Thursday, April 21, 2011

Grilled Lemon Garlic Herb Chicken Breasts

My oldest son is out of preschool all week for Easter break, so we're doing one special, fun thing each day. Tuesday night we decided to give our first camp-out in the backyard a try. I grew up camping, but I have since discovered the wonder of hotels. My idea of 'camping' now involves a 30-foot long Winnebago with hot water and a stove to cook on. But with two boys and a husband who's a former Boy Scout I'm outnumbered. Don't get me wrong; I'm not a super girly-girl. I love outdoor adventures. But I also like sleep and a hot shower after a full day of sweating and a meal I don't have to scrape from the cast iron skillet in the stream afterward. And I usually end up with a rash or allergic reaction to something. Okay, I may be a little bit of a wimp.

Knowing all this, and being skeptical that our kids would make it the whole night in the tent, we decided to try camping within reach of home first. Tuesday night we set up the tent, found our four camp chairs, built a fire worthy of a former Boy Scout, assembled the s'mores fixin's and slathered on the bug spray. If you're thinking, "That's a lot of work for a weeknight," why yes, you would be right. Which is why I made dinner super easy that night with this grilled Lemon Garlic Herb Chicken marinade. Marinate your chicken for an hour or so, throw it on the grill and serve it with a fresh salad and some rice or pasta. (I had leftover Mrs. T's feta and spinach perogies in the freezer I baked as a side.)

How did our camp-out go? Let me paint you a picture. The birds were chirping. The wind was blowing. The stars glowed brightly overhead. My sinuses were swelling from the pollen despite both Nasonex and Claritin. Minutia! (Gesundheit.) We had eaten our fill of s'mores, and I was snuggled into the tent with the boys while Rich watched the fire. Can you smell the wood smoke? Yeah. And here's what it sounded like to our neighbors:

Baby: Daddy?! Daddy?!
Daddy: Yes, Baby?
Baby: No night-nights, Daddy.
Daddy: Go night night Baby.
Baby: (Pauses as if considering this perfectly reasonable request.) No.
Oldest: My stomach hurts.
Mommy: You probably ate too many s'mores.
Oldest: But I only had five!
Mommy: Maybe five was too many.
Oldest: Oh.
Mommy: Go to sleep, Honey.
Oldest: I don't feel safe in a tent. I think we should move it. We're going to slide down the hill.
Mommy: We're not anywhere near the hill. Go to sleep.
Oldest: I think I want to sleep in my bed.
Baby: Daddy?!
Daddy: Yes Baby.
Baby: No night-nights!

There might have been the teensiest bit of sighing through this exchange on my part. By 9:30 p.m. both boys were tucked safely in their beds. They were asleep by 9:35 p.m. Mom and Dad followed suit by 10:30 p.m. The next morning my oldest said he missed camping out and wanted to try again. My husband and I talked about taking the kids to the mountains where we can wear them out hiking and swimming first, then try camping. But really I'm thinking there's a Winnebago somewhere with my name on it.

Lemon Garlic Herb Marinade
4 boneless chicken breasts
juice of one lemon
2-3 small cloves of garlic, chopped
Tbs fresh chopped oregano
Tbs fresh chopped rosemary
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1.) Squeeze the lemon juice into a small bowl. Add chopped garlic and herbs, salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil.
2.) Place thawed chicken breasts in a shallow bowl. Add marinade and toss to coat.
3.) Marinate an hour or more, turning once.
4.) Grill until done.
5.) Top with some crumbled feta cheese and capers or chopped olives if desired. I garnished mine with rosemary.

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