Sunday, June 29, 2008

What to do with a FREE grill...

We scored a FREE barbecue grill on the side of the road about a week ago (thanks a bunch to our friends Jordon and Annie who spotted it on their way to our house). Don't worry, we didn't steal it; it was sitting on the side of the road with a sign that said "Free. Works great. Needs propane." So we used it for the first time yesterday and made some delicious grilled pork chops.

2-4 boneless sirloin pork chops
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 splashes lemon juice
1 splash cider vinegar
1 splash Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp(ish) fresh tarragon (We have some in our back yard thanks to our earthy upstairs neighbor if you'd like to borrow it; fresh herbs are expensive and hard to find)
grill seasoning to taste

Mix all ingredients for glaze. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Cook chops on grill and occasionally baste with glaze.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fresh Summer Pasta Salad

Jordon and Annie wanted me to make a noodle salad to go with the buffalo roast that they cooked us for dinner (which was delicious, ps). I threw together what I had lying around. The lime juice, fresh mint, and veggies made it look and taste summery fresh.

penne pasta (or pasta of your choice)
yellow sweet bell pepper
red onion
fresh mint
parmesan cheese (feta would be better if you have it)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried basil (if you have fresh, use it and use more!!!)
1 Tbsp grill seasoning
1 Tbsp fresh mint
salt and pepper to taste

cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain and run under cool water.

chop vegetables and set aside.

whisk together all ingredients for dressing except olive oil. Slowly drizzle in oil while whisking the rest of the ingredients.

Mix cooled pasta, vegetables and dressing together. Add parmesan cheese. Refrigerate. The longer it sits the better it will be.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fun with Thai

I ventured out of my cooking comfort zone today and made a Thai inspired noodle dish. My last few attempts at Asian cooking have gone sour, but I'm pleased to report that with this dish, I have got my Asian mojo back! It's good; so try it!

cooking oil
stir-fry vegetables (fresh or frozen. I used fresh onion and fresh celery and about a cup of a frozen blend with green beans, mushrooms, and broccoli. Use whatever you like and have on hand.)
4-6 oz. thin spaghetti noodles
1 breast of chicken

1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp corn starch (this could have been a mistake?)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flake
1 large clove garlic

*please note that these and all of my measurements for that matter are estimates, as I do not use measuring cups or spoons while cooking

For sauce, whisk all ingredients together and set aside.

Cook noodles according to direction on package.

Place chicken in plastic bag and pound until about 1/4 inch thick (I use my rolling-pin for this, but you could use the smooth side of a meat mallet). Slice chicken into strips and set aside.

Heat 1-2 Tbsp oil in wok or skillet on medium-high. Add vegetables and stir-fry for about 5 minutes. Remove vegetables and set aside.

Add 1 more Tbsp of oil to pan and cook chicken until slightly browned.

Add vegetables, noodles, and sauce to pan. Stir to combine.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Chicken Alfredo with Peas

This is really simple. I made it for my husband when he was sick per his request, and I let him eat it on the couch.

2 chicken breasts
grill seasoning (I prefer McCormic's Montreal variety)

4-6 oz dried linguine
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

Season chicken and cook on grill (My stove top grill pan works great, but you could also use an outdoor grill or just a regular stove top skillet.)

Meanwhile, cook linguine according to directions on package. Drain and return to pan. Add butter to noodles and melt. Add cream, parmesan cheese, garlic, and pepper and stir. Stir in peas. Slice chicken and serve over noodles.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Slow Cooked Pork Chops

This is the brain child of my husband who said "you should try slow cooking pork chops." They were much more tender than your average pork chops, and a new take on your classic "pork chops and apple sauce."

4 thin cut pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
1 apple, peeled and cubed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Add onion and apple to slow cooker. Season pork with salt and pepper and place on top of onion and apple. Mix remaining ingredients in small bowl. Pour over pork. Cook on low for 4 hours. enjoy.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Beef Fajitas (the "j" is not silent)

Tired of feeling bound to McCormick when it comes to fajitas? Try these babies:

12 oz package stir fry beef

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flake
1/4 tsp season salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
dash cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp cooking oil
red onion
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper

1 Tbsp corn starch
2 Tbsp water

black beans

Place beef in zipper bag and pound with meat tenderizer or rolling pin. Mix marinade in small bowl and add to beef in bag. Let stand for at least an hour and up to 24 hours.

Heat oil in 10 inch skillet over med-high. Add onions and peppers and saute for 3 minutes. Add marinaded beef and saute for 3-5 minutes. Combine water and corn starch and add to pan. Cook until sauce is slightly thickened.

serve in tortillas with the fixins of your choice.