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Friday, September 30, 2011

Grilled Shrimp with Mango and Chiles

I know for most of you, summer may feel like something of a dream right now, but for us, we are still in full summer mode.  It's still in the 100's and it still feels like summer all around!  So, if you are in the same position I am and still need to get out and grill like it's summer, or if you are looking for one last fling before fall truly starts, this is a meal for you!  It's light, it's flavorful, and it just looks like summer on your plate!

Grilled Shrimp with Mango and Chiles
Adapted from Food and Wine
Printable Recipe 
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 Serrano pepper, minced
1 Hatch chile, chopped
1 mango, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
48 large frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined
1 Tablespoon basil olive oil (you can use extra virgin olive oil)
wooden or metal skewers (if using wooden, soak in water for at least 30min)

In a bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and the chiles.  Fold in the mango and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees.  Toss the shrimp with salt, pepper, and basil olive oil.  Thread shrimp onto the skewers and place directly on a greased grill grate.  Grill for 3 minutes per side or until the shrimp is cooked through.  Remove from grill and carefully remove from skewers.  Toss cooked shrimp into mango mixture and serve over rice.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Nutella and Peanut Butter Brownies

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Smoked St. Louis Style Ribs

A few weeks ago, I was bested by a rack of St. Louis style ribs.  Ok, in all honesty, I was bested by myself and my lack of keeping my grill it's cleanest.  That's right, another 2 minutes to flare up action and this time, the gunk on the bottom of the grill was thick enough that everything caught fire.  (I am holding my head in shame, by the way) I put it all out before it could start anything outside of the grill on fire, but needless to say, it was so intense, it completely ruined dinner.  Lesson here kids, it's so very important to keep your grill clean!!!  The next morning Chris and I spent over an hour cleaning and scraping and everything else needed to get the grill back up in working condition.  Had I taken that time over the weekend before, I would not have wasted a whole rack of perfectly smoked ribs. (UGH!!  That hurt, trust me!!)

But for those of you that truly know me, you know I'm not going to let food get the best of me.  So, the next chance I got, I bought some more St Louis style ribs (at half price again, thank you!!) and gave it another try.  And I am so glad that I did!  These ribs were perfectly cooked and tasted fantastic!  Now, I did something funky when I opened up the smoker and by the time I got the ribs situated, I noticed my smoke had died down.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, it means that I did not have smoke at the most important time of cooking (the first hour), so I did not get that wonderful pink smoke ring on the meat.  But that is ok...the ribs were still smokey and wonderful.  I may not have perfected smoking just yet, but I'll keep practicing, TRUST ME!!

Oh.. and a little shout out to Chris at Nibble Me This for this recipe.  If it were not for his guidance, I definitely would not have had such a wonderful outcome!  Thanks Chris!

Smoked St. Louis Style Ribs
Inspired and greatly influenced by Chris at Nibble Me This
Printable Recipe 
1 rack St Louis style ribs (trimmed - check out this video for tips)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons paprika
1/2 Tablespoon pepper
1/2 Tablespoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup barbecue sauce

Mix 2 tablespoons brown sugar, paprika, pepper, garlic salt, cayenne, oregano, onion powder, sage, and chili powder together in a small bowl until well combined.  Rub mixture over ribs and let rest for 1 hour.

Preheat smoker to 225-250 degrees F.  (I used apple wood chips, but you can use whatever you type of chip you want.)  Place the ribs (bone side down) in the smoker and let smoke for 3 hours.  Don't touch that door to check on them, let them just smoke uninterrupted.

Mix together the honey, butter, and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.  Remove the ribs from the smoker and place on aluminum foil (meat side down).  Pour the butter mixture over the ribs and tightly wrap them in the foil.  Place back in the smoker and let smoke another hour.

Remove ribs from foil and reserve 2-3 tablespoons of the drippings.  Mix with barbecue sauce and brush on the ribs.  Finish ribs in the smoker or on the grill - this will take about 20-30 minutes.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Smokey Grilled Pork Chops

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hoisin Pork Stir Fry

Well, there was a split decision on this meal:  I loved it... Chris not so much.  Chris said it was due to the texture of the pork I used, but I thought the fact that I used tenderloin made it so incredibly tender.  The flavor he liked, so I guess that we did agree on that part at least :)

Don't let Chris' opinion stop you though (sorry baby!!), I think it was a fantastic stir fry and perfect for a quick week night meal!

