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How’s your summer going?
We’ve been pretty busy, but we’ve managed to do 90% of all the very fun things we love to do when it’s warm outside.
You know, Farmers Market, canoe trips down the river, run through sprinklers, tour with a dance company…that kind of thing.
And because we’ve been so busy, we’ve gotten really good at the seriously fast, seriously easy dinner prep.
These kabobs taste fancy. Like someone spent all day mixing a marinade and then slaving over a hot grill.
(But there’s only four ingredients! Shh, no one has to know that these took no work or thought at all. Just go with it)
Are you ready for the mind-blowing list of ingredients?
I know it seems weird to marinate steak in lime juice, but you just have to trust me. Your mouth will thank you.
Lime Marinated Kabobs
1 pound of roast or steak, cubed
5-6 limes, juiced
Vegetables (we used onion, bell pepper, mushroom, zucchini, and pineapple cause it’s delicious, but use what you love)
1/4 cup olive oil
Place the cubed meat in a bowl or ziplock bag, and pour the lime juice over the meat. Allow the meat to marinate in the refrigerator for up to a day, but no less than 2 hours.
If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in a pan of water for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, skewer the vegetables and then brush them with the olive oil. Use separate skewers for the meat. We like to do all meat kabobs and all vegetable kabobs to allow for varying grill times. We also have some vegetarian friends who appreciate not having to pick off the meat. We also have some meat eating friends who appreciate not having to pick off the vegetables.
Grill the meat kabobs first, adding more lime juice if they start to dry out. After about 5 minutes, add the vegetable kabobs to the grill and brush on more olive oil if they start to dry out.
You can serve them on the skewers or pull everything off and mix it in a bowl, as you prefer.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear the sprinkler calling my name.
We’ve had a long spring this year. A long wet spring.
Great for the grass and my water bill, not so great for morale.
But even though I’m seriously a happy camper, turning on the oven when it’s 85F in my kitchen is just asking for trouble. And melted popsicles.
So what’s a Jo to do? Make a giant salad! With chicken! And vegetables! And no oven!
Summer Survival Salad
4 unfrozen chicken breasts (I like boneless and skinless, but use what you’ve got)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1-2 cups sugar snap peas (you can leave them whole, but I cut them in half for easier eating)
your favorite mix of lettuce
Marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes, up to a day, in your favorite Italian salad dressing or vinaigrette (I’ll give you my favorite recipe at the bottom).
Grill the chicken (outside! not in your kitchen!) until fully cooked, adding more marinade each time you turn the chicken. Allow the chicken to rest covered in tin foil before you slice it into strips.
In the meantime, assemble your salad. I like to do it in layers, ’cause it’s more fun that way. Then plate and serve.
My favorite salad dressing/chicken marinade
from Emeril Lagasse
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dark brown sugar
1 clove pressed garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
Add all ingredients into a lidded container. Shake or whisk until everything is combined. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
What are your favorite summer survival foods?
You know how every family has a set of side salads that appear at functions? Like Grandma’s broccoli salad, or Auntie’s guacamole? We’ve got those too. But we have things like “Romance Jello” or “Frog Eye Salad.” We were hilarious as kids.
Those side dishes are wonderful, but this one is a little different. It has vegetables. It has noodles. It didn’t come from the back of a romance novel. (I think)
My mother in law brought this salad once, and was told in no uncertain terms that she was to bring this to all future functions, no matter the occasion. That’s how we roll. You bring good food, and you’re in for life. Whether you like it or not!
It is so easy, too! Technically, I consider this a “cheat” recipe because the “sauce” isn’t homemade, but sometimes cheating is essential for success (in the case of food, not life). My sister and I made up a recipe for the 4th of July because my mother in law was out of town, and I think it was darn near perfect. Maybe Anita can give us some pointers in the comments section
Anita’s Pasta Salad
Not sure where she got this one, but I’m so glad she did!
1 box of pasta (your favorite kind, but we like the colorful noodles)
1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped
2 cups of olives, either sliced or halved
1 or 2 large cucumbers, diced
1 bottle of your favorite Italian Dressing
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse the pasta with cool water. Add chopped vegetables, and 3/4 to 1 bottle of Italian Dressing. Mix. Serve. No kidding!
For some added color, you could add sliced cherry tomatoes or chopped red pepper. We were kind of in a hurry though, and didn’t really think ahead. It happens.
So now you have another item to add to your family’s repertoire. What are your family staples?
It’s macque choux! (Pronounced mock shoe) My sister and I cooked at her house on the 4th of July, and other than heating up the kitchen a bit, it was no sweat.
adapted from Eating Well. This recipe makes enough to feed an army. Feel free to modify as needed. But you might regret not making more…
sesame oil (or olive oil) for the pan
1 large onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 cans of fresh corn, some of the liquid reserved (if you have time to cut corn off the cob, you’re awesome)
1 tomato, diced
6 green onions, sliced thinly
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tsp freshly chopped)
1 1/4* tsp paprika
1* tsp salt
3/4* tsp cayenne
*Use less or more, depending on tastes
Heat sesame oil in a large pan. Add onion and saute until soft and opaque. Add red bell pepper and garlic, saute until the peppers are tender-crisp. Add the corn and some of the canning liquid to keep things moist (or water if you used corn from the cob), then saute the mixture for about 5-7 minutes more.
Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients. Taste often to make sure everything’s just the way you like it.
More summer bbq recipes coming soon. Until then, I’ve got my mouth full.
I know, I know. I’m not supposed to like pork.
Here’s the thing–I can admit when I’m wrong. About food. I can totally admit when I’m wrong about food.
This was one of those recipes that I’ve never tried before, and hadn’t really put much thought into, and didn’t exactly involve a recipe.
But really, how can you go wrong with freshly squeezed orange juice, soy sauce and ginger? You can’t, really. It’s pretty much a sure thing. Little of this, splash of that, shake here and there. Voila, dinner.
Grilled Pork with Citrus Glaze
4 pork chops
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp ginger powder
Combine the pork chops, soy sauce, and the juice of one orange in a container. Allow the pork to marinate at least two hours (all day is best).
Grill the pork, occasionally adding the leftover marinade to keep things juicy.
Meanwhile, squeeze the juice of the remaining two oranges into a pan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, corn starch and ginger, whisk to combine. (This is when you should also cook the quinoa or rice, according to package directions)
Allow the sauce to thicken, stirring regularly. When it reaches the desired consistency, remove from heat and let it cool.
When the pork is cooked completely, drizzle the sauce over it and serve.
This is a great mix of sweet and savory. If you want to spice things up a bit, add some red pepper flakes to the sauce.
PS: Pretty soon I’ll have progress shots of the new kitchen! w00t w00t!