Monday, June 24, 2013

Chipotle Chicken Kebobs & Crispy Sweet Potato Fries - Grilling on a Saturday Evening!

I love using the bbq in the summer - especially now that we have a new bbq that I can actually use.  It's my new favorite thing, and I am definitely going to get as much grill time as possible this summer. 

This meal was a real hit with both the BF and the kids - especially the fries!  The kebob's are adapted from an Oprah Magazine recipe and the fries are from The Food Network Magazine.


Chipotle Chicken Kebobs
2 large chipotles in adobo sauce + 1T adobo sauce (I used the whole can, sauce and all!)
2 medium shallots minced (I used an onion)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 T + 1 tsp veg oil
1 1/4lb boneless chicken breast cut in 2" pieces (the recipe calls for turkey breast, I used chicken)
2 orange peppers cut in 2" pieces
20 shiitake mushrooms stemmed
16 fresh bay leaves (these are optional - I bought them specifically for the recipe and then forgot to add them)
I also added radishes since they get super-sweet when grilled, as well as big chunks of red onion

Soak 8 wooden skewers in water for 15 - 30 minutes (I used the metal ones).  In a large bowl combine the first 4 ingredients + 1tsp oil.  Add the chicken pieces and let marinate in fridge for 3 hours.  Preheat grill to medium-high.  Thread the chicken with veggies (alternating as you see fit).  Drizzle with remaining oil and season with salt & pepper.  Grill 8 minutes.  Turn & continue grilling 8 minutes more.  Yum!

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
1/2c panko
1 tsp each cumin & paprika (I used smoked paprika)
1 egg white (I used about 3, 1 didn't seem like enough)
2 medium sweet potatoes peeled & cut in 1/4" thick sticks (I didn't peel them - just washed them very well and sliced as is; the skin is packed with fiber and nutrients)

Put baking sheet in oven & preheat to 425. Combine ingredients up until egg whites in a bowl and set aside.  Whisk egg whites in a large bowl until frothy and add potatoes.  Toss to coat.  Add panko mixture and toss again.  Spread on hot baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining crumbs from the bowl.  Bake 25 minutes. 

So here are my comments on this one - the fries were DELICIOUS but I had to bake them for almost twice the amount of time specified.  Also, you will notice how difficult it is to evenly spread the panko mixture over the fries, even with several tosses, and the leftover crumbs bunch up and bake into a kind of cracker.  Fear not!!!  These crispy tidbits are so good, and add a wonderful variation in texture from the fries.

Hope you enjoy this summery bbq meal as much as we did!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sausages With Acorn Squash And Onions

Do you know your sausages? 

I used to get very confused when a recipe called for a specific sausage - Italian, Andouille, Chorizo, Merguez, Bratwurst, Hungarian, the choices are endless.  It took me a while to understand the differences among the various types available, and I did that by tasting, tasting, tasting!  And of course researching as well.

My new favorite sausage is Andouille.  So even when a recipe calls for some other type, I most often sub in the Andouille when I can find them at the local grocery store.  Andouille is a heavily smoked pork sausage, usually made from chunks rather than ground meat and is seasoned well with spices, onions and garlic.  It's flavor is intense, and it adds dimension to any sausage dish.  Try it, you'll love it!

I have also been making attempts at recipes using only in-season, low budget ingredients.  The holidays really emptied the good ol' bank account, and I guess our 10 day trip to Mexico contributed to that.  I'm determined to buy the least amount of ingredients weekly and stretch them to their limit, using meats already in our freezer.  My hope is to stick to a maximum of $50 per week for the family for the next little while.  It's doable since we only really need to replenish fresh produce and dairy products.  It also helps that I'm an EXTREME couponer!  For this recipe, I only had to purchase the cheese and the squash, which is super cheap right now since there is such an abundance of them at this time of year.

This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food Magazine - thanks again Martha!

Sausages With Acorn Squash And Onions
1 large acorn squash, halved, seeded & cut in 1/2" slices (don't peel it)
1 red onion cut in 1/4" wedges
salt & pepper
4 hot or sweet sausages (I used andouille, as mentioned above)
1/2 c grated asiago cheese
 1 T chopped fresh sage
1/4 c dried cherries chopped (I left this out although I'm sure it wold be delicious)

Preheat the oven to 475.  On a baking sheet toss squash & onion with oil and arrange in an even layer.  Season with salt & pepper.  Add sausages to the sheet & roast 15-18 minutes.  At about 10 minutes in, I noticed that the bottom of the veggies were beginning to burn, so add some liquid - like chicken stock or water, to keep the bottom of the pan slightly moist.  Heat the broiler.  Sprinkle cheese and sage over veggies and broil until browned & bubbling and sausages are cooked through, 3 more minutes.  Sprinkle with cherries and serve.

I didn't serve anything with this dish since the protein & veggies were already there.

Try this with different sausages to determine which you like best.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Charred Eggplant With Chile Sauce & Tahini - A Taste of Israel

Have you heard of Saveur?

I'm a bit of a self-proclaimed food magazine junkie.  I subscribe to Bon Apetit, The Food Network Magazine, Martha Stewart Living (this one was a subscription to a food magazine that stopped they started sending me Martha Stewart instead.  Not my first choice), Fresh Juice, Chatelaine, Canadian Living, and Saveur.

Each magazine has it's own amazing food styles.  The recipes range from amateur and tasty (Chatelaine, Canadian Living) to tedious and over the top (Bon Apetit & Saveur).  What I love about Saveur though, is that every month I am taken on a trip around the world, tasting authentic cuisine from various continents, as if I am there, being served in the middle of China, or Switzerland, or in this case, Israel.

This recipe caught my eye since we all know I am always on the lookout for great vegetarian meals.  I had this for dinner last night (while the hubby ate a burger) and it was satisfying & delicious.  I'll be having the leftovers tonight.  I did my version a little differently, and have included my revisions in brackets.


Charred Eggplant With Chile Sauce & Tahini
2 small eggplants
2 c cilantro chopped
1 c mint leaves chopped (unfortunately, I forgot to pick these up at the grocery store so I left them out.  They would have made an amazing addition though)
1 c EVOO
1/4 c honey
6 garlic cloves
1 serrano chile stemmed & seeded (I used a scotch bonnet, only a very small piece)
juice & zest of 1 lemon
salt & pepper
1/2 c tahini
6 soft boiled eggs, halved (I did sunny side up instead - 2 eggs for each eggplant, so 4 in total)

Heat broiler to high.  Place eggplants on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Broil, turning as needed, until charred, 10 minutes (mine took about 20).  Puree the next 8 ingredients until smooth.  To serve, slice eggplant in half lengthwise, leaving the stem attached.  Season with salt & pepper.  Spoon the sauce & tahini over top and arrange the eggs around the eggplant (I served my sunny side eggs right on top...yum!)

This was so good, can't wait until tonight's leftovers!