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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Let’s Talk Burgers

Let’s face it, everyone loves burgers and have come up with many many ways to make them and even make them with a lot of different types of meat including Buffalo, Elk, Turkey, Chicken, Bison and of course good ole beef.  Even if you are a vegetarian you still try and find a way to make something like tofu into a burger. Why do you think that is? Well it’s because burgers are great, plain and simple. For most of us you have a big patty of meat tucked neatly (or not so neatly) between to halves of a bun and piled high with all of your favorite toppings and condiments. You can add just about anything to a burger to change it up and give it a different taste. I have been known to add many different things to mine over the years such as bacon, avocado, and yes even a fried egg. Burgers are versatile and delicious. If people didn’t love burgers they wouldn’t be sold in mass quantities just about everywhere you go.

That brings me to this past weekend. I wanted to make burgers at home and also wanted to come up with something for you fine folks to try out that is a little different than your normal burger. So I started searching the fridge and wracking my brain to come up with something that turned out to be one of the best burgers I have ever made.

I now give you the salsa burger.

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Ingredients

2 lbs lean ground beef

1/2 cup salsa fresca (finely chopped)

Tip: I used salsa fresca in this because it has a unique mix of ingredients and is usually more finely chopped than regular salsa. Ingredients usually include tomato, cilantro, lime, onion, garlic, red wine vinegar and chile pepper. This mix of flavors gives the meat a great taste.

chili powder

black pepper

salt

Sliced Colby jack cheese

Onion Rolls (cut in half to make a bun)

And whatever your favorite toppings may be. I used Lettuce, tomato, dill pickle slices, onion and Mayo

Prep

Put the ground beef into a mixing bowl and then add the salsa. Using both hands get in there and really mix it all together until everything is nicely blended. Now pat out your patties. I like to do nice thin patties with about 4 or 5 ounces of meat each.  Make sure to flatten them out good because they will shrink a little when cooking. Once you have the patties all made and laid out on a plate you want to salt and pepper them and also sprinkle a little chili powder across the top. Let those sit so they get close to room temp. Meat always cooks better and more evenly throughout if it is room temp and not cold straight out of the fridge.

Cooking

You can cook the burgers a couple of different ways. I usually go for the grill but I ran out of propane so this go round I went old school with the frying pan. Heat a large frying pan to medium high heat. You want it to be hot when they go in but not super hot or they will burn on the outside and be raw in the middle.

Drop your patties in a nice even layer in the pan and let them cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on one side. Then turn them over let them cook for another 3 to 4 minutes on the other side depending on how rare or done you like your burgers. I prefer mine to be medium to medium well.

If you like cheese on your burger like I do you will want to place a slice on top of the burger with about 30 seconds left to cook. This will get it started  melting evenly across the top.

With the burgers now done and the pan still hot place your cut onion rolls (cut side down) in the pan for about 30 seconds to get a nice lite crunch on them. (or use regular buns if you aren’t feeling adventurous).

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Assembly

Now its time to assemble the burger. Place a patty on your bun and add whatever condiments you prefer and then pile it high with your favorite toppings. To recreate the one I made you will want to add mayo to both halves of the bun, place the patty on the bottom and add thin sliced white onion, fresh Romain lettuce, sliced dill pickle, and thin sliced Roma tomato. I highly recommend trying it this way first.  You are now ready to embark on a truly unique burger experience.

Enjoy and thanks for reading

JMW

Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice

Chicken and Rice has been a long time favorite food of mine since the first time I tried it in my grandmothers kitchen as a kid. I remember the smell of the chicken boiling and the taste of the black pepper over the white rice. It was truly great. Over the years I have tried many different varieties and even come up with a couple of different ways to prepare it myself. I tend to lean more towards making it with yellow rice because the flavor of the saffron and turmeric lend something to it that is pretty darned tasty. Now if you are sitting here reading this and thinking to yourself “whats the difference” then you obviously have not had the pleasure of eating much chicken and rice. This makes me both sad and excited for you seeing as I get to introduce you to it with my new recipe.

While sitting at home this past weekend I was making out my grocery list and trying to decide what I wanted to cook for the week and Chicken and Rice kept popping in to my head, but I did not want to make it the way I usually do. I was feeling creative and a little daring and started tossing around ingredients in my head to see what stuck out the most. Then it hit me, cilantro and lime could be just what I was looking for. So off to the store I went and here is what I came up with.

Ingredients

Boneless/skinless chicken breast (about 3 breasts)

Chicken stock/broth

1 small white onion

3 to 4 medium jalapenos (red and green if they have them)

1 bag of yellow rice (Mahatma or Vigo work great)

2 medium limes

1 bunch of cilantro

3 garlic cloves

salt

black pepper (ground)

Now I may prepare this a little different than you are used to but trust me and follow my steps. You will thank me for it later.

Set out a medium to large pot (with a lid) and then check the rice to see how many cups of water it calls for to cook. Mine called for 3 1/3 cups of water but since I am doing things a little different I went with 2 cups of water and 2 cups of chicken stock. This gave me a little more than called for but will be necessary. Start that heating over high heat to boil. Now chop up the garlic, onion and jalapenos into small pieces and add them to the water. By now the water should be heating up and starting to bubble. go ahead and add the chicken breasts in and let them cook for a bit. You will know when they are done when you can uses a wooden spoon to easily push through the meat (about 30 to 40 minutes). When the chicken has finished remove them from the pot and place on a plate to cool (do not turn off the heat from the pot). Now chop up the cilantro and add it to the boiling water and squeeze the juice of both limes into the pot. Add in about a half teaspoon of salt and about a tablespoon of black pepper. Let that boil for a couple of minutes and then add the rice. Stir it around for a couple of minutes and then cover it and reduce the heat to low for about 20 to 30 minutes (check it every now and then to give it a stir).

