Grilled Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze…..

This recipe for salmon couldn’t be more simple.   My friend Mickey shared her recipe years ago and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since.

Amazingly, there are only three ingredients.  Salmon, whole grain mustard and brown sugar.  That’s it.  It is best prepared on the grill.  You’ll want to flip the salmon onto a piece of non stick foil to finish the cooking otherwise you will lose all the goodies in the grill.

Preheat the grill.

You will need:

4 6-8 ounce salmon fillets
8 tablespoons of whole grain mustard
8 tablespoons brown sugar

Start by rinsing the salmon and patting dry with a paper towel.  Place on a plate for grill transport.  Spread 2 tablespoons of mustard evenly over each piece of salmon.  Add the brown sugar, patting it into the mustard.

Gently place the salmon fillets on the grill, skin side down.  Close the lid and let them cook for about 8 minutes.
The fillets should now look opaque.
Gently slide your spatula between the flesh of the salmon and the skin and flip onto the non stick foil.  You can see that I’ve turned the edges of the foil up to keep the topping from dripping into the grill.  Close the lid and cook for  5-7 minutes.  Discard the skin.
 The salmon is done and you can see that the mustard and brown sugar have caramelized.  Carefully remove the fish/foil from the grill.  It is easy to slide onto a flat cookie sheet.  Turn the salmon over onto a clean serving plate and spoon the mustard/sugar mixture over the salmon.

Serve with sweet potato and parsnip latkes  and oven roasted asparagus.  Elegant and delicious!

Have a great evening!


Perfectly Grilled Pork Chops…..

We had grilled pork chops tonight and everyone cleaned their plates!   I thought I’d share a few tips on grilling pork chops.

1)  First and foremost, buy a whole boneless pork loin.  Watch the sale papers as whole pork loin often goes on sale.  Buy a couple and freeze one for later, they thaw beautifully.    I usually figure 6-8 ounces per serving.  Remove the loin from the store packaging and wrap with cling wrap.  Wrap with heavy duty foil, label and date.  When you want to thaw it out, you can do so in the refrigerator for a couple of days or I put the wrapped loin in a zip bag and let it sit in a large bowl of water.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator to keep it safe.  It will take several hours but will be much quicker than thawing in the refrigerator.  Give it a turn after a couple of hours.
2)  With a very sharp knife, cut the loin into equally sized chops to your desired thickness.  I like  1 1/2″ chops.
3)  Season however you wish.  Tonight I used Penzey’s Chicago Steak Seasoning but you could season very simply with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper and a little granulated garlic.
4)  Allow the seasoned chops to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
5)  Preheat the grill.  Lower the heat to medium-low.  Place the room temperature chops on the grill and close the lid.  Resist moving them around, allow them to sit.  For a 1 1/2″ thick chop, cook on medium low for 5 minutes then give a quarter turn for nice grill marks.  Close lid and cook another 5 minutes.  You should be able to see that the meat is cooking up from the bottom and it’s becoming opaque.  Flip the chops and cook another 5-8 minutes.  An instant read thermometer should read 140′.  Allow the meat to sit covered with foil for 10 minutes before serving.  Spoon those lovely juices that accumulate on the plate over the chops when serving.  Cooking lean pork over high heat will dry them out quickly.  Also, know that it’s ok for the center of the pork to be slightly pink.  Some restaurants even serve it medium, not my personal preference.

There you have it.  Moist, juicy, tender, inexpensive and most of all, delicious and perfectly grilled pork chops.  Serve with grilled onions and mushrooms, a simple baked potato and steamed green beans.  Simple perfect dinner.

Have a great day!


Lebanese Chicken…..

This chicken couldn’t be more simple.  Start out by putting some color on the skin by grilling or broiling, then finish cooking in the oven.

The marinade has few ingredients that most of us have on hand.  Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the chicken in a large zip bag.  Marinate the chicken 30-60 minutes.

Place the marinating chicken into a plastic container so avoid any leaking in the refrigerator.   When you marinade this way you can mush and squish (official cooking terms) it around to distribute the lovely marinating liquid.

