Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Mr. Right’s Grilled Chicken Breasts #recipe from @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  Mr. Right is the grill master in our household—we have a lovely propane grill that I barely know how to turn on. And one of his specialties is this grilled chicken, with a marinade so quick and easy you can make this on a week night without planning hours in advance. (Know how I know it’s easy? He can make the marinade, without asking me to do it.) I adapted it years ago from a cookbook I’ve found always reliable, always yummy Lean Italian Cooking by Anne Casale (1994). 

The recipe calls for 6 chicken breasts, but you can make fewer—you can reduce the marinade or not. If you have extra, you might want to heat and reduce it for a sauce, but these are so moist it's not necessary. They also reheat nicely—we’re fond of warming and slicing leftovers on top of a big green salad or tossing chunks into pasta.

For years, we didn’t bother with the pounding, but after we started making Julia Child’s classic chicken with shallots and tarragon, we saw the error of our ways and restored that step. Be smarter than us and do it right, right from the beginning. You’re not after a thin, pounded out chicken; you just want to even out the thickness so they’ll cook evenly. 

Last week I was in Costco and finally spotted Dijon mustard, which had been on my list but not their shelves for a few months. The aisle was crowded and I had to reach past a woman. “Pardon me,” I said. And yes, of course, I said the rest of it, in a funny voice. “Do you have any Grey Poupon?” Fortunately, everyone around me laughed. What a relief—I hadn’t been sure they would. As one man said, “you have to be a certain age.”

But eaters of any age will enjoy this dish, I’m certain of it. 

Mr. Right’s Grilled Chicken Breasts

adapted from Lean Italian Cooking by Anne Casale

Six 5 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme, crumbled

½ teaspoon kosher or other coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons olive oil

fresh thyme sprigs for garnish, if you have them

Wrap chicken breasts in plastic wrap and pound the upper end lightly to even them out. 

In a glass or ceramic dish, with a cover, mix the mustard, vinegar, garlic, honey, dried thyme, salt, and red pepper flakes. Slowly pour in the olive oil and whisk or blend with a fork until well-blended. Add the chicken, one piece at a time, dredging lightly in the marinade. When all the chicken is in the dish, spoon marinade over chicken to coat well. Cover and set aside or set in the refrigerator if the day is warm, occasionally spooning marinade over the chicken. Marinade at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. 

Heat your grill, lightly oiling the rack. Cook, covered, turning after 5-6 minutes, and cook until tender, another 6-10 minutes. Baste with remaining marinade if you’d like; we find the chicken so moist that basting isn’t necessary.

Transfer to serving platter or plates; garnish with fresh thyme, and enjoy!

Bon(less) Appetit!

From the cover of BITTERROOT LAKE, written as Alicia Beckman (April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books in hardcover, ebook, and audio): 

When four women separated by tragedy reunite at a lakeside Montana lodge, murder forces them to confront everything they thought they knew about the terrifying accident that tore them apart, in Agatha Award-winning author Alicia Beckman's suspense debut.

Twenty-five years ago, during a celebratory weekend at historic Whitetail Lodge, Sarah McCaskill had a vision. A dream. A nightmare. When a young man was killed, Sarah's guilt over having ignored the warning in her dreams devastated her. Her friendships with her closest friends, and her sister, fell apart as she worked to build a new life in a new city. But she never stopped loving Whitetail Lodge on the shores of Bitterroot Lake.

Now that she's a young widow, her mother urges her to return to the lodge for healing. But when she arrives, she's greeted by an old friend--and by news of a murder that's clearly tied to that tragic day she'll never forget.

And the dreams are back, too. What dangers are they warning of this time? As Sarah and her friends dig into the history of the lodge and the McCaskill family, they uncover a legacy of secrets and make a discovery that gives a chilling new meaning to the dreams. Now, they can no longer ignore the ominous portents from the past that point to a danger more present than any of them could know.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Watch for her first standalone suspense novel, Bitterroot Lake (written as Alicia Beckman) in April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books.

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by her website and join the mailing list for her seasonal newsletter. And join her on Facebook where she shares book news and giveaways from her writer friends, and talks about food, mysteries, and the things that inspire her.


  1. Sounds excellent! We have friends who use bottled Italian dressing, but homemade is SO much better.

    1. That was one of my mother's tricks, though I'm with you on the home-made!

  2. Leslie, you cracked me up with the Grey Poupon comment! I make Tarragon Chicken often, but usually on the stove. Must try grilling, which is hubby's territory.

    1. It was one of those moments you can't pass up! I'm sure the opportunity will never arise again -- and it gave the other shoppers a smile!