Sunday, June 30, 2013

BBQ Ribs

This is one of those recipes that I printed and made right away.  In fact, I think we made it twice in 2 weeks.  It was the perfect Memorial Day meal and then we followed up again for friends.  The rub is really, really great and this recipe supports leftover rub.  I think the less sauce you use, the better.  The ribs spend 2 hours in the oven and less than 20 minutes on the grill. 

BBQ Ribs
from Oh Sweet Basil

1 big rack of Pork Baby Back ribs, membrane taken off the underside

Dry Rub:
1/4 cup salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 pinch of nutmeg

Combine the seasoning ingredients and you can store them in a mason jar.  Heat oven to 350F.  Rub both sides of the ribs with the seasonings.  Wrap the rack between 2 pieces of foil, until they are completely sealed shut.  Bake on a cookie sheet for 2 hours for baby back ribs and 3 hours for spare ribs.  Carefully remove from the oven and preheat grill to high heat.  Remove the ribs from the foil and set straight on the grill.  Grill for 6-9 minutes, turning and basting with barbecue sauce.  Remove from grill, let rest 2 minutes on a cutting board and serve.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Pad Thai

I know I go on and on about living in the country, but I haven't had good Thai food since we moved out here exactly 2 years ago.  When we lived closer to the city, we had lots of options for different foods within blocks of my condo.  Now with long work hours and long commutes, we don't go out to restaurants, but I miss so many flavors.  This has really pushed me into learning to make my own international dishes.  This flavor was spot on and there was not a leftover to be found anywhere.

Pad Thai
adapted from The Lean Green Bean

1 package thin cut chicken breasts (or tenderloins), sliced into thin strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
cayenne pepper to taste
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 package rice sticks
2 eggs
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
2-3 green onions, sliced thin
snow peas to taste

In a wok or large saute pan, heat a little oil and add chicken and sprinkle with desired cayenne pepper.  Remove and set aside, remove pan from heat.  Soak rice sticks according to package directions.  Combine brown sugar, soy sauce, broth, chili sauce and lemon juice in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.  Heat the wok again over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and vegetables.  Saute until crisp-tender.  Add the rice sticks and chicken, stir to combine.  Add half the sauce and reduce heat.  Push everything to one side of the pan.  Crack the eggs on the other side and scramble them.  Once cooked, mix everything together and serve.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

South Beach Chicken Kabobs

It was a nice weekend for grilling and sitting on the deck, so I made the most of it.  I looked at my weekly meal plan and completely switched it up so that I wasn't cooking inside.  This recipe is from the South Beach diet, and I've probably had it 10 years.  Every time I make it, I remember how much I like it and promise myself I'll make it more often.  It never happens.  I probably trot it out once a year when I'm bored of everything else.

South Beach Chicken Kabobs
from the South Beach Diet

1 green onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
2 chicken breasts, in 1" pieces
1 red bell pepper, in 1" pieces

In a blender or food processor, combine onions, jalapeno, 1 tbsp olive oil, ginger, vinegar, allspice, thyme and salt.  Place chicken pieces in a resealable bag or glass bowl and add mix from blender.  Toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.  In another bowl, toss red pepper with 1/2 tsp olive oil.  Preheat broiler or grill.  On metal skewers (or bamboo skewers soaked in water), thread chicken and pepper.  Brush with remaining marinade.  Broil or grill until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160F.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Zesty Tortellini Salad

This is my MOST FAVORITE pasta salad in the entire world.  You can't not love it.  The flavors are so rich but light and fresh and crisp.  I could eat this by the bucket (and I do).  This is not your typical pasta salad!

Zesty Tortellini Salad
adapted from The Kitchn

1 cup very finely chopped red onion
1 20 oz. package cheese tortellini, cooked, drained & cooled
1 red bell pepper, diced in small pieces
4 oz. Genoa salami, sliced in thin strips
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice
1 heaping tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients but parsley, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat evenly.  Mix in salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in parsley just before serving.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Roasted Broccoli with BBQ Sauce

I'm always looking for new ways to spruce up veggie sides, since we have them with every meal.  This was definitely a nice surprise!  I think the two of us ate the whole bowl.

