I love bread that has been grilled, especially Italian breads such as ciabatta. Grilling gives the bread a toasty, smoky flavor that is truly unique. Whether it is served as an accompaniment to a main dish or used as a means to house your favorite sandwich ingredients, grilled bread makes any meal better. So, when I combine grilled bread with my other favorite, grilled chicken, how can I go wrong? Well, this led me to the simple but tasty sandwich recipe I found on RecipeTips.com called “Grilled Chicken Ciabatta Sandwiches.” This recipe features plenty of grilled chicken breast meat, mozzarella cheese, fresh spinach and tomato, and a mayonnaise flavored with lemon zest and fresh basil all sandwiched between a split loaf of ciabatta and then grilled to perfection. Doesn’t that sound good? Well, it is, so please give it a try.

Grilled Chicken Ciabatta Sandwich

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I was in the mood to have a chicken dish that was a bit different than I usually make, but I still wanted one that was grilled and was loaded with flavor. While browsing through some of my favorite food sites for a suitable candidate, I came upon “Tandoori Chicken,” a recipe submitted by “bsar” on the GroupRecipes.com site. It was excellent!

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 pounds chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/4 lemon, juiced
  • 1-1/2 cups and 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 5/8 onion, finely chopped
  • 1-1/4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons yellow food coloring
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons red food coloring
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro (for garnish)
  • 1-1/4 lemon, cut into wedges (for garnish)

Directions:

  • Remove the skin from the chicken pieces, and cut slits into the pieces lengthwise.
  • Place the chicken in a shallow dish, and sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and lemon juice. Set aside 20 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Mix until smooth. Stir in the yellow and red food coloring.
  • Spread the yogurt mixture over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours (the longer the better).
  • Preheat an outdoor grill to medium high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  • Cook the chicken on the grill until no longer pink and juices run clear.
  • Garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges.

The author of this recipe, bsar, says that it’s an authentic recipe for Tandoori chicken, which is good to know, but it didn’t make much difference to me, since all I was concerned with was whether it would be good. Well, I certainly wasn’t disappointed. This recipe was wonderful. As the author recommended, I served it with long grain Basmati rice, a cucumber salad, and some grilled vegetables for a terrific summertime meal.

Okay, so it’s summer, and I hate using the oven during the summer, but I found a chicken casserole recipe that I wanted to try, so I went for it. I found this one on AllRecipes.com, submitted by “DONNAPF1.” It’s called “Delicious Chicken Casserole,” and I would have to say that it lives up to its name.

Ingredients:

  • 4 bone-in chicken breast halves, remove the skin
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 ounces sour cream
  • 2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup (10 ½-ounce cans)
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 cups crushed buttery round crackers (I used Ritz® crackers)
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC).
  • In a large cooking pot, bring to a boil the chicken breasts, celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and enough water to cover. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 35 minutes.
  • Drain the liquid, reserving 1 cup.
  • Allow the chicken to cool; then remove the meat from the bones, and cut it into bite-size pieces.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, soup, the reserved cooking liquid, celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and the salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked rice and the cooked chicken and mix well.
  • Spoon the mixture into a 9- x 13-inch glass baking dish.
  • In a resealable bag, shake together the crushed crackers and the melted butter; then sprinkle the crackers over the top of the casserole.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Thanks, DONNAPF1, for this terrific casserole!

Chicken Marsala is one of those unique Italian recipes that I think is difficult to duplicate using substitutions for the key flavoring ingredient in the dish: Marsala wine. Some people use grape juice or cranberry juice, especially if they have an aversion to using alcohol in their cooking, but I think there’s nothing like the sweet flavor of Marsala wine to make this recipe distinctive. In my opinion, not using it in this dish would be like frying up some tofu and trying to pass it off as sirloin steak. With that said, here is a quick-and-easy recipe for one of my favorite chicken dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • ¾ cup Marsala wine (don’t substitute!)
  • ¼ cup sherry

Directions:

