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Friday, July 29, 2011

Photo Friday - Wish You Were Here

Actually, I wish I was here....  :)

Don't forget to stop by Fire Day Friday at Our Krazy Kitchen and check out this delicious little number:

Have a great weekend everyone!

One Year Ago:  Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chorizo Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise

So I had this idea in my head to make chorizo burgers of some kind for a few weeks now.  Once I finally had all the ingredients in front of me, it was really just a matter of choice:  Do I make big ol' burgers out of these, are do I go for the more bite size fun sliders?  After talking to Chris, the decision was easily made - sliders it would be.

Now our sliders were simple, a small slice of tomato, lettuce, a little cheese.  But, the piéce de résistance was the chipotle mayo.  It complemented the spice of the chorizo extremely well.  It was almost as if they were born to be together!

I like to use Hawaiian sweet bread rolls for our sliders, but you can use your favorite slider roll, it's not going to matter, you just need to make these.  There, I said it :)

Chorizo Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
Printable Recipe 
3/4 lb pork chorizo
1/2 lb ground pork
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon chipotle puree
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
sliced tomato
slider buns

In a large bowl, mix together the chorizo and ground pork until very well combined.  From small patties - I made about 15 patties, approximately 3-inches in diameter.  No need to season these, the chorizo has plenty of flavor, trust me.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, chipotle puree, and lime juice.  Set aside.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Place chorizo patties directly over the fire and grill about 5-6 minutes per side.  Top with cheese and grill until cheese is melted.  Remove from grill and allow to rest for 4 minutes.  Build your slider by slathering both sides of the buns with the chipotle may, top with slider, lettuce, and tomato.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Lemon Dill Tilapia

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jalapeno Beef Kabobs with Roasted Garlic Aioli

For some reason, with all the grilling I do, I have not posted a recipe for kabobs yet.  A year and a half of blogging and no kabobs... I think that might actually be sacrilegious :)

I believe this is a great kabob recipe to start with.  I mean jalapeno and beef - how can you go wrong??  Add a little roasted garlic aioli and ... well... need I say more?

I probably should say more, but really... don't the pictures just speak for themselves?  The steak is marinated in a jalapeno hot sauce and beer and then is laced on skewers with red pepper, onion, and of course, jalapenos!  They are actually fantastic just like that, but you know me and sauces... the aioli was just a given :)

Jalapeno Beef Kabobs with Roasted Garlic Aioli
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
Printable Recipe 
1/4 cup jalapeno hot sauce (I used Arizona Gunslinger Green Jalapeno Hot Sauce)
1/2 cup beer
1 lb top sirloin, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 zucchini, cut lengthwise, then into 1 in chunks
1 large red bell pepper, cut into chunks
3-4 jalapenos, cut into chunks
1/2 sweet onion, cut into chunks
olive oil
salt and pepper
wooden skewers - soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
For the aioli -
4 cloves of garlic, skin on, wrapped in foil, drizzled with olive oil
5 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Mix together the jalapeno hot sauce and the beer.  Place the cut up steak in a resealable bag and pour the marinade over it.  Seal bag and place in refrigerator for 4 hours.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Place the foil wrapped garlic on the grill and allow to "roast" for 8-10 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.  Squeeze cooled garlic from skins and place in food processor.  Add mayonnaise, lemon juice, and Dijon.  Pulse until well blended.  Place in serving bowl and set aside.

Remove the steak from the marinade and thread onto the water soaked skewers, alternating in the veggies.  I left the zucchini on a separate skewer as I wanted to cook it for less time.  You can do whichever you way choose.  Place directly over the fire and allow to grill about 8 minutes.  Flip/rotate the skewers and allow to grill another 8 minutes.  Carefully remove from grill.  Serve over rice with roasted garlic aioli and enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Strawberry Ice Cream

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Potatoes with Lima Bean Gravy

I know what some of you might be thinking... lima bean gravy?  Geez, Jenn, we've never even seen a lima bean hit your plate before, what gives?  Well, let me tell you what gives... it's called a challenge.  That's right my loyal readers, this blogger was challenged.  And, not being one to back down from a challenge (no matter how unappealing it might sound at first) I accepted.

