Salad w/ Chicken,Asparagus & Potato

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I get tired of the same old salads. We have a great garden full of fresh salad fixins – lettuce, spinach, herbs, tomatoes, etc. (thank you husband), but I don’t just want lettuce/carrots/tomatoes/cucumbers over and over – that shiz gets OLD. I go to restaurants and always see yummy salad combinations, so I tried to think of ways to make a healthy salad with some new ingredients. Pretty easy process here and quite yummy. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Lettuce mix of your preference
  • 1.5 cup small potatoes – cut into halves. You can use red potatoes and just cut them into quarters
  • One medium sized chicken breast
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Approx 10 stalks of asparagus – ends removed and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese – your choice!
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Rosemary Salad Dressing

Directions

  1. Place chicken in tupperware container, lid off.
  2. Sprinkle chicken breast w/ salt and pepper. Add in 1 tbsp EVOO and rosemary, sage and garlic powder. Put lid on and shake well to coat chicken. Let marinate at least 1 hour.
  3. Before beginning rest of process, remove chicken from fridge and let warm up a bit, will cook faster if not ice cold from fridge
  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  5. Turn on grill (for chicken)
  6. In  bowl mix 1 tbsp EVOO and chopped asparagus, Add a small pinch of salt and pepper. Lay onto foil lined baking sheet.
  7. Repeat step 3, but this time do this with the potatoes and put on separate foil lined baking sheet.
  8. Put asparagus and potato trays into oven for 10 minutes.
  9. Cook your chicken on the grill. You can cook in a pan on stove top, but I prefer the grill. Usually takes about 10 min (5 min each side) on a hot grill.
  10. When oven timer goes off, test asparagus with fork. Should be easy to pierce with fork but not mushy at all. Usually asparagus are good at 10 minutes but continue to cook to your liking. I usually test one out to see how I like the texture. Snack! If asparagus done – pull from oven. Set aside.
  11. Turn potatoes and place back in oven for 5 more minutes. At end of 5 min test potatoes, should be soft, if not put in for 3 more minutes at a time to ensure you don’t over cook them. When potatoes are done, pull from oven. Set aside.
  12. To assemble salad, use large mixing bowl (can use same one used to toss veggies in olive oil).
  13. Place lettuce mix in bowl, add asparagus, add potatoes. Add 1/4 cup dressing and toss to coat. Add more dressing as you wish.
  14. Place salad mix into bowls for serving
  15. Slice chicken and place chicken on top of lettuce.
  16. Sprinkle with cheese.
  17. Serve!
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Lettuce and herbs from my garden

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chicken marinating

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asparagus and potatoes roasting in oven

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mixing all salad ingredients (step 13)

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salads topped with chicken and cheese!

 

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Steak & Chicken Fajitas

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Fajitas = deliciousness. When I visit Mexican restaurants, 90% of the time I order fajitas. It may not be the most complicated of dishes, but I love being able to create my own combination with as much meat, guacamole, peppers, cheese, rice, beans, and salsa as I want. I will tell you this though, when you get crappy fajitas, its the worst. Its important to marinade the meat, grill it well, and cut it against the grain.  Most importantly you must have fresh, quality ingredients to maximize your fajita flavors.

Its April here in KC, and spring is in the air. We are still dealing with ridiculous swings in temperatures, but this Friday evening its 78 degrees, sunny, our friends are coming over with their dogs, and we are ready to fire up the grill and eat FAJITAS!

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Sun, friends, hoops, and grilling out!

 

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Our next door neighbor Paige giving us a wave

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LuLu loving her stick and the warm weather

Tips:

  1. Be sure to marinate your protein for at least 24 hours before grilling.
  2. Make the guacamole, and rice/beans just before you eat.
  3. Pay attention to how you grill and cut the meat.