  • Using a mallet, pound the chicken breast halves until the chicken is about ¼-inch thick.
  • Combine the flour, oregano, basil, black pepper, garlic powder, and kosher salt.
  • Dredge the flattened chicken breasts in the seasoned flour mixture. (Dispose of any remaining flour mixture.)
  • Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the butter.
  • When the butter is melted, add the chicken to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes; then turn the chicken to the other side. Don’t turn the chicken again.
  • Immediately after turning the chicken, add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 1 minute; then pour in the Marsala wine and sherry.
  • Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and the mushrooms are tender (about 10 to 12 minutes).
  • Serve with rice or pasta.

A note about the wine used in this recipe: You don’t have to buy expensive wines for this recipe; just get wines that are drinkable—and don’t use that junk called cooking sherry, which isn’t good for anything, unless you don’t mind ruining the flavor of the dish.

My sister suggested that we have a big potluck over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, which I thought would be a good idea. But, since the potluck is planned for the evening meal and my family will be arriving in the morning, I offered to make lunch for everyone. My plan is to make something in the slow cooker (with chicken, of course), and so the dish I decided to make is “Southwest-style Chicken Soup,” which is actually a recipe I got from my sister.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 package frozen corn, thawed (16-ounce package)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 roasted green or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 roasted sweet red peppers, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil; then sauté the chicken until lightly browned.
  • Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.
  • Roast the sweet peppers, cool, and chop. (You can roast the peppers by holding them over a burner on the stovetop. You can also roast them in the oven or throw them on the grill.)
  • Stir in all of the remaining ingredients.
  • Add a little water if you want a thinner consistency.
  • Cover and cook on the high heat setting for 3 to 4 hours. If you have more time, you can cook it on the low heat setting for 8 hours, which is usually what I do. Stir the soup before serving.

If you would like to make the soup even spicier, add a dash of Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce. Enjoy!

Here’s my favorite chicken salad recipe, made with plenty of chicken, chopped apple and celery, and chunks of pineapple. It has a tasty cream cheese and mayo sauce flavored with curry powder. I’ve found that this chicken salad is best when served as a salad accompanied by crusty bread rather than using it as a sandwich filling. This recipe provides 4 to 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chicken meat, chopped (freshly cooked or leftover chicken is best)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 apple, chopped (with the skin)
  • 1-15 oz. can, pineapple chunks, drained—reserve the juice!
  • 1 package (8 oz.) light cream cheese
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • In a medium-size bowl, soften the cream cheese; then add the mayonnaise and mix well.
  • Add the pineapple juice, curry powder, black pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Mix well.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. It is best to adjust the flavor of the sauce before it is combined with the other ingredients.
  • In a large bowl, combine the chicken, celery, apple, pineapple, and almonds. Add the sauce from the other bowl and mix well.
  • Serve the chicken salad on a bed of greens.
  • Note: It is best to refrigerate the salad for a few hours to enhance the flavor.
  • Optional Ingredients: Use walnuts instead of almonds. Add whole grapes and/or craisins.

Here’s an easy chicken recipe that you can throw together in a hurry, but the result will be a terrific meal that everyone will enjoy. “Simple Sweet and Sour Chicken” is made with only four ingredients (plus water)—chicken breasts, onion soup mix, orange juice concentrate, and olive oil—but it tastes as though it contains many more ingredients and requires much more effort to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package of onion soup mix (dry mix)
  • 6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  • Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
  • Sauté the chicken breasts, turning them once to brown both sides (about 3 minutes on each side).
  • Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, combine the dry onion soup mix, the orange juice concentrate, and ½ cup water. Mix well and pour over the chicken.
  • Bake, uncovered at 350°F for 50-60 minutes.
  • Serve the chicken atop a bed of cooked rice; spoon the sauce over the chicken and rice.

I served the chicken over rice, as suggested, and garnished it with a bit of chopped parsley. It was a big hit with everyone. I guess that proves that recipes don’t have to be complicated to be delicious. I hope you enjoy it.