So, what was the challenge?  Lima beans, of course.  I'm not a fan of lima beans.  Never have been, never will be (or will I be???).  But, my friend Stephen (The Obsessive Chef), enjoys them - he even stews them with jalapenos!  Stephen promised me that he could get me to eat lima beans and enjoy them.  I told him, he was crazy... well, maybe I didn't actually tell him, but I thought it, nonetheless.  How in the world could he get me to actually enjoy lima beans?  After many emails back and forth, he asked that if he came up with a way that he believed I would be able to enjoy them, would I be willing to at least try it.  How could I say no?

The great thing about Stephen was that he was willing to try something that he always told me he was not that incredibly fond of - tilapia.  To him, it was always mushy, and he was not into "floppia" tilapia :)  After we both agreed on a recipe, the challenge was set.

I know you must be on the edge of your seat at this point.  The big question being:  Did Stephen create a dish that made me a fan of lima beans?  If you go by just the gravy, no, I'm still not a huge fan.. it still had the lima bean flavor I do not enjoy.  BUT... added with the potatoes it wasn't that bad.  Would I make this dish again... unfortunately not.. BUT, am I glad that I tried it at least?  Absolutely!  I could not, in good conscience encourage everyone to try something new, if I did not lead by example.

Thanks for the challenge Stephen!

Potatoes with Lima Bean Gravy
Slightly adapted from Stephen, The Obsessive Chef
- Serves 2 -
Printable Recipe 
1/2 lb small baby red potatoes, halved
7 oz lima beans (drained)
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (room temperature)
3 Tablespoons chicken broth
half a pint cream
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1-2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Blanch the potatoes in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Drain.  Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the drained potatoes and cook until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add the lima beans to the same pan with chicken broth and a little salt and pepper.  Allow to simmer for 8 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a food processor along with the cream, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese.  Pulse until pureed.  Place the potatoes and lima bean gravy back in the pan and reheat, stirring to combine everything.  Taste for seasoning.  Serve warm and enjoy! 

One Year Ago:  Pork Paillards

Monday, July 25, 2011

Smoked Pepper Tilapia

Now don't run away.. just because the name of the recipe starts off with smoked, does not mean that you have to have a smoker to make this.... so stay, sit back... find out what this fish is really all about :)

Besides the fact that I over cook the fish just a tiny, tiny bit - In my want to make sure it was cooked, I went a little too far - it was still delicious!  Spicy and smokey - it was .. wait, I already said delicious, so I'm going to go with wonderful!  The only thing this was missing was a little LEMON AIOLI.  That would have given it a nice little zing while cooling down the spice just a bit.

My method of cooking this fish was on the grill, but don't worry, you can easily do this in the oven or even in a frying pan on the stove top.  If you bake it, I would recommend 375-400 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes.  Just make sure the fish flakes easily with a fork when it's done.

Smoked Pepper Tilapia
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
- Serves 2 -
Printable Recipe 
2 large Tilapia fillets
1 1/2 Tablespoons chipotle puree
1/2 red sweet potato, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large garlic clove, quartered
1/4 teaspoon salt
lemon aioli (optional)

In a blender or food processor, add all of the ingredients EXCEPT the tilapia.  Cover and pulse until pureed.  Rinse the fish and place in a shallow dish.  Pour the marinade over the fish, cover, and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to one hour.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Spray a grill sheet with non-stick cooking spray and place on the heated grill.  Shake off any excess marinade from the fish and place on prepared grill sheet.  Cover the grill and allow to grill for 15 minutes, turning the grill sheet at least once, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  Carefully remove from grill.  Serve with lemon aioli if desired.  Enjoy!

