Posts tagged ‘grill’

Summer BBQ

Everyone has a slightly different meaning of appropriate cook-out foods depending on your cultural and regional backgrounds. Growing up in NJ, a summer BBQ always meant hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad, and chips. To my husband, who was born in Brazil, no cook-out is complete without linguica (Brazilian sausage) and short ribs. I have also heard that BBQ and cook-out can signal two totally different affairs if you are from the southern US.

No matter what, it is hard to disagree that anything off the grill just screams summer. My husband got a new Weber charcoal grill for his birthday yesterday, so we are excited to have many grilled treats this summer. Here are some of my favorite summer recipes for the grill. These are all perfect for any special graduation celebrations or Memorial Day BBQs coming up!

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Homemade Shake Shack – Two Ways

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Fingerling Potato and Asparagus Salad

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Grill Basket Veggie Panini

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Sweet Potato Grill Fries

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Greek Herbed Turkey Burgers

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Grilled Pizza

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Beer Can Chicken

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Drunken Grilled Fruit

May 23, 2014 at 7:43 am 1 comment

Drunken Fruit

A perk of spending a week at home, besides the aforementioned grill (and spending time with my family and friends, of course!), is full access to my dad’s well-stocked bar. I am not a big drinker, and usually go for a glass of wine or beer before a mixed drink. However, I like playing around with mixed drinks every once in a while! After adapting a sangria recipe and trying out Jenna’s Strawberry Rhubarb Margaritas, I was feeling inspired to dabble a little bit with cooking with liquor. I wanted to grill some fruit for dessert, and decided to spice things up a little bit. The pineapple was inspired by the margaritas, and the peaches combined a collection of flavors that I absolutely love.

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The recipes are simple: mix together the alcohol and sugar, pour over the fruit, let it sit for an hour or two (while you are making and cooking dinner), and then throw it on the grill. Make sure the racks are clean, and then place the fruit directly on the grill. Let it cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Turn over the fruit and drizzle the rest of the marinade over the fruit. Be careful of flame ups, or skip this step entirely. Cook for a few more minutes, and then serve warm. The aroma of this fruit is irresistible – just ask my mom and my sister.

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The pineapple flavor is simply enhanced, both by the tequila and by the heat of the grill. The peaches are transformed entirely – the texture softens until the fruit almost melts in your mouth, and the cinnamon, vanilla, and bourbon shine through. We ate these plain, but they would be amazing served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as well! They make for a great sweet note for the end of a light, outdoor, grilled summer meal.

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Question: What is your favorite summer dessert?

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Tequila Lime Pineapple

1/4 cup tequila

1 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 pineapple, sliced into rings or spears

Mix together the ingredients, then pour over fresh pineapple slices or spears. Allow to sit for one to two hours. Grill over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side.

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Bourbon Vanilla Cinnamon Peaches

1/4 cup bourbon

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

1 tbsp cinnamon

3-5 peaches

Mix together the ingredients, then pour over peach halves. (Should be enough for up to 5 peaches). Allow to sit for one to two hours. Grill over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side.

June 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm 3 comments

Grilled Pizza

The one thing I miss most about home, besides my family and friends, of course, is the grill. I do not own a grill in Boston, and love grilled foods during the summer months. There is something about the open flame and cooking outside that makes everything taste better, from mushroom burgers to vegetables to pizza! I made sure to request all of my favorite grilled foods while I was relaxing at home for the week, and my mom and I had a blast grilling together!

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My mom has been making grilled pizza for years and it has always been one of my favorite meals. You take homemade pizza dough, cook it directly on the grill for a few minutes on each side, and then top it with your favorite pizza add-ons. (I love making non-traditional pizzas loaded with goat cheese, caramelized onions, and as many veggies as I can think of.) Cooking the dough directly on the grill gives it a great crispiness that mimics brick oven pizzas, but in a unique and homemade way. It can be a challenge to get the crust right, and takes constant attention as to not let it burn. (See the bottom of the post for step-by-step pictures). If this is not your thing, you can always use a pre-cooked crust from the grocery store and then warm it up on the grill after topping it. Give this pizza a try this summer, it is worth the extra step!

