When we were kids, the end of the school year was pretty simple, right? You hugged a few teachers, traded camp addresses with friends, and cleaned out your locker. (“Hey! My tennis shoe! Ooo! Valentine’s candy! Uh-oh. Is that a lunch bag…from December?”) And, as I recall, my parents didn’t have to do anything to help me through it.
These days, the end of the school year is a much more complicated two-month affair. Not only are there school plays, talent shows, fairs, dances, and Pre-School/Kindergarten/6th Grade/Eighth Grade/High School graduations to contend with, there are now celebrations for each and every experience our kids have had in the year. There are parties for each grade, every school sports team, and every club. (“Come to The Debate Club Party! Arguably The Best!”) And it all adds up to a LOT more work than our parents were ever asked to do.
So when I was asked to bring an entree for 20 to two events at different schools within two days, I decided to save myself some brainpower and effort and make the same dish twice: Buttermilk and Herb Chicken on Arugula with Greek Yogurt Herb Sauce and Tiny Tomato Relish.
It’s an impressive dish that the parents, teachers, and kids all loved…and since it really takes only 30 minutes of active cooking time, so did I.
And though it sits in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or up to a day, the ingredients take just 5 minutes to toss together.
The Greek yogurt sauce and tomato relish both take just minutes, too.
And since the sauce is even better made the day ahead, it makes the day you serve it much less stressful.
So even though this dish looks and tastes elaborate, if you divide and conquer, it’s actually easy and well worth the effort. (Just like parenting!)
BUTTERMILK AND HERB CHICKEN
8 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5 to 6 pounds)
1 1/2 c buttermilk
2 T Dijon mustard
2 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
1 t dried thyme
1 t crushed red pepper
Put the buttermilk, herbs, spices and chicken in a bowl and toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate 6 hours or, better yet, overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, shake off the excess marinade and toss the chicken on a grill outside (closing lid to keep heat in) or use a grill pan and cook it on the stove.
(Tip: if using a grill pan indoors, tent the chicken with foil so that it cooks through on the inside before the outside gets tough.)
Either way, when just done, let it rest, covered with foil, for 15 minutes before slicing so that juices remain in the meat.
GREEK YOGURT HERB SAUCE
3/4 c non-fat Greek yogurt (The important difference between non-fat and regular Greek yogurt is found here.)
1/2 c buttermilk
2 T Dijon mustard (or any brown grainy mustard)
1 t garlic
1/2 -1 t kosher salt (Start with 1/2 t, you can add more only if you need to.)
Whirl all together in a food processor or, to save a clean up step, use an immersion blender and puree it a mason jar so that you can store the leftovers in it afterward for use on other veggie or meat dishes later in the week!
TINY TOMATO RELISH
+1 lb grape or cherry tomatoes, any variety
1/4 c fresh chopped basil
1 t minced garlic
1 T good olive oil (Greek olive oil has a more pronounced flavor, use it if you have it.)
Chop the tomatoes in half or in quarters and toss with the basil, garlic and olive oil adding salt and pepper to taste.
Fill a platter with arugula or mixed greens and arrange the sliced chicken breasts on top.
PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD
There is no hard rule about which herbs you use… If you have only basil or dill in your garden, use them alone…Or if you like cilantro, tarragon or any other herb, play with the combinations to make this recipe your own!
And, if you already have Skinny Basil Mayo in the fridge, you can use that rather than making a new dressing. If it needs to be thinned out, add a little lemon juice and buttermilk until it reaches the texture you prefer. It’s YOUR food! Play with it!
RE-USE, RE-PURPOSE, RE-CYCLE
Any leftover chicken and dressing can be added to fresh greens and roasted veggies to make a fantastic low calorie and high fiber wrap or salad the next day. And any left-over tomatoes or dressing can add some pizazz to any veggie omelet.