(Nutritional facts per serving (1 fillet): 199 calories, 4g fat, 55mg cholesterol, 284mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate, 36g protein)

One Year Ago:  Grilled Parmesan Corn on the Cob

Friday, July 22, 2011

Spice Rubbed Ribs with Chipotle-Honey Glaze

I think I have finally perfected the art of grilling ribs.  I don't normally toot my own horn (TOOT TOOT!) but, these ribs were probably the best I have made since I started grilling.  Seriously.  Best ever.  There I said it.

Alright, I didn't create the recipe, but I did execute it superbly, if I do say so myself. These ribs were incredibly flavorful and the meat pulled off of the bone perfectly - and I do mean perfectly.  You see, Chris and I were watching a barbecue competition of some kind on the Food Network and one of the judges said that the sign of a really good rib is that the meat doesn't just fall of the bone, but when you bite on it, the meat pulls smoothly away from the bone, leaving the bone fairly clean.  THAT is what happened with these ribs.

I don't know what else to say about them other than ... they were A-MAZE-ING!!!

Spice Rubbed Ribs with Chipotle-Honey Glaze
Adapted from Bobby Flay
Printable Recipe 
2 Tablespoons ancho chili powder
1 Tablespoon Spanish paprika
1 Tablespoon pepper
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Aleppo peppers (can substitute red pepper flakes)
1 rack baby back or pork back ribs
1/2 cup honey
2 Tablespoons chipotle puree (to make puree, place whole can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce into food processor and pulse until pureed)

In a small bowl, mix the first 9 ingredients together until well combined.  Rinse of the ribs and pat dry.  Rub the mixture all over both sides of the ribs, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for 6 hours.

When ribs are ready to grill, preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Mix together the honey and the chipotle puree (taste to make sure you have the right heat and sweet).  Remove the ribs from the plastic wrap and place on a sheet of aluminum foil.  Brush half of the honey mixture on the ribs and wrap them up.  Place over indirect heat on the grill and allow to cook for 1 hour.  Remove the ribs from the foil and place over direct heat for another 15-20 minutes, basting with the remaining glaze in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.  Remove from grill and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.  Enjoy!
One Year Ago:  Grilled Chicken with Yogurt, Hot Pepper, and Garlic

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hoisin Peanut Butter Grilled Chicken

Ok, Ok, I charred the hell out of this chicken.  I didn't mean to.  Honestly.  I blame it on the hoisin peanut butter glaze.  Yea... that's it... the glaze attracted the fire and caused ghastly burns.  Yea, that's what happened.  It just couldn't have been that I broke a big rule when it comes to grilling:  I walked away from the grill and left it unattended.  I know, I slapped my own hands, so no need to send over the rulers!!  The great thing is, it still tasted amazing!!  But still... It sure doesn't make for a good photo. :)

Despite how charred and burned this chicken looks, the final outcome was delicious.  The chicken was moist (thanks to brining of course) and so incredibly flavorful.  Though, I will admit, I am a sucker for anything with hoisin and/or peanut butter in it!

If you really want to see a good picture... something that truly does this chicken justice.. Check out Victor's site - Random Cuisine - plus he gives you a way to bake the chicken, just in case you don't want to make this on the grill.

Hoisin Peanut Butter Grilled Chicken
Adapted from Random Cuisine
- Serves 2 -
Printable Recipe 
1/2 a whole chicken
2 cups water
1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoons Aleppo peppers (or red pepper flakes)
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Sriracha

Mix together the water, salt, sugar, garlic, and Aleppo peppers.  Place the chicken in a resealable bag inside a large bowl.  Pour the brine over the chicken, seal the bag, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Remove chicken from brine and thoroughly rinse under cool water.  Pat dry and place in shallow dish.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the garlic, hoisin, peanut butter, ginger, soy, sesame, lemon juice, and Sriracha.  Reserve half of the sauce.  Pour the other half of the sauce over the chicken and allow to marinate for 4 hours.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees.  Rub oil on the grill grates.  Shake off any access marinade from the chicken and place skin side down over direct heat.  Grill for 8 minutes.  Turn the heat off directly under the chicken, or move to indirect heat, and continue to grill another 10 minutes.  Flip the chicken, baste with 1 Tablespoon of the reserved sauce.  Let the chicken cook another 15-20 minutes or until the chicken reaches a temperature of 160 degrees F in the breast and 180 degrees F in the deep thigh.  Remove from grill and allow to rest 5 minutes.  Serve with any remaining sauce.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Spicy Beef Stir Fry