Hoisin Pork Stir Fry
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
Printable Recipe 
3 Tablespoons hoisin
1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Sriracha
drop of sesame oil
1 garlic clover, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 lbs. pork tenderloin, cut into bite size chunks or strips
1-2 cups snow peas
1 red bell pepper, chopped or cut into strips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix together the first 9 ingredients (everything except the pork, snow peas, pepper and oil) until well combined.  Set aside.

In a wok or large, deep non-stick skillet, add the oil over medium high heat.  Add the pork and stir fry for 4-5 minutes or just before the pork is fully cooked.  Add the snow peas and bell pepper and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes or until the pork is cooked through and the vegetables are just starting to soften.  Add the sauce mixture and bring to a boil.  Stir to combine everything, remove from heat as soon as the sauce starts to thicken.  Serve over rice.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Tilapia with Lemon Vinaigrette

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Maid-Rite Sandwiches

In 1926, Fred Angell, a respected butcher in Muscatine, Iowa, combined a special blend and grind of the finest Midwestern ground beef with a selected recipe of secret spices and created the one and only Maid-Rite sandwich.  As legend goes, Mr. Angell asked a delivery man, at his restaurant, to taste his newest sandwich creation. After a few bites, the taster exclaimed, “You know, Fred, this sandwich is just made right.” Thus their signature sandwiches name was born.  Mrs. Angell, who loved to dabble in marketing, decided that the sandwich indeed was made right. The Angells created a restaurant and decided to franchise it, one of the first restaurant franchises in the United States.*  (*information from the Maid-Rite Corporation website)

If you have never had a Maid-Rite sandwich, you are missing out!  They are a loose meat sandwich - like a sloppy joe without the sloppy - and traditionally have just mustard, pickles, and chopped onions.  I'm not a raw onion fan, so I always had them without, hence not adding them to this recipe either.  This recipe is not an exact replica... it's missing something I just can't place, but it's a good substitution and I am happy to share it with you, especially if you've never had one before...

Maid-Rite Sandwiches
(Sorry, I found this mock recipe a long time ago and cannot remember where I found it)
Printable Recipe 
1 lb ground beef
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
1/4 cup beer or water
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
hamburger buns
sliced American cheese
sliced pickles
chopped onions (optional)

In a large, deep skillet, cook the hamburger and break it up with a wooden spoon as much as possible.  Once cooked, add the next 7 ingredients and stir to combine.  Add a slice of cheese to a bottom bun.  Spoon the meat mixture on top, top with pickles, mustard, and onions (if using).  Place top bun on top and Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Moroccan Spiced Grilled Chicken

Monday, September 26, 2011


I'm back!!!!!  And, I'm feeling refreshed and ready to hit the blogging world again!  It was great to actually just take some time for myself.  It was greatly needed.  Plus, it's always good to spend time with family, even if it is only for a few days.  We ate lots of great food and I didn't have to cook any of it!!  It was wonderful... I feel like I've gained a few pounds though!!  Oh, well.. it was well worth it :)

So it's back to the normal routine again... and to start out, I decided to highlight yet another recipe from my pal Andrea.  I swear I'm not stalking her!  She's just had some yummy recipes lately that I have been wanting to try... like this one:  Gyros.

Chris loves gyros.  If we go some place that has them on the menu, 98% of the time, he will order one.  I can't blame him.. I love them too.  We used to go to this place called George's Gyros when I was in college.  Late night, after the bars closed, we'd go in and order gyros and fries.  My goodness they happened to be the best gyros I had ever had!!  So, of course, when I saw Andrea's posting for Gyros, I knew I had to try them.  Now I did not want to turn my oven on because of how hot it was, so I ended up making really thin, long patties and frying them in a pan.  It worked out ok, but next time, I'm definitely using Andrea's technique.. I think it would have turned out so much better.  I'm going to give you Andrea's version... you can do what you want with it.. I know I did :)

One more thing before you go - I was recently approached by an editor at Endless Simmer asking if they could use a recipe and picture of mine for a post highlighting creative nacho recipes.  I was pretty surprised that they had seen mine, so I eagerly agreed :)  So, if you want to see what nacho recipe I'm speaking of... Check out THIS SITE and look for number 5 - Grilled Nachos!

