Want to enjoy the holidays more? Seven Loaves Catering to the Rescue!

It’s heeeere! Feel that crisp fall air? See the leaves starting to turn a bit yellow? Yep, here it comes…the holiday season.

holiday norman rockwell thanksgiving

And isn’t that great? It’s a wonderful time of year to gather with friends and family and celebrate.

But let’s admit it, this time of year can throw many of us into a panic. There’s just SO MUCH TO DO!

woman tired housewife isolated on white background

Seven Loaves Catering can take one big part of the preparation off your hands—we can cater your holiday meal or party. It’s easy and affordable to leave the cooking to us, so you can relax and enjoy. Whether it’s a family gathering or a company event, we can help make your celebration easier.

We have a very flexible holiday menu. You can have a full five-course gourmet meal, or you can order an assortment of hors d’oeuvres or party platters. It just depends on what kind of event you’re hosting, and how much of the work you’d like to turn over to us!

Let Seven Loaves Cater Your Holidays

If you’re interested in a holiday meal, we have a wide variety of choices. Start from our list of seven hors d’oeuvres selections and then pick from four delicious salad offerings.

You’ll be able to choose one of four different holiday entrees: citrus herb airline chicken, garlic and mustard-crusted pork tenderloin, herb-crusted beef tenderloin, or slow-roasted prime rib.

holiday menu items

Then to finish it off, we have 11 different side dishes to choose from, optional add-ons, and six different holiday desserts as options.

Seven Loaves Catering Can Cook Your Thanksgiving Meal

holidays bigstock thanksgiving dinner plateIf you’re interested in having us cater your Thanksgiving meal, we offer a traditional turkey feast featuring roasted turkey with three sides: cornbread stuffing and then your choice of two other side dishes: green beans, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, brown sugar sweet potatoes, or maple glazed carrots. The dinner includes fresh cranberry relish, giblet gravy, and Parker House rolls.

If you’d like to add a pie, a honey ham, a fried whole turkey, or sweet tea, we’ll bring that, too.

Are you hosting a cocktail party?

Who doesn’t love a fun holiday cocktail party? If you’re hosting one, you can choose from an assortment of appetizers and platters including antipasto platters, cheese boards with assorted crackers and fresh fruit, vegetable crudité display platters, shrimp cocktail, and more.

Delivery or pick up available

To make things even easier for you, we’ll deliver. We can drop it off, or we can stay and serve. If you need bartenders, we’ll bring them!

We want to make your holiday event as easy as possible for you. Of course, if you prefer, you can pick up your catering at our Lewisville location.

Let Seven Loaves Catering Help You Relax this Holiday Season!

holiday bigstock relaxing by fire

It seems crazy to already be saying this, but the holidays are fast approaching!

For our holiday menu details, minimums, delivery options, and prices, click HERE.

Help yourself relax and enjoy this holiday season by letting Seven Loaves Catering take the worry out of your holiday meal or company event. Order deadline for Thanksgiving is next Friday, November 17th. Christmas catering is based on availability, so book now before we’re booked up!

And let Seven Loaves Catering be the first to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, and a very Merry Christmas!

 

This Weekend: We’re Excited to Serve Dedicated JDRF Volunteers

Chances are high that you know someone affected by Juvenile Diabetes (type 1 diabetes). It’s become a serious health problem in the U.S.

  • Over one million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes, with 5 million Americans diagnosed with new cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes every year
  • Rates of newly diagnosed cases of diabetes are increasing among youth in the United States, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine
  • Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States

Seven Loaves Catering is Helping the Way We Know How!

outdoor catering

Seven Loaves Catering is doing our small part to help the fight against juvenile diabetes.

We were happy to be selected as the official Food and Beverage Sponsor for this year’s Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) benefit walk in Dallas.

The walk is this Saturday morning where we’ll be donating the food and service to feed breakfast to around 300 participants. Seven Loaves Catering will feed 200 volunteers and 100 corporate sponsors in two separate breakfast events before the walk.

We’ll be serving scrambled eggs, bacon, skillet potatoes, biscuits and gravy, and sausage. We’ll also provide participants with coffee, orange juice, and iced tea.