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Grilled Tilapia with Mustard Chive Sauce

Have you missed my beloved tilapia??  It's been a while since I've posted a recipe for tilapia... Ok, let's not hide the fact that this is really a recipe for the sauce, but come on... I knew you've been longing for a tilapia recipe and I just didn't want to disappoint!! :)

Now this is a sauce that can be made with almost any fish, you don't have to use tilapia.  And, if you don't want to grill the fish, check out the original recipe on how to broil the fish.  Either way, the sauce is tangy and flavorful and brings a nice little something to plain old fish.  Heck you could even use this on pork or chicken :)

Grilled Tilapia with Mustard Chive Sauce
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
- Serves 2-4 -
Printable Recipe 
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoons mayo
2 teaspoons honey
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
4 tilapia fillets
salt and pepper

In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, mayo, honey, mustard, and lemon juice until well combined.  Stir in the chives.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Tear off four squares of aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Rinse the fish and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper and place one piece of fish on each aluminum square.  Spoon 1/2 a tablespoon of the mustard chive sauce over each piece of fish, close the aluminum around the fish.  Place directly over the fire and grill for 12-14 minutes, rotating fish at least once.  Carefully remove from the grill and from the aluminum packets.  Serve with additional mustard chive sauce.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Sweet and Spicy Tilapia

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grilled Pineapple Pound Cake Delight

Can you believe, out of all the grilled recipes I have posted, I have yet to post a grilled dessert?  I know it's hard to believe, but it's absolutely, 100% the truth.

Well, let me tell you, this is was a great dessert to start out with.  Ok, so pound cake isn't the lightest of desserts, but sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and go for it!!  This is simple, sweet, and light.  A perfect end to a great grilled summer meal.

Grilled Pineapple Pound Cake Delight
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
- Serves 1-2 -
Printable Recipe 
2 thick slices of pound cake (store bought or homemade)
butter, room temperature
2 slices of pineapple rings
1-2 Tablespoons slightly melted Nutella (or chocolate sauce/syrup)
Whipped topping or Cool Whip

Preheat your grill to 350 degrees F.  Butter both sides of each piece of pound cake.  Place the pineapple rings over the fire and grill about 5-6 minutes per side.  Place the butter pound cake over the fire and grill about 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown and toasted.  Remove both from grill.

To assemble dessert:  Place the grilled pound cake on a plate and top with pineapple ring.  Drizzle Nutella over top and add a dollop of Cool Whip.  Drizzle more Nutella over top if desired and serve.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Spaghetti with Hot Italian Sausage

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mediterranean Steaks

First, I have to say thank you.  Thank you all so much for your love and support regarding my post on Friday.  I knew it was silly to feel the way I did, but hey, that's just how I am sometimes.  Thank you all for understanding!!  Blogging life doesn't seem so daunting this week... thank you!!

What I loved the most about this steak was the salty goodness the feta cheese brought to it.  It was perfect.  So perfect, this self-proclaimed sauce girl officially declares, no sauce is needed!  Add the buttery richness of the avocado and this steak ranks right up there as one of my top picks.  The original recipe called for only marinating the steaks for 30 minutes.  The only reason you can get away with this is by putting the feta on top of it.  I wanted more flavor in my steaks so I let them sit for 4 hours. You can do whatever you choose if you decide to make this... and you should really decide to make it!!

