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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Grilled Zucchini Spears with Fresh Mint

It’s been a slow few weeks for the blog.  We’ve been on vacation and in all honesty, making a lot of the same dinners that are already on here.  Life has been hectic, to say the least, but that is no excuse to not cook, especially this time of year.  I love this time of year, with the all the beautiful Alabama produce.  We’ve been enjoying fresh corn, okra and tomatoes and here, zucchini.

These are super-simple and make a great, healthy, cheap and fast side-dish.  Can’t beat that!

  • Several zucchini, washed with both ends trimmed
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • S&P
  • fresh mint leaves, torn

Preheat grill to 350.  Wash zucchini and trim both ends off.  Slice zucchini lengthwise into spears.  Place on cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil over the veggies, coating well.  Shake a healthy amount of salt and pepper onto the veggies and grill for 10 minutes or so, until tender.

Garnish with fresh mint leaves.  Serve with pan-fried chicken (find that recipe here) and a fresh salad or slaw.

Ham Delights

Last week, I hosted  a baby shower for two friends at our house.  Two moms, three babies.  A set of twin girls and baby boy!  I can’t wait for them to be here!  In typical fashion with this group,  the shower was really more of a cocktail party than a traditional baby shower.  The moms-to-be were good sports, sipping their Perriers, as the party went on around them.  Love those girls!

I decided to make these little bite-size ham biscuit things my mom makes for the party — it was in the evening and called for heavier hor d’oeuvres than I probably would have done during the day.  They are really simple to make, and so good.  It’s basically ham and swiss with melted butter poured over them.  The ultimate comfort food.  They are also great for a party because you can pile them up on a tray, making them great finger food!  Put these on the list for your next get-together.  I know it’s like a zillion degrees outside, but these are great for winter holiday parties as well. 

  • 2 packages of small party rolls (try finding them at the Pig; Pepperidge Farm makes good ones.  look for the kind that come in an aluminum tray, wrapped in plastic)
  • 1 lb very thinly shaved ham
  • 1 package of shredded swiss cheese
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 1 splash worchestershire
  • 1 – 2 tbsp poppyseeds

Preheat oven to 350.  Take the rolls out of the package and using a bread knife, cut the rolls in half, treating them as one large roll.  Top the bottom roll with ham and then swiss.  Put the top of the roll back on and put the rolls back into the aluminum tray they came in.  Cut the individual rolls at this point, now that they are back together in the package. 

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and the rest of the ingredients together over low heat and whisk well until thoroughly melted and mixed.  Pour the mixture over the rolls, using a brush or spatula to cover the top of the rolls well. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden on the top.  Serve immediately while hot.

Spicy Shrimp with Linguine

I have no idea how in the world this recipe found its way into Cooking Light, but it did, I swear.  I’m not going to lie, I consider this is a little on the indulgent side, especially for a Monday, but it was calling my name.  I had every intention of making this super-healthy shrimp dish from my friend Jen’s fantastic blog, using herbs from my garden, but when I got home tonight, I changed my mind and decided on something spicy and carby. 

I had found this recipe in June’s Cooking Light and had a xerox of it in my office (long story) and had everything at home to make it, including the shrimp.  We only had to substitute whole wheat penne for linguinne, but no love lost.  Carbs are carbs in this house.  We really enjoyed this dish and you can make it healthier by using olive oil instead of butter and probably (not totally sure about this) skim milk with a teapsoon of flour for thickening instead of cream.  But try this once the right way.  Then figure out how to cut it back.  🙂

Another bonus:  it was on the table in 20 minutes flat.  Serve with a green salad and maybe French bread to soak up the extra sauce?

Spicy Shrimp with Linguine (or whatever)

  • 8 ounces of uncooked linguine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (with like Tony’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and keep warm.  In the bag that the shrimp came in, add the Cajun seasoning, red pepper and salt; shake well to coat the shrimp.

  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute about 3 minutes, until tender.  Add tomatoes and garlic, saute another 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic (might have to adjust the heat). 

Add shrimp to pan; saute for 5 minutes or until almost done.  You don’t want them opaque yet, but just about there.  Remove from heat and stir in cream.  Let sit for a minute or two, until the shrimp are done. Pour shrimp mixture over pasta, mix well.  Top with chopped parsley.

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.

Fresh Popcorn

This is kind of a silly post, but I had to share one of our favorite snacks/appetizers/anytime food.  It’s freshly popped popcorn.  Not the microwave kind (which I don’t really like), but the fresh kernels popped on the stove in oil.

The popcorn gets so much hotter, crunchier and more flavorful when done properly on the stove and it really takes no more time than microwaving a big bag.  And you get a LOT more popcorn.  And it’s cheaper.  I could go on and on why it’s better for you.  But trust me, just try this the next time you need a casual appetizer, especially for a large group.  You can make as little or as much as you want and it’s so worth it!  YUM.

Freshly popped popcorn

  • 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (doesn’t have to be exact; eyeball it.  More oil for more flavor)
  • salt

In a heavy saucepan, pour in the tablespoon of olive oil and the kernels and cover with a lid, leaving it ajar just a bit to allow steam to get out, but not enough that popcorn will fly out.  Heat the pan to medium heat and let the popcorn do its thing.  When the rapid popping slows to 2 seconds between pops, take it off the heat so it won’t burn.  Usually takes about 5 minutes total.

Salt well, shake and serve!