s favorite cookie, Italian Ricotta and Lemon Cookies.
I was never a fan of grilled chicken breasts until I saw my good friend, Sheila Foley, a master at feeding huge crowds at her summer fests on the Sakonnet River in Tiverton, Rhode Island, pull out bags of pounded-flat marinated chicken breasts. The light bulb went off for me. Brilliant! A way to prepare chicken breasts so that when they are grilled they cook quickly and evenly throughout. I’ve been pounding chicken breasts ever since.
Whole chicken breasts
@JudysChickens Everyday Salad Dressing
Sprigs of thyme
Mise en Place:
Rinse chicken breasts and trim off fat.
Pat dry with paper towels.
Place each chicken breast in a thick bag and pound flat with the smooth side of a meat mallet.
Marinate pounded breasts in @JudysChickens Salad Dressing with sliced lemons and thyme. You could add a little white balsamic vinegar and Grey Poupon for even more flavor if desired.
Seal the bag and allow to marinate in the fridge for one or two days.
Grill for no more than ten minutes. If I’m feeding a large crowd, I usually cut each breast in half before serving.
Favorite Flavor-Enhancers: The Acids!
My mother always kept a bottle each of white and red balsamic vinegar in the fridge. She especially loved the white, as do I. Add a few shakes of white balsamic vinegar to the marinade for an extra flavor burst.
Other Foods That Are Good To Serve At A Cookout
Sliced Beet Salad
String Bean Salad
Amazingly Delicious Sautéed Carrots
Marlin’s Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Grandma’s Italian Fried Cauliflower
“Croatian Cheese” a Flavorful and Exotic Appetizer Made with Feta and Goat Cheese
The Classic Pimiento Cheese Sandwich
© 2016 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. No photos or text may be used without written consent.