JDRF 5K Dallas Walk

jdrf walk

This year’s JDRF 5K benefit walk in Dallas is Saturday, October 21, at 9:00 am. Walkers will start out at Ericcson North America in Plano. For information about the walk, contact Lori Campbell at lcampbell@jdrf.org or 214 373 9808. If you’d like to sponsor a walker, or get further information on this worthwhile organization, check out JDRF’s website or visit their Facebook page.

JDRF Funds Diabetes Research

jdrf logo 4

JDRF is the leading organization funding type 1 diabetes research. It was founded more than 45 years ago by parents determined to find a cure for their children. Its exclusive focus is on the worldwide effort to stop type 1 diabetes.

Striking children and adults suddenly, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. You cannot prevent it—and there is currently no cure. If you have type 1 diabetes, you must constantly monitor your blood-sugar level, rely on injected or infused insulin, and carefully monitor your eating and activity. It’s a serious and stressful disease to manage.

JDRF works to develop grassroots support, deep scientific and industry knowledge, and academic partnerships to fund research to create a world without type 1 diabetes. They’ve raised more than $2 billion to-date and have helped with the development of life-changing breakthroughs.

The JDRF Walk has one goal: to create a world without type 1 diabetes. We think that’s a pretty awesome goal!

Seven Loaves Catering supports JDRF

JDRF does important work, and Seven Loaves Catering is excited to be awarded the job of the official Food and Beverage Sponsor for this weekend’s walk. Come out and join in or sponsor a walker!

Benefit walks like this raise crucial funds for research. We look forward to the day when a cure is developed to end type 1 diabetes. As the JDRF walk slogan sums up, “JDRF One to None!”

 

How to Win a 5-Course Dinner (and help teachers and students at the same time!)

The Lewisville Education Foundation (LEF) will hold their annual gala this Saturday, September 9th, at the Hilton Garden Inn of Lewisville. The gala is billed as an evening of fun to celebrate education and to benefit the students and teachers of the Lewisville Independent School District (LISD).

Seven Loaves Catering has been chosen to participate in this year’s event where we’ll serve some of our most popular dishes from our hors d’oeuvre menu for around 500 people. The theme is Making Anything Possible─The Magic of Learning. This is our fifth year to cater the gala, and it’s always a good time.

Seven Loaves Catering staff at the 2016 LEF fundraising gala

Lewisville Education Foundation

LEF is dedicated to providing teacher grants and student scholarships within LISD. Since its founding in 1990, LEF has given $3 million to students and teachers to fund expenditures not covered by tax dollars. At the end of 2017 school year, LEF awarded 292 seniors with scholarships totaling over $187,000.

Something we really enjoy at the LEF fundraising gala is having the opportunity to raise money for this worthwhile cause. For the last four years, we have donated a personally-catered dinner for eight as an auction item. We provide the winning bidder a gourmet five-course meal with wine. It comes with tablecloth service by our staff.

Last year’s winner was Joeris Construction and they chose August 29th to enjoy their event. It was a fun night, and we think the Joeris party enjoyed the dinner and the evening.

seven loaves LEF

Our dinner menu for the Joeris dinner:

Salad Course:

Scotch Egg; a soft boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, hand breaded and deep-fried

Napa Valley Salad; mixed greens with dried pears, red onion, goat cheese and toasted walnuts with a sherry vinaigrette dressing

Soup Course:

Heirloom tomato bisque soup; creamy roasted Heirloom tomato soup garnished with Parmesan cheese and served with a Gouda and cheddar grilled sourdough sandwich

Fish Course:

Fresh salmon grilled on a cedar plank and served with tomato jam

Collard greens with sautéed bacon in a cast-iron pot

Entree Course:

Beef tenderloin filet steak served with a maitre d’hôtel butter

Roasted root vegetables with garlic and rosemary

Oven roasted potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes served with chimichurri sauce

Lightly seasoned asparagus, grilled over an open flame

Dessert Course:

Cherry frangipane tart; a frangipane and sweet cherry filling in a sweet pastry crust tart topped with red currant jelly and whipped cream

Good luck to this year’s bidders!