Mediterranean Steaks
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Printable Recipe 
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb top sirloin steaks
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, sliced

In a small bowl, add the smoked and sweet paprika, brown sugar and oregano.  Slowly stir in the olive oil.  Rub mixture over both sides of the steaks, cover, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees F.  Place the steaks directly over the fire and grill until cooked to your desired doneness, (rare: 125-130F, medium: 130-140F, med well: 150-155F) about 4-8 minutes per side (depending on thickness).  Top with feta cheese in the last 2 minutes of grilling.  Remove steaks from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Top with avocado slices and serve.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Not Quite Heinz 57 Marinade for Steaks

Friday, July 15, 2011

Confession Time ... Again

It is once again confession time here at Jenn's Food Journey.  My confession - I am a bit freaky when it comes to my blog.  I love that I get such great comments and wonderful feed back regarding my blog.  BUT I am afraid that if I don't post every day ... at least every day during the week... that I will start to loose people's attention.  People might stop visiting my website.  I know, it might sound silly to you, but remember, this is my confession.  This is a strange feeling for me because when I first started my blog I swore it was only going to be about sharing recipes.. who cares how many people followed me... who cares how many people commented... what matters is that at least 1 person is inspired to create something fantastic in their kitchen.  And I do still feel that way, but for some reason, this other part of me... this strange please love me part of me... makes me get all crazy and I start to worry about silly little things like less comments! lol

Last weekend I told myself to stop putting so much pressure on myself!!  I mean, you, my loyal readers, don't put any pressure on me, so why should I??  I decided to make a change.  I'm no longer going to concern myself with the "what ifs".  I mean you are either going to follow and enjoy my blog or you aren't.  That's just how life goes :)

Why am I confessing all of this to you?  Well, I have decided that instead of trying to either 1.) write two posts on the Friday's I host Fire Day Friday or 2.) have a guest blogger, who's post I have to tweak and sometimes even retype, I thought maybe I would try something new.  Something that isn't going to take a lot of time to put together, yet something you can still enjoy.  Something like a Friday photo day...or something along those lines.

So, starting two weeks from today, there will be a small change to Jenn's Food Journey - I'll still be leaving a link to a tasty recipe that I'll be showcasing on FDF, but you won't have to worry about reading some long rambling confessions :)

With that said.... Don't forget to check out today's Fire Day Friday post - here's a tease:

By the way.... I really wish I could give you all a great big hug!!  I thank you so much for reading my blog and know that for my true fans, this is not going to be a disappointment at all.... so thank you.  Thank you for all of your love and your support... you guys rock!!!

One Year Ago:  Grilled Mac & Cheese with Sriracha Chicken

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chimichurri Shrimp and Rice Skillet

Since the first time I made chimichurri back in August, (gosh, that feels like a life time ago!!) I have tried numerous times to work chimichurri into our meals, and this, my friends, was probably the best way yet!  The chimichurri gave this standard rice and shrimp some major flavor.

Don't like shrimp?  Not a problem, cut up some chicken, or pork, or even some salmon and use that instead.  It would work just as well as it did with the shrimp.

It's simple, it's light, and it's super tasty!  Enough said.

Chimichurri Shrimp and Rice Skillet
Adapted from Taste of Home
- Serves 4 -
Printable Recipe 
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup tightly packed fresh parsley sprigs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1Tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 lb. large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 1/2 - 3 cups cooked Basmati rice

In a food processor, add the garlic, parsley, olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and process until blended.

In a large skillet, add 1 tsp of olive oil and the onion.  Saute until the onion is just starting to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the bell pepper and saute for 2 minutes.  Add the shrimp and saute until shrimp turns pink and is heated through.  Remove from heat and add cooked rice and the chimichurri sauce.  Toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper if needed.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Sunny Side Orzo

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

My absolute favorite candy in the whole wide world is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  There is just something about peanut butter and chocolate that I have always loved.  I love to savor every last bite of those delicious little cups.  It's probably the one candy that I eat ever so slowly.  I guess you could say that I have a love affair with the candy.  I could probably even be bought, bribed, conned, whatever, with them...    I'm just sayin'

So, when Chris requested peanut butter cup ice cream, who was I to deny him this little bowl of joy??

