Grilled Rosemary Chicken

I adapted this recipe from my friend Jen’s great cooking blog, bakinandeggs.com, who I believe also adapted it from a recipe she found elsewhere.  Needless to say, it’s really good and simple.  The marinade includes a little honey and the natural sugars found in honey really make the chicken brown nicely.  Plus, you know I can’t pass up an opportunity to showcase my herbs from my beloved herb garden.

Make this part of your summer grilling repertoire.  I think I threw in some grilled okra (tossed with olive oil, Cavendars Greek Seasoning and pepper — thanks, Amanda!) and a fresh fruit salad to round out this summer meal.

Prepare the marinade before work and when you get home, it will be perfect and ready for the grill.  Remember to  remove the chicken and let it sit out at room temp for about 10-15 minutes before grilling.  This helps the meat cook more evenly.  If it’s too cold, the inside won’t always get cooked through before the outside is charred.

Grilled Rosemary Chicken

 

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • little salt
  • as much fresh rosemary, finely chopped, as you want
  • 2-4 chicken breasts

In a small bowl, whisk together the marinade.  Place the chicken breasts in a ziplock baggie and pour the marinade over it, turning several times to coat well.  Chill for about 8 hours.

Heat grill to medium heat, about 350-375.  Grill chicken until desired doneness, about 10 minutes on either side, depending on how thick the chicken is.

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Sunday Kabobs

Growing up, we always grilled out on Sunday nights as a family.  Kabobs, lots of fresh veggies and rice or corn or maybe macaroni were always on the docket.  As we got older, the nights also included lots of good wines and laughs.  It’s one of my favorite family traditions and Frank and I have begun to adopt it.

Tonight, we’re doing simple kabobs, lake rice and a fresh, summer fruit salad.  Kabobs are a very simple way to pack in protein and veggies without having to prepare separate dishes.  Sometimes I make my own, especially if we have veggies in the fridge to use up, and sometimes we buy them already prepared (how many times have I mentioned my obsession with Publix?).  You can include anything you like, but I’ve found that bell peppers, onion, cherry tomatoes, pineapple, squash and zuccini hold up the best.  But, that’s the great thing about them, you can build your own!

We’re out on the porch, in 95 degree weather, including a cold glass of white wine and grilling these guys:

Hope you’re doing something equally fun with your family!

Sunday Kabobs

  • 2 chicken breasts or a filet, chopped into large cubes
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped into squares
  • 1 onion, chopped into squares
  • cherry tomatoes, whole
  • fresh pineapple chunks (not pictured)
  • wooden or metal kabob spears
  • olive oil or steak marinade
  • S&P or other preferred seasoning (maybe Cavenders?)

Light the grill to medium-high heat.  Soak your kabob spears in water, if they are wooden, for a few minutes.  This reduces the risk of them catching on fire on the grill.  Make your kabobs in any order you prefer.  I usually grill a separate kabob of only pineapple chunks for two reasons — one, Frank doesn’t like it, and two, they cook at a different speed than the meat and other veggies.

Drizzle oil and seasoning on the chicken and rub in gently with your fingers…if you went with steak, you might want to have marinaded the kabobs in Worchestershire or something similar for an hour or two to tenderize the meat, so you can skill the olive oil here.

Grill, turning occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes on either side.

Happy Anniversary, Frank

Today is my four-year wedding anniversary!  We’ll do something to celebrate this weekend, but tonight being a weeknight and therefore subjected to Frank’s strict, self-imposed curfew, we thought we would stay low-key and just grill.

However, I am kicking it up a notch by grilling New York Strips and opening a bottle of Cloudline.

This pinot noir is from the same makers of the Domaine Drouhin wines, which is a DIVINE vineyard in the Wilamette Valley.  Leslie, if you’re reading this, I cannot BELIEVE you get to live here.  A picture of us from our visit to Domaine Drouhin:

I am super-pumped.  Weather is fabulous, grill will be lit and I will be on my second glass in T-minus 3 hours.  Enjoy your Thursday!

Grilled Sea Bass

I adore fish, but am picky about it.  Luckily, Frank is a master of grilling all kinds of fish and his sea bass is rave-worthy.  And since he usually takes a beating on the blog, I thought I would prove to you all that he does have redeeming qualities, one of which is his ability to grill.

We were at the Whole Foods last weekend, deciding what to cook for dinner and ran across these beautiful sea bass fillets on sale.  The good thing about sea bass fillets are that they are thicker chunks that flatter grouper or tilapia or other types of white fish and therefore don’t flake off or fall apart on the grill as easily.

This preparation was beyond simple and the fish turned out so tender and juicy — just fabulous.  Serve with some roasted asparagus or a salad and new potatoes and a crisp white wine.

Grilled Sea Bass

  • 2 sea bass fillets
  • greek seasoning
  • olive oil
  • cooking spray

Preheat grill to high heat.  Spray down a grill basket or other type of grill grate with cooking spray and place on grill to get hot.  Season sea bass with greek seasoning (we like Cavenders) and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Grill for about 7 minutes on each side, careful to only turn them once, if you can help it.  The result is a nice crisp top and bottom and tender meat on the inside.

fresh ingredients for springtime!

Shrimp and Pesto Pasta

My sweet friend, Lindsay, made this dish for us one night last summer.  It was one of the first times I met her now-fiance and we had such great fellowship sitting outside on her patio and drinking wine well into the night.  We sort of made this up that night and since then, Frank and I have duplicated it many, many times.  It’s a simple, fast, healthy (if you use the reduced fat pesto) and filling dinner and it is also great for a dinner party because it can feed as many people as you want — just be sure to check for shrimp allergies/hatred.  If shrimp is a game-breaker, just substitute chicken.

