Tuesday, August 31, 2010


This has to be one of my favorite dishes to do on the grill. Their quick, easy, and really simple making it a great dish when time is short. I start with boneless skinless chicken breast, you can replace or pair it with steak if you like, and season it with some Fajita seasoning that you can buy at any grocery store. I use the seasoning like a rub and sprinkle it all over the meat. Next I cut up bell peppers by removing the core with the seeds and slicing it into four large strips. I don't know if there is any rule of thumb on the color of bell peppers you use, but I use what ever is on sale at the time making this a very colorful dish.  I then slice up in onion, like you would for onion rings but leaving the slices together. Once all the vegetables are sliced your ready for the grill, you will be grilling these direct over a hot fire. I like to put the vegetables on first because they always seem to cook a little slower then the chicken and you can always move the vegetables to the warming rack on your grill or to a warm spot if you have one. With the veggies on the grill you can put the chicken on the grill and cook through.  While your those are cooking you can gather up your tortillas and have them ready to warm up on the grill, or if you have enough grill space you can warm them up a few minutes before you think the rest of the stuff is ready to come off the grill. When grilling any type of bread, especially thin breads, you have to keep a close eye on them because they will burn very quickly, remember were just warming these up. With the chicken, peppers, and onion finished cooking it's time to slice them up. I like to slice them into thin manageable strips and serve them with sour cream, salsa, lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese. So there you have it, a quick and healthy week night dinner.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vanilla Cake with Cherries and Cream

One of the places I get a weekly email of recipes from is Weber, and I finally got around to fixing one of them the other day. The sad part is, I didn't get to this on the grill as it says, mainly because we were experiencing triple digit temperatures that day and i was not about to go stand around a hot grill. Overall the recipe was great, every part was delicious and I can't wait for a cooler day to try it on the grill.

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 pints ripe cherries, pitted and quartered
4 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream

1.  Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (about 350F). Grease a 9-inch cake pan (2 inches high) with the butter. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. in the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand-held mixer, whisk the sugar and eggs until the mixture is pale yellow in color, about 5 minutes. Add the milk, oil,, and vanilla and whisk for 2 minutes more. Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan and spread with a spatula to even out the batter.

3. Cook over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan 90 degrees for even cooking. Continue to bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and there is no jiggle in the center of the cake, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Run a knife around the edge of the cake, making sure to run the tip along the bottom of the pan. Invert out of the skillet  onto a board. Invert the cake again onto a serving platter.

4. In a medium bowl combine the cherries, 2 tbsp of the sugar, and the lemon juice. Allow to sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl add the cream and the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar, whip to stiff peaks. slice the cake and serve with the cherries and whipped cream on top.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Easy Beef Enchiladas

We love Mexican food and are in need of something quick and easy, and this recipe from Campbell's is just that. It's a great recipe that can be put together and ready to eat in about 30 minutes, making it great for school nights.

1 pound ground beef
1 package taco seasoning mix or burrito seasoning mix
1 can re-fried beans(about 16 ounces)
1 can Campells's Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup(10 3/4 ounces
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
12 flour tortillas (10 inch), warmed
1 1/2 cups prepared enchilada sauce
Shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat the oven to 350 F. Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until well browned, stirring often to separate meat. Pour off any fat. Stir the seasoning mix, beans, soup, onion and rice, if desired, in the skillet.

Divide the beef mixture among the tortillas. Roll up the tortillas and place seam-side down into a 3-quart shallow baking dish. Pour the enchilada sauce over the filled tortillas and sprinkle with the cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the enchiladas are hot and bubbling.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I love lasagna, so when I saw that there was a recipe in Deceptively Delicious, I had to try it. Now this would be my first attempt at what appears to be a pretty intricate Italian dish, but the recipe is very easy to follow and the results were great.

Nonstick cooking spray
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound lean ground turkey or sirloin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper 1 tbsp all-purpose or whole-wheat flour
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup sweet potato puree
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 (26 ounce) or 2 (15 ounce) cans whole, peeled tomatoes, with their juice
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup cauliflower puree
1 (8 ounce) box no-boil lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8x12 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. For the meat filling, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil. Add the turkey or beef, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and half of the garlic, stir, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer. Off the heat, stir in the sour cream, sweet potato puree, and half (1/4 cup) of the Parmesan; set aside.
3. For the sauce, combine the tomatoes and juice, the onion, and the remaining garlic and Parmesan (1/4 cup) in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a bowl or large measuring cup. Or use jarred sauce and just add Parmesan.
4. In the same blender or food processor, blend the cottage cheese, egg white, and cauliflower puree until smooth; set aside.
5. Too assemble the lasagna, spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. layer about one-third of the noodle on top, covering the sauce completely. Spread the meat filling over them. (If you are going meat-less, just add a first layer of cottage cheese.) cover with another one-third of the noodles and then spread all of the cottage cheese mixture ore them. make another layer with the rest of the noodles and spoon the remaining tomato sauce over the top. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella.
6. Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake until the cheese has melted and the noodles are cooked though, about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the top is bubbly and browned.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Best Ever Meatloaf

I love meatloaf, not the rock star, but the food, which my wife is the opposite, go figure. Anyway, since my wife refuses to eat meatloaf I decided to fix it and eat as left overs for lunch. This recipe was very simple to put together and was delicious, I even plan on trying it on the smoker some time.

