Apr 27, 2024

DIVAS ON A DIME: Try easy chicken dish for Labor Day barbecue

To serve, place a grilled chicken paillard on each plate, with a generous cup of the dressed salad. Squeeze the caramelized lemon over everything for an extra burst of flavor.

"What's on the menu for Labor Day?" That's the annual dilemma, isn't it? As the holiday approaches, we all desire a mouthwatering feast without laborious effort. After all, the day is meant for relaxation and celebration, not endless cooking sessions, right?

Well, I've got just the recipe to make your Labor Day BBQ a breeze. Imagine a delectable dish that requires minimal time and effort, is budget-friendly, and incredibly versatile. Let me introduce you to the star of your Labor Day menu: Chicken Paillard.

Derived from the French term for flattened meat, the paillard (pronounced "pie-YAHR") technique is a game-changer. But don't be intimidated by its fancy name -- it's surprisingly simple yet oh so effective. Picture this: a succulent chicken breast, butterflied and gently pounded to an even thickness. This thin piece of perfection cooks up in a flash, whether in a skillet, in the oven or on the grill.

And the best part? Chicken Paillard's versatility knows no bounds. A sprinkle of salt, a dash of pepper, a hint of garlic -- that's all it takes for an elegant and satisfying dish. Feeling adventurous? Try marinating with your favorite flavors or experimenting with spice rubs. Craving comfort food? Dip it in egg wash, coat with seasoned flour, and voila -- you've got a crispy creation reminiscent of fried chicken. Drizzle on some honey, and you've just conjured magic.

Now, for those larger gatherings, while only one or two pieces may fit in a skillet, you can easily keep them warm in a low oven as you prepare the rest, ensuring everyone dines together.

But wait, it gets even better. Picture this Labor Day scene: a sizzling grill, the aroma of caramelized lemon filling the air, and atop those flavorful Chicken Paillards, a delightful mound of refreshing greens. Doesn't that sound divine?

Grilled Chicken Paillard with Charred Lemon and Dressed Greens

Yield: 4 servings

Total Time: 30 minutes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 lemons, halved

4 cups mixed greens and your favorite veggies

Olive oil or preferred salad dressing

Preheat the grill to medium heat. Begin by slicing each chicken breast horizontally, opening it like a book. Place each piece between two pieces of plastic wrap and, using a meat mallet, pound the pieces until they're about half an inch thick.

Brush each paillard with half a tablespoon of olive oil.

Grill the chicken pieces for about 3 to 5 minutes per side, adjusting based on thickness. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice while grilling. Place the lemon halves, cut side down, on the grill to caramelize.

Set the chicken and grilled lemons aside to rest when done. Toss the greens and veggies with lemon juice and your choice of olive oil or dressing.

To serve, place a grilled chicken paillard on each plate, with a generous cup of the dressed salad. Squeeze the caramelized lemon over everything for an extra burst of flavor.

Diva Tip: When chicken breasts are on sale, purchase extra and use the paillard technique and freeze these flattened treasures individually in zip-top bags. This savvy move allows you to stock up on quick, delicious dinners that defrost and cook in minutes. It's a surefire winner for those busy days.

So, as you gear up for the holiday weekend, elevate your BBQ game with Chicken Paillard — a recipe that is convenient, inexpensive and absolutely delicious. Your guests will love the flavors, and you'll revel in the extra time that you'll have to savor the festivities. Cheers to a less laborious Labor Day!

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website Divas On A Dime. © 2023 King Features Synd., Inc.

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