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Grilled Bok Choy with Ponzu Ginger Sauce

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Grilled Bok Choy with Ponzu Ginger Sauce

Looking for a different side dish?

Try grilled bok choy!  This Asian cabbage is in season in the summer months and it truly is delicious.  I prefer to use baby bok choy because it is more tender than the regular size. That said, you can use the larger heads of bok choy for this recipe if you prefer.

When cooking or grilling it, I find that the toasted sesame oil adds a nice flavor to this Asian-inspired dish. For a more neutral flavored bok choy, substitute olive or vegetable oil.

Drizzle a simple but flavorful Ponzu Ginger Sauce  over the top for the finishing touch!

Enjoy!

Grilled Bok Choy with Ponzu Ginger Sauce

For the Ponzu Ginger Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 tablespoon grated fresh peeled ginger
1 scallion, thinly sliced

For the Bok Choy:
Vegetable oil, for the grates
4 heads baby bok choy (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the Ponzu Ginger Sauce: In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, water, vinegar, lime juice, ginger, and scallions. Reserve.

To make the bok choy: Preheat a clean grill to medium with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Cut the bok choy heads in half lengthwise. Brush the bok choy with the sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the bok choy on the grill, cut side down. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until tender and lightly charred, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Place the bok choy on a platter and drizzle with ponzu sauce to taste.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The Ponzu Ginger Sauce can be made the night before. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

This recipe is from my book Simply Grilling.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Food styling by me.

Lemon-Oregano Chicken

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Lemon-Oregano Chicken

A mixture of fresh herbs, lemon, and garlic tucked under the skin helps to make the chicken meat extra flavorful.

In this recipe I used lemon and oregano. But other citrus herb combinations like lime-cilantro and orange-sage are delicious too.  Basically, use your favorite flavor combination!

This recipe can also be prepared indoors on a grill pan or in the oven.

Lemon-Oregano Chicken

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
4 split, bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 3 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for the grates

In a nonreactive dish (glass or ceramic) just large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, garlic, and lemon zest. Add the chicken breasts to the marinade and toss to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

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

Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off the excess. Run your fingers between the chicken and the skin to loosen the skin (be careful not to remove the skin). Evenly spread about 1/2 tablespoon of the dry ingredients (the lemon zest, oregano, and garlic) from the marinade under the skin of each breast. Discard the rest of the marinade. Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until no longer pink in the middle, 12 to 15 minutes per side. Serve warm.

Serves 4.

This recipe is from my book Simply Grilling.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Food styling by me!

Mexican Corn on the Cob

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Mexican Corn-on-the-Cob

Every time I go to Las Tortugas, an authentic Mexican deli in Germantown, TN, I order their “Elote.” This sweet yet fiery corn-on-the-cob is a popular street food in Mexico. Luckily, this deliciously different dish is easy to make at home.

Enjoy!

Mexican Corn-on-the-Cob

Vegetable oil, for the grates

4 large ears corn, shucked

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 cup cojita cheese, crumbled

4 tablespoons mayonnaise

Cayenne pepper

4 lime wedges

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

Brush the corn with the butter. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until just tender and slightly charred on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Remove from the grill.

Spread the cheese on a large plate. While the corn is still warm, spread 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise evenly over each cob. Roll the cob in the cheese, sprinkle with the cayenne pepper to taste, and finish with squeeze of lime.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: Cotija cheese is a salty semi-hard, crumbly cheese that resembles grated Parmesan. Grated Parmesan or crumbled Feta are acceptable substitutes.

Variation: Want a simple grilled corn? Minus the toppings, this is the basic technique for grilling corn-on-the-cob.

 

From Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Dried Cranberries & Pine Nuts

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Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Dried Cranberries & Pine Nuts

Oh my!  You are gonna love this sweet potato salad. Colorful, tasty, and filling.

I created it from memory based on a dish my friend Lucia had made a couple of years ago as a side.  I served it over a bed over lettuce to give it a little more dimension.  For variations, I think you could sub chopped pecans for the pine nuts or scallions for the red onions.  To add more protein, I think drained black beans would be a tasty addition too!

Enjoy!

