My love affair with spices began at a very young age. I started cooking my own breakfasts and simple meals at around 8 or 9 years old. We weren’t just talking about a simple egg, or mixing water into an oatmeal packet. Oh no, not baby Allie. I was whipping up a silky omelets stuffed with cheese and turkey meat, or layering noodles for the perfect cheese encrusted lasagna. I started to play in our limited spice cabinet a little after I started experimenting with Mexican food. I state limited because my own personal spice collection is absolutely bonkers, so I don’t expect the average household to have as much as I do.
Every time I spent time into the kitchen. I would run over to my mother to deliver an omelet and patiently (or not so patiently depending on who you ask) wait for her review. “Do you notice what I did differently this time mom?” She would stare back inquisitively wondering what her 9 year old put in her breakfast. “I added garlic salt and dried basil!” I am pretty sure this is where it began.
The obsession with feeding people and how spices can elevate a dish.
Even a 9 year old’s slightly overcooked omelet can benefit. I was like a mad scientist when I got my hands on spices (still am). A little dash of this, a sprinkle of that, and quite a few missteps as well. Do NOT overdo it on the onion powder, TRUST me. All of those experimental years taught me about my palette, and in turn, different cuisines. On how one spice can completely change the flavor profile, and the ingredient. The importance of salt came afterwards, understanding the science and how it elevates or quiets down its partner spices.
This chicken marinade is a typically Allie recipe that I make at home. Packed full of flavor, perfect for salads, wraps, sandwiches, and anything else your heart desires. While I know there are tons of spices for this marinade, it is completely worth it. Especially after grilling, seriously, you won’t look at your spice cabinet the same. I do however have some tricks in case you are a newbie to excessive spices. The American cuisine tends not to go overboard or even utilize more than salt and pepper in their dishes, unless of course you are talking about Southern/Mexican cuisine, but that is a discussion for the near future.
You can find spices easily in the Mexican grocery aisle, in little 2 oz packets, that range from 99 cents to 2.49 depending on your area. So if you don’t want to buy an entire bottle, you can pick those little packets up! Some stores also allow you to buy in bulk, so never be afraid to try new spices!
This simple Mediterranean flavored recipe could not be easier, just mix the salt and all the spices together, and set aside. Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, and water. Mix the spices into the liquid, then rub the mixture into the chicken and let marinade for 2-3 hours (minimum of one hour). Several hours is preferable. Grill on higher heat, several minutes a side, depending on the thickness and size of the pieces (mine took around 6-7 minutes a side because they were deceptively thick). You want the temperature to reach 160-165, and let them rest.
What to pair/use the chicken with:
Wraps/sandwiches (great with tzatziki sauce)
Rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice
Mediterranean Marinated Grilled Chicken
Author: Allie Brendel
Olive oil, lemon, and a several flavorful spices make this chicken the perfect item to grill (no matter what time of the year).
Makes: Enough marinade for about a pound and a half of chicken.
- 1.5 pounds chicken breast cut into 3 ounce portion sizes
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- Lemon juice from one lemon
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 Tablespoons dried basil
- 1 Tablespoon rosemary (ground, I use a mortar and pestle to break it down in to a powder consistency)
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon dill
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Mix all the spices and salt together set a side. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, and water. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and then rub into chicken and let marinade for at least 1 hour, 2 to 3 hours is recommended.
- Heat a grill to high. Grill on each side this can vary on the thickness, ours took about 6-7 minutes a side. I pulled my chicken off at 160 degrees and let it rest.
- Serve with roasted veggies, in a wrap, or salads. Great for meal prep!