Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Perfect Summer Meal

Last night we made an incredible meal! I love using Giada DeLaurentiis's recipe for herb stuffed chicken (available on under Herbed Spring Chicken and Vegetables). Basically, you take boneless, skin-on chicken breasts and carefully work the skin away from the chicken in order to create a pocket for a mixture of fresh herbs. I love that this recipe is so versatile because you can switch the herb combination to whatever you like/have. I like her original combo the best which includes, parsley, garlic, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper flakes, and thyme. I have recently been reducing the amount of thyme in it and adding in fresh rosemary from our farmer's market and I like the bold flavor of it. The key to this recipe is the searing of the chicken in a saute pan with olive oil. Just 5 minutes on each side really creates a gorgeous gold and crunchy skin. Then it finishes in the oven for 15 minutes. We've made this dish a number of times and have always enjoyed it.

The new dish on the block came in the way of Ina Garten's Grilled Panzanella Salad (also available on I had seen it recently on her episode, Fired Up. I had tried Giada's artichoke panzanella previously and really enjoyed it. Ina's recipe, however, was INCREDIBLE!! Best of all, it's simple to make. The key here was grilling some of the vegetables. It really added a great flavor. Each bite had something different. Sometimes, you would get the taste of the fresh vegetables, like the cucumber and tomato. Other times, you would get the taste of the vinaigrette, which had a nice tang from the Dijon mustard (which I love to use in my own salad dressings). Then in some bites, you would get the taste of the grilled peppers, bread, and onions, with a wonderfully rich, deep, fire-roasted flavor. This was a winner, and definitely a refreshing summer meal that really showcased the wonderful produce available this time of year. You even get to make some of it outdoors on the grill. How summer is that? I can't wait to make this again! This will become a staple in our home for sure!

To finish the meal, I took a simple cue from Giada. We threw a couple fresh peaches on the grill, sliced them up, and put them in the bottom of a wine glass that was then filled with some Pinot Grigio. Delicious!

This meal was colorful, healthy, and easy! Not to mention the great flavors! It was the perfect, light, summer evening meal.

Ina's Grilled Panzanella Salad
Photo from Food

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