Roasted Broccoli with BBQ Sauce
from The Lean Green Bean

1 12 oz. bag Broccoli Wokly
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp barbecue sauce
1 tbsp orange juice

In a medium bowl, toss the broccoli with olive oil.  Preheat grill or oven to 425F.  On a baking sheet or in foil, spread broccoli into one layer.  Roast 10 minutes or until starting to blacken.  In the bowl, combine barbecue sauce and orange juice.  Toss roasted broccoli in bowl again.

Grilled Tuscan Pork Chops

I typically do my meal planning and grocery shopping on Sundays, but occasionally I'll have an extra 'something' on hand from a mid-week or Saturday trip to the store.  This time 'something' was two really nice, fresh pork chops from the local butcher/market.  I don't know how I happened to find this recipe, but I'm so glad I did.  I am really not that good at cooking pork chops, so turning it over to someone on the grill was ideal!  This was SO good.  I'm definitely adding this to the line-up of usual suspects!  (I say that about everything, don't I?)

Grilled Tuscan Pork Chops
from Six Sisters Stuff

4 pork chops, boneless or bone-in, about 3/4" thick
1 16 oz bottle Zesty Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup honey
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Place the pork chops in a large resealable bag and pour in the whole bottle of salad dressing.  Seal the bag, removing air and coat pork chops well.  Refrigerate 4-24 hours.  When you're ready to cook, remove the pork chops and set aside on a plate.  Save the marinade.  Pour the marinade into a sauce pan and add balsamic, honey, rosemary and black pepper.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Boil gently for 5 minutes and remove from heat.  Preheat grill to 400-450F.  Grill pork chops about 3-5 minutes, until they easily release from the grill.  Flip, and brush with marinade.  Grill about 3-5 minutes more, flip and brush with marinade.  Continue until pork is 165F inside.  Plate and brush even more sauce.

Here's something I've been doing recently because I've been using honey in a few recipes:  I've been lightly spraying the measuring utensil (spoon or cup) I'm using for the honey with cooking spray before I add the honey.  This way it just slips right out of the spoon or cup.  This might be something that you've all been doing for centuries, but it felt like a pretty genius idea when the light bulb popped up for me.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chicken Stuffed Crescents

This was a really nice comfort food dish.  Crescents, chicken, cream cheese, stuffing - yum!  This will be a go-to in the fall and winter for chilly nights.  Also, it was easy to prep everything the night before, refrigerate and pop in the oven the next day when I got home from work.

Chicken Stuffed Crescents
from Taste and Tell

2/3 cup prepared seasoned bread stuffing
4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
1/2 tsp pepper
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups cooked, chopped or shredded chicken
2 cans crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375F.  Cream together butter, cream cheese and pepper.  Combine the cream cheese mixture with stuffing, mushrooms and chicken.  Open the crescent rolls and separate triangles.  Gently spread each triangle a little larger.  Scoop some chicken mixture on the wide end of triangle and roll up, keeping chicken mixture inside.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

BBQ Pulled Pork

We don't usually eat sandwiches around here, but when we do, we have BBQ Pulled Pork.  This recipe comes out perfectly every time. 

BBQ Pulled Pork
some magazine - feel free to call me out

2 medium onions, cut into thin wedges
1/2 cup water
1 2-2 1/2 lb boneless pork sirloin road
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup ginger
1/4 cup cumin

In a slow cooker, combine onions and water.  Trim fat from meat.  In a small bowl. combine chili powder, pepper, garlic powder and 1/4 cumin.  Sprinkle mixture evenly over meat and rub in.  Place all in slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low heat for 8-9 hours or 4-4 1/2 hours of high.  Using a slotted spoon, remove meat and onions to a cutting board.  Using 2 forks, pull apart meat.  In a large sauce pan, combine barbecue sauce, vinegar, honey, ginger and 1/4 tsp cumin.  Heat through.  Add shredded meat and toss gently to coat.  Serve on buns with the onions, if you want (I discard them).

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Guacamole Salsa

This was soooooooo good!  My family was here for Father's Day and I wanted to have a light snack to serve before dinner.  This was delicious!  My brother even added a little dab to his Italian sub and it was also really good.  Nice to be so versatile!