Adapted from Andrea the Kitchen Witch
Printable Recipe 
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground lamb
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1 egg
1 Tablespoon milk
2-3 Tablespoons plain bread crumbs
olive oil
pita bread
shredded lettuce
chopped tomatoes
feta cheese
chopped onions (optional)
For Tzatziki Sauce -
6oz Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup English cucumber, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Combine the beef, lamb, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary, cumin, and coriander.  Add the egg, bread crumbs, and milk.  Mix with hands until well combined.  Form the meat into a long rectangle, making it slightly thinner in the middle.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the top of the loaf and bake for 35-40 minutes or until it reads 160 degrees F internally.  Remove from oven and allow to rest before slicing.

Meanwhile, add all the ingredients for the Tzatziki sauce, stir until well combined.

Slice meat into thin (1/8in) slices.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Once oil is hot, fry the slices of gyros until they are golden brown.  Flip and brown on 2nd side.  Remove from pan and allow grease to drain off.

Assemble the gyros with 3-4 slices of gyro meat, lettuce, tomato, feta cheese, onions, and tzatizki sauce wrapped in a warm pita bread.  Enjoy! 

One Year Ago:  Zucchini Gratin

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We Interrupt This Broadcast.....

Hello my friends!  Hope your week has gotten off to a good start and that you are looking forward to upcoming weekend!  I had a fantastic time with my family, but unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so I have no pictures to share with you.  Oh, well... just know there was great food and wonderful people involved :)

I had every intention of starting back to blogging today, but sometimes even the best intentions cannot be kept.  Life seems to have spun a bit out of control for me this week.  I will even be heading out of town again on Friday for work.... SO.. instead of pressuring myself to try and get posts up for this week, I have decided to extend my break through the weekend...  I'm sure you all will understand.

Never fear, though, I really truly will be back at it by Monday... I just think a few more days off will help motivate and inspire me more.  So, although, I will not be sharing any new recipes with you for another couple of days.. I will send you off with just a few of my favorite recipes from the past.  A sort of good-bye to summer tribute if you will.

And of course, thank you all for your encouragement and support through my little break.. it helps make it a stress free break, trust me!  Enjoy the rest of your week and I'll see you back here on Monday!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Terrific Man Tacos - Chorizo Style

So, I'm taking a few days off to spend some time with my family!! (YAY!!!) I'm SO excited!!  Unfortunately, for you though, it means I will be MIA until at least Wednesday.  Fortunately, for you though, I am leaving you with one of the best meals we've had in a while.

Some of you might remember last year when Chris and I went to Oklahoma and I learned how to make Terrific Man Tacos.  Basically, I learned how to make grilled tacos!!  For some reason, since that time, I have not made them again.  Silly, I know.  So, when my friend from work, Ruben, brought me some of the most amazing chorizo I have ever had, I knew I needed to revisit the terrific man taco idea.

Let me give you a bit of background on the chorizo.  This chorizo is extra special because my friend Ruben grew up eating it.  To me, that means more than the fact that it was pretty kick ass.  It's something from a friends past that they enjoyed and that means a lot to me.  His mother used to either cook it by itself with some onions, or she would cook it and then mix it with potatoes.  Either way would be wonderful, I'm sure, but today, we are focusing on making them into tasty grilled tacos!  This chorizo is actually made at Leo's Grocery store in Superior, AZ.  People drive from everywhere to buy it so they have started packaging it in 1lbs. packages and freezing it.  And this, my friends, is how Ruben gifted me this wonderful pound package that turned into one of the most delicious meals we've had in a while!!  (Thank you Rube!!!)

Besides how wonderful tasting this chorizo was, I LOVED the way that it looked.  You could actually see the peppers and spices speckled through it.  It was gorgeous!!  Now, most of you cannot get your hands on this fantastic protein, but that's ok, you can easily substitute regular chorizo.  It's not going to be AS fabulous, but I promise, you will not be disappointed!

Terrific Man Tacos - Chorizo Style
Adapted from Eddie Canterbury
Printable Recipe 
1 lbs chorizo
1/2 can of refried beans (16oz can)
1 avocado, sliced
crumbled queso fresco cheese (as much as you want)
shredded Mexican cheese mix
8-10 white corn tortillas (8-10")
olive oil
For the Mango Salsa -
1 mango, cut into chunks
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 Tablespoon finely diced onion or shallots
1 Tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro leaves
garlic salt, to taste
lime juice, to taste

Mix all ingredients together for the salsa.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a skillet over medium heat, add the chorizo.   Cook for 5-8 minutes or until chorizo is cooked through.  Remove from heat and drain if desired.

