Sunday, July 27, 2014

Grilled Tuscan Pork Chops

Easy preparation and easy clean up...what could be better than enjoying these pork chops loaded with flavor?  

Grilled Tuscan Pork Chops

2-4 thick pork chops
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp oregano 
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder or 1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Combine everything, except the pork chops, in a large plastic bag that you can seal.  Make sure that it is all mixed together completely before adding in the pork chops.  Allow to marinade for 4 hours in the refrigerator before removing and getting ready to grill.  Remove from marinade and shake off any excess.  Grill until the internal temperature reaches 145°.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Grilled Colby Chicken Melt

What better way to begin the weekend either at home or at the lake than with an easy lunch that is sure to please.  You can use leftover chicken from the grill or some ready to go from the grocery store.  An expert sandwich flipper could make these on the grill.  I made them on the stove top.  I added in a special spread for extra flavor

Grilled Colby Chicken Melt
2 slices of your favorite bread - I used a Whole Grain Wheat
2 slices colby cheese
red pepper spread
butter, softened

Assemble just like a grilled cheese sandwich.  Butter the outside slices of bread and place one piece face down in a frying pan. Spread red pepper spread on top and lay down one slice of colby cheese over it.    Place slices of chicken breast on top of the cheese, top with a second piece of cheese, and then the other slice of bread, butter side on top.  Grill until a nice golden brown, carefully flip and grill the second side.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sparkling Blackberry Lemonade

The polar vortex has passed and the temperatures have climbed again.  Time for a refreshing drink to celebrate on the deck.

Sparkling Blackberry Lemonade

5 lemons
1 cup blackberries, fresh or frozen
2 cups water
1 3/4 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups sparkling water

Juice the lemons and set aside.  In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups of water, the sugar and blackberries.  Cook until sugar has dissolved and berries have softened.  Strain the mixture into the lemon juice, push some of the blackberry pulp through the sieve.  Stir together and chill.  Before serving, pour in the 2 1/2 cups of sparkling water.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Garlic & Herb Cracker Spread

My weakness is crackers and whatever you can put on top of them.  My other weakness is cheese.  So feeding these two together - win-win for my tastebuds.  I used a product very similar to this to make mashed potatoes a few weeks ago.  It was kind of expensive.  I started thinking that I could make it much cheaper plus maybe healthier.  I mean, the base of it is the same as a cream cheese frosting.  I opted to use an organic Neufchatel cheese.  In it I used one of my favorite herbs - dill weed.  It adds so much flavor and it's kind of odd that I like it so much since I am not a fan of pickles.

Garlic & Herb Cracker Spread

1 - 8 oz Neufchatel cheese
4 tbsp butter

Let both come to room temperature and mix together completely.

Add in the following ~

1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp dill weed
1/8 tsp basil
1/8 tsp marjoram
1/8 tsp thyme

Stir in spices to they are evenly spread out in the Neufchatel mixture.  Place in your serving container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pizza Hamburgers

And now the reveal as to why I needed the hamburger buns....the pizza burger!  I made a quick pizza sauce to use as the condiment of choice.  You can stuff it with pepperoni or Canadian bacon.  I chose a slice of pepperoni which doesn't show in the photo due to the fresh mozzarella cheese that is oozing out of the burger.

Pizza Hamburgers

1# ground beef
fresh mozzarella
pepperoni or Canadian bacon
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Pizza Sauce

1 - 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 - 8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Put everything in a small saucepan and heat.  Super easy sauce.  Use it on the bun or on the side.

Shape the ground beef into patties.  Make an indent and add mozzarella cheese and pepperoni in the middle.  Cover the cheese and pepperoni completely and cook on the grill or in a pan.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hamburger Buns

Ah the smell of baking is one of those comfort smells especially with the Polar Vortex in summer.  I forgot to pick up hamburger buns at the grocery store so what better than making some myself.  I've made honey wheat buns before so I went for plain white buns this time.  

Hamburger Buns

1 cup warm water
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
3 tbsp sugar

Mix together and let sit for 10 minutes.  

In a large mixing bowl, combine -

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp sea salt

After 10 minutes, add in yeast mixture plus 2 tbsp melted butter and mix.  Put a dough hook on your mixture and completely combine the ingredients, scraping the sides of the bowl.  You can also use your dough setting on a bread machine.  Turn out dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until the dough is smooth.  Roll into a large ball and place in the mixing bowl that has a tablespoon of olive oil coating the sides.  Roll the dough over so all sides are covered in the olive oil.  Cover with a cloth towel and let rise until doubled.  
Turn out dough when doubled, and cut into 8 equal pieces.  Roll in your hands into 4" disks that are about 1/2" thick and place on a parchment lined baking pan.  Allow to rise again until doubled.  

Brush with an egg wash of 1 large egg and 1 tsp water mixed together.  Sprinkle on sesame seeds if you like.    Bake at 400° for about 15 minutes. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lemon & Herb Grilled Chicken

I've had a dried bunch of oregano on top of my canister set waiting for inspiration.  I bought some chicken breasts with no plans in mind so with the addition of a lemon, this is the recipe that I created...

Lemon & Herb Grilled Chicken

2 chicken breasts, pounded slightly to they are an even thickness
1 tsp lemon zest
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

In a large plastic bag that seals, combine all the ingredients including the chicken and let it marinate in the refrigerator for an hour.  After an hour or so, remove the chicken from the bag and shake off the excess juice.  Place on a hot grill, turning one time and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°.  Grill the remaining lemon half for a couple minutes and spritz the top of the chicken breasts before serving.