Lebanese Chicken

1 whole frying chicken, either cut in half or into individual pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1)  Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
2)  Place chicken into a large zip bag.  Pour marinade over chicken.  Place in a bowl and refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour.  Half way through marinating, shake up the bag and move the chicken around.
3) Preheat the grill and the oven to 350′.    Foil line a baking sheet.
4)  Grill the chicken just until there is good coloring on the skin, 10-15 minutes.  Place on foil lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.  Makes 5-6 servings.  Serve with hummus and warm pita bread, and salad.



Chili Lime Shrimp with Lime Cilantro Brown Rice Salad…..

In case you haven’t yet noticed, I am in love with lime and cilantro.  This combination is fresh and makes most any grilled fish, chicken, or salad absolutely delicious!  I made this combination for the first time over Labor Day weekend and it got rave reviews.

For starters, marinated and grilled fish takes minutes.  Really.  I then save a bit of the delicious marinade to spoon over the cooked fish and a little over the salad…DELISH!  This brown rice salad is a wonderful accompaniment to the Grilled Chili Lime Shrimp.   The brown rice lends the perfect texture, the green onion and red bell pepper a little crunch, and the crumbled cheese a little salt and cream.  It’s perfect.

Why not make a whole bag (about 5 cups uncooked) of brown rice and freeze it for later use?  Defrost and use in this salad or any other quick weeknight dinner.  It’s best to use completely cooled rice for the salad.

Grilled Chili Lime Shrimp

1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, and skewered

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons chili powder (mild or to your own taste)
1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1)  Combine all of the marinade ingredients, whisk well to combine.  Reserve a couple of tablespoons of the marinade to spoon over the cooked shrimp.  Use the rest of the marinade for the raw shrimp.  Marinade for 20 minutes before grilling.  Skewer the shrimp and cook over medium high heat for 4-5 minutes.  Shrimp will be bright pink when they’re done.  Spoon the reserved marinade over the shrimp when  ready to serve.  Makes 4 servings.

Lime Cilantro Brown Rice Salad

1/4 cup fresh or bottled lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Salad ingredients:
2 cups cooked and cooled brown rice
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
4 ounces *Fresco Mexican cheese, crumbled

1)  Whisk dressing ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
2)  Add the salad ingrediens to the dressing bowl.  Mix well to combine.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Makes four 1/2 cup servings.

*Fresco Mexican Cheese is made from cow’s milk.  It tastes a bit like mozzarella yet has a crumbly almost grainy consistency.  It doesn’t  melt completely like mozzarella.
**If you’d like a more spicy shrimp, add a couple of pinches (or more) of cayenne to the marinade.
***If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes before using to prevent burning on the grill.

Archived Recipe Fav’s…..

One of my favorite events of  this summer was reconnecting with my cousins at the Henderson family reunion.  I’m pictured here with my cousin Diane.  LOVE HER!!  Anyway, we talked at length about the past and she brought up “The Green Bean Incident.”  I am posting this link for Diane:-)   I love our reunion picnics as everyone brings their best “go to” dish to share.  The food was amazing!  This got me thinking that since I haven’t posted recipes in awhile, I thought I might repost a few of my fav’s.  Comfort foods come to mind when the days start getting shorter and it is getting pleasantly cooler.

I serve pasta at least once a week.  My kids LOVE it!  So easy to prepare and when I make the sauce, I always make extra for the freezer.  It is awesome to have a sauce stashed away in the freezer to use when you’re pinched for time.  Try changing up the shapes of the noodles too.  It all tastes the same but to a kid, new and interesting shapes make for a more enjoyable dinner.  Pictured here,
Rigatoni with Meat Sauce.