This Saturday night we are donating a catered dining experience again, and the winner will choose a date to enjoy another gourmet dinner cooked and served by Seven Loaves Catering. We’re glad to be able to contribute this to help raise money for LEF─they’re an excellent organization that contributes to our community’s students and teachers.

New this year, gala attendees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite restaurant or caterer. Stop by and see us to enjoy some great food. (Of course, we’d also love your vote!)

If you’re attending, we wish you luck in all of your bids. We look forward to seeing who the winner is for this year’s Seven Loaves’ dinner and to serving them soon!

Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD

Educators from LISD aren’t the only ones we’re serving. We recently fed over 400 teachers at the Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD Educator Appreciation Breakfast on August 16th.

Speakers were Dr. Bobby Burns, Superintendent of CFBISD, and Dr. Thom Chesney, President of Brookhaven College. They presented a conversation on “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” moderated by Jerry Bates of Oncor.

Seven Loaves Catering Loves Serving Educators

Seven Loaves Catering enjoys serving all of our clients, but we especially enjoy serving the local educators in our community. We appreciate all that they do, and we know how important they are to the future!

If you’re at this year’s LEF fundraising gala, please come by and see us!

 

 

 

How to Make Delicious and Easy Meals (help for college students who are new cooks)

It’s a busy time of year!

The kids are back to school, the teachers are back in their classrooms, and lots of college students are moving back to campus. Some of these college students, however, are moving off campus and many of them are facing their own kitchens for the first time ever. That can be a little intimidating!

Seven Loaves college cooking

Seven Loaves is here to help though –we sure don’t want anyone to starve! Or to live on Ramen noodles all year long. (But we are going to give you a recipe with Ramen Noodles!)

Here are a few simple suggestions for some reasonably-healthy, easy-to-make meals for those moving into their first apartments or houses. It’s good to keep things simple for new cooks, so these dishes need minimal shopping and preparation to get started.

First, having some basic things on hand will always make it easier to throw together dinner. Stock your kitchen with some common, go-to spices. You don’t have to have an elaborate spice collection; instead look for spice blends such as Italian seasoning, taco seasoning, Mrs. Dash seasoning blends, Lawrys’s seasoned salt, and/or Montreal steak seasoning just to name a few. Use them in anything you want. For example, Montreal steak seasoning will add flavor to more than just steak.

The following dishes will have you cooking in no time!

Spaghetti

Pick up some hamburger meat that can easily be browned in a skillet, a jar of pasta sauce, and some spaghetti noodles for a simple spaghetti dinner. If you want to jazz it up a little more, chop an onion to add to the meat while browning, and/or a jar of mushrooms.

Or even easier: add the cooked meat over Ramen noodles. And if you want to get even simpler, you can use a precooked hamburger patty and chop it.

Tacos

Seven Loaves tacosThis is another easy dish with ground beef. Pick up taco shells, a bag of already-shredded iceberg lettuce, a bag of shredded cheese, a tomato, and a bottle of taco sauce. You just have to brown the hamburger meat with the taco seasoning we suggested having on hand, chop the tomato, and you’re ready for tacos!

Use all the leftovers within five days to make a taco salad. Add some drained black beans for extra protein.

Hamburgers

Pick up hamburger meat, buns, and your favorite burger toppings. Cheese slices, onion, tomato, pickles, mustard…whatever you like. In our opinion, burgers are best on the grill, but they sure can be cooked on your stovetop as well. Make your burger patties, add a little salt and pepper or one of the blends mentioned above, and fry it up in a skillet with a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil. Toast your bun if you want, or not. Put on your toppings. It really can’t be much easier than that!

Note: It’s always best for beginners to cook over medium heat so you are less likely to burn things!

Chicken dishes

Let’s move on to some easy dinner ideas using chicken. To keep things simple, you can buy precooked chicken for meals. You have several options. First, you can pick up some already-prepared grilled chicken in bags. Or you can use cooked rotisserie-style chicken and pull all the meat off the bone. Also, fully-cooked fajita chicken and fajita beef can be found in the refrigerated section of most super markets and can be used for more than just fajitas.

