Grilling It Up 3 Ways

In an effort to keep on the healthier side of things I decided to do some grilling over this past weekend. When I grill I tend to go a little overboard and make enough food to last the week and still have enough to spread the love at work. Needless to say I am popular around grilling season. Well since I am cooking healthier now that means smaller portions and not as many leftovers. This time around I decided to do three different smaller items to give a little variety throughout the week and not a bunch of one thing left over.

I did Raspberry beef skirt steak, Lemon Cilantro Catfish and Greek grilled chicken.

These are all pretty simple but I will walk you through each one to make sure you can recreate them all easily.

 

Lets start with the Raspberry Skirt Steak.

Ingredients

1 small skirt steak (about 2 lbs)

1 bottle of raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing

salt

black pepper

Put the steak in a large Ziploc bag or bowl with a lid and cover it in raspberry vinaigrette dressing and let marinate for 3 to 4 hrs.

Remove steak from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. It is important to get your meat dry before adding it to the grill. This helps with cooking and not sticking.

You want to have the grill heated on medium high heat. Just before adding the meat to the grill give it a couple of good shakes of salt and pepper on each side. Place the steak on the grill and leave it alone for 4 minutes. After that turn it over and let it cook for another 3 to 4 minutes depending on how well you like it to be done. And that is all there is to making a nice raspberry skirt steak. This is great served in a nice garden salad or even as fajitas. It’s really up to you.

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Next we have the Lemon Cilantro Catfish

Ingredients

Two catfish filets

Lemon juice (2 cups)

Fresh garlic (chopped 2 tablespoons)

Cilantro (chopped 1 tablespoon)

Chili Powder (half a cup)

Salt

Black Pepper

 

Mix all of the ingredients except the catfish in a large Ziploc bag or medium sized bowl with a lid and then place the catfish in making sure it is covered. Let that marinate for 2 to 3 hours.

Remove catfish from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Again, It is important to get your meat dry before adding it to the grill. This helps with cooking and not sticking.

You want to have the grill heated on medium high heat. Just before adding the meat to the grill give it a couple of good shakes of salt and pepper on each side. Place the catfish on the grill and leave it alone for about 4 to 5 minutes. Now with fish it is best to not try and turn it over. Just let it cook on one side. If you try and flip it you will most likely end up with pieces breaking off and falling through the grates. Also with fish I like to close the lid and let it heat up in the grill to make sure it gets done. A good way to tell if it is done is to work your spatula a little ways between the separation in the filets and check and make sure it has turned white all the way through.

That is all there is to that one. This too is a very versatile meat that can be added to lots of different meals. You can ever have it for breakfast with a scrambled egg and a little Tabasco. Yes you read that right. Its wonderful.

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Last but not least we have the Greek Grilled Chicken

Ingredients

2 or three boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 bottle of Greek vinaigrette salad dressing

Fresh oregano (1 tablespoon finely chopped)

Salt

Black pepper

Greek seasoning

You will also need aluminum foil.

I saved this one for last because it is a little more involved to make.

Put the chicken in a large Ziploc bag or medium sized bowl and cover with the Greek dressing and add in the oregano making sure to shake it up a little and get it all covered. Let that marinate for 3 to 4 hrs.

After it is done marinading you will want to place the chicken on aluminum foil and wrap completely. You DO NOT pat this one dry. Once you have wrapped in a cocoon of foil you are ready to put it on the grill. You will want to place it on the grill and close the lid. Let it cook for about 15 minutes and then turn the packet over. I like to do this so that it does not burn on one side. Let it cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. At this point it is basically boiling in its own juices and becoming very tender. Now you will want to use your tongs and open the top of the foil and take each piece of chicken and place directly on the grill for a minute or two on each side just to get some good color and grill marks on it. While it is getting that nice color to it give it a few shakes of the Greek seasoning, salt and pepper.

Side note: Put a handful of cherry tomatoes in another cocoon of aluminum foil with a little garlic, feta cheese and some extra dressing and stick them on the back of the grill and just let them cook while the chicken is cooking. This will make a nice roasted tomato sauce to pour over the chicken when you serve it.

Once that is done you can cut it into strips and serve on a plate with the tomatoes I mentioned above or put it in a salad. This is probably one of the best chicken recipes I have come up with and one I know I will be revisiting in the future.

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There you have it folks. 3 Relatively easy and versatile recipes to cook on the grill. They all came out wonderful and I am sure you will enjoy them.

Thanks for reading.

