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‘Knock Your Socks Off’ Tailgate Burgers

Rich, Creamy Mushroom Sauce. Pepper Jack Cheese. Juicy Hamburger. Soft, Fresh Pretzel Bun.

Are you drooling yet? It’s ok, your secret’s safe with me. These burgers, with their amazing mushroom awesome-sauce deserve nothing less. It’s the highest compliment this recipe could hope to achieve. That and plates licked clean. Just one bite, and you’ll see. And trust me, these will definitely ‘knock your socks off!’

Seriously, what more could you want in a burger? This is totally indulgent and just screams ‘GAME DAY’ or ‘dude’ food. Just be careful not to indulge in them too often, or they might just ruin a burger for you if it’s served up any other way.

‘Knock Your Socks Off’ Tailgate Burgers

 Pepper Jack Pretzel Bun Burgers with Mushroom Cream Sauce

1 lb ground beef
6 full-size of 12 mini pretzel rolls
6 slices pepper jack cheese, cut in half to make 12 pieces if using slider-sized buns
mayonnaise to spread over the inside of the rolls

Mushroom sauce
8 oz thinly sliced mushrooms
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp minced garlic or 4 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup diced white onion
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream, or half and half
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp cold water, mixed together

Topping
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. Divide the ground beef into 6 patties, or 12 small patties if using rolls instead of buns. In a large skillet or dutch oven, cook the patties until browned on both sides and cooked completely through. After they’re cooked, set them aside, and discard excess grease.
    2. In the same skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add in the mushrooms and garlic, and sauté until the mushrooms are tender. Add in the Worcestershire sauce, cream, broth, salt, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly, and then stir in the cornstarch mixture. Once the sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat and set it aside.
    3. Slice open the pretzel buns and spread some mayo over the top and bottoms of each bun. Place the cooked patties on the bottom of bun and add the pepper jack cheese on top. Spoon a generous amount of the mushroom sauce over the top of each patty and replace the top of the bun. Put the assembled burger in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Melt the 1/2 cup of butter for the topping and stir in the poppy seeds and Worcestershire sauce. Spoon the melted butter over the top of the sliders. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. Serve hot.

recipe adapted from Knock Your Socks Off Tailgate Sliders

Greek Chicken Kabobs with Tzatziki Sauce

We’ve run the gambit on the recipe list, especially when it comes to kabobs. They’re a favorite of ours, especially in the grilling months, since they’re so, so easy to throw together. Cooking? Well, that’s a breeze. What’s not to love??

Grilled Greek Chicken Kebobs 2

These kabobs are healthy, they’re absolutely loaded with flavor, and they’re pretty easy from start to finish. Short on time? Most of the work can be done ahead of time with the marinade. And then all you’ve got left is to string them along. Me? I get an assembly line going in the kitchen, and we’re all set in less than five minutes.

these kabobs are good all by themselves, BUT if you’re looking to take the meal from just mmm, mmm, good, to flavor bending good? That’s where the homemade tzatziki sauce comes in.

Grilled Greek Chicken Kabobs 4

It’s a must. Rich, creamy, AND healthy ( and this from the cucumber hater of our family ). Get in on this action. There isn’t much more you can ask for in a healthy dinner for the whole family to enjoy.

Greek Chicken Kabobs with Tzatziki Sauce

Grilled Greek Chicken Kebobs 3

2 lbs bonless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1 1/4-inch cubes
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing the grill
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and black pepper, to taste
2 large red, yellow, and/or orange bell peppers, diced into 1 inch pieces
3 small zucchini (nearly 1 lb), sliced into rounds slightly under 1/2-inch thick
1 large red onion, diced into 1 inch wedges

Tzatziki

1 medium cucumber (about 8 oz), peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 heaping cup plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnishing kebabs
1 tbspchopped fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried)
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

For the kebabs:

  1. In a bowl whisk together the 1/4 cup of olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, and coriander until evenly combined. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.  2. Place the cubed chicken in a Large zip locking bag and pour olive the prepared marinade over the chicken amd gently squish the chicken around to evenly coat. Seal the bag, lay it flat, and refrigerate the chicken for 45 minutes, or up to 2 hours (no longer than 2 hours or the chicken will start to get mealy because of the acidic ingredients). If using wooden skewers soak them in water for 30 minutes.
    3. Drizzle the prepped veggies with the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil and gently stir/toss to coat. I just lightly season them with salt.
    4. Preheat a grill over medium-high heat. Thread a red bell pepper, red onion, zucchini, 2 chicken pieces on to skewer and repeat until the skewer is full (leave an inch or two free on both ends to allow for safe handling). Brush the heated grill lightly with olive oil, place the skewers on grill and grill until chicken registers 165 degrees in center, about 7 – 9 minutes, rotating once halfway through cooking. Garnish the cooked skewers with parsley (optional), and serve the. warm with Tzatziki sauce.