Shrimp and Pesto Pasta

  • 1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 box of Rotini pasta (the corkscrew kind)
  • 1 bushel asparagus
  • 1 tub of pesto (see below for tips)
  • 1/4 cup of shaved fresh parmesan
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Olive Oil
  • S&P

In the sack that the shrimp comes in, shake a healthy amount (maybe 2 tbsp) of Old Bay Seasoning and then shake and roll the bag around to coat the shrimp.  Move to a grill basket.  On a cookie sheet, roll asparagus in olive oil (maybe a tbsp) and S&P to taste. 

Grill the shrimp and asparagus.  Put the asparagus on first, it takes longer than the shrimp.  BEGINNERS TIP:  Shrimp are done when they are lightly pink and slightly opaque, no longer than 5 minutes, usually.  Take them off the heat as soon as you think they are ready and put them on a cold plate; otherwise, they will continue to cook on the hot grill pan and get too tough and overdone. 

While they grill, in a large dutch oven, cook the pasta according to box instructions, drain and put the pasta back into the pot.  While the pasta cooks, in a small saucepan, heat up the pesto on a very low setting.  When selecting your pesto, get the kind that is refridgerated, in a small tub (Bertolli is a good brand).  This section at the store is typically where they keep refridgerated pastas and cheeses.

When the aparagus is ready, move to a cutting board and chop the first 2/3 of the stalks into bite-size pieces.  Add to the pasta.  Add the shrimp as well, then using a spatula, add the pesto and mix well.  Add the cheeese and another dash of salt and mix again.

Serve immediately; preferably with a crisp white.  This dish is perfect for dining al fresco in the upcoming nice weather.  Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken Salad

Yes, another dinner salad.  But this one might be my favorite so far.  I borrowed the idea from my friend Jennifer’s fantastic and much-better-done blog, bakinandeggs.com.  I adapted it slightly from her recipe, but essentially the idea is exactly the same. 

As with some of my more recent posts, I’m kind of over winter food and craving the fresh veggies and lighter fare that comes with warmer weather.  This salad is a perfect example of a healthy, fast weeknight supper.  And the dressing is the best part — it’s a delicious, light type of honey mustard dressing that is super-fast to whip up.  I can’t wait to make this in a few months and eat on the patio with a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

Grilled Chicken Salad

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • bottled Italian dressing
  • any type of preferred greens (we used green leaf lettuce here, but spring mix would be great!)
  • 1 cup of sliced stawberries, washed and dried
  • 1 chopped avocado
  • toasted sliced almonds (see below for how to toast almonds…this really brings out their flavor)
  • S&P to taste

Dressing

  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

   Preheat grill to 400.  Marinate chicken in Italian dressing ( about 1/4 cup total, just eyeball it) and S&P in a Ziplock baggie for 4-6 hours.  *If you don’t have time, don’t worry about it, just douse them with the dressing and throw on the grill.  Allowing the chicken to marinate over time just makes it more tender, but you can over-marinate chicken, especially with acidic marinades because the acid begins to break down the flesh over time, making the it mushy.  Here is a great article on smart marinating tricks.

Anyways, moving on.  Grill your chicken, about 10 minutes on either side.  While the chicken cooks, wash and shred your greens, slice strawberries and avocado and toast your almonds.  To toast sliced almonds, pour the amount you want (we use about 1/4 cup for this salad) into a small, 8″ stainless steel skillet (or whatever you have) and set it over low heat.  Watch them closely and toss them using the handle to move the skillet back and forth over the eye to get them toasted evenly.  You’ll know when they are ready, you can begin to smell the toasted flavor.  Remove from heat as soon as they are lightly browned.

To make the dressing, just whisk together the ingredients listed above in a separate small bowl.  We mixed the cut-up chicken into the salad with the other toppings, but added our own dressing to control the desired amount.

Weeknight Flank Steak

Flank Steak is a great weeknight supper — it’s a lean, healthier cut of meat and can be used to make a lot of dishes, including fajitas and stir fry.  Plus, it cooks quickly.  However, we also like to just grill it whole and serve in strips with rice and a salad.

The trick is the marinade it for a while.  I’ll prepare the marinade in the morning before work and just pull it out of the fridge when I get home and throw it on the grill.  Because it’s a leaner meat, it can be tougher, so the acids and salt in the marinade help tenderize the meat.  Also, placing the onions directly on the meat help to flavor it.  If we have any leftover red wine lying around, we’ll also dump that onto the steak.  The wine, especially if it’s a little old and vinegary, add a lot of flavor and acidity to the marinade.

Weeknight Flank Steak

 

  • 1 flank steak
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning

In a pyrex dish, scatter the onions over the flank steak (see photo below).  In a small bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients, making a marinade.  Pour over the steak and slightly turn the dish to make sure the marinade fully coats the steak.  Cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate for up to 8 hours.

When ready to grill, light the grill to 350 — 400 degrees and remove the steak from the fridge, letting it come to room temp.  Grill 7-8 minutes on either side or until desired degree of donenes.  Because of the lean nature of this cut of meat, you can definitely over-cook it.  It’s best a little pink, medium.  Let rest for about 5 minutes and then slice into strips AGAINST THE GRAIN.  Serve with a salad, rice (see speedy side dishes and veggies) and a pinot noir.