Tuscan Grilled Lemon Chicken with Vegetables is a favorite easy and healthy midweek dinner, all year long.
Even during the winter months. In fact, when January comes around, I’m craving everything citrus I can find. This Grilled Lemon Chicken fits the bill, perfectly. I use my indoor grill, either my cast iron stove top grill or my Cuisinart Griddler (affiliate link). That Griddler is one of my favorite kitchen tools! A gift from my parents, it’s in use all the time at my house.
While marinading your grilled meats and veggies might take a bit of time, a bit of planning, the health benefits are worth the extra time. WebMD says the following are four ways marinades become magic in your kitchen.
Four Reasons to Marinade Meat
1. They add flavor. The acid ingredient, as well as herbs, spices, and flavored oils (things like sesame oil, mustard, honey, soy sauce, citrus zest, catsup, and molasses) add zest to your meat.
2. They add moisture. A small amount of oil in a marinade can help add moisture to the meat. Other ingredients that add moisture include buttermilk, yogurt, and coconut milk.
3. They help tenderize. Acidic ingredients in marinades can help tenderize the proteins on the surface of the meat. But dairy products — like buttermilk and yogurt — are the only ingredients that seem to tenderize meat all the way through while keeping its texture mostly the same (not mushy).
4. They reduce the production of potentially cancer-causing compounds in grilled meat. Marinating meats before grilling them may reduce the amount of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that can form on meat exposed to high cooking temperatures. Studies have shown that in some cases, even briefly marinating foods can reduce HCAs by as much as 92% to 99%, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). Scientists aren’t sure exactly what causes this: A marinade may act as a barrier, or the protective powers may lie in its ingredients. “Vinegar, citrus juice, herbs, spices, and olive oil all seem to contribute to the prevention of HCA formation,” notes the AICR. (You can further reduce HCA formation by flipping your meat frequently, thus speeding up the cooking process).