Fajitas

Using one of the precooked chicken options mentioned above, you can easily make delicious fajitas.

Slice up an onion and a green pepper and saute them together in a little vegetable oil until they’re soft. Warm up some flour tortillas (microwave works fine). Then add warmed-up chicken meat, the cooked onion and green pepper strips, shredded cheese, pico de gallo (can also buy this ready-made) and sour cream. Who doesn’t love fajitas?

Salads

Buy a bag of ready-to-go salad mix. Add some warmed pre-made chicken and your favorite salad dressing.

Soups

Seven Loaves soup

Nothing is better than a hot bowl of soup when the fall weather gets cooler. You can turn almost anything into a soup, and leftovers are perfect for this.

Shoot for these key things: a protein (beef, chicken, sausage, pork, etc.), a starch (potatoes and rice make great options), and vegetables. Carrots, celery and onions are staple items in most any soup. You can also add green beans, peas, canned stewed tomatoes, squash─ or whatever else you like. Toss all this into a pot on the stove, add canned beef stock or chicken stock, and simmer on low for an hour or so. If you’re in a hurry you can microwave or cook on high, but stir frequently to avoid burning.

Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are super easy. If you’re in a hurry, they can even be microwaved. Top with precooked fajita meat, precooked barbecue, chili , or other favorites like butter, sour cream, cheese, and salsa.

Gourmet Ramen

Use any of the precooked meats we’ve discussed, along with a bag of frozen vegetables that you’ve steamed in the microwave, to top Ramen noodles. Amounts aren’t too important, but for the sake of good nutrition try to have 4-6 ounces of protein and a ½ cup of veggies. Add a little Sriracha if you like it spicy.

Amazing grilled cheese

Seven Loaves grilled cheese

Experiment with different pre-sliced cheeses. You can use a couple of different cheeses if you want. To cook, simply assemble the sandwich, butter the outside of each piece of bread, and heat over medium heat in a skillet or toaster oven. (Toaster oven, not a toaster! There’s a difference.) Enjoy with a side salad or a bowl of soup and you’ve got a great meal.

If it sounds good, you can even add some deli turkey or ham for a great hot sandwich melt.

Mac and Cheese

We’ll finish up with an old favorite that everyone seems to love: mac and cheese.

But instead of just grabbing a box at the grocery, you can make an easy from-scratch version. (What is in that bright orange powder in the box, anyway?)

All you need is a package (16 oz.) of macaroni noodles, a can of condensed cheddar cheese soup, 1 cup of milk, and 1 pound of shredded Colby cheese. That’s it!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni.

Place cooked macaroni in a 2 quart casserole dish. Stir in cheese soup and milk until well-combined. Top with shredded Colby and bake 25 to 30 minutes. Yum!

Kick it up a notch: You can also add your favorite meat to your mac and cheese for a change of pace and added protein. We like adding brisket or pulled pork. You can find either of those meats precooked in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

Just get started!

These simple meals will get new cooks started. There are so many ready-to-go ingredients at the grocery today that it’s gotten much easier to make simple dinners.

Congratulations, you’re a cook!

Highland Village Balloon Festival – We’ll Be There!

We hope you’ve been enjoying your summer. For us, this means we hope you’ve been grilling and relaxing with friends and family.

There are still summer grilling evenings ahead! Check out this blog post we published earlier this summer for grilling tips for chicken and this one for tips on grilling the perfect steak.

We put away our own cooking tools for awhile in July and took a family trip to Big Sky, Montana, and Yellowstone National Park. It was crazy and fun. (What else can it be with four cars and 16 people?)

Now we’re back home, refreshed, and ready to get back at it!

30th Annual Highland Village Balloon Festival

One of the next big public events we’ll be doing is the 30th Annual Highland Village Balloon Festival on August 18-19 (the festival will continue for part of August 20th) at Unity Park.

This will be Seven Loaves’ third year to have a food booth at the festival. We’ll be serving brisket tacos, Mexican street corn, bratwursts, turkey legs, sausage on a stick, and drinks.

