Grilled Greek Lemon Chicken
I have a great marinade recipe for you today, perfect for summer bar-b-ques! It is so delicious and a breeze to make. But first, can we talk about summer a little bit? In light of what is going on in the world, I thought it might be a good time to pass on a little bit of encouragement. When the kids were young, I used to have a love/hate relationship with summer. At the beginning of summer, I would be so excited and hopeful. Excited to spend more time with the kids, happy to not have to stay on top of the homework situation, and so grateful to just have a more relaxing routine. But by the end of summer, I was marking off the days on the calendar until they went back to school! See this post if you want to know what our summers really looked like!
And then there were the vacations! We were all so excited to go on a trip. But sometimes the reality of the trip was sooo different from what I had pictured in my mind. We still had fun, but there were definitely some tense moments. I remember one time on a trip to San Francisco, sitting in the middle of Ghiradelli eating ice cream with the family, and I just started to cry. And I am not a crier! But I had had it. One of our sons that was in high school had just started dating a girl about 4 days before we left, and he did not want to be on a family vacation right then! He let us know that in every way possible from the looks on his face to the way he walked.
I am a person who does not like conflict, especially on vacation because the memories of it will be forever etched in our brains and our pictures. But actually, to my surprise, that has not been the case! I had to laugh a couple of months later, when for my birthday, my daughter gave me a mug that she had ordered with a picture from that vacation. It was a picture that shows the exact look on our son’s face that he didn’t want to be there. And do you know what she said? “Mom, I wanted to give you this mug with a picture of our vacation on it because that was one of the best vacations we ever had! I knew you would like that.” Here is the picture she put on the mug. It reminded me of all the sad moments on the trip.
I just had to laugh to myself. At first I didn’t want to even look at the mug, but then I realized, even though it wasn’t a perfect vacation, and there were some tense moments, we still did have a good time. We still were together as a family making memories. And that is the important part. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. We laugh about that time now with our son. And he even admits he was not easy to be around on that trip. It’s awesome when the kids get old enough that they start agreeing with you! 🙂 This is a picture from the end of our San Francisco trip. It’s amazing what a difference there is in the demeanor of the kids! Sometimes it takes a little while before the bonding kicks in and you may not even realize the benefits of it until many years later!
My husband and I talk about our vacations sometimes, and as we look back, we both feel that they were incredibly bonding family times. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, we sure didn’t when the kids were young. But we did make a point to get out-of-town each summer, even if it was just camping a couple of hours away, or visiting family in another state, and I think it has made all the difference. I just wanted to pass that along to any of you young families out there. I don’t think I realized at the time we were taking vacations just how important they would become in the lives of our kids and our family. I think it is important because it gives the kids a sense of belonging. We are a family, however imperfect we may be. With what is going on in this world today, sometimes it is so easy to feel helpless and like there isn’t anything we can do. But we have so much more influence with our kids than we realize. And it doesn’t just have to be parents and kids going on vacation. It can be grandparents and kids or aunts/uncles and kids, etc.
Speaking of my kids, this chicken recipe is one they all liked. I served it with Classic Greek Salad and mashed potatoes one night when they were here for dinner, and they really seemed to enjoy it. When all family members can agree on a recipe, that is definitely one recipe I want to save! It has great flavor due to all of the herbs, spices, and garlic in it.
I highly recommend marinating overnight. I really think that is key to getting good flavor out of a marinade.
The nice thing about marinating overnight is the next day, your dinner is already half prepared and all you have to do is throw the chicken on the grill and prepare a couple of sides.
Meals and vacations can both be such a family bonding time. If you can relate to this vacation story in any way, or just want to get some great tips about how to make your summer with the kids a good one, here is a link to a message from Greg Smalley and his wife, Erin, on Focus on the Family about things that helped them with their kids. There are some really funny parts when they share some of their family stories. I laughed so much listening to it. And if you are at that point in summer with your kids where you just want to pull your hair out, just know you are not alone and even if it isn’t a perfect summer that’s okay! It doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. Take heart that years later you may be laughing at some of the more difficult times. Most of them anyway! 🙂
Grilled Greek Lemon chicken
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I like the thin cut Foster Farms chicken)
- 1/3 c olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. lemon zest
- 1/3 c fresh lemon juice
- 4-6 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- chopped fresh parsley or basil for garnish, optional
- If you don’t have thin chicken breasts, using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound thicker parts of chicken to even thickness. This will help the marinade to absorb into more of the chicken.
- In a small mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
- Place chicken in a gallon size resealable bag, and pour in olive oil mixture. Seal bag while pressing air out. Flip bag over a few times so marinade evenly coats chicken pieces. Place bag of chicken and marinade in refrigerator over night. If possible, turn bag over in the morning to make sure marinade evenly coats all chicken pieces.
- When ready to cook chicken, preheat grill over medium-high heat (to about 425-450 degrees).
- Place chicken on grill, close lid, and grill about 4 minutes, flip, and repeat until chicken registers 160-165 degrees in center of chicken on an instant read thermometer. Time will depend on the thickness of the chicken and the type of grill. When chicken is cooked, set on a plate to rest 5 minutes to let the juices set.
- If desired, garnish with parsley or basil and serve.
- Refrigerate any leftovers.
Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, originally found on Cooking Classy