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Dried Cranberries & Pine Nuts

2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 or 4 medium), peeled and cut into small 3/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil and cumin. Season with salt and pepper to taste. On a baking sheet, even spread the potatoes in a single layer. Bake until the potatoes are cooked but still firm, about 30 to 35 minutes. Refrigerate to cool.

Place the cooled sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add the red onion, cranberries, and pine nuts and toss to combine. Add the lime juice and fresh cilantro and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over a bed of lettuce as a main or as a side salad.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: I like to line my baking sheets with parchment paper. The paper liner prevents sticking and helps make clean-up easier.

Variation: Chopped pecans would be a tasty substitute for the pine nuts.

Vegetarian & Vegan

Hot Wing Barbecue Chicken Drummies

BBQ Chicken

Hot Wing Barbecue Chicken Drummies

Chicken lovers take note! This recipe is the best of both worlds – think hot wings meets barbecue chicken.  I like to be able to taste both the sweetness of the barbecue sauce and the heat of the hot sauce so I use a proportion of 3 to 1.  You can always adjust the recipe on how much heat your taste buds prefer.

Baking chicken is my go-to method of cooking for a busy weeknight supper.  If you have the extra time, these drummies would be delicious cooked on the grill. Either cooking method –  always add the sauce towards the end of the cooking time so that it doesn’t burn.

Enjoy!

Hot Wing Barbecue Chicken Drummies

12 chicken drumsticks (about 3 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup hot sauce

Preheat the oven to 395 degrees.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and lightly coat with the olive oil. Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce and hot sauce.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and spoon 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce mixture over the chicken. Toss to coat. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is caramelized, about 15 minutes.

In a small saucepan or microwave, warm the remaining 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce mixture. Pour the warm sauce over the cooked chicken. Serve warm.

Serves 4.

 

Vegetarian Gumbo

veggie gumbo

Vegetarian Gumbo

“Vegetarian Gumbo with Beans?!” – You may question.  I did too … but my friend Justin Fox Burks insisted I give his recipe a try.

Well … as usual … Justin’s recipe was some darn good stuff.  His concoction of veggies and spices offers a tasty gumbo that had everyone at our table asking for seconds.

Justin and his wife Amy Lawrence are co-authors of the fabulous vegetarian recipe blog “The Chubby Vegetarian.”  Their blog has become my go-to for all things veggie.  It is a great resource for dishes so delicious and creative that you will never miss the meat. This recipe is also featured in their new book “The Southern Vegetarian” (May 2013, Thomas Nelson Publishers).  I was lucky enough to get an advance copy and am loving everything I have made so far. It’s a must for vegetarians and meat-eaters both!

Back to the gumbo … Justin’s recipe calls for liquid smoke. An ingredient I had never used before.  But since it was at Whole Foods I figured it was safe to eat! I used the Hickory smoke flavor. It gave the gumbo that depth that a smoked sausage adds a traditional gumbo.

Enjoy!

The Chubby Vegetarian Gumbo

Click here for the original recipe.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped tomato (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (1 medium)
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons creole mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon vinegar
10 dashes Tabasco
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 quart vegetable stock
4 cups sliced okra (1/4 inch slices, stem-end discarded)
1 1/2 cups red beans (1 16 ounce can, drained and rinsed or makes your own)
10 ounces crimini mushrooms (quartered)
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups diced  green pepper (1 large)
1 1/2 cups diced red pepper (1 large)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (2 ribs)
4-5 cups cooked jasmine rice
1/2 cup sliced green onion (for garnish)
5-6 sprigs baby dill (for garnish)

To make the roux, place the canola oil and the flour into a medium-sized dutch oven. (This is the pot in which you will eventually make the gumbo, so using it now saves on dishes later. A heavy pot like this is essential when making a roux because of its ability to distribute heat evenly.) With the oil and flour in the cold dutch oven, turn the heat on medium. Whisk the mixture constantly until you notice that it has become nutty (it’ll kind of smell like — gasp! — fried chicken) and fragrant (both of which happen about five minutes into the process). At this point, turn the heat to low. Keep a close eye on your roux, and whisk the mixture about every minute so no part of the roux burns. Continue in this fashion for about another twenty minutes or until the roux has taken on the color of an old penny. Remove the pot from the heat. Congratulations — you just made your first roux!