Preheat grill to 325 degrees.  Brush each tortilla with oil on both sides.  Spread a layer of refried beans on the tortilla and top with avocado slices on one half of the tortilla.  Add the chorizo and queso fresco on the same side.  Now cover entire tortilla with shredded cheese.  Do not fold at this time, leave them flat.

Place the tortillas directly on the grill grate and let cook 2-3 minutes. When the tortilla becomes flexible, carefully fold up the cheese side only to create a taco (I used tongs and a spatula).  Continue to cook until both sides of the taco or golden brown.  Carefully remove from grill.  Serve with mango salsa and enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Spicy Thai Pork Chops with Coconut Rice

Thursday, September 15, 2011

BLT Pizza

A few weeks ago, I confessed my love for BLT's.. Now, I figured, since I've come clean with this info, I'd continue to share some of my favorite ways to switch up my beloved sandwich.

I think the first time I had a BLT pizza was at California Pizza Kitchen.  And, although they serve a pretty good one, I have created this little number that you can make at home and will cost you about half the price to make!  How can you beat that right?  Plus, you get to use simple naan flat bread instead of going through all the work of making homemade dough.  Oh, don't get me wrong, you can make your own dough, but during the week.. who's got the time?

So sit back and take it all in.. this is definitely a pizza to try!

BLT Pizza
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
Printable Recipe 
2-3 naan flat breads
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I may have used an extra tablespoon)
1 1/4 teaspoons Italian herb mix
dash of garlic salt and white pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
6-8 pieces of bacon, chopped, cooked crisp and drained
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
shredded green leaf lettuce (I used about 6 or 7 leaves)

Preheat grill to 325 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, Italian herb ix, garlic salt, white pepper, and lemon juice until well combined.

Place each naan directly onto the grill grates.  Allow to grill for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown.  Carefully remove from grill.  Flip the naan over and slather evenly with mayo mixture.  Top with crumbled queso fresco cheese, bacon, and tomatoes.  Place back on grill (ungrilled side down of course) and grill until the bottom crust is golden and the cheese has melted.  Remove from grill and top with lettuce.  Serve and enjoy! 

One Year Ago:  Tilapia with Sambal Vinaigrette and Ginger Lime Cream

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Grilled Steaks with Red Pepper and Feta Salsa

Take a simple marinated grilled steak and top it with a flavorful salsa and what do you get?  Well, you get grilled steaks with red pepper and feta salsa!

The saltiness of the feta matched very well with the slightly grilled, slightly charred red peppers.  And let's not forget the every so slight kick that the habanero gives it!  That's right.. a little spice is nice, my friends, don't be scared.  And, if you actually are worried, use only half of the habanero instead of the whole thing, but please use it.  The tiny bit of sweetness that the habenro brings, along with it's spice, is just fantastic!

The salsa makes an already delicious steak, that much better!

Grilled Steaks with Red Pepper and Feta Salsa
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
- Serves 2 -
Printable Recipe 
2 sirloin steaks (or any cut you prefer)
1/4 cup beer
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon honey
salt and pepper
For the salsa -
1 red pepper
1 habanero pepper, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1-2 Tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
pepper to taste

In a bowl mix together the beer, Worcestershire, olive oil, and honey until well combined.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Place steaks in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag.  Pour the marinade over and place in refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees F.  Oil the grill grates and place steaks directly over the fire.  Grill both sides until desired doneness.  (I like mine more on the medium rare side and it takes about 3-5 minutes per side.  Chris likes his more on the done side so his usually stays on about 8-10 minutes per side.  This all depending on the thickness of the steak, of course.)  Remove from grill and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, place the pepper on the grill and allow to grill for 5 minutes.  Remove from grill, remove the stem and seeds, and roughly chop.  Toss in a bowl with habanero, garlic, parsley, and feta.  Season with pepper to taste.  Serve with steaks and enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Homemade Potato Chips

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Seasoned Grilled Tilapia

My apologies for the picture - it's not the prettiest picture I have ever posted, that's for sure!!  But don't worry, although the fish might not look that pretty, it was flavorful and delicious.  I grilled these tilapia fillets in foil, but you can bake them, or heck, you can even fry them up in a pan :)  whichever way you choose, it's a simple and healthy idea for a busy week night.

