Archive for the 'Meat' Category

Pork Souvlaki

Pork Soulvaki6093

Pork Souvlaki

Easy to make and always delicious, kabobs are the perfect way to serve up a dinner hot off the grill. For a little something different, try the traditional Greek kabob pork souvlaki. In this recipe that is simpler than it sounds, a lemony marinade transforms ordinary pork tenderloin into a traditional Greek dish with a bright and fresh flavor that is truly delicious.

The classic Greek ingredients of oregano, lemon, and garlic give these grilled pork kabobs their signature flavor. Even though this marinade is made with simple ingredients, it infuses loads of flavor into the meat because of the large amount of acid from the lemon juice. Typically there is a general rule not to marinate meat with so much acid for too long, but from my experience, letting the pork marinate overnight just makes it all the more better. If short on time, you will still get delicious results by marinating the pork for less time. That said, allow the pork to marinate at least a minimum of one hour before cooking.

Kabobs make an easy weeknight meal since they can be prepared in advance and thrown on the grill when you are ready. As an added bonus, these smaller cuts of meat cook quickly. I prefer to use metal skewers when grilling kabobs because they are no fuss. If using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes prior to using to prevent the wood from burning.

Traditionally pork souvlaki is served wrapped in pita bread and then topped with a variety of condiments such as lettuce, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce. Instead of this classic pita sandwich version, I often serve these kabobs as a main course over a bed of basmati rice with a small Greek salad and some grilled pita on the side.

Cook them on an outdoor grill or indoors on a grill pan, depending on what’s easier for you.


Pork Souvlaki

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
Vegetable oil, for the grates
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Skewers (if using bamboo, soak in water for 30 minutes)

In a shallow nonreactive dish just large enough to hold the pork in a single layer, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, and garlic. Place the pork in the marinade and gently toss until well coated. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and marinate for at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight.

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Remove the pork from the marinade and shake off the excess. Discard the marinade. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Thread the pork cubes onto a skewer.

Place the skewers on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until they are well browned on all sides and cooked through, about 8 to 12 minutes total.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: Tzatziki is a cucumber-yogurt sauce that is traditionally served alongside Greek dishes. To make this condiment, combine 2 cups plain Greek yogurt, 1 cup finely diced cucumber, 1 minced clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill.

Recipe from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.

Lamb Lollipops with Pomegranate Glaze

Lamb Lollipops_8096

Lamb Lollipops with Pomegranate Glaze

Just like I know that Thanksgiving is around the corner when fresh cranberries show up at the market, I know that the Christmas holidays have arrived when I see overflowing bins of pomegranates at my neighborhood store.

With its hard shell, I used to wonder how you ate this exotic looking fruit.  Did you just take a bite or peel it I wondered the first time I saw one! The part that you eat is the ruby red seeds, which are technically referred to as arils.

Pomegranate seeds are now available in most produce departments, but it’s really easy to de-seed a pomegranate yourself.  Start by cutting the pomegranate into quarters and then submerging the pieces in a bowl of water.  Using your hands or a spoon, scoop out the seeds.  Making it simple to separate the good from the bad, the seeds will float to the bottom and the bitter white flesh will float to the top.  Just be careful to not get any of the juice on you as it will stain your clothes.

Pomegranate seeds can be used to add color and a burst of sweetness to just about any dish. Sprinkling the jewel-like seeds over my holiday salads used to be the only way I used pomegranates.  That changed however when a friend told me about a dish she had made using the seeds and the juice as a sauce.

When pomegranate juice is reduced down to a syrupy consistency, it makes a delicious glaze to brush on meat.  The glimmering and juicy seeds are then sprinkled on top as the finishing touch.

Whereas this glaze would be delicious on chicken or pork, I like to use Frenched lamb rib chops at the holidays. This cut is often called lollipop chops because they are eaten using the bone as a “handle” – making it perfect for either a sit down dinner or a cocktail reception. With this gorgeously rich glaze, they make a fabulous holiday party dish.

Lamb Lollipops with Pomegranate Glaze

For the pomegranate glaze:
4 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar

For the lamb chops:
Vegetable oil, for the grates
12 baby lamb chops (about 3 ounces each), frenched
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

To make the pomegranate glaze:
Place the pomegranate juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the mixture has reduced and is the consistency of syrup, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Pour half the mixture into a separate bowl and set aside for serving.

To make the lamb chops:
Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.
Lightly brush the chops with the olive oil. Generously season with salt and pepper.

Place the chops on the grill. Close the lid and cook until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the chops over and lightly brush with the glaze. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 more minutes for medium rare. Remove the chops from the heat, brush with more glaze, and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

To serve, place 3 chops on a plate and drizzle with the reserved pomegranate glaze. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The Pomegranate glaze can be made up to 3 days in advance. Store chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use. You will need to reheat it before using in this recipe.