JMW

 

 

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Meatball Sub Casserole

Like most people, I love a good meatball sub. Little balls of yummy goodness covered in marinara and melted cheese on a warm sub roll. MMMM… It doesn’t get much better than that. Sometimes you toast them, sometimes you steam them. It really depends on which part of the county you are from. Whichever you prefer nothing beats this sandwich when you have a craving for zesty goodness. This time around we are going to back them. Yes, I said bake them, and in a casserole no less. This is a great recipe for a family that doesn’t want to go to the trouble of making a bunch of individual subs for everyone. Now you can make one big one and cut it up for everyone to enjoy.

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Here’s how you do it.

What you need

1lb lean ground beef

1lb hot Italian sausage

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 small white onion (half finely chopped, half sliced)

1 small bell pepper (thinly sliced)

2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

2 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp granulated garlic

1 cup grated Parmesan

2 tbsp crushed red pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

2 Pillsbury french bread tubes

8 oz fresh mozzarella  (the little balls packed in water work great)

1 24 oz jar of marinara sauce ( I used Rao’s Marinara)

Prep and cooking.

This recipe is a little involved but the results are pretty amazing.

Note. You can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them to use later.

Making the meatballs

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Thoroughly mix the ground beef, Italian sausage, bread crumbs, eggs, chopped onions, salt, pepper and garlic together in a large mixing bowl. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with non stick cooking spray. This will help the meatballs not stick to the baking sheet. Now roll out the meatballs into small little balls about an inch and half around. You don’t want them too big because it is harder to get them cooked through properly, but you don’t want them too small either or they dry out easily. Once you have all of the mixture rolled out into little meatballs place them in a preheated (to 35o degrees) oven and bake for 20 minutes. You want them to start getting nice and brown on top.

Garlic Onions and Peppers

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While the meatballs are baking you can prep the onions, peppers and garlic. You want to saute them using the olive oil in a medium size pan over medium high heat. Saute them until the onions start to turn translucent. Set aside.

Assembling the casserole.

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Coat a large casserole dish with non stick cooking spray. Unroll one of the tubes of french bread and line the bottom of the dish. you want to cover the entire bottom. Now start placing the meatballs in a single layer on top of the bread. You can put them as close together as you like. Its really up to you how many you want in it. Next start placing the mozzarella in between the meatballs. You want to make sure you get them nice and evenly spaced throughout the meatballs so when they melt every bite will have some. Next you want to take the onions, peppers and garlic and spread it out evenly on top of the meatballs and mozzarella. Once that is done pour out the entire jar of marinara sauce and cover everything. Now take half of the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle evenly on top. Once that is all put together it is time to add the top layer of bread, roll out the second french bread and cover the top completely. For the final touch sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese and the red pepper flakes on top and cover with aluminum foil and place it in the center of a preheated (350 degrees) oven. Bake it for 30 minutes covered then another 15 uncovered to get a nice brown on the top.

And there you have it. Make several cuts all the way through to get individual servings and enjoy.

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Thanks for reading,

JMW

One Pot Rosemary Chicken Dinner

In this day and age people seem to have less time to do things than ever, which makes simple one pot meals that can be set to cook with minimal involvement so that other things can be done at the same time have become a growing trend. While I like cooking and prepping and all of that there are times when I have a busy weekend doing things around the house and would like to be able to put together a simple yet delicious meal and still have time to do all of the little necessary things in life. The recipe I have come up with this week is just that, simple and delicious. I wanted to do something hearty yet somewhat healthy but also easy to put together and have lots of veggies to make a nice rounded meal. So with that in mind I came up with a one pot rosemary chicken meal.

Here is what you need.

1 large oven safe pot with a lid.

Ingredients:

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 medium sized sweet onion quartered (Vidalia if you can find them)

4 medium sized red potatoes quartered

2 carrots cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup of trimmed fresh green beans

about 2 tables spoons of chopped fresh rosemary

course sea salt (1 tablespoon)

ground black pepper (2 table spoons

3 tablespoons fresh chopped garlic

Chicken broth/stock (32 oz container should be enough)

Non stick cooking spray

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Cooking

Go ahead and pre heat your oven to 375.

For this one it is all about layering. First coat the pot with non stick cooking spray and then put the 4 chicken breasts in the bottom. Now add the potatoes, then the carrots, then the onion, then the garlic and lastly the green beans. Now you want to sprinkle about half of the salt and black pepper evenly across the top and then top it off with the rosemary.