Seasoned Grilled Tilapia
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
Printable Recipe 
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
dash of garlic powder
dash of cayenne pepper
4 Tilapia fillets

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients except the tilapia.

Preheat grill to 350 degrees F.  Tear 4 squares of aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place one fillet in the middle of each square.  Sprinkle the season mixture evenly over each piece of fish.  Close the sides of the foil, sealing the fish in.  Place the foil packets on the grill and allow to cook for 10-12 minutes, rotating the packets halfway through grilling.  Carefully remove from grill and foil packet.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Smoked Whole Chicken

Monday, September 12, 2011

Grilled Yakitori Chicken

I know I have told you this before, but I get very impatient in the kitchen at times.  I try to curb it, but it's hard to do.  Especially on nights where I am hungry and I'm rushing to get dinner on the table.  Alas, the night I made this dish was just one of those nights.  The sad part about that, well, this meal was really, really good.. BUT.. had I been just a bit more patient, it could have been really, really kick ass good!!!

On a positive note, it just means I must make this again so that I can perfect it and, of course, work on my patience :)  You see, I didn't let this sauce boil long enough, so it never truly thickened up like it should have.  Great thing though, is that it still had the delicious flavor it was supposed to have!!  So although I was disappointed in my performance, I was NOT at all disappointed with this recipe.  It's just yet another hit from my pal Andrea The Kitchen Witch.  Thanks Andrea!!

Grilled Yakitori Chicken
Adapted from Andrea The Kitchen Witch
- Serves 2 -
Printable Recipe 
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into three strips each
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 whole garlic clove, crushed with a back of knife
1 Tablespoon chili paste (Sambal Oelek)

Combine the soy, mirin, brown sugar, water, rice vinegar, and garlic clove in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Remove the garlic clove after 5 minutes of simmering.  Continue too simmer until the sauced as reduced to a thick syrup. (and please be patient, it takes a while but is worth the wait!!)  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Remove 2-3 Tablespoons of the sauce add the chili paste.  Stir to combine.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Place the chicken in a resealable bag and pour the remaining sauce mixture over it.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Remove chicken from bag and place directly over the fire.  Grill for 5-10 minutes per side or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.  Remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Serve with reserved sauce.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Smoked Pork Back Ribs

Friday, September 9, 2011

Photo Friday - Banff National Park, Canada

With temperatures still soaring over 100 degrees - I dream of spending a few days in a cabin that is nestled right at the foot of that mountain!

It's Fire Day Friday again... and you are not going to want to skip this one... I made a fantastic little grilled side dish that goes perfectly with the Vietnamese Spiced Pork Chops I posted yesterday.

Eat, dance, and laugh this weekend... that's an order!!!

One Year Ago:  The Easiest Sugar Cookies Ever...But first some important news!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vietnamese Spiced Pork Chops with Sweet Chili Sauce

I decided to make this the other night because, honestly, I really wanted another excuse to use the sweet chili sauce Andrea (The Kitchen Witch) came up with.  Don't get me wrong, the pork was really good and would have been just wonderful without the sauce.  But, as you know by now, I believe sauce makes all things better.

Vietnamese Spiced Pork Chops with Sweet Chili Sauce
Adapted from Cooking Light
- Serves 2 -
Printable Recipe 
2 boneless pork loin chops
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of garlic powder
Sweet Chili Sauce (however much your little heart fancies)

Place the pork in a shallow dish.  Mix together the water, salt, sugar, and pepper until the salt and sugar are dissolved.  Pour over pork and cover.  Let sit in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Remove the pork from the brine and rinse thoroughly under cool water.  Pat dry with paper towel.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, paprika, coriander, ginger, and garlic powder until well combined.  Sprinkle/rub over both sides of each pork chop.  Place on a clean plate and cover.  Let sit in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees.  Oil the grill grates.  Place the pork directly over the fire and grill 4-5 minutes per side or until the pork reaches 145 degrees F.  Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 4 minutes before cutting into.  Serve with sweet chili sauce.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Chicken over Penne

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Spur of the Moment Pasta

Sometimes I get busy with work and with life and the next thing I know it's already 7:30pm and I haven't even thought about starting dinner.  Sometimes, when that happens, I don't feel like going through the motions and making what I had planned to make.  Take this night for instance... I just didn't want to spend more than 10 minutes putting everything together for dinner.  It was late, I was tired, but boy was I hungry.  So, Spur of the Moment Pasta was born.  It's simple, it's quick, and it's definitely tasty - the perfect week night meal!

