Grilled Catalina Chicken is made by marinating sliced chicken breasts in Catalina Salad Dressing with some additional seasonings. Next, the chicken is grilled to perfection. They’re moist, saucy, tangy, and a little bit sweet.
GRILLED CATALINA CHICKEN
Last week, I posted my recipe for Catalina Salad Dressing. Whenever I make sauces and or salad dressings, I always try to think of different ways to use them. Many times, chicken is marinated in a salad dressing before being cooked. It’s so good with Italian dressing!
So, I thought, if we can do it with Italian Salad Dressing, why not with Catalina Salad Dressing as well? Since Catalina Salad Dressing already has really great taste and flavour, and it’s made with oil and vinegar, it’s perfect as a marinade!
Since the dressing itself comes together in just a few minutes, this is a great recipe for the household with lots on the go. And, there’s enough sauce left over to drizzle more over the chicken before serving, and to add a side salad. It’s a complete meal all centered around Catalina Salad Dressing!
CHICKEN BREASTS OR THIGHS
For Grilled Catalina Chicken, I would highly recommend either boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts. I love working with chicken thighs. No matter what cooking method I throw at them, they always come out tender and moist. I’m also a fan of dark meat.
You can use breast meat for this recipe too. Because breast meat tends to cook faster than dark meat, it makes it a perfect choice for this fast and easy recipe. In this particular case, I’m using boneless, skinless chicken breast. It’s a healthier and leaner option. To save time, you can use chicken tenders, but they usually cost more money.
Breast meat can dry out rather quickly, but there’s very little chance of that happening here. Because the chicken breasts are cut into half inch slices, and grilled on a high heat, they will cook quite quickly. The sugar in the Catalina Salad Dressing will caramelize and get those nice char marks without overcooking the meat.. There’s nothing worse than dry breast meat!
PREPPING AND MARINATING
When it comes to marinating chicken, some of us think that it’s okay to marinate it all day or even overnight. That might work for some marinades, but not all. Let me explain.
If you’re using a marinade that has acidity in it, then I would not marinate longer than two hours. The acid will react with the enzymes in the chicken and actually toughen it. Since this particular marinade has both vinegar and ketchup, which are highly acidic, it’s two hours maximum!
A marinade consisting of more mellow ingredients, like a mixture of olive oil, garlic, onion, and herbs, etc., would allow for a longer marinating time. The good news is that even though two hours is the max, you only need the chicken to sit in the marinade for fifteen minutes!
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR GRILLING
If you’ve been baking and cooking for some time, I’m sure you already know that pre-heating is key! Just like when you preheat your oven when you bake a cake, preheating a grill is vitally important for several reasons, but there are two reason I’ll discuss now.
First, preheating a grill will prevent the chicken from sticking. When the grill is hot, and the chicken is placed on it, it will instantly begin to sear the meat. This sear not only adds flavour and looks pretty, it also prevents the chicken from sticking.
Secondly, preheating the grill will pretty much eliminate the need to overcook! If you place the chicken on a cold grill and turn on the heat, before the grill is hot, the chicken has already starting to cook from the building heat on the grill. This will overcook the chicken and make it dry and not very appealing. Nobody wants dried out, overcooked chicken breast meat!
INGREDIENTS YOU WILL NEED:
- Chicken Breasts – Boneless, skinless, and cut into 1/2 inch slices. You can save yourself some time buy using chicken tenders. I used breasts, because they are a better bargain.
- Catalina Salad Dressing – Just 1/2 a cup for the marinade, but it’s always good to have a little extra to drizzle over the chicken before serving.
- Orange Marmalade – Store bought or homemade, the marmalade adds a great citrus flavour and the sweetness helps with caramelization.
- Seasonings – Garlic powder, salt, and ground black pepper.
- Dried Onion Flakes – I like the extra onion flavour, but you can leave this out if you don’t have any.
- Non-Stick Cooking Spray – This is only needed to coat the grill and prevent the chicken from sticking.
HOW TO MAKE GRILLED CATALINA CHICKEN:
Start by preparing the chicken. Two pounds of chicken breast is equal to 2-3 breasts of fair size. It doesn’t need to be an exact measurement. If the breasts are thick, lay them on their side and cut through the elongated breast meat. Then, lay the cutlets flat and slice into half inch slices across the grain. Place the chicken into a bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the Catalina Salad Dressing, orange marmalade, garlic powder, onion flakes, salt, and ground black pepper. Pour over the chicken and toss well to coat.
Cover bowl and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes. If preparing in advance, place chicken in fridge for a maximum of two hours.
Preheat grill to 350 degrees. Once fully heated, coat grill with non-stick cooking spray. Lay marinated chicken pieces flat on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from heat. Plate and garnish.
Grilled Catalina Chicken
- 2 pounds chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 1/2 cup Catalina Salad Dressing
- 1/2 cup orange marmalade
- 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- non-stick cooking spray
- Start by preparing the chicken. If the breasts are thick, lay them on their side and cut through the elongated breast meat. Then, lay the cutlets flat and slice into half inch slices across the grain. Place the chicken into a bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk together the Catalina Salad Dressing, range marmalade, garlic powder, onion flakes, salt, and ground black pepper. Pour over the chicken and toss well to coat.
- Cover bowl and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes. If preparing in advance, place chicken in fridge for a maximum of two hours.
- Preheat grill to 350 degrees.
- Once fully heated, coat grill with non-stick cooking spray. Lay marinated chicken pieces flat on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Discard the unused marinade.
- Remove from heat. Plate and garnish.