Moist Dijon-Rosemary Chicken

Many years ago, I read an article which said that the average family ate/cooked the same meals over and over again using a two-week meal rotation.  With the time pressure experienced by dual-income and single-parent families, I’m guessing that’s true more than ever today.

When I was a teenager, I remember a friend mentioning to me that her mom was making ham for dinner that evening.  Since I never knew what my mother was cooking other than on Sunday (big Italian noontime meal) and Wednesday (Prince spaghetti day utilizing the leftover sauce from Sunday), I asked her how she knew her family was having ham that night.  She told me that they had ham every Thursday night.  Then she went on to say that they also had fish every Friday, macaroni and cheese every Saturday, roast beef every Sunday (obviously, the family name didn’t end in a vowel) and pork chops every Monday.  I can’t remember what they had on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but whatever it was it was the same meal for those days—52 weeks a year.  I’m guessing that the ham got ditched for turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

Well, that certainly takes the pain out of meal planning.

Despite my trying more new recipes on a weekly basis than the average bear (I realize some of you young’uns won’t get that reference–sorry, ask your parents), even I make some very repetitive meals during a two-week period.  In fact, Roger and I eat grilled chicken on an almost weekly basis throughout the year.  We almost always marinate it in a Caesar or Italian dressing.  It’s quick and easy if not somewhat boring.

This past weekend, tried and true grilled chicken was on the menu when I received my daily recipe e-mail from Fine Cooking with a recipe entitled “Moist Mustard-Rosemary Chicken for a Crowd.”  Besides the chicken and some salt and pepper, there were only three ingredients—Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and fresh rosemary, all of which I had in my fridge.  I was a little skeptical that something so simple could be very good, but I thought I’d give it a shot.

I halved the original recipe and cut down on the Dijon (just my personal preference).  It went together lickety split, and there was no need to marinate, so it was ready for the grill in just a few minutes.  We ran into a monkey wrench when Roger discovered that the grill was out of gas.  Gah!  Not to worry…we switched gears and broiled the chicken instead with great success, so that’s another cooking option for you in the dead of winter.

Holy moly, was this chicken ever good!  It was very moist as the title promised, and the flavor was just wonderful.  There wasn’t a strong mustard flavor, just a very pleasing undertone and we thought the rosemary flavor was just right.  We both marveled that something so simple could be so delicious.  Simply frantastic, I might add!

My Italian-marinated chicken is going to be sitting on the sidelines for a bit.  There’s a new recipe in town.

One year ago:  Brown Rice Pilaf with Spinach and Pinto Beans

Two years ago:  BLT Hamburger Topping

Moist Dijon-Rosemary Chicken

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  • 1 to 2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3/4 tsp. salt and several twists of pepper mill
  • 1 to 2 tbl. Dijon mustard (I added just 1 tbl.)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary


Heat a gas grill to medium high.

Remove the tenderloins from the chicken breasts for more even cooking; reserve for another use.

Put the chicken in a large bowl and season with 3/4 tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Add the mustard, mayonnaise, and rosemary and mix thoroughly to combine and to coat the chicken well.  Spread the chicken out on the grill, watching the heat carefully; there may be a few flare-ups.  Cover the grill.

Grill the chicken on one side until golden-brown grill marks form, 2 to 3 min.  Rotate the chicken 90 degrees and grill for another 2 to 3 min. (to get a crosshatch of golden grill marks); flip and repeat on the other side, grilling for another 4 to 5 min. (for a total cooking time of 8 to 10 minutes) until cooked through.  The chicken should be firm and golden brown all over.

Arrange on a platter to serve family style.

Fran’s Notes

Obviously, chicken breasts can vary widely in weight which to you newbie cooks means that the cooking time can vary as well.  So watch your cooking time especially if you have thinner chicken breasts.

Source:  A recipe from Fine Cooking

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