There is still plenty of time left for grilling.  I do this so simply.  I toss whole mushrooms and quartered onions into a bowl and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Skewer them each on their own skewers. (onions take much longer to grill, cook them first then the mushrooms)  Personally, I do not think a good steak needs much more seasoning than good ole kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Flank steak doesn’t need to be marinated to oblivion.  Cooked to medium (a 1″ thick steak should be grilled about 6 minutes per side and turned only once) and thinly sliced on the diagonal is all you need for a flavorful and simple supper.  If you’re ever in doubt as to whether your steak is done the way you want, use an instant read thermometer and follow the guidelines below.

*Internal temperatures for different degrees of doneness:
Rare-120′ to 130′
Medium rare- 130′ to 140′
Medium- 140′ to 150′
Medium well- 150′ to 160′
Well- 160+

Oh…and potato.  Noting like a killer potato with a great piece of steak, right?  If you love twice baked potatoes, you must try my
Twice Baked Potato Casserole.  Perfectly sized or shaped potatoes are not needed for this recipe.  

I hope you had a restful weekend!


Grilled Lemon and Herb Marinated Kabobs…..

Often times you’ll see kabobs with meat/chicken, onion, and tomatoes, etc.  I’ve never cooked kabobs this way as none of these items have the same cooking time.  By the time the meat is done, the tomatoes are falling off the skewer and into the fire and the onions are undercooked.  Cook each individual item on it’s own skewer.  I recommend cooking  onions and mushrooms on metal skewers as bamboo even after soaking can char and break apart.  If you are using bamboo skewers be sure to soak them in water for 45-60 minutes.  This will prevent them from burning up too quickly on the grill.

This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy boneless, skinless chicken breast.  I’ve actually become very fond of boneless skinless thighs as a less expensive and extremely flavorful alternative.  Marinade the chicken in this simple marinade for about an hour, skewer, and grill.  They cook in 12-15 minutes.  Serve with simple rice pilaf or oven roasted dijon potatoes  and a grilled vegetable salad (recipe below).

Grilled Lemon and Herb Marinated Kabobs

2 lbs. boneless and skinless chicken breast or thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into bite size pieces
1/3 cup fresh or bottled lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
3 large cloves fresh garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons dried oregano or one tablespoon fresh chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1)  Trim the chicken pieces of any fat and cut into bite size pieces.  Put into a medium size bowl that has a lid.
2)  Mix all marinade ingredients together and whisk to blend.  Pour half of the marinade over the chicken, cover and refrigerate for about an hour.  Refrigerate the remaining marinade as well.  If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak in water until you’re ready to skewer chicken.
3)  Preheat grill.   Remove chicken from the refrigerator and skewer.  Place the kabobs on the grill.  Resist turning them too soon, you want nice grill marks on the chicken before you turn.  Cook for 12-15 minutes or until juices run clear.
4)  Place the kabobs on a platter and cover with foil.  Microwave the remaining refrigerated marinade for 20-30 seconds to take off the chill.  Spoon over the chicken before serving.  Makes 8-10 kabobs.

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette…..

This is an absolutely beautiful salad made with readily available  fresh summer produce.  Simply season with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Grill and add a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.  Serve with anything from grilled Italian sausage to a simple cheese and garlic pasta.  You could top with some fresh shaved pecorino romano cheese or bleu cheese crumbles.  Try chopping the vegetables into 1/2″ pieces and serve on top of crusty grilled italian bread, delish!

Balsamic vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1)  Whisk all of the vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl.  Refrigerate immediatley unless you’ll be using right away.

For the salad:

8 ounces white mushrooms
2 small zuchinni squash, cut lenthwise into quarters
2 small yellow squash, cut lenthwise into quarters
1 large red onion, sliced into three large slices
1 small red, yellow, and orange pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 pinches salt
2 pinches black pepper

1)  In a small bowl, add the mushrooms and a tablespoon of the vinaigrette.  Toss to coat and allow to marinate for 10-15 minutes, continue to toss to coat.  Skewer and place on a platter.
2)  For the onion, drizzle a little olive oil on each slice and season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle the rest of the vegetables with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat. 
3)  Grill over medium-high heat.  The vegetables will vary in cooking time.  The onions will take the longest, followed by the peppers and the mushrooms.  The squash will cook relatively quick.    The vegetables should all have nice grill marks.  Remove from the grill and slice the squash into bit size pieces on the diagonal.  Do the same for the peppers.  Slice the onion slices and the mushrooms into quarters.  Toss into a medium size mixing bowl.  Drizzle the vinaigrette over the vegetables and gently toss to coat.  Serve or refrigerate immediately.

