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Archive for May, 2011

OHHI.  I know it’s been a few weeks, and I have really been trying to post once a week or so.  But I haven’t been cooking any new/ cool recipes lately because we got a gas grill for our tiny balcony, so I have just been a marinade queen.  I thought I should at least share my lazy marinade ideas with the world.

For a marinade, you just need something that tastes yummy, and then something that is acidic.  It is way cheaper (and usually healthier) to make your own, rather than buy the pre-made ones.  A lot of the items needed for a good marinade should already be in your kitchen right now, anyway!

Here are some easy ideas… They are all starting points which can be added to, changed around, etc.

  • Lemon or Lime juice (or even OJ!) + garlic + italian seasoning/ basil/ thyme
  • balsamic vinegar + olive oil + black pepper
  • toasted sesame oil + soy sauce or teriyaki + ginger + garlic
  • BBQ sauce (obvi).  My new fav is the Stone Levitation BBQ sauce from Carlsbad Gourmet
  • Italian dressing (whenever I get low on a bottle I just use it as a marinade to free up fridge space) + garlic paste (easiest to steal from your local middle eastern eatery)
  • tequila + lime + a teeeeeny bit of cayenne + salt + pepper
  • buttermilk + lots of garlic + paprika + salt + pepper

I don’t eat beef, so these are all for chicken and seafood, but would probably work well for a lean cut of pork.  TIP: prepare marinade before you throw your protein in the freezer (if you buy in bulk or buy a bunch when it’s on sale like I do!) and marinade the protein while it’s freezing/ defrosting.  Just make sure you label what the marinade is 🙂

Also one of my fav easy grillin’ sides is a delicious veggie (such as zucchini, asparagus, carrot, squash, brussel sprouts) marinaded in olive oil + salt + pepper.  I usually just use a shallow bowl or pyrex dish and let it soak for up to an hour before grilling.

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I saw a recipe in Real Simple a few months ago for buffalo chicken sandwiches and jotted it down on my list of things to try out.  I was feeling lazy and decided to take a crock pot route instead of following the RS recipe.  I found this one on allrecipes.com, which I followed for the most part: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/slow-cooker-buffalo-chicken-sandwiches/Detail.aspx

Basically, all you need are the following: crockpot, chicken breast (I used chicken breast tenders), hot sauce or buffalo sauce (I used Frank’s Buffalo Sauce), a few tablespoons of butter, some ranch dressing mix (I used Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch), and some kind of bun/ roll to put it on.

Put the chicken in the crockpot, along with the sauce (I used a whole 12 ounce bottle), the butter, the ranch mix (I used about 1.5 packets, or tablespoons).  My chicken was frozen, but I knew it wouldn’t be dinner time in 7 hours, so I still kept it all the way down on the lowest setting… my old ass crockpot is older than me and has no fancy timers, etc.  So it was on low from about 10:30am – 5:30pm, then I turned it off, then turned it back on around 7 to eat at 7:30pm.  I didn’t end up shredding the chicken, because I didn’t want to lose it in the sauce.  I had tenders anyway, not huge breasts, so it worked out.

To top the sandwiches off, I shredded some green cabbage and mixed it with some homemade bleu cheese dressing (to follow).  It was totally delicious, especially with a side of fresh, sweet corn on the cob.  Beware though, we used regular hamburger buns, which proved to be no match for the dressing + hot sauce.  Assemble your sammy, then eat IMMEDIATELY.  It is superrrr messy!  I think next time I am going to try using a tortilla and making it more like a burrito/ wrap, simply to contain the sauces more effectively.  All in all, it was big (and easy!) hit for a quick spring dinner.  I think kids would love this, and it’s not too spicy (with the sauce I used) if you don’t shred the chicken or add more sauce after the fact, as the OG recipe calls for.  In fact, for me, it was tame.

Oh and P.S. the nutrition facts on the allrecipes recipe is WAY off, by my calculation at least.  I got about 420 cals per sandwich (including cabbage and 2 tbsp bleu cheese dressing) with a hamburger bun that was 150cals.

Bleu Cheese Dressing:

Over the Christmas holiday in 2009, my BF and I went to San Francisco, for a mini-vacay.  SO MUCH GOOD FOOD!  One bar we went to, the name of which I can’t remember for the life of me, had delicious beer and even more delicious pub fare.  The best things we had were the bleu cheese dressing and this crazy roasted broccoli, which had the most interesting and unexpected texture (which I have never been ever to replicate, sadly).  I was raving to the server about the bleu cheese and he came back with the recipe!  Their recipe was as follows:  equal parts sour cream and mayonnaise, gorgonzola cheese, and then sauteed scallions which have then been pureed.

I randomly had all the ingredients on hand (random because we are not fans of sour cream or mayo).  I didn’t measure anything out, just eyeballed it, mayo + sour cream + bleu cheese + some of the leftover HV buttermilk powder.  I sauteed the scallions in garlic olive oil (AMAZING) and tried pureeing it in my mini food processor.  This didn’t work out too well.  It was actually pretty gross, so I just chucked it.  I must say though, it was delicious!  I will definitely be making this more often!

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