How about having a casual dinner party this weekend!?
Just do it! Which friends will you invite to join you?
Let’s start planning.
I’m thinking Minted Strawberry Carpaccio as an appetizer, this super delicious Chipotle Chicken for the entrée, and for dessert, why not bake some quick and easy cookies that will knock your guests’ socks off?
Casual, easy, and fun! You can make a lot of this ahead of time. Check out my timeline below the recipe. (I’m also including the appetizer and dessert so you can plan away!)
Call some friends! Call some family! Get cooking! Have fun!
- 2 ears of fresh, yellow corn (about 2 cups)
- ¾ cup finely chopped, roasted red pepper (about 1 large pepper -- Here’s how to roast a pepper.)
- ⅓ cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped, fresh cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ tablespoon finely chopped chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1-1/2 teaspoons live oil (plus a bit extra for grilling)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- About ¼ to ½ of a medium-sized avocado, thinly sliced (Here's How to Cut an Avocado.)
- Wash and dry the corn. Then use a chef's knife to remove the kernels and add them to a medium-sized mixing bowl. (We are not cooking them!)
- Add the roasted pepper, onion, cilantro, cumin and lime juice. Season generously to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Blend the butter with the chipotles, cumin, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix until smooth. (You'll see lots of bits of the chipotles, which is perfect.)
- Trim any excess fat off the chicken and gently pat it dry with paper towels. Using a meat mallet, gently pound the thicker side of the chicken breast, so that it’s even with the rest. (This will help it cook evenly.) Set aside in the refrigerator until needed. (I like to place plastic wrap between the chicken and the meat mallet before pounding -- It makes for a smoother finish. And if you don't have a meat mallet, you can easily use the bottom of a small sauté pan.)
- Preheat your outdoor BBQ or stove-top grill and thinly coat the bottom of a baking sheet with olive oil. Place the chicken on the oiled baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Turn the chicken over to season the other side and to coat it with oil.
- Use cooking tongs to place the chicken on the grill. If you don't hear a sizzling sound, it's not hot enough. Wait until you hear the sizzle! Grill the chicken just until it's cooked through and nicely marked from the grill, 8 to 10 minutes, turning them halfway through the cooking process. The first side should be done with high heat, and once you flip them, turn the heat to medium-low.
- Immediately after removing the chicken from the grill, use a pastry brush or a spoon to spread an even layer of the chipotle butter over the top.
- Slice the chicken on a bias, add a few avocado slices, and spoon the relish over the top. Voilà!
The chipotle butter is also fabulous on fish! Or even on a toasted slice of country bread! Yum!
With summer upon us and Father's Day around the corner (Sunday, June 17th - don't forget!), you can get tons of fantastic grilling inspiration at Grilling is Happiness! And it is!
- Make the chipotle butter, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before grilling the chicken on Saturday.
- Make the Roasted Pepper Corn Relish, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until about an hour before serving on Saturday.
- Make the cookies! Once they’re cooled to room temperature, place them in an airtight container until it’s time to serve them on Saturday.
- In the morning, trim and pound the chicken. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap until you’re ready to grill.
- Make the strawberry appetizer. You can marinate it all day, or just for an hour — it’s up to you. If you you’re having more than 6 guests or so, and it’s easier for you, you can serve them this in a nice bowl, family style. Otherwise, for 4 to 6 guests, I’d make each plate beautiful — either 30 minutes before your guests are arriving, or as early in the day as you’d like, if there’s room to keep the prepared plates in the refrigerator.
- At some point during your the day, set the table and arrange the cookies on a serving platter or pretty plate.
- About 20 minutes before you’d like to serve the entrée, slice the avocado and grill the chicken, add the chipotle butter to it, and either arrange each plate, or arrange a beautiful serving platter — with the chicken, avocado and relish. (If this part feels rushed to you, slice the avocado during the day and drizzle it with lemon to help it keep its color. You can also grill the chicken a bit earlier, not cooking it quite all the way, covering it with foil, and then heating it in a 375 degree F oven for about 5 minutes before serving.)
Family style is great, saves time, and the food is every bit as delicious! So please don’t feel you have to plate the servings unless you feel like it!