I once read an article explaining the roles of men and women in preparing food for a barbeque. When a male volunteers to man the grill, the following happens: The woman buys the food, makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and bakes the desserts. In regards to the actual meat, the woman prepares the meat marinades, seasons the meat, and make sure the meat sits in the marinade for ample time before the meal.
The woman sets the table and prepares the drinks. When guests arrive, the man places the meat on the grill. The man takes the meat off the grill and hands it to the woman. The woman serves, cleans up the table, and washes the dishes…and everyone thanks the man for preparing dinner.
What does barbequing in August have to do with a cold winter February day? Well, I’m here today to tell you that you don’t need to reminisce about the smells of barbeque—grilling can be done indoors, and you won’t have to give any credit to your husband.
I used to hate grilling indoors. I owned a nice big George Foreman Grill. The first time I used it, I made chicken cutlets. As hard as I tried, they were rubbery (unless eaten right away) and lacking the juicy summer grilling texture that I craved. And—I really did not enjoy cleaning the grill afterwards. I did try using parchment paper on the grill, which solved the cleaning difficulties—but the chicken had even less flavor.
Then I discovered grill pans. They’re not perfect (there’s no charcoal taste), but the results are so close to what an outdoor grill can acheive that I’ve become rather attached to it. I baby my grill pan and now favor it over anything else in the pot drawer—if it can barbeque in the winter, it’s a must-have for me.
How to Succeed Grilling Indoors
Rosemary Chicken Cutlets
These are full of flavor. Pound the chicken thinly and you’ll be rewarded with juicy meat that will keep you from counting down the days until the snow melts from around your outdoor grill.
1 lb chicken breast or dark chicken cutlets, thinly pounded and sliced
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
BBQ White sauce:
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp spicy brown mustard
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
Combine the rosemary, oregano, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix with the olive oil and rub to coat chicken well. Let marinade 30 minutes (or up to 6 hours).
Spray a grill pan with cooking spray. Preheat the grill pan over high heat for a full 5 minutes.
Place chicken on pan. When most of the chicken is white, turn the chicken over and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Do not overcook.
To prepare white sauce, combine all ingredients. Serve chicken with sauce.
Fast Ideas for a Range of Flavors
Want to change the flavor up a bit? Try these combinations for winning spice rubs and marinades:
Frozen basil, garlic, oil
Oil, paprika, garlic
Lemon juice, olive oil, salt and black pepper
Oil and lemon pepper seasoning
Cumin, oregano, sugar, salt and black pepper
Honey, mustard, and soy sauce
Mustard, parsley flakes, oil, and sliced onions.
Grilled Flat Bread
Nothing rounds out a meal like fresh bread. These are quick, easy, and fun to prepare too!
1 tsp sugar
2¾ tsp dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Oil, for brushing
Combine the sugar, yeast, and water. Let sit 2 minutes. Add in the flour, Italian seasoning, and salt and mix well to combine. (I don’t add all the flour in at once. Add most of it and then add as much as you need to form a good dough.) Cover and let rise 1 hour.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece as thin as you can, about 6 to 8 inches wide. It doesn’t have to be a pretty circle as long as the dough is even thickness.
Heat a grill pan over high heat for 5 minutes.
Brush one side of the dough wit oil and place face down on the pan. While bread is grilling, brush the side facing you with oil. Flip over and bake on the other side. Continue with remaining dough.
Yield: 8 flat breads
Round Out Your Meal
Before you start grilling the chicken and bread, spray your pan well. Add onion wedges, peppers, squash, mushrooms or any vegetables you like. Sauté over high heat for 5-10 minutes. You may need to spray additional times while the vegetables are cooking to maintain moisture. While cooking, season with salt and pepper and flip vegetables occasionally.
How did I end up making use of my lovely George Foreman’s Grill? I make Paninis of course!
The amounts and types of dressing I use varies, depending on what I have in my refrigerator. Besides for the ingredients listed below, I’ve also made this recipe with sweet chili sauce or spicy duck sauce. You can also cut up the chicken and mix with turkey, pastrami or breaded chicken cutlets.
As long as you don’t forget two basic rules your sandwich will come out delicious, with the juicy interior and crispy exterior:
1) Use plenty of sauces/mayonnaise (we need something instead of cheese)
2) Lightly brush the sandwich with oil or margarine for a crispy crust.
10-inch soft club sandwich (or soft baguette)
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1-2 tsp honey
1-2 tsp mustard
1-2 tsp teriyaki sauce
2 grilled chicken cutlets, sliced
Slice the bread in half. Spread mayonnaise on both sides of the roll. Fill with chicken and vegetables.
Combine the honey, mustard, and teriyaki sauce and pour over sandwich contents. Close the sandwich.
Brush both outer sides of the bread with oil or margarine.
Preheat Panini grill or grill pan.
To cook sandwich, place the sandwich on the hot pan. Close lid on Panini grill, or if using a grill pan, press the sandwich down well using a heavy pot.
Turn sandwich over and press down again to attain grill marks on both sides.
Yield: 1 sandwich