Spur of the Moment Pasta
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
Printable Recipe 
2 1/2 cups elbow pasta (you can use any pasta really)
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
garlic salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh mint, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely minced
1 Tablespoon basil olive oil (you can use extra virgin)
2 splashes of lemon juice
1 can albacore tuna, drained - optional
extra virgin olive oil (I used about 2 Tablespoons)

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the tomatoes and season with garlic salt and pepper.  Add the oregano, thyme, mint and basil olive oil.  Toss to combine.  Add tomato mixture, lemon juice, jalapeno, and tuna (if using) to the drained pasta.  Toss to combine.  Add extra virgin olive oil by the tablespoons full until the pasta is no longer dry.  Top with parmesan cheese if desired.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Basic White Bread

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Baked Tilapia with Sweet Chili Glaze

I was once again thwarted by a wind storm, so I had to switch gears with this recipe.  I was actually going to grill these tilapia filets, but ended up baking them in the end.  The great thing is, though... this really isn't about the fish, it's about the sauce....  :)

And this time... this time all the credit for the sauce goes to Andrea The Kitchen Witch.  Yes, folks, I can't claim this one as my own, but that's ok, I'll let Andrea have all the thunder on this one because she very much deserves it.  I have purchased sweet chili sauce for years now.  Never again!!  That's right.. thanks to Andrea I will never have to purchase a bottle of that manufactured stuff again!! YAY!!  And you know what?  This homemade version is WAY better than the store bought and costs you even less!!  I even did a side by side comparison as I had just a little bit of the bottled stuff left... and it was spot on in appearance - but on taste, it blew the bottled stuff away.  I made mine a bit spicier than you can find in the store, but that just made it that much better!!

Thank you for figuring out the secret to this sauce, Andrea - it is DA BOMB!!!

Baked Tilapia with Sweet Chili Glaze
Fish recipe created by Jenn's Food Journey, Sweet Chili Sauce Created by Andrea The Kitchen Witch
Printable Recipe 
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1-2 Tablespoons chili paste
1 clove garlic, crushed but left whole
1 small carrot, finely grated
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
pinch of salt
4 tilapia fillets
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tablespoon chopped nuts (I used cashews) - optional

In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar, vinegar, water, garlic and carrot.  Bring to a boil and cook on high for 3 minutes.  Make a cornstarch slurry by adding 1 tablespoon of water to 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.  Slowly add to mixture and then add the chili paste and salt.  Boil for 3 minutes longer.  Taste for seasoning - add more chili paste if desired.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Remove garlic clove before serving.  Can be made days in advance.  Keep in container with lid in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Rinse the tilapia and pat dry.  Top each fillet with 2 tablespoons of the sweet chili sauce.  Sprinkle the panko evenly over each fillet.  Place in oven and bake for 14-16 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  Serve with additional sauce if desired.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Honey and Spiced Grilled Chicken

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day and Seven Links

Happy Labor Day everyone!!  Hope you are all enjoying your day away from work.  Actually, I hope you all are enjoying delicious foods while enjoying your day away from work :)

Today I'm going to share seven links with you.  That's right, seven links.  Michael, over at Me, My Food and I, tagged me in a little game that has been working it's way around the blogging world called Seven Links.  As Michael says, basically there are seven questions that you must answer using your previous posts. I combined the second question and the last question together, so technically there are seven links even though you'll only see 6 :)  Here goes:

1.  The Most Beautiful

I'm not much of a baker, so I really don't have any gorgeous looking cakes or sweets, but I did have a hard time trying to decide between two of my favorite pictures.  With Chris' help, I narrowed it down to the Spicy Grilled Pork Chops with Mango Salsa.  I do believe it to be the most colorful of all my posts.  Runner up was Rotini with Cherry Tomatoes an Tuna.

2.  The Most Popular

Like, Michael, I was glad to have the stats tab on blogger.  It made it quite easy to find out the most popular, which, hands down, was my post about my grandfather - There was a man... - It's definitely the post I'm most proud of too, which covers not only this question, but the final question - You are most proud of.  The feed back I received from this post was unbelievable.  People that had known and worked with my grandfather before his death, reached out to me.  People who had only heard of him reached out to me.  It was incredible.  My grandfather was truly an amazing man.  The most popular food post - Creamy Lemon Pasta with Chicken, Spinach and Tomatoes.