For the Tzatziki:

  1. Place the diced cucumber in a mesh strainer or colander and sprinkle with salt, toss to evenly coat then allow to rest 30 minutes at room temperature.
    2. Rinse the cucumbers and place them onto several layers of paper towels. Squeeze some of the liquid from cucumbers (almost as if wringing moisture from a cloth). Place the cucumbers in food processor and pulse to chop fine (if there’s excess liquid drain it off).
    3. Pour the cucumbers into a mixing bowl and add in the Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, and dill and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir everything to evenly combine. 4. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream

I’m just gonna go ahead and call this the week when I decided to share all the ice cream. Summer’s coming to an end, and will fade into Fall before we know it. And I have so, so many yummy frozen treats to share with ya’ll that I don’t even want to waste another second dragging it out. So you’ve been warned! Stay tuned the rest of this week and next for some totally tasty refreshing snacks and desserts coming your way.

Grilled Peaches 2

And there’s no better way to kick this bonanza off than with Grilled Peaches and Vanilla Ice Cream. Peach picking season is in full swing around these parts at all of our local orchards. And if you’re skeptical at the idea of grilled fruit, or even grilled fruit as dessert, let me stop you right there.

Grilled Peaches

Grilling these babies is quick and easy, and caramelizes the sugars in a way that can’t be described, just tasted. Add a pinch of brown sugar to the mix, and they make the perfect ‘bowls’ to hold a hearty scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

Grilled Peaches 3

It’s like the ice cream and pie of 2015, minus the crust, and well … pie. But I’m sure you get my meaning. Just like the granny smith apples and flaky crust in my Mama’s apple pie, these two were meant to go together.

Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream

2 ripe peaches
canola oil
brown sugar
vanilla ice cream

Directions

  1. Heat grill to medium high heat. Brush the peach halves with a touch of oil, sprinkle each half with a pinch of brown sugar, and place them on the grill for a few moments and then rotate 90 degrees and continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes, grill marks will be present and the peaches will feel softer.
    2. Remove from the grill with a pair of tongs and serve with a generous scoop of your favorite brand of vanilla ice cream in the center of each peach.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Burgers

What do you do when one of your readers asks about a specific genre of recipes? You try to accommodate, right? Any good blogger should. At the same time, when a new follower inquired as to what specific diabetic friendly recipes I offered, I was a bit embarrassed to not be able to offer any immediate suggestions. Which was even more upsetting when I consider how this has plagued my own family, more specifically, my grandmother who alongside my mom pretty much raised me in the kitchen.

Grilled Chicken Tandoori Burgers 3

Starting today, I will make an effort to provide more diabetic friendly recipes and add a specific tag for recipes more inclined to those who struggle with still wanting to eat well, but not sacrifice flavor. Grandma was one of those women. She lived food. She loved it. And each ounce of love was like a tangible thing we could taste, cooked into every bite of her meal. But as any diabetic knows, you’ve got to watch your sugar, and often that may mean sacrificing those oh-so-glorious carbs, which often break down into nothing more than simple sugars we don’t actually need.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Burgers

Unleavened naan bread is a much more diabetic friendly option than traditional burger buns. The burgers are made from ground chicken, a much leaner meat than ground beef, with an amazing array of different spices that while seeming so different, bring their A (+) game. These ‘tandoori’ style burgers are topped with fresh veggies, and finished off with a healthy mint yogurt sauce in lieu of the traditional mayo.