And - BONUS!!  Photo by Dad!!  I wish I'd served more stuff for him to photograph while he was here.

Guacamole Salsa
from Six Sisters' Stuff

1 lb  tomatillos
1 jalapeno pepper
1/3 bunch cilantro
1 thick slice of red onion
1/2 garlic clove
1 avocado, roughly diced
1 tomato, roughly diced
1 tsp salt
Peel and wash tomatillos, cut into quarters, add to food processor.  Slice jalapeno and add to food processor.  Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse to combine. 
*The more tomatillos you use, the thinner the salsa is.  I used too many, but it was still really good.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Macaroni Salad with Zucchini and Tomatoes

I recently found out I like pasta salad and this is one of three that I throw into heavy rotation in the summer.  The only complaint I've heard is that it doesn't have any meat.  I don't think it needs it, but feel free to get creative.

Summer Macaroni Salad with Zucchini and Tomatoes
from Skinnytaste

16 oz. cooked elbow pasta
4 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 cups zucchini, sliced and quartered
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
7 tbsp light mayo
2 1/2 tbsp fat-free plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss everything together and mix well.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Balsamic Grilled Vegetables

I am so eager for our local farmer's market to really get going this year!!  There was a lady there last year who sold ENORMOUS zucchini and yellow squash for a quarter a piece!  Also for 25 cents, you could buy cucumbers, green bell peppers, eggplant, and all of those weird looking squash that I have to learn to do something with.  Most of those veggies are 10 for $10 at the grocery store ($1 each), so I think the farmer's market is a huge bargain, plus it's fresh and locally grown!  Last summer we ate roasted or grilled veggies with every meal and this summer is shaping up to be the same way.

Balsamic Grilled Vegetables
from The Lean Green Bean

mixed sliced veggies - zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion, etc.
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a resealable bag and shake to coat.  Marinate at least 30 minutes.  Skewer the veggies and add to preheated grill over direct heat.  Grill to desired done-ness.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Baked Avocado Fries

I am in love with the avocado fries at On the Border and never thought to try them at home!  What's even better is that these are baked.  The process is a little tedious, but the outcome is so worth it!  I served mine with blue cheese dressing, but ranch would also be great (we were out-weird).

Baked Avocado Fries
from The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife

2 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced into wedges
1/2 cup flour
salt & pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup panko
1 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Heat oven to 400F.  Line baking sheet with foil and top with a wire rack.  Spray heavily with cooking spray.  Place flour and a dash of salt and pepper into a shallow dish and blend.  Place eggs in a second shallow dish.  In a third, combine panko, butter, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper.  Roll each avocado in flour (brush off excess), roll in egg, then in the panko mix, squeezing lightly to coat completely.  Place each on the wire rack.  When done, spray the slices with cooking spray.  Bake 20 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bacon and Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers

This is one of my favorite meals, ever.  It's so easy to throw together and it's so tasty.

Bacon and Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers
adapted from Low Carb Friends

1 lb ground beef
to taste:  onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper
4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
crumbled blue cheese

Combine the beef with onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Divide the beef into 6 even patties.  On top of 3 of the patties, place generous scoops of bacon and blue cheese.  Take a plain patty and place it on top of the topped patty, pushing down slightly and pinching the edges to seal.  Flatten slightly, so there's no bump where the filling is.  Grill until desired doneness.

We don't usually eat burgers with buns, but we still top it with cheese slices.  Sometimes we add lettuce and tomato, or whatever regular burger toppings you're into.

Prosciutto Chips with Feta Dip

Prosciutto Chips with Feta Dip
from Betsy Life

Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 400F.  Cover baking sheet with parchment and spray with cooking spray.  Place prosciutto on parchment, not overlapping at all.  Bake 10-12 minutes until crisp.

6 oz feta cheese
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 large handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 large handful of fresh mint, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil, divided

In a food processor, mix feta, yogurt, parsley and mint until well blended.  Add olive oil one tablespoon at a time until you've reached the desired consistency.  Sprinkle with pepper.

So I didn't really measure this very well and I ended up with a green dip.  It wasn't bad, but we didn't really want to eat it by the spoonful.  It was a good compliment to the prosciutto in small doses.