I didn't want to do the usual vanilla ice cream though, so I made up a little of the fudge sauce from the Simple Fudge Ripple Ice Cream recipe I politely stole borrowed from Jean at Delightful Repast and turned the every day vanilla into a deliciously light chocolate ice cream!  (when I say light, I mean in color, not in calories!!)  Add in little pieces of my all time favorite candy and... well... it's a large little bowl of heaven!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
Printable Recipe 
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 - 1/2 cup fudge sauce (depends on how chocolatey you want your ice cream), homemade or store bought
1 - 8oz bag of mini Reese's peanut butter cups (minus a few that I had to taste first.. just to make sure they were the real thing... you never know), chopped

Combine sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, half and half, and cream in a large bowl or measuring cup (for easy pouring) and mix well.  Cover and chill for at least 3-4 hours.

Pour chilled mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions.  Add the fudge sauce after 15 minutes.  Add the peanut butter cup pieces in the last 5 minutes of churning.  Scoop into a plastic container, seal tightly, and let set in refrigerator for a few hours before serving.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mango Chipotle BBQ Chicken

I could eat this mango chipotle barbecue sauce with a spoon.  That's right... forget the meat, I could spoon it directly into my mouth and be happy.  Probably beyond happy if you want me to be completely honest.

You are not surprised by that statement, are you?

Didn't think so.

What's to say?  It's mango and chipotle pureed with a few other yummy ingredients and its slathered all over grilled chicken.  Enough said.

You can skip the brining process if you want........  but I wouldn't recommend it :)

Mango Chipotle BBQ Chicken
Adapted from Guy Fieri
- serves 2 -
Printable Recipe 
1/2 of a whole chicken
4 cups water
3 Tablespoons kosher salt
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 mango, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1-2 Tablespoons chipotle puree -depending on how hot you want it (to make chipotle puree, all I did was dump a can of chipotles in adobo sauce into a food processor and pulsed until a pureed)
1 1/2 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 large garlic clove, pealed and quartered
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the water, salt, sugar, garlic, and white pepper.  Place the chicken in a resealable bag or large deep bowl.  Pour the brining liquid over it, seal or cover, and allow to brine in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.  Remove the chicken from the brining liquid and thoroughly rinse.

Put the mango, parsley, chipotle, vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, oil, and sugar in a food processor and puree until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in another resealable bag and pour half of the mango mixture over it.  Massage to coat the chicken and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

Preheat your grill to medium-high and oil grill grates.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and put skin side down over direct heat for about 10 minutes.  Flip the chicken and baste the chicken with a little of the reserved sauce.  Allow to grill another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F in the breast and 180 degrees F in the deep thigh.  Serve with any remaining sauce.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Pulled Pork Quesadillas

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shimp Lettuce Wraps with Serrano Mint Sauce

This was actually supposed to be GRILLED shrimp lettuce wraps...but I was thwarted by the weather.  Now, I can grill in almost all elements in the desert.  118? No problem.  45? No problem.  Rain?  No problem.  Winds blowing in so much dust I could barely see the grill from the back door.... Problem.  As you may have guessed, I was planning on making these last week right as that massive dust storm hit us.  I tried to wait it out, but when it hit 8:10pm and it looked as though it was not dwindling at all, I decided to switch gears.  Do I believe these would have been better on the grill?  Of course.  Where they bad?  Absolutely not!!  Honestly, you know what I'm going to say... it was the sauce that made this meal anyway!  I was not that fond of the consistency of the sauce, but the flavor.. OMG ... it was incredible!  It was minty, it was spicy, it was sweet.  Those flavors combined.. well, I'll have to steal a line from Dr. Hook - they'll make your pants want to get up and dance :)  Ok, maybe it will just make you want to get up and dance.. either way, there will be dancing!

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Serrano Mint Sauce
Adapted from Bobby Flay
- serves 2-3 -
Printable Recipe 
36 medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined if necessary
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup fresh mint leaves
2 Serrano chiles, chopped
1 garlic cloves, quartered
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 head green leaf lettuce, leaves separated
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
12 fresh mint leaves (optional)
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)
2 cups cooked rice (preferably a little sticky - I used Basmati)

Place the clean shrimp in a shallow dish.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.