Cooking Tip: This recipe can easily be made indoors on a grill pan.

Recipe excerpted from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.

Honey-Rosemary Pork Chops

I thought I’d share my husband’s favorite dish. He’d make these sweet and succulent pork chops every night if I’d let him!

Sometimes the best food really is the simplest. Over the years, I have tried many marinades and seasoning blends on my pork chops, but the recipe we always come back to is this simple preparation.

Honey and rosemary are a delicious pairing. I find that the honey adds flavor as well as moisture.

For everyday dinners, I like to buy boneless pork chops, because they cook quicker than bone-in chops. Look for chops that are about 3/4 – to 1-inch thick. Chops that are thinner than that tend to dry out too quickly on the grill. A meat thermometer is the best way to tell if your pork chops are ready. For a juicy, perfectly cooked pork chop, pull it off the grill when it is 160 degrees.

This sweet glaze works well whether you are grilling outdoors or cooking your chops inside on a grill pan or skillet.

Honey-Rosemary Pork Chops

Vegetable oil, for the grates
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
4 boneless pork chops, each about 3/4 -inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and rosemary. Transfer half to a small bowl to glaze the pork chops. Reserve the remaining glaze to brush on the cooked chops.

Lightly brush the pork chops with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly brush the honey-rosemary glaze on both sides of each chop.

Place the chops on the grill. Close the lid and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, about 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the chops over and lightly brush with additional glaze. Continue cooking for 6 to 8 more minutes for medium. Remove the chops from the heat, brush with the reserved glaze, and set aside to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

Cooking tip: If you like the sweetness of the honey-rosemary glaze, feel free to drizzle a little more over the pork chops just before serving.

From “Simply Grilling” (Thomas Nelson, April 2012) by Jennifer Chandler

The photo was taken by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Weekday Ribs

People in Memphis take their barbecue seriously. In fact, many have perfected it to an art form. I am not here to argue that “low and slow” (the mantra for grilling ribs in the South) is not the best but the reality is that I just don’t have time to tend to the grill for hours on a busy weeknight.

By baking the ribs first in the oven, I have taken the guesswork out of making flavorful and tender ribs.

For a boost of flavor and moisture, I first slather my ribs with yellow mustard. For seasoning, I then apply a generous dose of barbecue dry rub seasoning. Wrapping them up tightly in foil seals in the juices that will make the ribs extra moist and flavorful. Throw them in the oven and forget about them! In an hour or so, they will be falling-off-the-bone tender.

To get that beloved smoky charred flavor, I finish the ribs on a hot grill just before serving. It only takes about 5 minutes per side. For a sauce-based wet ribs, slather them with your favorite barbecue sauce before throwing them on the grill. For Memphis-style dry ribs, leave off the barbecue sauce and add extra dry rub prior to grilling.

Weekday Ribs

1/4 cup French’s yellow mustard
1/4 cup barbecue dry rub seasoning
2 slabs pork baby back ribs (about 3 to 4 pounds total)
Vegetable oil, for the grates
1 1/2 cups your favorite barbecue sauce

Preheat an oven to 300°F.

Place each slab of ribs on a double layer of aluminum foil. Evenly slather both sides with the mustard. Generously season the ribs with the dry rub. Tightly wrap each slab of ribs in the foil and place on a baking sheet. Cook until meat pulls away from the bone and is easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Carefully remove ribs from foil, pouring off any liquid. Brush the barbecue generously on both sides of the ribs.

Place the ribs on the grill. Close the lid and cook the ribs until sauce begins to bubble and brown around the edges, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve ribs with extra sauce, if desired.

Serves 4.

Source: Simply Grilling (Thomas Nelson, Spring 2012)


Stuffed Bell Peppers

These stuffed bell peppers are a cinch to make … and are a super tasty supper!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

6 large red, yellow, or green peppers, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup long-grain white rice, cooked as per package directions
3/4 cup diced tomato (fresh or canned)
1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon French’s® Yellow Mustard
1 teaspoon dried basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4  cups (about 5 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
2 cups crushed French’s® French Fried Onions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil the bottom of a casserole dish.

Slice the top 1/4 inch off each pepper. Finely chop the flesh on the stem end; set it aside. Remove the seeds and white pith from inside the peppers. (If the peppers won’t stand up straight, take a small slice off the bottom with a paring knife to make a flat surface.)

