I’d like to introduce you to Pastor Alaska’s favorite new toy – the T-Fal OptiGrill. It’s an indoor, counter-top grill, with Precision Grilling Technology, which detects the quantity, temperature, and thickness of your items and alerts you when it is at each cooking temperature (rare, medium well done, etc.). Since outdoor grilling season in Alaska is extremely short, and those few months are very unpredictable, depending on summer rains or blustery winds, this grill has already been a great addition to our kitchen appliances, allowing us to grill indoors year-round.
When the box containing the OptiGrill arrived for us to try out, Pastor Alaska was quick to open it and fire it up. He kept making remarks from the kitchen, saying, “This thing is awesome,” and “Amazing.” The first thing he tried was a small, spice-rubbed tri-tip. Because the grill cooks on both sides simultaneously, the tri-tip was done in a fraction of the time of traditional grilling. When the grill indicated that the meat was at medium-rare, it really was. I was impressed.
The following week, when I was out of state, he used this appliance to cook nearly every dinner for himself and the kids. He grilled salmon, made fajitas, and even tried putting frozen chicken breasts directly onto the grill (which works!).
Some features I love about it are:
1. My husband loves it and wants to cook more often now because we have it. It would make a fabulous Christmas gift for a man in your life who likes to grill and who enjoys cool technology (check out this OptiGrill review in Good Housekeeping’s “Cool Kitchen Gear for 2013“). Pastor Alaska especially appreciates the Precision Grilling Technology that eliminates the guess-work and trial-and-error involved in achieving the right doneness with all different types of protein.
2. It’s easy to clean. The grilling plates are angled and all the juices run off into a basin below. The grill plates also remove very easily from the appliance and are non-stick and dishwasher safe.
3. It’s fast. Meat cooks faster than traditional grilling and it even cooks frozen meats like frozen burger patties or chicken breasts when I’m in a hurry and didn’t have time to thaw our protein that day.
4. It doesn’t fill my house with smoke like grilling indoors on my stovetop grill pan does.
To try out the OptiGrill myself, I made one of my favorite grilled chicken recipes. You marinate the chicken in lime juice and cilantro. Then, you stuff the chicken with cheddar cheese, jalapeños, and more cilantro (you know how much I love the stuff!). Grill it up until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is all gooey and melted. I enjoy my Cheddar Jalapeño Stuffed Grilled Chicken with a couple of slices of fresh avocado on top.
Disclaimer: T-Fal provided me with an OptiGrill to review at no cost to me. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions expressed are my own.
Cheddar Jalapeño Stuffed Grilled Chicken
Cilantro-lime marinated grilled chicken stuffed with melted cheese and jalapeños. Adapted from [Two Peas & Their Pod|http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/jalapeno-cheddar-grilled-chicken/]
Yields: 4 servings
- 4 chicken breast halves
- For the marinade:
- zest of 1 lime
- 2 limes, juiced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- For the Cheddar Jalapeño Filling:
- 1 cup cheddar or cheddar-jack cheese, finely grated
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Cut a slit into the long side of each chicken breast half, being careful not to cut all the way through, creating a pocket to hold the cheddar jalapeño filling.
In a bowl, mix together the lime zest and juice, salt, pepper, sugar, and cilantro. Add the chicken to the marinade, cover, and refrigerate 1-2 hours.
Preheat your grill to medium high heat (in these photos I used the T-Fal OptiGrill on the chicken setting).
In a bowl, stir together the grated cheese, jalapeño, and cilantro. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and discard the marinade. Open the slits in the chicken and stuff each breast with the cheddar jalapeño filling. Grill the breasts until completely cooked through and until the filling is melted, about 7 minutes per side. Serve.