2 pounds ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup (Regular or Healthy Request)
1 envelope (about 1 ounce) dry onion soup and recipe mix
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup water

Thoroughly mix the beef, 1/2 cup tomato soup, onion soup mix, bread crumbs and egg in a large bowl. Place the mixture into a 13x9x2-inch baking pan and firmly shape into an 8x4-inch loaf.

Bake at 350F. for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the meatloaf is cooked through. Let the meatloaf stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Heat 2 tbsp of pan drippings, remaining tomato soup and water in a 1-quart sauce pan over medium heat until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Serve the sauce with the meatloaf.

Coconut-Grilled Corn

I am a huge fan of Steven Raichlen and more than a little envious that he gets to travel the globe in search of good BBQ. I DVR his new show Primal Grill as well as his older show, Barbecue University, not to mention I have two of his cook books. But this recipe was featured in his latest season, which the wife and I were watching one day and she asked me to fix it some time with dinner. Now anyone who knows my wife, knows she's a pretty picky eater, thankfully though she has become more willing to try new things the longer were married; and watching cooking shows with her seems to help. Anyways a little about the dish, it will make a great side to just about any meal and it was a huge hit with my wife and little girl. The only downside is that you will want to have tooth picks handy as the sauce makes them stick to your teeth more than normal.

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp, palm sugar or light brown sugar, or more to taste
1 piece (2 inches) pandanus leaf, or 1 to 2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp salt
4 ears sweet corn, husked or husk stripped back and tied together

1. Combine the coconut milk, palm sugar, pandanus leaf or bay leaf, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and let simmer gently until the sugar dissolves, 3 to 5 minutes. Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar if necessary. Remove the pan from the heat and let the basting mixture cool to room temperature.
2. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high.
3. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the corn on the hot grate and grill it until nicely browned on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side, 8 to 12 minutes in all, turning with tongs. Start basting the corn with some of the coconut milk mixture after a few minutes and baste it again several times as it grills.
4. Baste the corn one final time, transfer it to a platter or plates, and serve.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tropical Fruit Salad

When I was doing some research on what sort of foods to serve I ran across this recipe for Tropical Fruit Salad, and it sounded really good. Since this was a family birthday, there was plenty of family members willing to help out. Now I had my hands full with the BBQ pit, Jennie's Grandma offered to fix something and was willing to fix what ever I wanted her to, which I couldn't pass up. She did a wonderful job and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

1 medium mango, seeded peeled and cubed
11 ounces mandarin orange sections, drained
2 Kiwis peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup tiny marshmallows
8 ounces carton vanilla yogurt
3 bananas, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/2 cup toasted coconut

Combine all the fruit in a bowl, together with the marshmallows and the yogurt. Cover and chill for 2-4 hours. When ready to serve, cut each banana half crosswise into 2 pieces, cut lengthwise again to split the banana. Place 2 banana pieces on a dessert plate. Stir half of the coconut into the fruit mixture. then spoon on top of the bananas. Sprinkle the remaining coconut on top. Drizzle with honey on top. Makes 6 servings.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pulled Pork

So I finally got around to getting to do some true BBQ this last weekend! I chose to do pulled pork for our Luau, and I would have enjoyed staying traditional and doing the way they do it in Hawaii, but I did not have time or the resources for that. So when I researched recipes for Hawaiian style pulled pork, I got recipe after recipe calling for a crock pot and liquid smoke, I don't think so. I've done a few pork shoulders on a smoker, so I knew I could do better then a crock pot and liquid smoke. It was time to get some charcoal and get the cooker out of the shed and ready to do a long eight hour cook. The meat of choice was a Boston Butt, why they call it a butt shoulder I don't know. The previous night I cut off most of the fat cap and rubbed it down with my wife's favorite BBQ Rub from Plowboys, it was then wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in the fridge over night. I used apple wood chips for smoke and Kingsford Competition Charcoal, I may do a review of the charcoal later since it was my first time getting to use it. Now my cooker of choice was my 22-1/2 Weber kettle, because it's easy to add more charcoal to, very fuel efficient, and offers relatively good temperature control. If you are looking to get into a very versatile charcoal grill and want to buy just one, this is the grill for you. So enough of with free shout out, on to the grill set up. I chose to go with the two charcoal basket set up; which involves a basket on either side of the grill and an open space in the center, that's where you do you indirect cooking at. Overall the cook went very smooth, but I did have a tough time keeping the temperature below 300 degrees. When cooking low and slow you want to try and keep you temperatures under 275, but in the 225-250 degree range will give the best results. With the hotter cook temperatures the shoulder actually finished quicker then I would have liked, but no biggie. I took the shoulder off the cooker, wrapped it up in aluminum foil, then wrapped it with a bath towel, and placed in the microwave to rest until it was about time for every one to arrive. This rest time is very important, it allows the meat to absorb the juices from cooking, and in this case it sort of steams itself in it's own juices. The final product was delicious, it was tender, juicy, and just a touch of smoke flavor.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tropical Lemonade