Barbecue Meatloaf Over Texas Toast with Bush’s Original Baked Beans…..

These individual meatloaves are extremely tender and delicious.  Serve over a piece of grilled Texas toast and perfectly seasoned Bush’s Original Baked Beans….this is the perfect summer supper!

Here we go…

We begin with the basics, minced onions, celery, and carrots.  This will add moisture and flavor.

The ingredients in this recipe are very uncomplicated.  We’ll need some olive oil, fresh minced garlic, salt, and pepper.

Into a hot pan over medium heat add the olive oil, onions, celery, and carrots.  Cook for about 9 minutes or until soft, stir often.  Add the garlic and cook another minute or two.  Remove from heat and cool.  Preheat oven to 350′.

We’ll need bread crumbs.  I save the bread ends and put them in the food processor for a whirl.

I use Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue sauce, but you can use your favorite.  This will go into the meatloaf, you’ll need additional for basting while grilling.

We’ll need 1 lb. each lean ground beef and ground turkey.

Into a large mixing bowl, add the bread crumbs….

Add water, this will add extra moisture as well.

And eggs.  Mix well.

To the large mixing bowl, add the meats, the cooled vegetables, salt, pepper, and barbecue sauce.  Mix well with clean hands and divide into 8 equal flat and oval shaped patties.  Place on non stick foil lined cookie sheet or regular foil coated with cooking spray.

Bake for 25 minutes. 

They should look like this.  Cool for about 5 mintues and remove the loaves from the pan, removing any residual cooking residue.

Preheat the grill.

Oh, how rude of me.  Allow me to introduce you to my new grill, Wendy Weber.  Isn’t she beautiful????

Place the meatloaves on the grill over medium heat.  After a couple of minutes, give a quarter turn.  Give a turn after a couple of more minutes.  Baste with barbecue sauce.   Watch carefully as the barbecue sauce can easily burn.

Remove the meatloaves from the grill. 

Toast the thick and lightly buttered Texas Toast.  Serve the meatloaves on top of the toasted bread with extra barbecue sauce. 

Individual Barbecue Meatloaves with Texas Toast and Bush’s Original Baked Beans

2 tablespoons olive oil
¾ cup minced onion
½ cup minced celery
¼ cup minced and peeled carrot
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups bread crumbs
1 cup water
2 eggs
1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey
1 lb. 90% lean ground beef
½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ cup Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce or your favorite
Texas toast, lightly buttered on both sides, optional

1) Heat a medium size skillet over medium heat until hot. Add olive oil, onion, celery, and carrot. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 9 minutes. Add garlic, cook an additional minute. Remove from heat to cool.
2) Preheat oven to 350’. Non stick foil line a cookie sheet.
3) Add the bread crumbs to a large mixing bowl. Add water and eggs, mix well. Add the ground meats, salt and pepper, ½ cup barbecue sauce, and cooled onion mixture. Mix well with meticulously clean hands. Shape into 8 flat, oval patties and place on prepared cookie sheet. (the meat will be extremely soft) Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.
4) Preheat the grill. Place on the grill over medium heat for 4 minutes, give a quarter turn, cook another 4 minutes. Turn loaves and baste with barbecue sauce. After a couple of minutes, turn one last time and baste with barbecue sauce. Grill the Texas toast for a couple of minutes per side until it is toasted. Serve meatloaf on top of grilled bread with extra barbecue sauce. Enjoy with Bush’s Original Baked Beans, DE-LISH!

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Ginger Glaze…..

Make this simple dish any night of the week.  Pork tenderloin usually comes 2 per package.  They weigh between 1 and 1 1/2 lbs. per tenderloin.  You’ll want to trim off any excess fat and sinew (fibrous connective tissue).  Using a sharp knife, run closely under the tissue to remove.