3.  The Most Controversial

I don't know if you could call it the most controversial...but it definitely got the strangest responses.  Enter The Great Spam Experiment.  I actually loved this post on spam.  I basically was given a challenge by my mom's cousin - create a spam parmigiana dish.  It actually turned out pretty darn good.

4.  The post that did not get the attention it deserved

This is a no brainer - Hamburger Buddy - by far the past that did not get the attention it deserved.  Hamburger Buddy is like homemade hamburger helper, but SOOO much better and it's even healthier!!! YAY!!! The picture might not be the best, but those were the early years... this is da bomb! I promise!

5.  The Post That's Surprisingly Successful!

I'm going with the theory that this question means what was the most successful meal I made that I posted about.  Don't know if that is what it means or not, but that's what I'm going with.  And in this case, that would be Pasta Carbonara!  Love, love, love carbonara but was always so afraid to making it and scrambling the eggs... but alas, it turned out to be much easier of a process then I thought it would be.... success in my book!!!

6.  The Most Helpful

I gotta say, I had a very hard time with this one.  I think, though, that my post (thanks to Andrea The Kitchen Witch) for Basic White Bread has to be the most detailed in the instructions - hence, the most helpful. (Yes, that was sort of reaching, but come on, I couldn't find anything else!! lol)

Now, I'm supposed to tag seven other bloggers, but you know me... I don't play games very well :)   So, if you want to answer these seven questions and post them on your site, fantastic!!  If not, it's all good!!

Enjoy you day my loyal followers!  Ciao!  Jenn

Friday, September 2, 2011

BLT Scrambled Eggs

In case you ever need to know this - my all time favorite sandwich is a BLT.  I could eat a (ok, maybe two or three) BLT every single day and never get tired of them.  Seriously.  I've done it before......   but don't tell my mom :)

This is a simple idea...nothing special or life changing...but still worth putting out there for you all to enjoy.  I decided on this one night when I was thinking of how many BLT with fried egg sandwiches I've been seeing.  It got me thinking... and this was what sprung from those thoughts.

In all reality, this should really be called BBT scrambled eggs as I used basil instead of lettuce.  But I figured, I'd spend too much time explaining it, so I left it at BLT...  If you wanted to add spinach instead of basil, that would work really well too.

BLT Scrambled Eggs
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
- Serves 2 -
Printable Recipe
6 slices of bacon, chopped
8 eggs
1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
6-8 large fresh basil leaves, chopped

In a non-stick skillet, cook the bacon until crisp; about 5-10 minutes.  Remove with slotted spoon and allow to drain on a paper towel.  Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, garlic salt, pepper, and cayenne until light and foamy.  Put the skillet with the grease in it over medium high heat for 1 minute.  Pour the eggs straight into the middle of the pan, which will force the grease to the edges, where you want it.  Stir slowly with a rubber or silicone spatula.  As soon as curds (big soft lumps) of eggs begin to form, drop the heat down to low and shift from stirring to folding the curds over on themselves while gently shaking the pan with the other hand.  As soon as no more liquidous egg is running around the pan, add the tomatoes and bacon and fold into eggs.  Cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and fold in basil.  Serve warm and enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Spread

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Avocado Basil Pasta

Avocado, basil, and bacon... what more could you ask for in a pasta dish??  How about some tomato?

I knew I'd hook you sooner or later...  :)

This was a fantastic only regret is that I did not try this sooner.  This is one of those recipes that I sat on for years, actually, don't ask me why...  I think that I had assumed Chris would not like it because of the avocado, but when I finally asked him about it, he was all on board to try it out.  I think the bacon out weighed everything else, but hey, that's what bacon does sometimes!!

Avocado Basil Pasta
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens 
Printable Recipe 
12 oz whole grain penne pasta
1 avocado, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
6 slices bacon, chopped, cooked crisp and drained
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 clover garlic, finely minced
1 can albacore tuna, drained
6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese - optional

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

In a large bowl, combine the avocado, tomatoes, bacon, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic.  Toss in the drained pasta.  Add the tuna and the basil and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle on parmesan cheese.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Stuffed Pork Chops