Put a steamer basket (or a colander) inside a large pot and add an inch or so of water. Place the peppers in the basket. Bring the water to a boil and tightly cover the pot. Steam the peppers for 8 minutes. Remove the peppers with tongs and set them on a wire rack to cool.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the skillet. Add the meat, onion, reserved chopped peppers, and garlic and cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked meat to a colander and drain off the excess fat. Transfer the drained meat to a large bowl and stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and dried basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in 1 cup of the cheese. Spoon the mixture into the prepared bell peppers and place in the prepared casserole dish cut-side up.

Evenly top each pepper with crushed French fried onions and the remaining cheese.

Bake the peppers until they are heated through, about 35 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Apricot-Dijon Glazed Ham


I have to admit. For years, I would buy a pre-cooked Honey-Baked Ham.  I assumed that baking my own ham would be too much work.

Then last Easter, I decided to give it a try.  And I was pleasantly surprised to find it was so easy!

The simple but tasty glaze uses two ingredients I always have on hand – Dijon mustard and Apricot Preserves.

My family loved it so much, I now make it year round!

Couple of tricks to success:

  • Don’t be tempted to buy an already cut (spiral cut) ham. They may be convenient for cutting, but dry out really easily when heated.
  • Remove the ham from the refrigerator (still wrapped) a couple of hours before you intend to cook it so that it can get closer to room temperature before re-heating.
  • Do not score the meat itself, just the fat and any skin. When basting, be sure to try to get some glaze in the scores.
  • The rule of thumb is to bake the ham for 20 minutes per pound.


Apricot-Dijon Glazed Ham

1 (5 to 6 lb.) cooked bone-in ham (shank or rump portion)
1/3 cup French’s® Dijon Mustard
3/4 cup apricot preserves

Score the ham and place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan. Bake at 325°F for 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours or until internal temperature of 140°F.

Combine the mustard and apricot preserves in small saucepan. Stir and warm over medium heat until melted and smooth.

Transfer 1/2 cup of the mixture to a small bowl to glaze ham. Set aside the saucepan with the remaining mixture.

Baste the glaze often on the ham during the last 30 minutes of baking. Serve additional glaze on the side.

Serves 12.

Cheeseburger Pie

I had to laugh when my good friend Gay Landaiche gave me this recipe. Cheeseburger Pie?!  Whoever heard of such a thing? But Gay is a great cook, so I gave it a try. And just as she said it would be, this dish was a big hit for my whole family!

In fact when I was writing my cookbook Simply Suppers, my girls insisted that I include it in the book.  It is one of their favorite dishes.  It’s a cinch to make and fun to eat … so it’s a favorite of a busy mom like myself too!


Cheeseburger Pie
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

1 unbaked pie crust (9-inch), homemade or store-bought
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup small-curd cottage cheese
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 395 degrees.

Place the pie crust in a deep-dish pie pan. Flute the edges, if desired. Place the prepared pie crust in the refrigerator until ready to fill.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the skillet. Add the meat and onion and cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked meat to a colander and drain off the excess fat. Transfer the drained meat to a large bowl and stir in the flour and Worcestershire sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pie crust.

In a small bowl stir together the eggs and cottage cheese. Spoon the cottage cheese mixture evenly over the beef. Arrange tomato slices on top of the cottage cheese and sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly over the top.

Bake until set and the cheese has melted, about 30 minutes.

Serves 6.


Flank Steak Roulade

I love dishes that look so much harder than they are to make!  When I serve them, my guests ooohhh and aaahhh over how impressed they are with my cooking skills.  Little did they know, the dish was so simple, my daughter could have assembled it!

My flank steak roulade is the perfect example of such a dish.  It makes a beautiful presentation at the table, has a delectable combination of flavors, and is a cinch to prepare!

Here’s the trick.  You take a flank steak and place it on a cutting board. Generously season it with salt and pepper to taste, layer your favorite filling ingredients, and then roll it up like a log.  Finally, I tie it up with cooking twine to ensure it holds it shape. That’s it. See, I told you it was simple!

I prefer to brown the roulade on all sides before placing it in the oven.  I think it adds flavor and texture to the meat.

For the filling, I like to use ingredients that add flavor, texture and color.  Vibrant spinach and roasted red peppers make a statement.  French fried onions add both flavor and texture to the mix.  Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese add creaminess.

Feel free to substitute ingredients that you have on hand. Sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sautéed mushrooms, goat cheese and fresh herbs are all delicious filling alternatives.  Worried about fat?  Omit the cheese.

This delicious dish that is much easier than it looks will definitely impress your company.


Flank Steak Roulade

1 flank steak, pounded about 1/3-inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups fresh spinach
3/4 cup FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions
1/2 cup drained and diced roasted red peppers
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the flank steak on a cutting board.  Generously season with salt and pepper. Place the spinach in an even layer over the steak. Next layer the FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions, roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese on top of the spinach. Roll the steak tightly into a log.  Tie with kitchen twine every 2 inches along the length of the roll. Generously season the outside of the roulade with salt and pepper.