All details are listed below, the portions enough for about 6 adults.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 lb flank steak
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts – place between plastic wrap and pound until chicken is even in thickness. Should take a few quick wacks.
  • 1 small white onion – sliced into rings
  • 1 bell pepper – slides into strips
  • 1 lime juiced
  • corn or flour tortillas
  • 2.5 tbsp cumin
  • 2.5 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 jalapeño – finely diced
  • 1 small shallot – finely diced
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 box of Mexican rice (Rice a Roni or Knorr sides)
  • 1.5 cusp shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups guacamole – recipe here
  • salsa
  • light sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  Marinate the steak: place steak into long shallow container with a tight-fitting lid. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over the top and bottom of the flank steak. Mix 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp cumin, 3 tbsp cilantro, lime juice, and 2 tbsp garlic and pour over the steak. Attach lid and shake gently for about 15 seconds. Place in fridge for at least 24 hours.
  2. Marinate the chicken: place chicken into small container with a tight-fitting lid. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over the top and bottom of the chicken breasts. Mix 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder, and onion powder. Pour over the chicken. Attach lid and shake gently for about 15 seconds. Place in fridge for at least 24 hours.
  3. Cook rice according to package directions. Keep an eye on it and ensure you turn to low heat when rice is done.
  4. Heat half tbsp olive oil, half tbsp garlic, diced shallot, and diced jalapeño in small saucepan for about 4-5 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  5. Pour in contents of can of black beans, half tbsp of cumin, and 1 tbsp of chili powder into pan.
  6. Bring beans to high simmer, then cover and simmer on low.
  7. Heat grill to medium high heat.
  8. Lightly toss onion slices and peppers in half tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place into foil packet. Place on grill and cook until soft.
  9. Place chicken grill for about 4-5 minutes each side, until internal temperature reads 155 degrees. Be sure to rest chicken for at least 5-7 minutes to ensure it finishes cooking all the way through when resting.
  10. Place steak on grill, and with flank steak, you need to cook it quick and over high heat. Low and slow will turn this into RUBBER! Cook 5 minutes on one side, flip, cook for another 5 minutes and then pull of grill to rest for about 5-7 minutes. Temperature should be between 135 and 140 degrees when you pull it off the grill (medium rare to medium). Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
  11. Turn heat off under beans and strain off liquid from beans/veggies.
  12. Mix beans/veggies/rice together in pan, sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheese, cover and set aside.
  13. Warm tortillas in the oven or microwave.
  14. Set out all fajita fixins: guacamole, salsa, sour cream, remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese, tortillas, and rice/beans.
  15. Slice meat against the grain – check out this link.
  16. Set out the meat and build your fajitas!!
steak marinade

Steak marinade

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Chicken marinade

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Chicken, steak, onions & peppers on the grill (along w/ pork chops to be eaten later in the week) 🙂

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Beans, jalapeño, shallot, cumin, chili powder, garlic

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Me – cutting the meat against the grain

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Rice/beans with shredded cheese on top

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Delicious final fajita deliciousness!

Restaurant Redo: In-N-Out Burger (Animal Style – kinda’)

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So everyone and their friends of friends of friends loves In-N-Out Burger. I’ve been about 6 or 7 times, and its seriously amazing. The hype is based on reality. I am pretty loyal to Whataburger especially since I am from the south, but In-N-Out is legit. Their secret: keep it SIMPLE. Their menu is short, sweet and delicious. They don’t add a lot of extras or complicate the burger, they use basic seasoning, and quality ingredients.

Its been one helluva winter here in KC and we saw a shimmer of spring today with 73 degree temps and SUNshine. So we found a burger recipe at Food and Wine online, ran to the store, and called our friends for a cookout. We did a bit of tweaking to the recipe make it our own (no onions, add bacon)…and this burger is one of the best I’ve ever had. I was shocked it came from my own back yard. It was very satisfying in that classic American cheeseburger way. It very savory, sweet and a bit tangy while being very juicy and just exactly as a burger should be. Save this one for your next cookout and people will be in awe of your burger skillz.

I served this tonight with a grilled vegetable salad – click to see the recipe.