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Grilled Pizza

serves 4

1 batch pizza dough, store-bought or homemade

1 tsp minced garlic

3 tbsp Balsamic vinaigrette

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 small bunch asparagus spears

1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced

2 tbsp olive oil

6 oz goat cheese

2 oz Parmesan cheese

If making dough from scratch, prepare dough. While it is rising, toss the cherry tomatoes with the garlic and 2 tbsp of Balsamic dressing. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus spears. Roast the vegetables in a grill basket for 5-7 minutes, or until the cherry tomatoes are wrinkled and ready to burst. Remove from the heat and separate. Cut the asparagus spears into bite sized pieces. In a medium saucepan over the stove, heat olive oil. Add the sliced onion and cook until soft. Add 1 tbsp Balsamic dressing and allow the onions to continue to cook until they are dark brown and slightly caramelized. When ready to create the pizza, form dough into a roughly round pizza shape. Rub both sides with olive oil. Preheat the grill and clean the rack. Place the dough directly on the grill rack. Turn down the flame, close the lid, and allow the dough to cook for 3-4 minutes. Carefully flip the dough, and cook for 3 more minutes. Keep a close eye on the dough at this point – you want it to rise and cook, but not burn. When the dough is cooked, transfer to a large sheet of aluminum foil. Spread with the roasted cherry tomatoes, squishing them slightly to release the juices to form a crust. Layer on the caramelized onions and asparagus pieces. Dot with goat cheese crumbles and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Close grill and allow to heat through for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Cut into slices and serve.

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May 29, 2012 at 8:04 am 2 comments

A Relaxing Rehearsal

As I mentioned last week, I was lucky enough to celebrate with two of my best friends as they got married this past weekend! They have been dating since we were 15, and it was so great to see two people so in love commit to support each other and spend the rest of their lives together. I was honored to host a rehearsal dinner for them, and pulled together an early Labor Day BBQ reminiscent of so many other backyard hangouts. We enjoyed a simple but delicious menu, enjoyed hanging out with old friends, played lots of ladder ball, made ornaments for their first Christmas tree (leave it to Momma K to always be creative!), and enjoyed a bonfire and ‘smores. It was relaxed and a great way to laugh and get out nervous energy the night before the big day!
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The menu was simple, and focused on what I knew to be some of Amanda’s favorite foods. We set out tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole to tide everyone’s hunger when they first arrived from the rehearsal. I mentioned this to the guests once already, but I would be nothing without my mother! We slaved away together cooking and setting up the backyard all morning, and she kept working while I snuck away to the rehearsal. By the time I got back, the backyard was transformed and the dishes were set up and waiting to be filled with chips and guac!
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For dinner, we enjoyed classic BBQ food: cheeseburgers (a special Portobello burger for me!), BBQ chicken, grilled veggies, pasta salad, and potato salad.
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The grilled veggies are so simple: we mixed red, yellow and orange bell pepper strips with Vidalia onion rings, baby bella mushroom slices, zucchini and yellow squash. Marinated in a bit of canola oil and season salt, we cooked these ahead of time and heated the tin in the oven when the guests arrived!
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The potato salad is also a repeat recipe, an original mayo-less salad I made at the start of the summer for a Memorial Day BBQ. I sliced the potatoes into rounds before cooking them this time to avoid scalded fingers, and it worked out perfectly!
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The pasta salad is also a modification from another of my recipes. Instead of processing the sun dried tomatoes to make a sauce, I just sliced them thinly. I mixed them with some of the packing oil and fresh olive oil, some basil and combined it all with tortellini and steamed broccoli. Just as good as the original recipe, but more BBQ friendly since it can be made ahead of time and served cold.
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For dessert, we enjoyed fruit salad and homemade whipped cream. To make things a little more special, I carved the watermelon into a fruit basket (click here for a how to!), and used a melon baller to scoop out the watermelon and canteloupe so all of the fruit would be round. I even served the whipped cream in the melon halves for fun! Definitely a hit, but not as big of a hit as the bonfire and ‘smores!
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I show my love for people by cooking, hosting, and ensuring that everyone has a good time. I know I had a good time, both at the rehearsal and at the wedding! I love these two so much, and can’t wait to share more with you tomorrow!