Place the tomato, onion, garlic, worcestershire sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, vinegar, Tabasco, soy sauce, thyme, red pepper flakes, paprika, nutmeg and oregano into the work bowl of your food processor. This is quite an unconventional method for making gumbo, but it works beautifully. Blend mixture until smooth. This is your flavoring agent for the whole dish. Now return the dutch oven with the roux still in it to a burner set to medium-high heat, and immediately add the mixture you just made in the food processor. Stir to incorporate. Continue cooking and stirring the resulting mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated, and it resembles a paste. Add the vegetable stock and stir. Once the mixture is heated through, turn the burner to medium-low. Add the okra, red beans, mushrooms, zucchini, green and red peppers, and celery to the pot. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes until everything is heated through, but not mush.

To serve, ladle out some gumbo into a bowl and top with about 1/2 cup of rice, a few green onions, and a sprig of fresh dill. Have plenty of crusty french bread and butter on hand for sopping up the amazing broth.

Serves 6 to 8.

Cooking Tip: If you like okra but are not a fan of the sliminess that sometimes can occur with it, sauté the sliced okra in batches in one tablespoon of canola oil until lightly browned. Add the cooked okra to the gumbo. Problem solved.

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

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Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

Like most weekdays … it’s often a busy night with the kid’s sports practices so I often need a quick and easy option for supper.

Quesadillas are always a good option for a super fast dinner.  I always have tortillas and some type of cheese in my fridge.  They are a great way to use up leftover veggies.  If nothing fresh is in the fridge, grab some frozen spinach or corn or canned black beans. This recipe is from my cookbook Simply Grilling.  I love the smoky flavor a grill gives a quesadilla … but they can easily be made indoors on a grill pan or in a skillet.

Enjoy!

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

Cooking quesadillas on the grill gives them a deliciously smoky flavor.

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound white button mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, and sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bag (6-ounce) fresh baby spinach
8 fajita-size (6-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Vegetable oil, for the grates

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and set aside.

Return the skillet to the stove top and add the remaining olive oil. Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, until just wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Place 4 tortillas on a work surface. Evenly sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of the cheese, 1/4 of the spinach, and 1/4 of the mushrooms. Cover with the remaining tortillas.

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

Place the quesadillas on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

To serve, cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve warm.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: The varieties of quesadillas that can be prepared are endless—the only requisite ingredient is cheese. Have fun experimenting with your favorite ingredients.

Grill Pan Friendly: This recipe can easily be made indoors on a grill pan or cast iron skillet.

Source: Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Tequila Chicken Fajitas

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Tequila Chicken Fajitas

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo – or any night – with these flavorful chicken fajitas hot off the grill.

Chicken fajitas are always a crowd pleaser, inexpensive, and easy to prepare. In about 30 minutes, you can have a delicious south of the border inspired meal on the table.

The secret trick for flavorful and moist chicken is to marinate it overnight. The lemon juice, tequila, onion, garlic, and spices not only flavor the chicken but also make it more tender. I suggest marinating the chicken in a re-sealable plastic bag so you don’t have a to dirty a dish. And, if feeding your family, don’t be concerned about the tequila in this recipe. When you put it on the grill, all the alcohol burns off.

This whole meal can be prepared on the grill if you like. Instead of sautéing the peppers and onions, grill them instead.  Even the tortillas can be warmed on the grill. Wrap them in aluminum foil and warm on the grill over direct heat for 2 or 3 minutes.

To serve, arrange the chicken and vegetables on a platter. Be sure to set out an assortment of south of the border toppings: guacamole, pico de gallo, tomatillo salsa, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, to name a few. Your guests will enjoy assembling their own fajitas by putting their favorite ingredients in the tortillas.