Ingredients (2 burgers):

  • 1 lb chuck ground beef (60%-80% lean)
  • 2 slices colby jack cheese (or American)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 hamburger buns – I recommend fresh from the bakery: brioche or potato
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tsp vinegar – white wine or just white
  • 1 tomato sliced to your liking
  • 2 pieces green leaf lettuce
  • 2 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard

Directions:

  1. Split ground chuck in halves and form patties with your hands or a hamburger press – but don’t overwork meat. Its ok if the patties aren’t perfect. Working with cold meat ensures quicker patty-forming. Place patties in fridge until ready to grill.
  2. Combine mayo, ketchup, vinegar & relish in small bowl until mixed well. Place in fridge until ready to assemble burgers.
  3. Heat grill to medium high heat.
  4. Brush patties with mustard on both sides.
  5. Place patties on grill.
  6. Sprinkle top side of each patty with 1/4 of the salt and 1/4 of the pepper.
  7. Put bacon on the grill.
  8. After 4-5 minutes flip the burgers.
  9. Repeat step 6.
  10. Flip the bacon. Keep an eye on the bacon to ensure its not burning. Move to indirect heat (away from burners) if its cooking too fast.
  11. When burgers are almost done, nearing 160 degrees F – place slices of cheese on each patty and pull burgers once cheese is melted.
  12. If bacon is crispy to your liking – remove from heat and place on plate lined w paper towels.
  13. Grill the buns face side down for about 1-2 minutes until crisp to your liking. I usually go for about 2-3 minutes as I like mine soft but a slight crunch – which keeps them from also absorbing the sauce. Just keep an eye on it to ensure there is no burning.
  14. ASSEMBLE BURGERS! Spread animal sauce on both top and bottom bun.
  15. Place burger on bottom bun.
  16. Cut both strips of bacon in half – placing two half pieces on top of each burger. Each burger gets one full strip.
  17. Top bacon with tomatoes.
  18. Top tomatoes with lettuce.
  19. Cover with top bun.
  20. Enjoy!!
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Ground chuck – BUY GOOD MEAT! (buy local if you can!)

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Forming ground beef into patties

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Animal sauce: Mayo, ketchup, relish, vinegar

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Burgers & Bacon (and other deliciousness) on grill

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Burger flipped – bun on grill – bacon almost done

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Finished product!

Grilled Vegetable Salad

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I often make burgers in the spring and summer – after the mayo, cheese, and red meat – I feel I need something healthy. There aren’t many veggies I don’t love, and mixing them together after coming off the grill makes a delicious, nutrients packed side-dish, that is beautiful and looks really impressive when it takes little time at all.

Cooking veggies on the grill is easy, but you need to be mindful and keep track of the different cooking temperatures of the various veggies. Its usually best to cook them in separate grill pans or foil packets to ensure they are cooked perfectly and don’t end up mushy. If they are grilled separately, you can pull them off as they are done and then combine once all are cooked. Veggies should be soft so they can be pierced easily with a fork, but still have a slight give/crispness to them on the outside.

I served this salad with my recent restaurant redo of In-N-Out burger. Very yummy dinner that I plan to do a few more times this season! Enjoy!

Ingredients (for 5-6 people):

  • 2 small sweet potatoes – peeled and cubed into small 1 inch pieces
  • 1 bunch asparagus – white stalks trimmed
  • 1 zucchini – cubed into small 1 inch pieces
  • 2 ears of corn on the cob
  • 1 cup green beans – ends trimmed
  • 2.5 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper grinder
  • 1 tbsp balsamic reduction. I used store bought (yay Costco!) Or you can make your own with 2 cups of balsamic vinegar – reduce over medium heat until its down to 1/4 cup – about 40 minutes. Should be consistency of syrup.
  • 5 sheets of aluminum foil – each about 1.5 to 2 feet long

Directions:

