Something magical happens when tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella, and balsamic join together. It’s a lovely combination, one that I could eat all summer long. In fact, I do plan to eat Grilled Bruschetta Chicken all summer long because it’s the perfect summer meal- light, full of flavor, and easy to assemble.
In my life, dinner-making is secondary to corralling the children and keeping them safe and happy, distracted and occupied, and, hopefully, out of my way long enough for me to whip something together. When all goes well, they play and I can measure and stir and think in peace. But as many of you with children know, this rarely (if ever) occurs. And on the rare occasion that they are quiet and I think they are playing, ninety percent of the time they’re doing something they should not be doing, or the minute of play is the lull in the storm, and it’s quickly followed by ten minutes of crying and fighting. Believe it or not, this is better than the alternative. Most days the hangry monsters come out at four and they whine, cry, scream, hang from my arms, get underfoot, and otherwise distract and annoy and do everything in their power to prevent the seamless execution of the meal. This is real cooking. I propose the next cooking show that comes out should be about parents cooking through silly and crazy distractions.
When I make dinner easy and quick are the first considerations. The beautiful thing about Grilled Bruschetta Chicken is the ease of the chicken marinade, which works double time as the tomato bruschetta vinaigrette and also a salad vinaigrette or marinade for potatoes and vegetables. One sauce, multiple applications, that’s my kind of meal. The marinade starts with a homemade Italian Spice Blend – highly recommended.
Mix up the Italian Spice Blend, add it to the marinade, and now most of the work is done. Use a portion of the marinade for the chicken (and potato and vegetables, if going that route), reserve some marinade for the tomatoes (and salad, if going that route), and then relax (I wish!) while the marinade does its magic. I’ve made the Bruschetta Chicken on a sheet pan with potatoes and vegetables, which I’ll post another time, and also grilled with a salad, which I’m posting now.
Once the chicken has marinated for thirty minutes, then throw it on the grill. When it’s nearing completion, dress the tomatoes and salad. Simple, or it should be. But nothing is simple with children.
We put our charcoal grill behind a knee-high fence to keep it out of reach of the children and then my partner distracted the kids and had them as far away from the grill as possible. This meant some added acrobatics as I tried to grill with a fence in my way. My partner had the kids help weed the yard and water the garden, which lasted all of two minutes. This quickly turned into soup-making when they found a mud hole filled with water. We were eating an hour late, which meant the mud hole was a necessary distraction from total bedlam, although the bedlam would shortly follow when it was time to clean up. Needless to say, the final minutes of meal-making were frantic and frenzied, and the pictures for this session can attest to this haste.
But then we sat down to eat. The kids ate chicken, tomatoes, and salad. Clean plates, full bellies, happy family. All was well, and then it was bath time.