September 7, 2011 at 7:35 am 3 comments

Beer Can Chicken

There is a reason I love to cook: my mom. I grew up watching her and my grandma in the kitchen, creating healthy, wonderful dinners and loving every minute of it. My mom made a fabulous Father’s Day dinner since I was in charge of breakfast, so I’ll let her tell you all about it!

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I love to cook outside.  Since I grew up camping, a tradition I continued with my own family, we always say everything tastes better when you eat outside.  I believe that goes for cooking as well!  As soon as I can clear the snow from my grill, I start grilling everything.  That’s where Jen got her love for grilling everything, including pizza.

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A few years ago at a camping show, I ran across this simple little stand to roast chicken on the grill with a can of beer inside the cavity of the chicken.  What a fabulous idea!  I hadn’t used it for a summer or two so I decided Father’s Day would be a perfect time to try it out again.  It was a beautiful sunny day and we were going to be hanging around our pool.  Since it takes a bit of time–about 2 hours– you do need to choose a day when you can keep an eye on the grill. And so easy too!  I just rubbed an oven stuffer chicken with some Montreal Chicken seasoning, drank the top quarter of the beer ;), placed the can into position in the stand, and plopped the chicken on top!  After a couple of hours, we had the juiciest, most flavorful chicken ever.  Even my veggie-loving daughter couldn’t help but go back for seconds on this chicken!  Jen had a great idea to use the remaining beer to make a delicious mustard ale sauce to accompany our chicken. Of course we rounded out the meal with a big basket of colorful grilled vegetables and fingerling potatoes. Yum!

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Question: What is your favorite outdoor meal?

Beer Can Chicken

1 roasting chicken

1 can beer

2 tbsp Montreal Chicken Seasoning

Special equipment: beer can stand

Rub an oven stuffer roaster chicken with the Montreal Chicken seasoning, or rub of your choice.  Open a can of your favorite beer and drink the top quarter.  :)  Place the beer can in the center of the beer can stand.  Pull the chicken over the beer can on the stand.  I put my beer can stand on a grill basket used for grilling vegetables for extra support.  Place on grill over very low heat and grill for  about 2 hours or until the chicken is done and the temperature popper pops.  If your grill has a top rack you may need to remove it so that you can close the grill cover completely over the inverted chicken.  Now just sit back and relax with another beer while your chicken roasts on the grill.  You may need to keep on eye out for flare-ups to avoid charring the chicken. When the chicken is fully cooked, allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before removing skin (and char) and carving.

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Mustard Ale Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/2 cup beer (leftover from steaming chicken)

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small sauce pot over medium heat. Slowly bring to a boil so the mustard begins to thicken again. Once it comes to a rolling boil, remove from heat. Serve luke warm or cold depending on preference.