This last weekend we celebrated my Mother-in-laws birthday as well as my wife's aunts and uncles. For some time now I've been wanting to throw a Luau, I mean it is summer and what could be more summer then that? I decided the best place to start was with drinks, after a little search on the web I found a recipe for Tropical Lemonade and that's what I decided to go with. But, when I went to the store to buy the ingredients I couldn't find all of what I needed, again the Super Target fails me, so I got creative. I used many of the same ingredients, did with out some, and changed the amounts. What I got was a smash hit! Unfortunately though, I made enough for every one to have just one drink which was around 8 servings, so be prepared to make more of this fruity beverage. Also, I chose to use Vodka to spike the punch bowl, but this drink would likely be really good with a flavored Rum.

Tropical Lemonade
1 can frozen pineapple juice concentrate
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
1-1/2 cups water
3-1/2 cups gingerale
Vodka to taste

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mozzarella Sticks

Well this recipe did not go well at all for me. First I didn't read the directions properly, which is like a major beginners mistake. Secondly, the recipe just didn't seem to work when I followed the directions to the letter. The mozzarella sticks came out soggy and cold in the center, I didn't even try offering them to anyone. I may revisit the recipe some day, but I will have to rethink my approach.

1 cup whole0wheat breadcrumbs
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup cauliflower puree
1 tbsp cornstarch
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

1.In a bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with the flaxseed meal and sesame seeds.
2.In a seconds large bowl, stir together the mozzarella, cauliflower puree, and cornstarch until well combined. Shape into eight 2x1/2 inch logs. Gently roll each log in the breadcrumbs, then wrap in aluminum foil or waxed paper and freeze for 20 minutes.
3. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil. Arrange the mozzarella sticks in the pan in a single layer, being careful no to crowd them. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until the crumb coating begins to brown. Sprinkle with salt and serve with ketchup.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tropical Creamy Dessert

Here's another recipe from my wonderful mother-in-law, yes I'm probably kissing up a little bit, but she really is awesome. She got this recipe from Kraft as well and it was so good, I only wish we had more. If you haven't noticed yet we had a whole dinner that revolved around Caribbean flavored foods and of course we had to have a dessert that kept with the theme. This dessert is rich, light, and very full filling.

1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 cups chopped assorted fresh fruit, such as papaya, strawberries, pineapple and mango
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup prepared TANG Orange Flavor Drink Mix
1/2 cup Baker's Angel Flake Coconut, toasted

1. Beat cream cheese in small bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add milk, lemon peel and juice; mix well

2. Spoon evenly into 8 dessert glasses; cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

3. Place fruit in medium bowl. Add sugar and prepared orange drink; toss to coat. Spoon evenly over desserts; sprinkle with coconut.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bahamian Grilled Chicken

Here's another recipe from The Barbecue! Bible and I'm sure you'll love it. This recipe is delicious and is sure to full fill your need for some good Caribbean food. The recipe calls for chicken on the bone with skin, but I substituted with four boneless chicken breast with great results.

Advance preparation
30 minutes to 2 hours for marinating the chicken

1 chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), quartered, or 4 bone-in chicken breast halves with skin
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 2 scotch bonnet or other hot chiles, thinly sliced
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper

1. Rinse the chicken pieces under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Place the pieces in a nonreactive bowl or baking dish and pour the lime juice over them; turn the pieces to coat. Let the chicken marinate, at room temperature, for 15 minutes, turning the pieces once or twice.

2. Pour off and discard the lime juice, then add the onion, garlic, Scotch bonnet(s), thyme, oil, paprika, salt, and pepper and turn the chicken pieces to coat thoroughly. Let the chicken marinate in this mixture for at least 15 minutes or as long as 1 to 2 hours (the longer the better), covering and refrigerating it if marinating for the longer time.

3. Set up the grill for two-zone direct grilling (if using charcoal), preheating two thirds of the grill to medium and leaving one third heat free as a safety zone. (I used my gas grill and just preheated to high)

4. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. using a rubber spatula, scrape and bits of onion or garlic off the chicken pieces. Arrange the chicken, skin side down, on the grate over the hot zone of the grill and cook until the skin is golden brown and the meat is cooked through without any trace of red at the bone, 8 to 12 minutes per side. If you get flare-ups, move the chicken to the safety zone until the flames dies down.

5. Transfer the chicken pieces to the serving plates or a platter and serve.

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