Saturday, September 19, 2009

This recipe should just be named....


My friend Danielle of Make No Little Meals emailed me this recipe a couple weeks ago saying I HAD to try it. Right she was! If you are into the sweet/salty combo this is the recipe for you! I will make these again....and again....and again!

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars

(from Food and Wine)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2. 1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

One 12-ounce bag bittersweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups mini pretzels, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, allowing overhang on the 2 long ends.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed until light, 1 minute. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Stir in the chips and pretzels.

3. Spread the batter in the pan and top with the sprinkles. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden; the center will still be a little gooey. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.

4. Run the tip of a knife around the side of the pan and lift the bar out using the parchment paper. Cut into 24 squares and serve.

Our summer '09 potato side dish staple

This year I made my grilled potatoes time and time again as a side dish to meals. I've even served these to company! So I finally decided to write down the recipe and document it for the blog!!!

The olive oil mixture is - in essence - what my mixture is for my breakfast homefries. But that's another recipe I need to write down one of these days.

I actually got the idea for these potatoes after my aunt cooked some on the grill with some olive oil on them. I decided to take things one step further and, as Emeril would say, "kick things up a notch." They are so delicious and easy. Microwaving the potatoes in advance cuts down on the cook time on the grill so things don't overcook. But in my opinion, you want to get a little grilled crust on these - it's amazing what a great taste grilling can give any sort of food!

I've made this recipe with white potatoes and red potatoes. There are merits to either type so I suggest them both equally if you are going to give these a try!

Robin’s Grilled Potatoes

4 medium sized potatoes (I’ve done this with both white & red potatoes, comes out great with either type)

3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ - 2 tablespoons yellow mustard

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Dash of salt

¼ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Scrub potatoes clean, leaving skin on. Pierce each potato several times with a fork and place in microwave for 5-8 minutes or until potatoes are nearly fully cooked (time in microwave will depend on the size & type of potato you use). Let potatoes cool down a bit.

In the meantime, combine the remainder of ingredients in a small bowl.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut each potato lengthwise down the middle. Coat each potato generously in olive oil mixture, saving any remaining mixture. Let potatoes “marinate” with mixture on for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium heat. Place potatoes on grill, cut side down on grates for 3-4 minutes, then flip over (to skin side). While skin side is cooking, baste cut side of the potatoes with any remaining olive oil mixture. After 3-4 minutes, flip potatoes back over to cut side down on grill grates, baste skin side again if there is any remaining olive oil mixture. Close grill cover and cook for another 2-4 minutes until cut side of the potato is nice and crusty.

Grilling season may be winding down...

...but we're still "getting our grill on."

I watched Giada make this recipe on her show the week before last. It just sounded TOO good not to try, and also perfect timing. I'd just taken chicken breasts out of the freezer that morning to make in a couple of nights for dinner.

We loved this BBQ sauce. I wish I had made extra so I could bottle it or something! It was delicious and I can't wait to try it on steak!

Chicken or Steak with Balsamic BBQ Sauce


For the Balsamic BBQ sauce:

1 cup balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup ketchup

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken or steak:

4 pieces chicken (any combination of breast or leg-and-thigh pieces) or 4 pieces of New York strip or Club strip steak

Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the BBQ sauce:

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by 1/3, about 15 to 20 minutes.

For the chicken or steak:

Place a grill pan over medium heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Lightly coat with some of the BBQ sauce using a pastry brush. Place the meat on the grill. Place the remaining BBQ sauce, still in the small saucepan, over low heat or on the edge of a gas or charcoal grill and allow to gently simmer while the meat cooks.

Cook the chicken about 8 minutes per side. Cook the steaks starting at about 4 minutes per side until a meat thermometer reads the desired temperature, 120 degrees F for medium rare, 135 degrees F for medium (about 6 minutes per side), 155 degrees F for well done (about 9 minutes per side). Continually brush the meat with BBQ sauce every few minutes. Remove the meat from the grill and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with the heated BBQ sauce alongside.

Alternately, the chicken can be baked in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the chicken skin side up in a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and spoon the BBQ sauce all over the top of the chicken. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kabob time!

This past Labor Day weekend we had some very good friends over for an afternoon/evening of fun. It was just a small crowd of us (5 people) and I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather and definitely do something on the grill. It may be September but we grill here well into October as long s the weather cooperates!

I'd mentioned to my husband a couple weeks earlier how we hadn't done any kind of kabobs on the grill this season at all. When we made plans with our friends to come over this past weekend I looked at it as the perfect opportunity to have grilled kabobs. Any bigger of a crowd I'd question the amount of skewering time (I'd rather be socializing with our friends) but for that many people I could handle it!

I decided to do beef and chicken, alternating with green peppers, yellow summer squash, tomatoes, and onions. They were a thing of beauty and I will eventually have some really fantastic pictures of them for you as our good friend Matt has gotten into photography the past few months and was kind enough to take some before and after pictures for me.

I used two different marinades - a light one for the chicken, tomatoes, and squash and a little bolder flavored one for the beef, onions and peppers. It was a nice mix when all of the food was together. So here are the respective marinades I used, both courtesy of

Chicken Vegetable Kabobs

4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
8 (8-inch) wooden or metal skewers

Cut chicken into 2- x 1-inch strips.

Whisk together 1/4 cup white wine, orange juice, olive oil, and next 4 ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup for basting. Pour remaining marinade into a shallow dish or large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; add chicken strips. Cover or seal, and chill 2 hours, turning chicken occasionally.

Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning.

Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade.

Thread chicken and vegetables onto 8 (8-inch) skewers.

Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 15 to 20 minutes or until done, turning occasionally and basting with reserved marinade.

Marinated Beef Kabobs with Vegetables

1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (3 1/2-pound) eye of round roast, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
12 small whole onions
1 pound large whole mushrooms
2 green bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

Stir together first 10 ingredients; reserve 1/2 cup marinade, and chill. Pour remaining marinade into a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Add meat cubes; seal and chill 8 hours. Drain, discarding marinade.

Thread meat and vegetables onto 12-inch skewers.

Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat 16 minutes, basting with reserved marinade and turning often

Way behind, once again

Well I'm just going to stop apologizing and just admit that yes, I made this recipe well over a month ago and am only blogging about it now....

This was a recipe shared by one of the lovely ladies on my Nest board. The ingredients sounded unique and I wasn't sold on it until one of the other ladies tried the recipe and LOVED it. Between a rave review and my curiousity I just had to try this.

And let me just say, I am SO glad I did! This is one fabulous marinade. My pork chops came out so juicy and tender and flavorful! Anyone who did not know the contents of the marinade would never guess coffee and molasses were two of the key ingredients! I highly recommend this one!

Molasses-Coffee Marinated Pork Chops

1 Cup cooled strong coffee
6 Ounces molasses
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Cloves minced garlic
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger
6 sprigs - 8 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 Teaspoon black pepper
4 (1" thick each) bone in pork chop

Place all of the ingredients into a 1 gallon zip top bag, seal, and shake to combine. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Remove the pork chops from the marinade. Transfer the marinade to a small saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, and boil gently, stirring often, until reduced to about 1/2 cup liquid, 12-15 minutes. Remove the thyme stems after the glaze has reduced.

Meanwhile, grill pork chops 3-4 minutes per side or until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Allow the pork chops to rest 4-5 minutes before serving with the glaze.