I absolutely love the summer time, especially for all its nutrient-dense produce in season. . . sweet fruits, a little relaxation and plenty of sunshine gets me excited to jump in the kitchen (or backyard) and put together refreshing recipes to savor the season. In the winter time I love making soups, stews and anything I can throw in the crock-pot because it’s so easy, but during the summer, especially with the 100+ degree weather here in Vegas, it’s hard not to want to eat anything but smoothies. The grill or grill pan can be a great friend because it can be really easy to marinate anything from chicken, pork, veggies, etc and throw it on the grill for a quick meal. I’m also a big fan of contrasting flavors and textures. Pairing sweet, savory and slightly spicy flavors makes my mouth sing. That is why I really enjoy this summer recipe of Jerk Chicken with mango salsa. It’s the perfect recipe for summer grillin’ and chillin’ in the backyard with a nice frosty margarita. Enjoy!
I did a post awhile ago regarding nutrition fact labels in restaurants. Here is a recent statement from the ADA and I would have to agree! I think this is so important for the future health of everyone, including myself. Even though I know what to look for when it comes to eating out, there are times when I’m eating that oh so delicious restaurant meal and wonder. . . how much butter did they hide in here to make it taste so good? On the other hand sometimes I just don’t want to know so I can enjoy my indulgent meal in moderation. If I did have the counts I would definitely think twice! But of course labels will be worthless without a foundation of nutrition education, so that consumers can understand the important information presented to them.
"The American Dietetic Association is a strong advocate for policies that will improve the lives of Americans through food and nutrition strategies. There is no goal more important in the current debate over health reform than to have a lasting, positive impact on all Americans' health. Nutrition is at the foundation of health - necessary to be healthy and effective in preventing delaying, offsetting and managing disease. We support policies that facilitate good nutrition, including consumer-tested nutrition information and education and financial support for research.
"We see the inclusion of restaurant menu labeling provisions in health reform appropriate to achieving that goal. People need scientifically valid and understandable nutrition information to make healthful choices in all venues, including restaurants. Providing good, accurate and tested information to a consumer educated in nutrition basics can have a powerful effect on food selection at the point of sale. Over time, the act of millions of people making healthful choices can impact the health of the nation and improve the food supply by consumer demand.”
What do you think?
~Jamaican Jerk Chicken~
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients: (Many of these steps can be done in advance, it’s kind of a long one!)
For the Chicken:
- 1 tsp lime rind
- 1/4-1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp ground allspice
- 1tbsp brown sugar
- 1tbsp finely chopped jalapeno
- 2 tbsp olive or canola oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pound fairly thin so they are not too thick)
Place all the chicken ingredients in a zippy bag and marinate this mixture at least 2 hours in the fridge, turning occasionally.
For the Sweet Potato base: (Do this while the Chicken is marinating)
Stab 2 large yams/sweet potatoes with a fork, spray lightly with oil or pam and wrap in foil. Place in a 375-400 F oven for about 1 hour, depending on the size of them. They will feel very tender when done.
For the Mango Salsa: (Do this while the sweet potatoes are baking, close to eating time)
- 1 tsp finely diced jalapeno (you can add more if you like it hot)
- Zest of one lime
- Juice of one lime
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- ¼ to ½ English cucumber, diced
- 1 mango, diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup non-fat greek yogurt
Mix all the salsa ingredients together and place in fridge until ready to plate.
Time to Grill the Chicken:
Prepare the grill. Grease grill with canola oil to keep the chicken from sticking. For great grill marks place chicken on grill for 3-5 minutes, turn chicken about 35 degrees and cook another 3-5 minutes on the same side. Baste chicken with the extra marinade. Turn chicken over and repeat on the other side. Total cooking time, depending on the thickness, should be about 12-20 minutes. Instant Thermometer should read about 160 in the thickest part. Let chicken rest 5 minutes covered with foil when done.
For the Presentation:
Cut the sweet potato in half widthwise then in half again lengthwise and fan open ½ the potato on the plate, place about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salsa mixture over the sweet potato, slice chicken thinly and fan slices on top. Dollop with more Greek yogurt, lime slice, and sprig of fresh cilantro. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon. It’s a flavor explosion in the mouth, yum!
What’s your favorite recipe or drink of summer?