  1. Before getting started – you’ll be prepping each vegetable and then placing it into a foil packet to cook. As you get done with one vegetable – continue process with others. Fold the foil it in half so you’ve got a double layer. Place your ingredients in the center, then pull over one side, folding the edges to seal. Then fold the remaining two edges. Don’t seal the packet too tightly (except for corn): leave some room for the steam to expand. If your grill isn’t large enough, do some of the vegetables in the oven at 400 degrees.
  2. Light grill.
  3. Place sweet potatoes in a bowl with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, sprinkle with two pinches of salt and about 3 twists of a pepper grinder. Mix well and place in foil packet.
  4. Repeat step 2 for asparagus.
  5. Repeat step 2 for green beans – but only use one pinch of salt.
  6. Repeat step 2 for zucchini – but only use one pinch of salt.
  7. For the ears of corn, rub with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, rub each ear with one pinch of salt and one pinch of ground pepper. Before closing pouch, pour in 2 tbsp of water and seal this packet tightly. The steam keeps the corn from drying out.
  8. Place all sweet potatoes on grill first. These will cook for approximately 20-25 minutes until done.
  9. After about 5 minutes place corn on the grill. These will cook for approximately 10-12 minutes until done.
  10. After another 5 minutes, place the green beans, zucchini and asparagus on the grill – these cooking times will vary from 8-12 minutes.
  11. Check on each vegetable a couple of times to see if they are done (after cooking times referenced above). Its smart to keep a fork handy so you can test the softness of each. When they are done – pull and place aside until all are done.
  12. When corn is finished cooking, using a hot pad holder or a heat glove – hold the cob on its end (vertically) and using a sharp knife cut the kernels from the cob.
  13. In large bowl place all vegetables. Add balsamic reduction and mix thoroughly.
  14. Serve while hot or warm.
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Packets of veggies ready for the grill! (Before I fold them over to enclose them)

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Items on grill

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Items on grill

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Cutting corn kernels from cob (thanks Rebecca!)

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Served salad with In-N-Out burger recipe (see the post – its delish!)

 

Glazed Grilled Pork Chops

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Pork is a great meat. Period. There are so many parts of the pig that I respect and enjoy thoroughly – belly, ribs, chops, shanks, NOM. Pork chops are always very reasonably priced at the grocery store compared to other meats, and they are delicious! They are easy to cook, quick on the grill, absorb flavor like a champ and are very versatile.

Tonight I am making my Restaurant Redo of The Jackson Salad and knowing my husband, he likes meat w/ dinner. So instead of doing just an entree salad, I chose to make these pork chops to accompany. This is a trusted recipe for quick weeknight dinners – it will never let you down. I make the marinade, let marinate overnight, and we grill them when we get home from work. These are sweet and a bit tangy – just the perfect balance!

And here’s how…

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tsp dried ground oregano
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a mason jar or a bowl with tight fitting lid, combine all ingredients.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Place pork chops into bowl or shallow pan just large enough to hold the meat. Pour over marinade, cover and let sit for at least 2 hours, no longer than 24. I let mine rest for about 20 hours.
  4. Remove pork from marinade and place on plate – heat up the grill, but do not grill yet.
  5. Place remaining marinade into small saucepan and bring to boil for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
    • This sauce will now be used for basting the chops while on the grill – but we must boil it first since it was in contact with raw meat. It was contaminated so we boiled out all the bad bacteria.
  6. Turn off heat and let sauce rest.
  7. Place porkchops on grill and if you want those awesome cross-hatch grill marks, check out this video by Weber. Very cool and helpful.
  8. As you cook each side of the meat, baste lightly with the sauce that has been boiled. There is sugar in the sauce so be sure not to use too much or it will caramelize and burn.
  9. Pork should be at 145 degrees for medium rare. We usually cook ours until it registers 150 and let rest for a few minutes.
  10. EAT!
Ingredients
Step 1 – making marinade
Step 3 – marinate the pork chops
Step 4: Remove chops from marinade
Step 5: Boiling the marinade
FINAL PRODUCT
Pork with The Jackson Salad (Restaurant Redo post)