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Valentines Day Cooking Help

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:27 am
by davidmarver
Alright, so I've been together with this girl now -- you may remember her from when I got pranked -- for two weeks. We've really hit it off well and she's totally falling for me. Anyway, I've decided that I'm going to cook Valentines Dinner for us; I took her out to dinner Saturday Night and I figure making the dinner is cheaper, more personal, and a better impression to make. I plan on doing the whole wine, rose, candle, movie thing also, but I first need a good meal to make her.

She'll eat pretty much anything. I was debating making lamb because it's one of my favorites, but that seems a little difficult and I think I'm missing the point of Valentines by spending too much time cooking.

ANYWAY...I found a Basil Grilled Chicken recipe that looks easy and sounds like it'll be appealing to both of us. The only problem is the grilling part; it has been raining non-stop here in SB, I'm not useful with a coal grill, and I find it to be a lot more time-consuming when I need to be setting up the living room area.

So my question is this; is there a way to convert a recipe that calls for grilling into baking? If so, how do you recommend I do that? I'll post the recipe I found below. Thanks for the help/sorry for the monologue.
Basil Grilled Chicken

* 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
* 4 chicken breast halves, skin removed
* 1/3 cup melted butter
* 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil leaves
* 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
* 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
* 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Press 3/4 teaspoon coarse pepper into chicken breast halves. Combine 1/3 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup chopped basil; blend well. Brush chicken lightly with basil and butter mixture. Combine 1/2 cup softened butter, 2 tablespoons chopped basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Beat until mixture is well blended and smooth. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside. Grill chicken over medium coals for 35 to 45 minutes, turning and basting frequently with remaining melted butter mixture. To test for doneness, pierce with a fork; juices should run clear. Serve grilled chicken with basil butter mixture. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:26 am
by slomo007
Time to break out the George Foreman and punch out the fat!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:29 am
by nsulham
Just pop it in the oven (in a Pyrex dish preferably if you have one) at 375-400 and just keep an eye on it.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:13 am
by Coppermine
First of all, you bake cakes; you broil chicken.

To me, broiling chicken breasts can be tricky; it tends to dry out quickly and get tough. That is unless you have a way of monitoring its temperature; a chicken breast should never be cooked beyond 170 degrees. Otherwise, it'll be bland and dry. Now, if you have a nice cast iron pan (as you should) you can just pseudo-grill it in some olive oil right in the pan. You want to cook just so there's no pink left, and juices run clear.

Slomo mentioned a George Foreman grill; that would work great too if you have one.

Now, may I make a suggestion? If you're going to make basil chicken, why not go all out and make chicken parmigiana? It's not that hard and it's always the favorite dish at even the most fancy Italian restaurants. This is, of course, just a suggestion; I make it all the time so it's not that tough and served with a little pasta, you've got yourself a pretty nice meal that's similar to the one above, only breaded and with lots of cheese and sauce. Here's my favorite recipe:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
4 large eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons water and seasoned with salt and pepper
2 cups panko (or Italian) bread crumbs
1 cup vegetable oil or pure olive oil
Tomato Sauce (any kind from a jar, just not Ragu or Prego)
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Fresh basil or parsley leaves, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge each breast in the flour and tap off excess, then dip in the egg and let excess drip off, then dredge on both sides in the bread crumbs.

Add 2 chicken breasts to each pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet and top each breast with some tomato sauce, a few slices of the mozzarella, salt and pepper, and a tablespoon of Parmesan. Bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with basil or parsley leaves.


Serve with spaghetti, or better yet, a penne or fusilli.

Remember to pound the chicken breasts thin (a lot of restaurants don't even do this). Do this by putting plastic wrap under and over the chicken and then just use a soup can or something to flatten it out.

Sometimes I have trouble getting the flour to stick, so I'll add the step of dredging the seasoned and flatted chicken breasts in some milk before the flour... so I go milk - flour - egg - bread crumb. Otherwise, you can skip the first part of that.