While the rice is cooking you will want to start shredding the chicken. Just use your fingers and start tearing it into small pieces and set it aside.

Now check and see if the rice is about done. You want it to be firm but not crunchy. Add the chicken into the pot and stir it into the rice. Cover it back up and let it sit for another 15 minutes or so. If it seems a little dry you can always a little more chicken stock and stir it around.

Now it is time to eat. You should have a nice hearty meal with a great taste of cilantro and lime. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thanks for reading

JMW

Fish Tacos

If you live on either coast and like seafood then you have probably at least once tried a fish taco. They have even started popping up in some of the larger chain restaurants over the last few years and seem to be growing in popularity all over. For the most part every one is prepared the same way with only a few subtle changes made. Some may be fried fillets of fish while others are grilled and almost all have some sort of slaw and a creamy sauce on top and are served on either a corn or flour tortilla. While I enjoy these very much I also like to come up with new ideas and new ways to to look at classic food items, so I set forth and came up with my own unique take on the fish taco. Here is what you need.

 

Ingredients

Two or three large tilapia fillets

1 medium white onion (chopped into medium sized pieces)

2 large jalapeno peppers (seeded and chopped into medium size pieces)

1 large poblano pepper (seeded and chopped into medium size pieces)

1 clove garlic (finely chopped)

1 lime

½ tablespoon course sea salt

½ tablespoon black pepper

2 tablespoons chilli powder

olive oil

½ cup Cilantro (finely chopped)

Corn or flour tortillas

 

In a large non stick skillet heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat and add onions, garlic and peppers. You will want to cook the onions, garlic and peppers until they start to caramelize. The secret is to get them just to the point of getting the dark crisp edges and then reduce the heat to medium. With a spatula move them to the edges of the pan and add two more tablespoons of olive oil. Now place the tilapia fillets in the pan and let them seer on one side for several minutes. Salt and pepper the filets as they cook. When the fillets have turned white a little over half way through turn them over and repeat on the other side. Salt and pepper the other side. If a filet starts to fall apart do not worry as you will be breaking them up in a few minutes anyway. Once you have seared both sides use your spatula and start breaking up the filets into smaller pieces and mix with the peppers and onions. Now add the cilantro and chili powder and mix throughout the pan. Once everything has started taking on the color of the chili powder remove the pan from the heat and squeeze in the lime juice. Give the mixture one final stir to get the lime flavor spread around.

 

If you are using flour tortillas you will want to take a hand full and heat them in the microwave for about 20 seconds before serving. If you are using corn tortillas you can heat another skillet and heat the corn tortillas in a single layer (both sides until they start to loosen up).

 

Now you are ready to assemble. Just take a big scoop of your taco mixture and place it in the center of the tortilla and fold it over. You can add some fat free cheddar or some pico or salsa if you like but to be honest it doesn’t need it. Every now and then I will add a few dashes of hot sauce such as Cholula or Tapatio to spice it up but these tacos really stand on their own.

 

As always,

Thanks for reading

JMW

Southwestern Meatloaf

OK. Let’s talk meatloaf for a minute. Everyone has their own version and idea of how it should taste or what it should look like and while most restaurants have it I have never found one that was great. Some are to sweet and some are to dry, some use brown gravy while others use tomato sauce. Do you add bacon on top or go without? What peppers do you use and should you add bread crumbs or actual diced up bread. I could go on and on with all of these as I have heard it discussed by many people. While I have my own recipe for meatloaf that I love I had an idea the other day to spice it up a bit and came up with a southwestern meatloaf recipe that knocked my socks off and wanted to share it with you.

Lets get started.

Ingredients

Sauce (make before hand)
16 oz medium salsa
1 bottle Kraft BBQ sauce

Meatloaf
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb to 1 lb Mexican chorizo (depending on your taste)
1 medium red onion (finely chopped)

2 green onions (finely chopped, green part and all)
4 large jalapenos (seeded and finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
Cilantro 1/4 cup (finely chopped)
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

First you will make the sauce. Mix both the BBQ sauce and salsa together in a bowl let sit in the fridge for an hour before mixing meatloaf. This will give the flavors a little bit of time to blend.

Now add all of the meatloaf mixture ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 of the sauce mixture in with it. Mix all ingredients together until thoroughly blended. You want to make sure that everything is mixed well together.

Put the meatloaf mixture in a baking dish such as a casserole dish making sure it will be large enough to hold the rest of the sauce without it spilling over. Shape the meatloaf into a nice even loaf and then use your fingers to separate it from the edges of the baking dish so that there is about a half and inch between the meatloaf and the edge of the dish. Now pour in the sauce making sure to cover the entire thing evenly and so that it fills in around the sides.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake the meatloaf for an hour and a half to two hours (depending on the size of your oven. I usually bump it up to 400 degrees for the last 20 to 30 minutes of cooking but I like it to start to get a little crisp around the edges.

Once it is done you will let it cool a little and then slice it and serve with your favorite sides.

This is one of those recipes that turned out to be a keeper. Once it started cooking I could smell it throughout the house and new it would be good. Depending on where you located you may have a harder time finding the chorizo but since it is becoming more a more a part of recipes these days you shouldn’t have to search to far to get it for this recipe. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading,

JMW