July 2, 2011 at 9:00 am 1 comment

Taste the Rainbow

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Not quite Skittles, but just as colorful and even tastier (in my opinion). Now, I am a self-proclaimed veggie lover all times of the year. I love roasted winter vegetables, crisp springtime salads, big pots of vegetable soup in the fall… but my favorite way to eat them is hot off the grill! My mom bought a grill basket a few years ago, and we use it at least 3 times a week for something. There are so many reasons I love veggies done this way: they have a great crispness like roasted vegetables but don’t require you to heat up the whole house in the middle of summer, they maintain all of their fresh flavor and pick up some grilled smokiness, and they are so colorful and fun! Even my dad clears his plate of veggies when done this way. A colorful basket of vegetables not only looks great (remember that you eat with your eyes before you eat with your mouth!), but they are also really healthy. The more colorful variety you have, the more nutrient variety that you have. Even better – they take 10 minutes tops, and can be a mixture of whatever you like! I love  a mix of whatever is on hand: bell pepper strips, mushroom quarters, zucchini moons, Vidalia onion quarters, snap peas, broccoli and cauliflower florets, and carrot slices (if you are serving them as a side, they can be bigger pieces than if you are using them for sandwiches and wraps). Simply toss them with grapeseed or olive oil and Season salt, and then grill for 7-10 minutes. Serve them as a side dish, mix them in with rice and chicken, tofu or beans, or use them to make a sandwich or wrap! Below is a recipe for a grilled veggie panini that I made for a light weekend dinner, but don’t be limited to warm sandwiches! I use leftovers all of the time cold on wraps with hummus and lettuce, perfect for a to-go picnic lunch. Grab yourself a grill basket and give the veggies or this sandwich a try next time you’re out at the grill.

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Grilled Vegetable Panini

per sandwich

2/3-1 cup mixed vegetables, cut in strips or bite sized pieces (about 2 handfuls, will shrink down when cooked)

1/2 tbsp olive or grapeseed oil

1/2 tsp season salt, or 1/4 tsp each paprika and salt

4-6 inch piece of whole wheat Italian loaf

1 tbsp hummus

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Cut your desired mix of veggies into strips and bite sized pieces. Toss with oil and seasonings, and then cook in grill basket over medium high heat. Turn every few minutes for about 7-10 minutes, until veggies are cooked through. Meanwhile, slice open bread and lightly toast on the grill. Coat top half of the bread with mustard and bottom half with hummus. Top hummus side of bread with warm vegetables (hummus helps the veggies to stick). Serve warm with desired sides: grilled sweet potato fries, potato salad, mixed green salad, etc.

June 22, 2011 at 9:00 am 7 comments

Celebrating Dear Old Dad

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To the best Dad I could ask for, Happy Birthday and Happy Father’s Day. Even though we may have our occasional clash and misunderstandings, your huge heart and love for others are inspirational. You are truly a Daddy Bear: a terrifying force when provoked, but nurturing and caring when you are safe enough to let your guard down. Thank you for always being there for me, for loving and supporting me, and for being a great Dad.

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To celebrate my Dad, my sister and I surprised him with dinner last night. She decorated the backyard with streamers and black balloons while I manned the grill. We made cinnamon chipotle steak (rub recipe below!), grilled corn, and grilled sweet potato fries (it’s a two-for-one recipe post). The steak was super spicy, and I probably could have gone a little lighter on the rub. I liked it, though, because it hid the meat flavor for my veggie-preferring taste buds. I can imagine this being great on chicken or Portobello mushrooms too! The corn was perfect and sweet, and the sweet potatoes were amazing off the grill. We splurged and bought his favorite soda – Stewart’s root beer, black cherry, and oranges n’ cream… in glass bottles no less! For dessert, we got an angel food cake (his favorite) and topped it with light whipped cream and berries. Who knew that my Dad would actually request such a healthy birthday dessert?! Maybe he does listen to me sometimes ;)

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IMG_2889Question: How are you celebrating Father’s Day?

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Cinnamon Chipotle Grill Rub

makes enough for 3 lbs of meat or veggies

1/2 tbsp cinnamon

2 tsp chipotle chili powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp parsley

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

Mix together spices and rub onto meat or mushrooms. Allow to stand for 10-20 minutes before grilling to allow the rub to fully adhere to the meat. Grill until meat is done to your desire.

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Sweet Potato Grill Fries

serves 6

3 large sweet potatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp paprika

salt and pepper to taste

Cover the potatoes in a large pot with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the sweet potatoes are slightly tender. Drain and run the potatoes under cold water. When potatoes are cool enough to touch, peel the skin from the potatoes. Slice into thick matchsticks. Toss in olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper, and paprika. Spread on a grill pan over medium heat. Cook for 7 minutes, then flip and cook for another 7 minutes. Fries should be crisp but not burnt when done.

June 16, 2011 at 8:54 pm 3 comments

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