Laugh, Social Sundays

Social Sundays – Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Compound Butter, Green Chile Polenta Bake, and Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake!

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Yes, it’s Social Sundays time and boy do I have a menu for you.  I am sending you this a day early because some of these recipes need a little time in the refrigerator before you can enjoy them.  Grilling season is still upon us, so let’s take advantage of this outdoor fun and cook up some delicious chicken.  I have to be honest, chicken is not always my first choice because more often than not, it tends to get overcooked.  However, I have discovered a few key tricks to creating moist and juicy chicken and I wanted to share them with you.

Marinating chicken is essential before cooking and in my recipe for Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Compound Butter, it starts with a basil shallot paste.  After grilling, I top each breast with a pat of lemon basil butter for extra herbal flavor.  The butter melts into the chicken like a popsicle on a sidewalk in the middle of summer.  Don’t forget to first, marinate the chicken, then make the Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake, followed by the Green Chile Polenta Bake.

For the side dish this week I created a Green Chile Polenta Bake with just enough heat to make you sit up and take notice.  I had a similar dish at a friend’s house over the summer and fell in love with the creamy corn texture, along with the mild chilies.  I added a minced jalapeno to increase the spice a little and to add a nice Mexican flair. This dish pairs nicely with the grilled chicken and on that note, I bet it would make a great side dish at Thanksgiving too.

For dessert – cheesecake lovers unite!  This Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake will make your knees shake, it’s that good. If you don’t know me by now, my family members are true cheesecake aficionados – we bake them, eat them and take great pride in our cheesecakes.  This recipe is no exception and I think this is one of summer’s best treats.

Enjoy your Social Sundays get-together and live.love.laugh.food!  Keep me posted @genamariebell on Instagram or leave a comment on my blog!

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust

1 package graham crackers

1/4 cup sugar

6 tablespoon butter, melted

pinch of salt

Cheesecake

32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup sugar

5 large eggs

1/4 cup all purpose flour

juice of 1/2 lemon

zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon real lemon extract

1/4 cup half & half

Blueberry Topping

3 cups fresh blueberries

1/2 cup sugar

juice of 1/2 lemon

(Serves 8-12)

To Prepare:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  In a food processor, add the graham crackers, sugar, melted butter and salt.  Process until fine crumbs and dump into a 9-inch springform pan and press crumbs into the bottom of the pan.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, remove and let cool for 10 minutes.  Cover the bottom of the pan in foil and place in a large roasting pan.

2.  In the same food processor, add the cream cheese and sugar, process for 1 minute.  Then, add the eggs, flour, lemon juice, zest, extract and half & half.  Puree until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Pour over crust and smooth out on top.  Pour hot water around the perimeter of the foil covered pan and place in the oven to bake for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven and lift cheesecake out of water and place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

3.  While the cheesecake is cooling, make the topping by adding the blueberries, sugar and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan and heat until simmering.  Cook the blueberries until the liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Squeeze in the lemon juice, stir.  Remove from heat and pour topping into bowl and let cool to room temperature. When cooled, pour blueberries over the top of cheesecake and wrap in plastic.  Chill the entire cheesecake, for at least 4 hours, or best if overnight.  Slice and serve, Enjoy!


Green Chile Polenta Bake

Ingredients

4 cups of whole milk

2 cups of chicken broth, or water

1 1/2 cups of good cornmeal or polenta, not instant polenta

3 ears fresh corn, cut off the cob or 3 cups frozen corn, defrosted

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2/3 cup parmesan cheese

14 ounces (2 cans) whole green chilies, drained

2 cups grated pepper jack cheese

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/3 cup heavy cream

(Serves 8-12)

To Prepare:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Butter a 3-quart casserole dish.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the milk and chicken broth, cook until simmering.  Whisk in the cornmeal or polenta and continue to whisk and cook for 8-10 minutes.  Add in the corn, garlic, jalapeno and salt – stir to combine. Continue to cook the cornmeal for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese.


2.  Pour half the polenta mixture into the prepared dish.  Layer half the whole green chilies, cheese and cilantro on top.  Drizzle half the cream over the top and repeat with another layer of polenta, chilies, cheese and cilantro.  Top with heavy cream and place on a sheet pan to bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until top is golden brown.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Compound Butter

Ingredients

4 large chicken breasts bone-in with skin, cut in half

Marinade

1 shallot

5 sprigs basil

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Lemon Basil Compound Butter

1 stick butter, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon salt

zest of 1 lemon

3 sprigs of basil, leaves removed

(Serves 8)

To Prepare:

1. Place all the marinade ingredients into a food processor and puree.  Pour marinade into a large casserole dish, and toss chicken to coat on all sides.  Cover dish with plastic wrap and marinate for at least 6 hours, better if overnight.

2.  Place all the compound butter ingredients into a large bowl or stand mixer and mix on low until combined.  Spoon onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll up.  Twist ends to seal and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.

3.  When ready to grill, preheat grill to 375 with half the burners on medium heat and the other side on low heat.  Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels.  Oil grates of grill and place chicken on the medium heat side for 10 minutes, checking to make sure it is not cooking too fast.  Flip over and cook the other side for 10 minutes.  Move chicken to the low side of grill and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes more, depending upon the size of chicken.  Remove chicken and serve with side dishes.  Enjoy!

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