What’s for Dinner – Using Fresh Herbs

Like a lot of children, my kids are not big fans of casseroles or any “mixed-up” food.  So, I make a lot of dinners that consist of a protein, a veggie on the side, and some kind of carb on the side.  Coming up with different proteins that are not boring or same old-same old is a bit of challenge.  I also have to be very careful with bottled and packaged convenience items like marinades.  They can contain gluten through the use of wheat starch, the vague “food starch,” regular soy sauce which contains wheat, and other additives.  The truly safest course when you are gluten-free is to make your own marinades and spice mixtures so that you know exactly which ingredients are in there.  It’s hard sometimes to plan ahead but so delicious when you are able to do it!

To that end, this week I tried an herb marinated chicken breast with a little Greek inspiration.  The marinade was pretty simple and I didn’t measure very precisely, which is my favorite part of marinades! I chopped up some fresh oregano, parsley, and thyme. If you haven’t used fresh oregano before (below), it smells delicious and really adds a lot of flavor.

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I combined my three fresh herbs together with a little dried rosemary (I was out of fresh), some pepper, a few teaspoons of minced garlic, the juice of one lemon, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I try to get away with as little olive oil as possible in marinades; most recipes call for too much oil in my opinion.  You really only need enough to make the mixture liquid.

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I poured my marinade mixture into a plastic storage bag with a pound and a half of chicken breasts and tossed – and put the whole thing in the fridge for a few hours.  When it was time to cook the chicken for dinner, my husband put it on the grill for about 8 minutes per side (it depends on how thick your chicken is – we used a meat hammer to thin the chicken out a bit, and it still needed longer to cook than we expected).

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To pair with our Greek-inspired chicken, I made roasted potatoes using a lot of the same flavorings as the chicken.  I used more oregano leaves, a drizzle of lemon juice, a small amount of olive oil (again, as small as I can get away with to cover the potatoes and not burn them in the oven), pepper, and a small amount of salt.  This would also be good with lemon-pepper bottled seasoning sprinkled on, as well.  I set the oven for 375 degrees for 45 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan.

Last, if you get as tired of salad as I do (and probably everyone gluten-free gets tired of salads), my favorite fresh side to make in a hurry is pretty simple.  2 tomatoes, a few leaves of basil, a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, black pepper, and 2 teaspoons of blue cheese = perfection.  No olive oil or salt needed; the fresh herbs, cheese and balsamic vinegar are all flavorful enough without the extra fat or salt.  Delicious and fresh!

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