Once you have everything in the pot go ahead and add some chicken stock until it fills about 3 quarters of the pot. Then put the lid on and place in the preheated oven. You will let this cook for roughly 5 hrs.

After 5 hrs take the pot out of the oven and with a long handled spoon give it a good stir. You will see that the chicken is nice a tender is breaking apart easily. Once it is good and stirred up go ahead and add the rest of the salt and pepper and add another half cup of chicken stock. Then put it back in the oven, uncovered this time and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. This will get a little bit of crunch added to the top for texture.

After 15 to 2o minutes pull it out of the oven and give it one more stir and place the lid back on the pot until you are ready to serve.

This is a nice meal that is sure to please the entire family while giving you time to work on other projects around the house. So serve it up, sit back and enjoy.

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Thanks for reading,

JMW

Baked can still taste good

There’s a reason that all of the best things to eat are fried and not baked. That’s because fried food tastes really really good. If someone put out a plate of baked chicken and a plate of home made fried chicken most people are going to go for the fried first. The downside is that too much fried foods can be pretty bad for you and cause serious problems as you get older. This is where moderation comes in handy. You can enjoy good fried foods every now and then but in between those meals it is good to try something a little on the healthier side of the menu. Today’s recipe comes from that healthier side of things and may even be something you can substitute for the fried goodness that we all love so. Now when I hear someone say baked chicken I usually don’t immediately respond with joy and glee but I set out to find something that may change that attitude. I took the idea from one of my mothers old recipes and expanded on it a bit to come up with a newer updated version of it. Italian Parmesan Baked Chicken. (This would also be really good on fish).

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Here is what you need to bring it together.

Ingredients

1 pack thin sliced boneless skinless chicken breast

1 container of grated Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)

1 box Hungry Jack potato flakes

1 pint low fat buttermilk

Granulated Garlic

Black Pepper

Kosher salt

Dried Oregano

Cooking Spray

Prep and cooking

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and then coat it with non stick spray. Rinse the chicken breasts and pat them dry. Now set out two bowls and pour the buttermilk in one. If you have never used buttermilk before keep in mind that it does have a sour smell to it but that does not mean is has gone bad. So don’t toss it out, it works great for cooking. In the other bowl you will mix up your breading: combine about 3 cups of potato flakes, 4 ounces of Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons of black pepper, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of oregano, and 1 tablespoon of granulated garlic. Make sure to mix them together well.

Now it will be easier if you set up a little assembly line. start from right to left: Raw chicken, butter milk, breading, baking pan. Dip the chicken into the buttermilk and completely cover it, then dip into the breading and make sure it is completely covered, now place it on the baking sheet. Once you have all of the chicken coated and on the baking sheet place it into a preheated 350 degree oven and cook until the top starts to get brown (about 20 minutes for thin sliced chicken breast). You don’t want too much brown on top but enough to give it a nice color.

Tip: Keep in mind when handling chicken to always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handing any other food or sampling anything else you are cooking.

This recipe turned out to be very tasty and a nice little update to something I ate as a kid. To change it up a bit you could also try a little rosemary instead of oregano.

Enjoy

Thanks for Reading

JMW

Something Lite

I know I know… It has been a while since I have posted anything and I apologize for that. With a steady stream of family and friends coming in and out of town it has been hard to find time for everything these last few weeks, but the dust is starting to settle and I am back with a new recipe. This time I have gone with something a little on the lite side simply because I have eaten more than my share of bad food while guests were in town. I decided this go round to make a simple chicken pasta. Here is what I came up with.

Ingredients

Boneless Skinless chicken breast (two pounded flat)

Angel Hair pasta (1/2 of a regular sized box)

fresh chopped garlic (1/4 cup)

Olive Oil (1/2 cup)

Grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)

Ground black pepper

Course Sea Salt

Red pepper flakes

Prep and cooking

Put each breast in a Ziploc bag and flatten with a meat mallet until they are both about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch thick. Now heat a pan and pour in half of the olive oil. Cook both breasts until they start to brown on either side (season with salt and pepper). Make sure they are cooked all the way through then set to the side.

Boil the pasta until it is to your liking. I prefer mine to be a little al dente but I know some people like it a little softer. Drain the pasta (but do not rinse it) and pour it in to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Now that the chicken should be cool enough to handle you will want to cut it into small cubes and add it to the bowl with the pasta.

Add the garlic, Parmesan cheese and olive oil and mix it together.

Now to season it. You want to add 1 teaspoon of course sea salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and mix it all together.