Tequila Chicken Fajitas

For the chicken:
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons tequila
1 tablespoon hot sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Vegetable oil, for the grates
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the fajitas:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (1 small onion)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
8  flour tortillas, warmed
1 cup guacamole (optional garnish)
1 cup pico de gallo (optional garnish)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional garnish)

To make the chicken: In a shallow nonreactive dish just large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer, stir together the lemon juice, tequila, hot sauce, olive oil, onion, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Place the chicken breasts in the marinade and gently toss until well coated. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and marinate 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 chicken from the marinade and shake off the excess. Discard the marinade. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the chicken on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until no longer pink in the middle, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the grill. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

To make the fajitas: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Add the onion, red bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

To serve, thinly slice the chicken across the grain. Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a platter. Serve with warmed tortillas and your favorite toppings. Encourage diners to make their own fajitas by putting the ingredients in the tortillas.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tips:

It is best to marinate the chicken over night. If short on time, marinate for at least 2 hours.

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

 

Recipe from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Black Bean Burgers

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Black Bean Burgers

Forget the veggie burgers in the frozen food section of your supermarket! Homemade black beans burgers are so much tastier and better for you.

I featured this Black Bean Burger in my cookbook Simply Grilling.  It originated in the kitchen of  Nevada Presley (my dear friend and chef/owner of Get Fresh Memphis).  I so appreciate her always sharing flavorful vegetarian dishes with me.

This version is made with black beans and oats. A dash of cumin gives it a southwest spin.  Sometimes I serve it as a burger and others I serve it bun-less and topped with a spoonful of guacamole.

When making this recipe, do not be tempted to skip the step of draining the pureed vegetables. That extra moisture makes the black bean burgers too sticky to be grilled.

Also, the black bean burgers are refrigerated for an hour before cooking to help them keep their shape. To get ahead of the game, the burgers can be assembled as long as 24 hours in advance. Just be sure to cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.

Lastly, Nevada added the egg to help the burger stay together better. But for a vegan version, just omit the egg and add a tablespoon of veganaise.

Black Bean Burgers

1 can (15-ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper (about 1/2 green pepper)
1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion (about 1/2 small onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup rolled oats
Vegetable oil, for the grates
4 hamburger buns, split
2 ripe avocados, pits removed and sliced

In a medium bowl mash the black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.

Place the green bell pepper, onion, and garlic in food processor and process until pureed. Place the mixture into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and press to strain the liquid. Add to the beans and stir to combine.

In a small bowl stir together the egg, chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce. Add the egg mixture and the oats to the beans and stir until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide into four patties, each about 3/4-inch thick. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and chill for at least an hour and as long as overnight.

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

Place the burgers on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until golden brown and warmed through, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side. About 1 minute before the burgers are done, place the buns, cut-side down, on the grill and cook until lightly toasted.

To serve, place each burger inside a bun and garnish with avocado slices. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Grill Pan: These burgers can easily be made indoors on a grill pan.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

SW Pinto burger

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

When I was doing my 30-day vegetarian challenge back last Fall, my friend Ellen shared a bunch of her favorite recipes.

While one of Ellen’s daughters has been vegetarian for several years, the rest of her family still eats meat.  She explained that it can be hard preparing meals that everyone at her table will eat.  Since I was in the same situation trying to feed my non-vegetarian family too, she kindly shared several dishes that consistently pleased everyone at her table.

This bean burger was a huge hit when I made it.  No one complained … and in fact, everyone asked for seconds! The chipotle mayonnaise really makes the burger stand out.

Most of the ingredients I already had in my pantry.  The only thing I needed to pick up was the cilantro and canned chipotle peppers.  You might be just as lucky.

A helpful hint (or two!) when cooking these burgers. They tend to be a little moist, so be sure to take the time to let them refrigerate for 10 minutes before cooking.  This little step really helps them stay together better. I also recommend using a non-stick skillet to cook them in for easy flipping.

Enjoy!

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine. Click here for the original recipe.

For the burger:
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained

For the Chipotle Mayonnaise:
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon canned minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce

Remaining ingredients:
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 (1 1/2-ounce) whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
4 romaine lettuce leaves

To prepare burgers, combine the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. Add pinto beans and corn; partially mash with a fork. Divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 3 1/2-inch patty, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

To prepare chipotle mayonnaise, combine mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon chipotle in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan, and cook 4 minutes on each side or until thoroughly heated. Place patties on bottom halves of buns; top each patty with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 lettuce leaf, and top half of bun.


Jennifer Chandler

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