Tuesday, June 1, 2010

For a Crowd: BBQ Chicken, Mac and Cheese with BACON and Grilled PTR Salad

This year I celebrated Memorial Day with good friends, had a blast at the lake, and ate delicious food off the grill all weekend long. I made dinner Sunday night and as I was planning the menu I thought, “What would Memorial Day be without BBQ Chicken and Mac and Cheese?” I stuck with these basics, added a salad, and took it to the next level with a few ingredient changes: balsamic vinegar in the BBQ sauce, bacon in the mac and cheese, and grilled romaine for the salad.

Balsamic BBQ Chicken
2 tbl Vegetable Oil
½ Medium Onion, diced
3 cloves of Garlic, minced
¼ C Tomato Sauce
¼ C Dark Brown Sugar
½ C Ketchup
2 tbl Dijon Mustard
2 tbl Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbl Soy Sauce
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
¼ C Balsamic Vinegar
About 5 lbs Chicken (I had 14 breasts)

Heat oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat; add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add the tomato sauce and sugar and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes so onions turn a little red. Reduce the heat to medium/medium-low and add all ingredients except vinegar simmer about 15 minutes or until thickened; add balsamic vinegar, mix well and taste/adjust seasoning.

Once sauce has cooled COMPLETELY marinate Chicken in BBQ sauce for at least 24 hours, the longer the better. Preheat grill to 350-400 degrees, I know this seems really hot but it sears the chicken and creates a caramelized outside. Place chicken on preheated grill, close lid, reduce flame to medium (so grill maintains 325-350 degrees) and let cook for 8 minutes. Flip chicken ONCE and cook for 5-6 additional minutes with the lid closed. Remove to a cookie sheet or serving platter and cover with foil until ready to serve

Mac and Cheese with BACON
1 ½ lb Elbow Macaroni
½ lb Bacon
½ G Milk
8 Ounces (1 Block) Cream Cheese
1 Egg
16 Ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese
16 Ounces Mozzarella Cheese
2 tbl Butter

Brown Bacon in a skillet or in the oven let cool, crumble into pieces and set aside. Prepare a 13 X 9 casserole dish by rubbing butter all over the bottom and sides. Warm milk in a large sauce pan over medium heat, but do not boil. Boil pasta according to package directions, drain and place in prepared casserole, topping with any remaining butter. When milk is almost simmering stir in cream cheese, once incorporated stir in egg (that has been tempered) then cheddar and mozzarella (I found this is easiest to do with a wooden spoon). After all the cheese has melted, stir in the bacon pieces and pour sauce over noodles. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Grilled PTR Salad
4 Heads Romaine Lettuce
6 Bell Peppers, varying colors
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
Olive Oil
1 tbl Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Honey
Juice of 2 lemons
2-3 tbl Olive Oil

Make dressing by combining mustard, honey and lemon juice in a small bowl then stream in Olive Oil while whisking, once incorporated set aside. Cut romaine length wise so the halves remain connected at the bottom, cut peppers in half and remove seeds and stems, then drizzle both the lettuce and the peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Create a “tin foil pan” by folding up the edges of a piece of foil, put the tomatoes in the “pan” and drizzle them with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place peppers and tomatoes (in foil) on the grill and roast for about 10 minutes, with the lid closed turning once. Grill romaine for about 3-4 minutes with the lid open, until the leaves just start to wilt. As the lettuce and peppers come off the grill chop them into bite sized pieces and add to serving bowl. The tomatoes should be very soft so slice or crush them the best you can and add to the bowl, including all of their juices (it is amazing flavor). Top veggies with dressing, toss to combine and serve while still warm.

2 Side Notes:
1. I make this salad for 2 using 1 head of romaine, 1 pepper and 4-5 tomatoes. I still make the full amount of dressing and reserve the excess for salads later in the week.
2. If you didn’t figure it out PTR stands for Pepper, Tomato, Romaine.

It is a little blurry, but here is my Memorial Day Plate

1 comment:

  1. Yummmm! Sorry I missed it! Joey said this was delicious. I'm going to have to try it on my own sometime!