So much tastier. So much yum in each bite. Calories and sugars reduced, yet every ounce of flavor is easily tripled.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Burgers

Grilled Chicken Tandoori Burgers 4

1 1/2 lbs ground chicken breast
4 green onions, sliced thinly
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp  lemon juice
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Naan bread
cucumber, thinly sliced
cilantro leaves
red onion, thinly sliced

Mint Yogurt Sauce

1 heaping cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Put the chicken, green onions, and all of the spices in a bowl and mix well. Form into 4 patties.
2. Mix the yogurt sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Cook the Tandoori Chicken Burgers on a preheated grill over medium-medium high heat, roughly 3 minutes per side. Throw the Naan bread on the grill during the last few minutes, flipping once, to warm through.
4. Top the cooked burgers with a few sliced cucumbers, red onion, and a generous handful of cilantro.
5. Either add a healthy dollop of yogurt sauce to the top or spread it onto the insides of the naan bread.

Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa

Do you love a little something spicy with your meat? Maybe throw in a dash of something sweet to boot? The already flavorful pork tenderloin is marinaded in a (gently) spicy chipotle sauce, grilled until it’s gorgeous, and then topped with a very basic, sweet cherry ‘salsa’. The flavor combination is perfect.

 Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with a Fresh Cherry Salsa

They blend seamlessly.

image

She’s a beaut, ain’t she?

Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa

Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with a Fresh Cherry Salsa 2

1-2 lb pork tenderloin

Marinade

juice of one lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4cup honey
2-3 chipotle peppers, coarsely chopped
3 tsp adobo sauce, from the can of chipotle peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt

Fresh Cherry Salsa
1 cup sweet, dark cherries, pitted and sliced into quarters
2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
2 tsp lemon juice

Directions

1. Combine marinade ingredients. Pour half of marinade into a resealable bag with pork tenderloin; cover and store the other half of the marinade in the refrigerator until you’re ready to grill the pork. Marinate the pork for at least an hour.
2. Pre-heat your grill to medium-high. Discard the used marinade and cook the pork over indirect heat, towards the edge of the grill, for roughly 15-20 minutes per side, or until cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F.
3. Place cooked pork tenderloin on a sheet of aluminum foil, bringing the edges up around it to form a ‘basket’. Pour the remaining marinade over the pork, and seal the aluminum foil, allowing everything to rest for about 10 minutes.

Fresh Cherry Salsa:
1. Combine all of the ingredients and serve over the pork.

recipe adapted from Sweet Peas & Saffron

Grilled Onion Bombs

Virginia weather is weird. Friday it was warm enough for sun-bathing. The next morning? We woke up to freezing rain and whipping wind. It’s nuts. Like welcome to the state where you can get sunburn and frostbite in the same week, nuts. But now that we’re at least ‘officially’ in Spring, the weather should trend on the side of at least moderately higher temps, and around these parts that’s all we need. We’ve got two wardrobes, winter and summer. First warm day? Pull out the tank tops and shorts. But it’s only 67 degrees out you say? That’s ok.

Another thing that makes its debut with the first Spring-like day? Our grill! Not to say we ever actually put it away, but it’s a lot easier grilling out at a cloudy 67 than in sleet or snow.

So, sun’s out … Grills out! And onion bombs are one of our favorites. They couldn’t be any easier to throw together and they taste incredible. These could just as easily be called meatloaf stuffed onions, and they’re easily adapted. I know the warmer weather hasn’t reached everywhere yet, but that’s cool. These can just as easily be baked in the oven, at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes in a covered casserole dish, without any sacrifices in the flavor infusion dept.

Onion Bombs

Do you enjoy camping? We do, and usually we stick to the easy realm of hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and cans of soup. But guess what makes a perfect meal cooked up over a camp fire? Yep, that’s right, onion bombs! Stuff em just the same, wrap em up in tin foil, and cook em over the hot camp fire coals for about 45 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Onion Bombs

Onion Bombs 2

1-1.5 lbs lean ground beef ( or you can do half ground beef and half ground pork )

1 large white onion, peeled

1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/2 tsp Montreal steak seasoning
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup of shredded cheese (any kind of cheese you like)
1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup of bread crumbs, or pulverized oatmeal, & 1 slice of bread torn into small pieces

Directions

1. Cut, from the top to the bottom right down the middle, a large onion in half. You want to cut from top to bottom, right down the middle, not sideways. Then take each layer from each one and pair them together making sure to match each side with it’s mate. Be careful when pulling the layers apart because they can tear easily.

