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Food

Flavorful Greek Grilled Chicken and Pasta Salad

As we celebrate the 4th of July with barbecues, hopefully, this year, add a few recipes with a Greek twist to the menu. Greek flavors are highlighted in the marinade for the following tasty grilled chicken cutlets and pasta salad. Experiment with your favorite herbs and spices to make the recipes your own. Make sure the bowl used is nonreactive since the chicken will be marinating for at least an hour or two. Nonreactive bowls include stainless steel, glass, and ceramic. Reactive bowls made of metals like aluminum, cast iron, and copper react with the salt and acids in some foods and may cause food to taste metallic after long hours of marinating.

Pasta salads are a favorite side dish for summer barbecues. The following pasta salad incorporates classic Greek flavors to create a memorable accompaniment to your meal.

Greek Grilled Chicken

2 pounds chicken cutlets

1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

If the chicken cutlets are not an even thickness, place between sheets of plastic wrap, wax paper, or in a resealable plastic bag and pound with the flat side of a meat tenderizer or mallet until even in thickness, careful not to pound them too thin. Place the chicken cutlets in a large, nonreactive, mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to coat the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and marinade for at least an hour or up to four hours in the refrigerator. Stir 2-3 times while the chicken is marinating and return to the refrigerator. When ready, prepare the grill. Place the marinated chicken on the grill and brush with the remaining marinade. Grill over medium heat, turning the chicken cutlets on the other side, until done, or the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F or 75 degrees C. A meat thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the chicken piece should give you an accurate temperature. Once the chicken is grilled, remove it to a serving plate and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Serve with fresh lemon wedges, a salad, and your favorite side dishes. If preferred, boil the remaining marinade, allowing it to reduce, and use as a sauce for the cooked chicken. Never use a marinade that contained raw meat or poultry without boiling it first.

Greek Pasta Salad

1 package pasta, corkscrews or short pasta of your choice

2-3 medium tomatoes, chopped

2-3 small cucumbers, chopped

1 medium to large red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup crumbled feta

1/2 cup olives of your choice

1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon Greek sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon Greek dried oregano

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

Cook the pasta according to package directions, careful not to overcook. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, feta, and olives. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, and minced garlic. Add to the pasta mixture and toss to combine all the ingredients and evenly distribute the dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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