In a blender, add the mint, Serrano, garlic, ginger, sugar, vinegar, and fish sauce.  Pulse until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a non-stick skillet sprayed with a little cooking spray, add the shrimp over medium high heat.  Quickly "stir fry" the shrimp until shrimp is pink and cooked through.  Remove from heat and drain any excess water if necessary.  If you are grilling, place shrimp on skewers that have been soaked in water for at least 30 minutes.  Preheat grill to 375-400.  Place the skewered shrimp directly over the fire until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.

To assemble lettuce wraps:  Lay out a lettuce leaf, top with rice, cucumber, mint (if using), jalapeno (if using), and the shrimp.  Top with Serrano mint sauce and roll the lettuce into a cigar shape.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Friday, July 8, 2011

Asian Meatball Subs with Hoisin Mayonnaise

Hands down, this is one of the best meals we've had in the last month.  I saw the original recipe in one of my Food Network Magazines and knew immediately that I was going to have to make it.

This was one of those meals that I couldn't stop thinking about.  One of those meals where I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into it.  One of those meals that you look at it and go... mmmmmmmmmm!!!  And, thankfully, one of those meals where it was everything I had imagined! (YES!)

I cooked my meatballs on the grill (in a cast iron skillet) but you can easily do this on the stove top or even in the oven.  The key, though, is to not over cook them.  Over cook any meatball and it's going to be dry... dry meatballs are no good, even with a yummy mayonnaise!

Asian Meatball Subs with Hoisin Mayonnaise
Adapted from Food Network
- Serves 2-4 - 
Printable Recipe
1 slice white sandwich bread, crusts removed
1 1/2 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
1 pound ground pork
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
sesame oil
salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons Hoisin
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon Sriracha
1 cup coleslaw mix or a mix of shredded green and purple cabbage
1 large baguette, cut into 4 pieces - split open

Tear the sandwich bread into small pieces and place in a large bowl.  Toss with the milk and soy sauce.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Add the pork, garlic, ginger, egg, cilantro, 1/4 teaspoons sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the bowl with the bread; mix until combined.  Gently form into 26 bite size meatballs and place on a plate or baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 to 4 hours.

Stir the hoisin sauce, mayonnaise, lime juice, Sriracha, and 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil in a medium bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In another bowl, toss the coleslaw mix or cabbage with 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Preheat your grill to 350 degrees F.  Place a cast iron skillet over the fire, add a small amount of oil.  Place the meatballs in the skillet and sear for about 10 minutes.  Move the skillet to indirect heat (not directly over the fire) and "bake" them another 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

Toast the outside and/or inside of the baguettes, smear some hoisin mayo on it, top with meatballs, top with the sesame slaw and cilantro, and serve.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  The Obsessive Chef's Homemade Tater Tots

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Peach-Thyme Mustard

Many of you may have heard about the massive dust storm that hit Phoenix on Tuesday night.  It was incredible to witness.  Don't get me wrong, we have dust storms all the time out there.  I mean it's dry, it's the desert, there's dust.  BUT, I do not remember a dust storm of this size hitting the city in a very long time.  I tried to get video, but it just looked dark and windy, but I did find this video.... granted it time-lapsed, but wow, what a site - check it out:

That is all dust baby... incredible, isn't it??  Just had to share this experience with you all. Now it's time for some food!!!

Does the name of this recipe throw you off a bit?  Like when you hear it you're like.. ok, grilled chicken, yum.  And then it's peach...ok, but then there is thyme.. but it's a mustard????  Or was that just my reaction to the name??

Either way, this is definitely worth a try.  Once again, I would suggest long marinating time if possible.  I'm finding more and more that for not so strong flavored marinades, over night is your best bet.  Sometimes a marinade is strong enough to infuse it's flavors in about 4 hours, but this was not one of them.  Don't get me wrong, after 4 hours it was good....but I know for a fact a little longer would not have hurt this one bit.