2. Add all of the other ingredients to a large bowl. Mix all of this up with your hands, squishing and kneading everything together, as you would with meatloaf until all the ingredients are . You want almost the same texture like meatloaf too. If it seems too dry, just add a bit more ketchup or a tad more mustard. If it feels too wet, add a few more bread crumbs.
3. To assemble the onion bombs, start with the largest pair of onion halves. Make a large meatball and place it in one side of the onion half and place the other onion half over the top, filling up the onion cavity and squishing the meatball in between both halves. Continue to fill the rest of the onion halves up with the meat mixture.
4. Here, were grilling them, so wrap each onion bomb in aluminum foil. You want to have enough room so that you can leave a little twist at the top so you can easily pick them up off the grill because they’re these things get hot! Now it’s time to grill them. Put them on the grill and cook for about 8-10 minutes. Flip them over on their opposite side and cook an additional 8-10 minutes.

NOTE: Grilling times will vary based on how high you have your grill set.

Greek Chicken Burger Sliders with pickled onions & Greek yogurt sauce

Greek is one of our (the hubs and I’s) favorite kinds of food. The sons are a bit more leery of the foreign flavors. On those rare evenings he and I are able to get out alone, we’ve been known to hunt down new Greek places to try. Our favorites are usually the little hole in the wall joints, that are almost always the most authentic. I especially love coming home and trying to replicate the flavors and dishes we’ve found.

A lot of the ingredients in these sliders we often find in many of the Greek wraps we’ve tried, along with either grilled chicken, grilled gyro meat, or Kafta (spiced lamb). It may not be a silver platter, but I love the way these flavors are bundled together and served on a slider bun. For these, the buns ARE the silver platter.

 Greek Chicken Burger Sliders with pickled red onions and a lemonmint yogurt dressing 3

Another thing to love (especially with 4 hungry, hungry hippos boys to feed)? These dense burgers are protein packed, making every bite count, and exploding with flavor from healthy condiments and ingredients.

Greek Chicken Burger Sliders with pickled red onions and a lemonmint yogurt dressing

Healthy! With mint, parsley, feta, bell peppers, they’re then topped with pickled red onions and a tangy Greek yogurt sauce. Holy yum!

Greek Chicken Burger Sliders with pickled red onions and a lemonmint yogurt dressing 2

Don’t be overwhelmed when you glance at the recipe or ingredients list. Yes, it does look like a lot. Yes, it is a lot. BUT, moving in the steps as we’ve broken them down keeps it from being overwhelming. And then end result is so worth it. And, it can even be made ahead of time if your dinner hour is usually the dinner rush.

These are totally unique little burgers, that deliver an awesome flavor combo. It will be an instant hit with whoever eats it, whether it’s for a regular dinner, a pretty party app that’s packing a flavor punch, or something you plan to debut at your first summer BBQ.

Greek Chicken Burger Sliders

Greek Chicken Burger Sliders with pickled red onions and a lemonmint yogurt dressing 3

recipe originally from The Nutmeg Nanny

For the quick pickled red onion:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 thinly sliced large red onion

For the Greek yogurt sauce:
1 (6 oz) plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp finely minced parsley
1 tbsp finely minced mint
1/2 tsp kosher salt

For the chicken burgers:
1 lb ground chicken
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tbsp finely minced mint
1 tbsp finely minced parsley
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
baby spinach, optional
6-8 slider buns

Directions

For pickled red onion:
1. In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, brown sugar, salt and water. When the sugar & salt are totally dissolved in the mixture, add the onion and let it sit on the counter for at least an hour.

2. Store leftovers in the fridge with a little bit of the pickling juice.

For Greek yogurt sauce:

1. In a small bowl add everything and mix together. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.

(Keep in mind the burgers contain feta cheese which will add a bit of salt to the finished sandwich)

For chicken burgers:
1. In a large bowl add ground chicken, cheese, mint, parsley, red bell pepper, salt and pepper.

2. Using your hands, mix everything together until thoroughly combined. Divide meat mixture into 6 – 8 slider sized burgers.

3. Over medium heat, cook on the grill until the inside of the burger is no longer pink. {If you do not have a grill you can pan fry the burgers in one tablespoon of olive oil.}

4. To assemble the burgers add Greek yogurt sauce to the top and bottom of the bun, add burger, baby spinach (if using) and a few pickled red onions.

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