Besides food, the festival features fun for the entire family with a kid’s zone, live music, a car show, arts and crafts booths, and of course the beautiful, iconic hot air balloons. Entry to the festival is free. A $5 donation is requested for parking.

The Highland Village Lions Club hosts the annual Balloon Festival. Their motto is, “We want everyone to see a better tomorrow,” and their principle service project is detecting vision and hearing problems in local pre-school children.

Parking donations collected at the Balloon Festival help the Highland Village Lions Club screen children at day care facilities around Lewisville, Flower Mound, Highland Village and surrounding cities. The Highland Village Lions Club have completed five years of screening children, serving over 4000 local children last year alone. Proceeds raised through the success of the Balloon Festival has enabled them to purchase state-of-the-art vision and hearing equipment to detect early warning signs of problems.

The annual Highland Village Balloon Festival is a great cause and a lot of family fun. We’re happy to be a part of it again. Come by and see us!

Vote for Seven Loaves as Best Caterer in Denton County

One more thing!

We’re excited to be nominated again for Denton County’s Best Caterer. We would love to have your vote—it takes just a minute! Voting closes August 23rd.

Please click the link below and scroll down to item #9 for Best Catering in Denton County . We really appreciate your support!

http://bestofdentoncounty.com/voting/restaurant-and-food-service-voting/

Come See the Hot Air Balloons and Seven Loaves

 

Enjoy these last remaining days of summer, and please come by to say hi at the 30th Annual Highland Village Balloon Festival on August 18 – 19.

 

How to Grill the Perfect Steak: Expert Tips and Secrets!

We told you in our last post about grilling no-fail, delicious chicken that we wouldn’t leave out the red-meat lovers, so this one’s for you!

Seven Loaves grilled steak

Just in time for your 4th of July celebrations, we’re going to share our tried-and-true tips for cooking a perfectly grilled steak.

Gas vs. Charcoal

Many people have moved to gas grilling because of the convenience, but there’s little argument that using charcoal produces a more flavorful meat. We all love convenience, but what if you could have hot coals in the same amount of time that it takes to heat up a gas grill? You can by using a charcoal chimney!  We use one and we love it. If you want to learn more about it, you can read about it here.

Seven Loaves grilling tips

The charcoal chimney gets started by using either lighter cubes or newspaper. Since newspaper can sometimes be hard to get your hands on right when you need it, you can buy unprinted newspaper in bulk at your local moving supply store (like U-Haul). Keep a box of it in your garage, and you’ll always have it on hand to get your fire started.

Gauging the Temperature of the Grill

Grilling at the right heat level is probably more important than any other aspect of grilling. You can’t expect great results if you just grill everything at the same temperature.

If your grill has a thermometer in the lid, then it’s easier to be sure you’re cooking at the correct heat level. If you’re using a charcoal grill, however, it may not have a thermometer. Then you can use the old-school hand test instead.

Seven Loaves grilling steak

To use the hand test, extend your palm over the charcoal at a safe distance. Imagine a soda can standing over the cooking grate. If your palm was resting on the top of the can, it would be about five inches from the cooking grate─just where you should measure the heat of the charcoal.

Always pull your hand away from the heat BEFORE it hurts.
And be sure that nothing flammable, such as a sleeve, is dangling from your arm!

  • If you need to pull your hand away after 2 to 4 seconds, the heat is high
  • If you need to pull your hand away after 5 to 7 seconds, the heat is medium
  • If you need to pull your hand away after 8 to 10 seconds, the heat is low

Grilling Classes

We’re going to share tips here, but we also want to let you know that we occasionally host grilling classes. We not only demonstrate our tips for grilling success, but everyone has a lot of fun, too.

We provide the instruction and drinks, and those attending get to sample a variety of food from the grill as we cook. To keep an eye out for future grilling classes, “like” our Facebook page or fill out your contact information. Just put grilling classes in the box for event description.

In the meantime, we’re going to share our tips on grilling the perfect steak. It all starts with a good cut of meat…

Perfectly grilled steak

Seven Loaves grilled steak

To grill the perfect steak, you only need three ingredients: a good cut of steak, a small amount of oil, and your seasoning.