Coat the tenderloins with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Cook on the grill on medium-high heat for about 25 minutes.  Top with the apricot ginger sauce for an additional  5-8 minutes of cooking.  Keep a close watch as the sugar in the jam can easily burn.

Here we go….

Make the simple sauce.  1 cup apricot preserves, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons minced ginger root,  1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, 1 clove crushed garlic, and  1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes.  Mix well and divide in half.  You will use half while cooking and half when serving.  Preheat the grill.  Cook the tenderloins on medium-high for about 25 minutes.

Reduce the heat on the grill to medium-low.  Generously baste the tenderloins with the glaze.  Be sure to watch carefully as the sugars in the glaze can easily burn. Cook another 5-8 minutes.  Allow to rest lightly covered with foil for 15 minutes before slicing.

Thinly slice on a diagonal and top with extra apricot/ginger sauce.  Serve with steamed rice and stir fry sugar snap peas.  Enjoy!

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Ginger Glaze

1 1/2-2 lbs. pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup apricot or peach preserves
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger root
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 clove crushed garlic clove
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1)  Preheat the grill.  Trim the tenderloins and coat with olive oil.   Season with salt and pepper.

2)  In a small bowl, add the preserves through the red pepper flakes, mix well.  Divide in half.  You will use half to glaze the tenderloin on the grill and half for serving.

3)  Once the tenderloins have been cooking for about 25 minutes and have good color, reduce the heat to medium low and generously baste with the sauce.  Watch carefully as the sugars in the glaze can easily burn.  Cook for another 5-8 minutes, continue to baste.  Serve with extra sauce.  Serves 4.

Simplest Barbeque Ribs…..

This recipe uses very few ingredients and a very simple cooking technique called braising.  Slow roast the simply seasoned ribs in the oven with low heat for a couple of hours and finish on the grill for 10-15 minutes.  Feeding a crowd?  Cook the ribs ahead and refrigerate (you’ll want to use within a few days).  Grill for 10-15 minutes and add BBQ sauce and serve.

Here we go….

There is a skin on the underside of the ribs, you’ll want to remove it.

Using your fingers, grip the skin and pull away from the ribs.

If it’s too difficult to grab ahold of the skin with your fingers, use paper towel.  This will help to grip the skin.

Once the skin is removed,  halve the slabs to make them more manageable when cooking.  Choose a meaty spot between two bones and slice with a sharp knife.

Preheat the oven to 275′.  Foil line a deep pan that will hold the ribs without too much crowding.

Now we’re ready to season.   I  season simply with salt and pepper.  I think salt and pepper bring out the natural flavor in the ribs and of course, you get tons of flavor from BBQ sauce.

Place in prepared pan.

Cover the pan tightly with foil.  Roast for 2 1/2 hours.

They’re done.  They don’t look very appetizing at this point but believe me, they’re tender and ready for the grill.  I find that they are more manageable when you allow them to cool a bit before grilling.  Preheat the grill to medium high.  Place ribs on the grill.  Grill until they’re heated through.   Add your favorite BBQ sauce at the very end.   I LOVE Sweet Baby Ray’s, it’s sweet, thick, and a bit spicy, so good.

Best BBQ Ribs

1-2 slabs of baby back ribs, skin removed and halved
salt and pepper
Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, or your favorite BBQ sauce

1)  Preheat the oven to 275′.  Foil line your pan with heavy duty aluminum foil.

2)  Remove the skin from the back side of the ribs and halve the slab.  Season generously with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning or rub.  Place into prepared pan.

3)  Cover the pan tightly with foil.  Place in 275′ oven for 2 1/2 hours.  No need to peek.

4)  Remove from oven and cool or refrigerate to grill later.  Preheat grill to medium-high.  Place ribs on the grill for about 15 minutes.  Liberally add BBQ sauce to the ribs and watch carefully as to not burn the BBQ sauce.  Serve immediately.