May 31, 2009

Cooking Light's Apricot Glazed Grilled Chicken and Light & Fresh Potato Salad

Tonight, you are getting two...yes, two...Cooking Light recipes in one meal. The grilled chicken recipe I found in the June issue of the magazine. The ingredients list is short, and it looks easy enough to prepare. The reviews are promising. All in all, it looks to be a good recipe. However, despite the "all systems go" signals I am getting on this dish, I am a little skeptical. Again, the instructions ask to remove the chicken skin. Ugh. Considering my attempt at the Cooking Light fried chicken recipe sans skin, I don't know if I am going to follow the instructions precisely. The last time I removed the chicken skin, it did not go so well for me. What to do?????? I guess I will have to see how I feel about it later on. Since it is my first run through this recipe, I may take it off. I am really not sure how to handle the skin situation.

For the second recipe, I went on the Cooking Light recipe website and did a search for potato salad. This version seemed easy and tasty, again with good reviews. I thought I would give it a go. We have been having a lot of picnic-y type salads lately (i.e. broccoli slaw, pasta salad, etc.) (really, only those two), but I really like those types of food in hot weather. Summer has officially arrived here in Phoenix, so it is a little sweltering. I think this weather definitely qualifies for picnic salad weather.

Cooking Light's Apricot-Glazed Grilled Chicken
Adapted from the June 2009 issue

3 tablespoons apricot preserves
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
4-6 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well.

2. Prepare grill for indirect grilling. If using a gas grill, heat one side to medium-high and leave one side with no heat. If using a charcoal grill, arrange hot coals on one side of charcoal grate, leaving the other side empty.

3. Let chicken stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Place chicken, meaty sides down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray over direct heat; grill 5 minutes or until browned.

4. Turn chicken over; baste with apricot mixture. Grill 5 minutes over direct heat or until browned. Turn chicken over, moving it over indirect heat; baste with apricot mixture. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Turn chicken over; baste with apricot mixture. Cook 20 minutes or until done.

Jen's Notes:
The original recipe features different cuts of bone-in, skin-on chicken. I only have thighs. Feel free to use what you like or have on hand. I think as long as you have 6 pieces of chicken the ingredients ratios will work in this recipe. That's my opinion, and I am stickin' to it!

Cooking Light's Light & Fresh Potato Salad
Adapted from the website recipe, dated April 2008

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil OR extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 cups cubed red potato (about 2 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped peeled cucumber
3/4 cup fresh diced tomatoes
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped orange bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 (2 1/4-ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained

1. To prepare dressing, combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.

2. To prepare salad, place potato and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above potato; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until tender; drain.

3. Add potato to dressing in bowl, tossing gently to coat; let stand 15 minutes. Stir in cucumber and remaining ingredients; toss well. Cover and chill.

Jen's Notes:
The recipe notes indicate to mix the dressing and potatoes while the potatoes are still piping hot. This will allow better absorption and flavors to permeate the salad.

The Result:
Both these recipes were really good, and probably ones that I will make again. We really liked the chicken recipe...the apricot glaze was very yummy. The chicken was definitely the star of the meal! I did end up taking the skin off, and it was not a problem. I am so relieved that I did not have another chicken skin problem like I did the other night! I think the difference was the grill cooking method vs. pan frying (from my previous post a few days ago). The chicken stayed moist and flavorful, even without the skin.
I actually ended up making two batches of the glaze. The first batch I put in a zip top bag and ended up marinating the chicken in the glaze for a few hours. Then, I made a second batch and basted the chicken with it, as directed in the recipe. I don't know if both steps are needed, but our chicken sure was delicious!!!

The potato salad was very tasty, too. I loved the combo of the veggies, potatoes, and vinegary dressing. Yum!!! The husband protested because there were tiny cucumber chunks in the salad, but he just picked them out. The only issue I had with the salad was that I ended up adding more salt, pepper, oil, and rice vinegar. When I combined the hot potatoes and the dressing, the potatoes absorbed all the dressing really quickly. The potatoes ended up being a tad under-flavored and dry, as a result. I quickly added some of the additional ingredients over the top of the finished salad and then remixed it all. Thankfully, that did the trick...the potato salad was then perfectly balanced. If you decide to make this, make sure to taste and adjust the seasoning as you go along. Overall, this is a great healthy and tasty potato salad recipe.

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