Steak cuts we recommend for grilling:

Boneless rib-eye, 1.25 to 1.5 inches thick, about 12 ounces each
New York Strip steaks, 1.25 to 1.5 inches thick, about 12 ounces each
Filet mignons, trimmed, about 8 to 10 ounces each

For oil, you’ll need 2 tablespoons canola or extra-virgin olive oil (per every four steaks)

Lastly, you’ll need your favorite steak seasoning or seasoned salt.

What we recommend for steak seasoning

Over the years we’ve developed our own house blend seasoning, but you can make a delicious, simple blend on your own. We recommend one of the following:

  • Equal parts of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt + Mrs. Dash Seasoning
  • Equal parts Lawry’s Seasoned Salt + Montreal Steak Seasoning

Apply seasoning liberally before grilling the meat. We recommend using about twice as much seasoning blend as you would if you were using just salt alone.

Steps for grilling the perfect steak:

About 20 minutes before grilling, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let sit, covered, at room temperature.

Heat the grill to high.

Brush the steaks on both sides with oil and season liberally with your steak seasoning.

Place the steaks on the grill and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Turn the steaks over once, and continue to grill until they reach the perfect amount of doneness. (What that means is up to you!)

  • Cook about another 3 to 5 minutes for medium rare (an internal temperature of 135 degrees)
  • Cook about another 5 to 7 minutes for medium (an internal temperature of 140 degrees)
  • Cook about another 8 to 10 minutes for medium well (an internal temperature of 150 degrees)

Transfer the steaks to a platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 5 minutes before serving or slicing.

Have fun grilling

The most important thing is to just enjoy working on your grill skills! Attack your outdoor grilling as a fun experiment, not a chore. Most things in life that require skill don’t come naturally, so cut yourself some slack and be ready for trial and error. Take notes on what you do so you can make adjustments or do the same things next time, depending on the outcome.

And if you’re worried about ruining dinner, then just keep a package of good ol’ tube steaks (hotdogs) on hand as a backup!

Have a safe and happy July 4th!

 

 

9 Tips for Grilling Perfect No-Fail Chicken (Plus a Favorite Recipe!)

Seven Loaves grilling tips

Many guys dream of mastering the perfect steak on the grill. But more and more, we see the ladies tackling the grill and sometimes they just want a well-cooked, flavorful piece of chicken. And guys, let’s face it. Sometimes you simply need to whip out a weeknight dinner, so learning how to master chicken that’s juicy and tasty, rather than dry and bland, is important.

Red meat lovers─you’re next!

Don’t worry─we’ll get to the red meat! Watch for our next blog post (soon) on grilling the perfect steak.

In the meantime, here are 9 tips for grilling delicious, no-fail chicken:

1) Start with the right cut of chicken

Seven Loaves grilling tips Some pieces of chicken take longer to grill than others, so if time is a factor, you’ll have to choose your chicken pieces accordingly. You’ll need more time for thicker pieces or bone-in breasts. If time is limited, choose boneless breasts or cut boneless chicken into small pieces and thread onto a skewer.

Skewer tips:

If you use wooden or bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 20-30 minutes before using. Skewer meat and veggies from end to end leaving no skewer exposed. (If necessary, buy shorter skewers or trim off excess skewer with kitchen shears.) Following these tips will keep the skewers from catching on fire.

2) Pound boneless chicken breasts before cooking

The uneven shape of boneless, skinless chicken breasts makes them difficult to grill. Take just a few minutes to pound the thicker part of the breast so that it’s thinner. This helps in two ways─you’ll shorten cooking time and the meat will cook more evenly.

3) Add flavor to the chicken before grilling

Seven Loaves grilling tips

Take a little bit more time to add some flavor to the meat before grilling. It can be a brine, a rub, or a marinade. Something simple will do the trick─don’t worry about needing anything complicated. Adding a little flavor to the meat before cooking has several benefits.