Was I utterly impressed?  No, not really.   Was it good?  It was good but definitely not know your socks off.  Would I make it again?  Probably not, but only because there are so many other recipes out there. :)

Grilled Chicken with Peach-Thyme Mustard
Adapted from The Food Network Magazine
Printable Recipe 
1/2 cup peach preserves
1 Tablespoon coarse ground mustard
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 - 1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except the chicken, until well combined.  Rinse the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel.  Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and place in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag.  Pour 3/4 of the sauce over the chicken, massaging to coat, and place in refrigerator to marinate for 4 hours.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Brush oil on grill grates.  Remove chicken from marinade and place directly over the fire.  Grill for 6-10 minutes per side (or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F), basting with the remaining sauce.  Let sit for a few minutes before cutting into.  Enjoy! 

One Year Ago:  Simple Herb Marinated New York Strip Steaks

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Veggie Pasta with Yogurt Lemon Sauce

This lovely little pasta dish may look like so many before it, but it's different, trust me. This recipe is full of flavor and deliciousness and was totally thought up by The College Culinarian.

I love Katie's site, I've said this before.  The girl has imagination in the kitchen (and her posts are hilarious, by the way)... imagination and no fear.  It's a fantastic combination.  A combination that not only comes up with some interesting and delicious meals, but also some handy little tips like how to make a tortilla bowl in the microwave.  Pretty fantastic if you ask me :)

Anyway, this was a fantastic pasta dish.  Simple and tasty and it utilizes two vegetables that are amazing this time of year.  You can always add other vegetables if you want, but I like what was used in the original recipe so I decided to stay true to it.  Delicious!

Summer Veggie Pasta with Yogurt Lemon Sauce
Adapted from The College Culinarian
Printable Recipe 
12 oz whole grain penne pasta
1 zucchini, cut lengthwise and then cut into moons
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 - 5oz can albacore tuna, drained
2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon freshly chopped basil
1 Tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
2 teaspoons freshly snipped chives

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

In a skillet, add the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the tomatoes and zucchini and saute for 3-4 minutes or until the veggies begin to soften.  Remove from heat and pour over pasta.  Add the tuna, yogurt, parmesan and lemon juice, tossing to coat.  Toss in the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper.  Use any reserved pasta water if the pasta is too dry.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Grilled Pork Chops with Spice Paste

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Shrimp & Zucchini Skewers with Basil Cream Sauce

Confession time:  I cut the zucchini the wrong way for skewering.

See, this is what happens when you try to cook and watch Master Chef at the same time.

No bother, the meal was still wonderfully delicious and light.  Perfect for those warm (or really, really hot) week night meals.  (we hit 118 Saturday - Ouch!)

I used frozen shrimp because that is the best I could find, but if you can find fresh shrimp, please....please, please, please... use it.  First, you can put the zucchini and shrimp on the same skewers and your presentation will be prettier.  But most importantly, fresh is always better when you can get it :)

Oh........the sauce was heavenly (of course).  This one definitely falls into the "spoon directly into your mouth" category!

Shrimp & Zucchini Skewers with Basil Cream Sauce
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
Printable Recipe 
4oz sour cream
1/4 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh chives, snipped or chopped
salt and pepper
3/4 lbs fresh or frozen large shrimp, (peeled and deveined if needed)
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch thick slices
1 Tablespoon basil olive oil (regular olive oil will be fine)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herb mix
bamboo/wooden skewers

In a bowl, mix together the sour cream, basil, and chives.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Place the shrimp in a shallow dish.  Toss with olive oil, garlic salt, and Italian herb mix.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.   While the shrimp marinate, soak the skewers in water until ready to use.

Preheat your grill to 350-375 degrees F.  Oil the grill grates.  Skewer your shrimp and zucchini and place directly over the fire.  Grill until the shrimp is pink and golden (about 3-4 minutes per side) and the zucchini is cooked to your liking.  Serve with basil cream sauce.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Penne with Tuna and Tomatoes