Grilled (marinated) Chicken

Just like you, I lead a very busy life. I enjoy sitting down and figuring whats on the menu for dinner everynight and planning ahead. The reality of this actually happening in my life is rare. I am a full time student, a barista, a house cleaner (well, of my own house), AND the sous chef here at the Johnson household. So…quite often dinner time will be upon us and I’m just starting to peek into the fridge to see what I have on-hand to make. This recipe has saved dinner more than a few times. The beautiful thing about marinating chicken is that I’ll leave it for up to three days marinating and the longer it marinates, the better it is. So here’s the deal…start marintating the chicken on Sunday when you have a free moment (because thats really what it takes), and chances are you’ll have a need for it by Wednesday. PLUS… this recipe is so good it’s even guest ready. I often make double what I think we’ll eat for dinner in case we decide to invite someone over or I use it for lunch/sandwiches/pasta the next day.


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts  (fresh or frozen)


1 bottle of any type of italian dressing

1 or 2 heaping spoonfuls of garlic (depending on taste)

2 TBS sugar

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

fresh or dried herbs (whatever you have): basil, cilantro, oregano, thyme…

1/2 onion (if you have it on hand that’s great, if not, don’t worry about it)

1 big ziploc freezer bag


First: (this can be done up to 3 days in advance) Put all the marinade ingredients in the ziploc bag zip it and shake it. This will get everything mixed up well then put the chicken in. I rarely/never buy fresh chicken, I always get  the big ol’ bags at Costco and it’s perfectly ok to put the frozen chicken in there , it doesn’t need to be thawed first (unless you’re making it day-of, then see note below). Get all the air out of the bag then put it on a plate and stick it in the fridge. If you’re letting it sit for more than a day flip it over once or twice a day so the goodies get mixed up.

**If you’re making this for day-of use, it would be a good idea to marinate non-frozen chicken, so either use fresh or thaw it before you put in the marinade. I suggest marinating it for 2-3 hours at least for better results but a couple days for BEST.

From this point you’re only about 15 minutes away from incredibly moist, guest raving, husband-loving chicken.

Second: heat the grill on medium heat. While the grill warms up, use a meat pounder and made it so the chicken is an even thickness (if all the air is still out of the bag you can pound it directly in the ziploc bag CAREFULLY).

Third: Pour about 3/4 cup of the marinade into a bowl so you can baste the chicken as it grills.

Forth: place the chicken in the middle of the grill (which should be set to medium heat) and cook on each side for 3 minutes. Keep the chicken moving a little so it doesn’t stick on the grill. Baste every couple minutes.

Forth: move the chicken off direct heat and lower the grill to low. Close the lid and leave it for 10 minutes (keeping an eye an it) but this is a good time to set the table or whatever other last minute dinner things you need to do!

Five: make sure the chicken is cooked through. There are 3 ways to do this but I wouldn’t recommend 2 of them. 1st (recommended but takes a lot of courage): the touch test. The chicken should feel firm to touch. The picture below is how chicken feels when it’s done. This is the best method because you don’t poke any holes in the chicken and lose any of that yummy juice. I’ve also heard that it should feel like the bottom of your heel but I don’t recommend you touch your heel while you cook.2nd: meat thermometer. Chicken should be cooked to 160 degrees. This method pokes a hole in the chicken though which makes you lose the moisture that makes people proclaim “Wow! This is so juicy!”

3rd: Go ahead… cut it open… RUIN it. The chicken needs to be white all the way through and the juices run clear as water. But really, if you want your food to be the best it can be, don’t cut it open and look at it. But if you feel like you must only cut into one and make sure its the one you eat.

There you go! it’s done and yummy. Serve it with some green beans or a salad or artichokes and maybe a starch (like garlic mashed potatoes, or cilantro lime rice) .


July 11, 2010. Tags: , . Chicken, Dinner.


  1. Chicken Caesar Panini « Goodies & Guests replied:

    […] 1 Chicken Breast, cooked & shredded (try using this grilled marinated chicken) […]

  2. Garlic Mashed Potatoes « Goodies & Guests replied:

    […] go great with grilled marinated chicken, or microwaved […]

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