First, you won’t have as much basting work to do during grilling. Plus, the flavor of the grilled chicken will be better. Another plus: when you don’t have to do as much basting work, you have more time to enjoy one of the best parts of grilling─kicking back with a cold drink and relaxing while dinner cooks.

4) Prep the grill

For the grill to cook well, it needs to be maintained, cleaned, and prepped. Before starting to cook, make sure you have enough fuel and that you have clean grill grates. Right before putting the chicken on, rub a little oil on the preheated grates to keep it from sticking.

Use long tongs to add oil to your grill plates. Then use either several layers of heavy-duty paper towels or an old kitchen rag saturated with vegetable oil. We recommend that once the grill is heated, your turn the burners off while oiling to avoid a flare up. (If you use vegetable spray instead, you absolutely MUST turn the burners off!) Don’t forget to reignite the grill once the grates are oiled!

5) Stay away from high heat

Unlike steak or burgers, where you want a fairly high heat to get a good sear on the outside, chicken needs to stay away from high heat. You want to cook chicken thoroughly, but without the skin burning. This works best over medium, indirect heat.

If you’re using a charcoal grill, build a two-level fire or put coals on only half of the grill. If you’re using a gas grill, keep the heat on medium.

6) Close the lid!

Seven Loaves grilling tipsOne of the biggest mistakes that novice grillers make is to leave the grill open. This not only makes cooking time longer, but you’re unnecessarily losing a lot of heat and fuel. A covered grill creates a sealed, oven-like environment where the heat surrounds your food on all sides. This is especially helpful when you’re cooking chicken because, unlike steak or burgers, chicken must be cooked thoroughly.

7) Avoid cross-contamination

You have to be careful not to get cross-contamination when handling chicken. Anything that touches raw chicken (including your hands!) needs to be washed with hot, soapy water. Never use a platter to carry raw chicken out to the grill and then put the cooked chicken back on the same platter. At least not without a good hot, soapy wash in between!

8) Baste often, but not until the end

It’s delicious when sauce glazes grilled chicken and caramelizes onto it. But wait to brush on the sauce until the end of cooking or it will burn. Don’t start basting until about five to seven minutes before the chicken is done. Then baste all over, turning the chicken a few times. That way each layer has time to cook and stick to the chicken.

9) Use a meat thermometer

Chicken needs to be cooked thoroughly to be safe. Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thickest piece of chicken and make sure that it reaches a temperature of 165 degrees. Also be certain that the thermometer is not resting on a chicken bone─this gives a false reading.

If you don’t have a thermometer (we strongly suggest that you get one!) cut into a thick part of the chicken and make sure the juices run clear.

A family favorite

We found this recipe from Betty Crocker years ago, and it’s been one of our family’s favorite summer chicken recipes ever since. This recipe calls for boneless breasts, but you can certainly use thighs or leg quarters. Give it a try─we think you’ll love it!

Grilled Chicken with Chipotle-Peach Glaze

Seven Loaves chicken recipe

Ingredients

1/2 cup peach preserves
1/4 cup lime juice
1 canned chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, seeded, chopped*
1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from can of chiles)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 1/2 lb) SAVE $
1 teaspoon garlic-pepper blend
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 peaches, cut in half and pitted, if desired
Cilantro sprigs

*Please note: this is ONE pepper, not one whole can. You can always raise the heat by adding more peppers or by not seeding, if you want it hotter.

Steps

Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium. In 1-quart saucepan, mix preserves, lime juice, chile pepper, and adobo sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until preserves are melted. Stir in chopped cilantro; set aside.

Sprinkle chicken with garlic-pepper blend, cumin and salt.

Place chicken on grill. Cover grill; cook over medium heat 15 to 20 minutes. During the last few minutes, turn a few times while brushing with the preserves mixture. Cook until juice of chicken is clear and when center of thickest part reaches 165 degrees.

Add peach halves to grill for last 2 to 3 minutes of grilling, just until heated.

Heat any remaining preserves mixture to boiling; boil and stir for one minute.

Serve cooked sauce with chicken and peaches. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Happy grilling!

And don’t forget─we’re not leaving out the red-meat lovers! Watch for our next post soon on grilling the perfect steak.