That is all there is to it folks. A simple and relatively quick dish to make that tastes great.

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This is a good dish that can be served room temperature or warmed up. While it is a lite dish it is also filling and wont leave you wanting something else an hour later. This is also one of those dishes that can be made over the weekend and stored to heat up throughout the week to save on time. I hope that you all enjoy this as much as I did and I will try and keep the breaks between posts smaller next time. Enjoy!!!

Thanks for reading

JMW

Turkey Taco Salad

I have always laughed when people tell me that they are trying to eat healthier and are going to just get a taco salad. I have never met a taco salad that was actually healthy. It is in fact one of the least healthy menu items that you can get from a restaurant or fast food place.  Filled with refried beans, taco meat, tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, and usually ranch dressing, these “salads” will do nothing for your waistline except stretch it.  With that being said I actually love them and think that they taste great and are almost like eating a giant taco in a bowl. It doesn’t get any better than that. I love bad food and things that are not good for you but I also enjoy trying to make things that are bad for you a little healthier. I see it as a challenge to see how much of the bad stuff I can cut while still keeping it delicious. So with that in mind I set out to bring the taco salad to my table in a healthier version. Here is how I did it.

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Ingredients

Lean Ground turkey (1 lb)

Fresh Romaine lettuce

Kraft Free shredded Cheddar

Local fresh salsa (any brand will do)

Marie’s yogurt ranch dressing

Chili powder

Granulated garlic

Black Pepper

Salt

Cooking

The only thing that needs to be cooked here is the taco meat, which can be cooked ahead of time to just reheat when needed.

In a medium sized pan, brown the ground turkey over medium high heat and break it up into small pieces as it cooks. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoons black pepper, and a pinch of salt. Since lean ground turkey does not produce much in the way of fat you will need to add in about 1/4 cup of water and stir it all around to get a little extra moisture. Now reduce to low heat and let it simmer while you get the salad part ready.

Cut up the Romaine lettuce into small pieces and put a large handful into a salad bowl.  Top with half cup to a cup of your turkey taco meat depending on how big of a meal you are in the mood for. Then add about a 1/4 cup of salad dressing, a couple big spoonfuls of salsa and then sprinkle on some of the fat free cheese. Now I know you are thinking that I forgot the chips but I did not. I chose not to use any type of tortilla chips to cut out a few of the calories and to be honest I did not miss them at all. This made a very tasty and healthier alternative to something bad that I really enjoy. I will without a doubt be adding this one to my rotation at home.

Enjoy and thanks for reading,

James

Collard Greens (Not just a side)

There are many side dishes out there that can be tweaked a little to be turned into a main course if  you just have a little imagination. Now I know that a lot of people tend to turn their nose up and say ewwww to different greens and it is mostly because of the smell they give off while cooking or just a general loathing of anything green. To you people I say give them a chance because once they are done and you get that first bite you will be hooked. I grew up eating collard greens, turnip greens and mustard greens and love them when they are cooked properly which unfortunately is something a lot of places don’t do. Most restaurants will have them on the menu as a side dish and that is fine but I am here to show you that this does not have to be the case. You can make them where they are the main dish and you will be looking for something else to put on the side.

So here is what you need to make this tasty dish

Ingredients

3 bunches of fresh collard greens

2 lbs country style (pork) ribs (boneless)

1/4 lb sliced salt pork (you can use bacon but salt pork is better)

Garlic Powder

Black Pepper

Red Pepper Flakes

Prep

Cut the the salt pork into small 1″ pieces

Cut the pork ribs down to 2″ square pieces

Cut the stems off of the collards right at the bottom of the leaf and throw them away, now rinse the leaves, then cut the leaves into small 1 to 2 inch squares and set aside in a bowl.

Cooking

In a large pot with a lid you want to cook the salt pork first. You are going to cook it on medium high heat until it is golden brown and most of the fat has been rendered off to make a nice cooking oil. Then add the pork ribs in and season with the garlic powder and black pepper (Use about a tablespoon each). Cook the ribs until they are nice a brown and crisp on the outside. Now reduce the heat to medium and drain off any excess oil. Add in the cut up greens and red pepper flakes and put the lid on the pot. Cook them on medium for about 45 minutes occasionally stirring.  Now reduce the heat to low and cook for another 45 minutes.

By now the greens should be nice and soft and the ribs should be tender and starting to fall apart.

That’s all there is to it.  A nice dish that is great by itself or accompanied by sides.
Enjoy

Thanks for reading,

JMW