The fresh mozzarella is key here; you can get it in most grocery stores now; it's usually sold as a block and sometimes swimming in some liquid... that's the good stuff. You want to use a lot; and freshly grated parmigiano reggiano doesn't hurt either although small pieces of it tend to be pricey... I always have some in the fridge because it lasts a long time. Top with lots of fresh basil (I sometimes even put some in during the last part of the cooking so it melts in with the cheese) and you're set.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:16 pm
by Amazinz
I am no great chef but you can take a grill recipe and broil it with little change. That's what I would do. Although I am not sure what Coppermine means because you can bake chicken and it's different than broiling. When you broil the chicken is a lot closer to the element. It tends to dry out more when baking.

Also, I think this is more a light side style post. :-D

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:20 pm
by Coppermine
It's just my own semantics; technically broiling is is using the upper element of the oven with the door partially open, but I just lump "baking" in with cakes and cookies.

Unless it's "shake & bake"

Broiling is a nice alternative though to grilling since it's still using direct heat.

Re: Valentines Day Cooking Help

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:32 pm
by mikhayl
davidmarver wrote:Alright, so I've been together with this girl now -- you may remember her from when I got pranked -- for two weeks. We've really hit it off well and she's totally falling for me. Anyway, I've decided that I'm going to cook Valentines Dinner for us; I took her out to dinner Saturday Night and I figure making the dinner is cheaper, more personal, and a better impression to make. I plan on doing the whole wine, rose, candle, movie thing also, but I first need a good meal to make her.

She'll eat pretty much anything. I was debating making lamb because it's one of my favorites, but that seems a little difficult and I think I'm missing the point of Valentines by spending too much time cooking.

ANYWAY...I found a Basil Grilled Chicken recipe that looks easy and sounds like it'll be appealing to both of us. The only problem is the grilling part; it has been raining non-stop here in SB, I'm not useful with a coal grill, and I find it to be a lot more time-consuming when I need to be setting up the living room area.


I'm a pretty good cook. I'm gonna change the recipe up quite a bit-on the assumption that you want to stay with a basil chicken. Stay with me, it sounds complicated but there's only about 15 minutes of active prep time and this recipe comes out really really well. It also makes a light and elegant meal that will really impress.

First of all, you're going to be baking this, so your enemy is going to be dryness. I've got two solutions. First, get chicken breast with the skin on, second brine the chicken.

Get 4 boneless chicken breasts with the skin on. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 gallon of hot water, 1 cup of kosher salt, 1/4 cup sugar, and a few leaves of bruised basil. Make sure that all the solids are dissolved. Add 3/4 cup very cold water to mixture and add your chicken to the mixture. Leave your chicken pieces in this mixture for about 30-45 minutes in a cool place.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine about 4-6 ounces of plain soft goat cheese (a small round of chevre should be available in almost all grocery stores), 1-2 cloves of finely minced garlic, a teaspoon of parmesan cheese (optional), some chopped basil to your taste, and some cracked pepper. stir that together.

Take the chicken out of the brine, discard the brine, rinse the chicken in fresh water and pat it dry with paper towels.

Now, lift the skin off the chicken breasts (don't remove it) and slide a basil leaf or two under the skin, also spoon in the cheese mixture and divide it equally among the chicken breasts (between the chicken and the skin.

Brush the chicken with olive oil and throw on some cracked black pepper. Bake on a sheet pan skin side up in a 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.

You don't need to salt the chicken as the brine will salt it all the way through and the cheese adds some saltiness as well.

You can serve this with just some steamed vegetables and boiled potatoes or french bread.

This is something a little out of the ordinary, something you wouldn't expect to have at home, and it should impress her. It's also really good.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:42 pm
by ironman
You could always just sautee it in a pan too.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:59 pm
by davidmarver
The other recipes here are fine, but they're too complicated for what I'm trying to do. My biggest success in cooking, ever, was either Jello or popcorn, so I want the cooking to be as simple as possible. If anyone could look back over the original recipe I posted and tell me a time and temperature to broil the chicken at, that'd be great. :-)

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:07 pm
by acsguitar
Hmm Cooking conversion?

try this site.

Just browse to your desktop select the grilled chicken and convert to baked.

http://www.zamar.com