Place the oil in a large, oven-proof sauté pan and warm over medium-high heat until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Sear the roulade until well-browned on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place the roulade in the oven to finish cooking, about 20 to 25 minutes for medium. (If you like it more well done, leave it in longer.)

Let the roulade rest for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the kitchen twine. Slice into 1-inch thick slices and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

Cooking Tip: Be sure to let the roulade rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. This ensures a juicy steak.

Variations: For the filling, feel free to substitute ingredients that you have on hand. Sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sautéed mushrooms, goat cheese, and fresh herbs are all delicious filling alternatives.

Do Ahead: The roulade can be assembled and refrigerated one day in advance.





Halloween Monster Bash

My motto for Halloween … “Don’t let the little werewolves go home hungry!”

At our annual Halloween party, I serve up treats like “Spider” PB and J sandwiches, “Skeleton” rib bones, and “Mummy” hot dogs.  Not sure who enjoys the menu more, the kids or the adults! To wash it all down, we make “Worm” Punch or serve apple cider with cinnamon “twigs.

It’s all about fun foods for the whole family. My kids love to get in on the action and help prepare our ghoulishly good feast!

Devilishly Good Halloween Menu
Spider Sandwiches
Rib Bones
Mummy Dogs
Worm Punch

Go all out this All Hallows’ Eve and fill your table with these frighteningly fun party foods.

Happy Halloween!!!

Spider Sandwiches

Serves 12

24 slices wheat sandwich bread
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 ½ cups grape or strawberry jelly
24 raisins
2 cups Cheetos

Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut a circle from each bread slice.  Discard the edges. Spread about 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 1 tablespoon jelly on half of the bread rounds. Lay three Cheeto “legs” on each side of the bread rounds. Top with the remaining bread slices.  Make 2 small indentions on the top of each sandwich for the “eyes.”  Press a raisin into each. 

Mummy Dogs

Serves 10

1 can (11 oz.) refrigerated bread sticks
10 hot dogs
20 capers
French’s Yellow Mustard

Heat oven to 375°F.

Unroll the dough. Using 1 dough strip for each, wrap hot dogs to look like mummies. Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Press 2 capers on each for “eyes.”

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Serve warm or at room temperature with French’s Yellow Mustard on the side.

Worm Punch

Serves 12

1 0.13-oz. package lemon-lime Kool-Aid
1 cup sugar
8 cups water
1 6 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate, defrosted
4 cups ginger ale
Worm cubes (ice cubes with gummy worms frozen inside)

Empty the Kool-Aid package into a punch bowl. Add the sugar, then the water and stir until dissolved. Stir in the orange juice. Just before serving, add the ginger ale and worm cubes.  Garnish each cup with a gummy worm.

Adult variation: Add vodka to taste to turn this worm infested beverage into a “grown-up” libation.

***Photos by the talented Jay Adkins.  Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

Blues-y Bacon Onion Burger

I love burgers!  There is just something about a good burger I can’t resist.

But as much as I love a good old fashioned burger topped with the classic garnishes of cheese, tomato, and lettuce, I love to experiment with the ingredients to come up with my own “specialty” burgers.

This Blues-y Bacon Onion Burger is one of my favorites.

In my hometown of Memphis, folks take their blues and barbecue seriously.  And I can guarantee this burger will be sure to appeal to discriminating blues and barbecue fans everywhere!

For the blues, I stuff and top the finished burger with crumbled blue cheese.  (You can’t get enough of blue cheese in my opinion!) I also stuff and top the burger with zesty FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions.  The French Fried Onions are my secret ingredient.  They add flavor and texture both inside and outside the burger. Oh … and I almost forgot to mention the bacon!  I add crispy, crumbled bacon to the patty to give it an extra kick.  The barbecue sauce makes its appearance as the condiment of choice for the finished burger.


Blues-y Bacon Onion Burger

1 pound ground beef
1 cup FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions, divided
1 cup crumbled blue cheese, divided
1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup barbecue sauce
4 hamburger buns, split

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high.

In a large mixing bowl combine the ground beef, ½ cup FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions, ½ cup crumbled blue cheese, and the crumbled bacon. Generously season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently mix together, by hand or with a fork, until well combined. Divide and shape the mixture into 4 patties.

Grill patties 10 minutes or until no pink remains (160°F internal temperature), turning once.

To serve, toast the buns. Place each burger on a bun. Top with the barbecue sauce and the remaining blue cheese and FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip:  

Don’t have a grill?  No problem.  These burgers can easily be made indoors.

In a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Cook the burgers until well-browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Jennifer Chandler

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