Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Recipes: Recipes on the Grill

Memorial Day weekend is here! Most likely you have a weekend full of plans, spending time outside with family and friends and enjoying good food on the grill. 

Over the years, we've collected quite a few recipes to share, so I've put together just a sampling of what we have. Hope you find something you like and here's wishing you and your family and relaxing weekend together.

Italian Style Grilled Chicken

8 ounces tomato sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon olive or vegetable oil
3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

In a small saucepan, combine tomato sauce, lemon juice and half of the garlic. Mix well. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, then add the basil and set aside. While sauce is simmering, in a small bowl, combine the remaining garlic, lemon peel, and oil. Mix well. Place chicken in a glass or ceramic dish and rub with lemon peel mixture. Cover dish with plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 8 minutes per side. Brush with the sauce and continue grilling for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with the tip of a knife. This is only 5 grams of fat per serving and 408 calories. If you don't have fresh basil, you can add either fresh oregano in it's place or dried, but use half as much if it's dried.

Mexican Grilled Steak

20 ounce top sirloin steak
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. dried leaf oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 orange slices, 1/2 inch thick

Place steak in a shallow glass baking dish. Rub with oil on each side. Sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper. Sprinkle orange juice, lime juice, and vinegar over the steak. Cover and refrigerate overnight or several hours, turning occasionally. To cook meat, preheat charcoal or gas grill. Drain meat, reserving marinade. Place steak on grill. Top with orange slices. Occasionally spoon the marinade over steaks as they cook. Grill 3-4 minutes on each side, or until as done as you desire. Remove orange slices to turn steak. Replace orange slices on top of steak. Slice thinly and serve. Note: You can also serve this with fresh flour tortillas to wrap around pieces. You can also use this same marinade and method for your favorite individual cuts of steak, doubling the recipe if need be for more marinade.

Grilled Potatoes

1 potato per person, red or white
onion and/or garlic powder

Wash potatoes and tear off enough foil to wrap each potato individually. Slit each potato with a cross and wrap bacon around each potato.Sprinkle onion powder on the foil with a little butter. Roll each potato up in foil place on grill. Turn over after first 30 minutes. Then add your meat to the grill. Potatoes should be done when the meat is. Note: I also microwave the potatoes for 2-3 minutes in the microwave after making the cross, then proceed as directed. This works when you don't have as much time or are cooking a meat that doesn't take long.

Spicy Grilled Chops

4 boneless pork chops, 1/2-inch thick
1/4 cup hot salsa of your choice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt or pepper

In small bowl, combine salsa, water, marmalade and seasoned salt; blend well. Place pork chops in plastic bag or glass dish. Pour marinade mixture over pork, turning to coat. Seal bag or cover dish and marinate about 1 hour, turning pork chops several times. When ready to grill, remove pork chops from marinade, reserving leftover marinade. Bring marinade just to a boil in a small saucepan and cool. Place chops on grill 4-6 inches over medium-high coals. Grill about 4 minutes per side-or until they reach desired doneness, basting with reserved marinade.

Spicy Potato Wedges

6 large potatoes
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil

Scrub and slice unpeeled potatoes into wedges. In a small bowl, beat egg and milk. In another bowl, combine flour and seasonings. Dip potato wedges into milk mixture; dust with flour mixture. Place in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Bake at 450 for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and tender.

Grilled Vegetable Salad

1 cup balsamic or herb vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons honey or molasses
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound baby carrots
2 red or yellow bell peppers
2 zucchini squash
2 yellow squash
1 large sweet onion

Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well and set aside. Cut vegetables into 1-inch pieces; add to vinegar mixture, tossing to coat. Let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon, reserving vinegar mixture. Place a grilling basket (or foil that you've folded up sides to form a square, and poked holes in the bottom) on grill rack, and cover with grill lid. Grill 15 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning occasionally. Return vegetables to reserved vinegar mixture, tossing gently. Cover and refrigerate overnight. You can substitute other vegetables, using the same quantities.

Fresh Fruit Salad

2 crisp, tart-sweet apples, sliced, unpeeled
1 banana, sliced
1 cantaloupe, cut up into one inch cubes
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 cup seedless red grapes
1 can (16 oz) pineapple chunks, drained
Honey-Cream Dressing:
1/4 cup lowfat sour cream
1 cup lowfat cottage cheese, (small curd) creamed
1 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt
2 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. lime juice

Combine sour cream, cottage cheese, and yogurt. Mix will. Blend in honey and lime juice. To make salad: combine first 5 fruits with a little of the dressing; garnish with slices of kiwi. Serve remaining dressing on the side.

Pork Spiedini

2 pounds boneless pork, cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne
3/4 cup vinegar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
6 thick slices Italian bread

Mix together first 11 ingredients, place in sealable bag and refrigerate 4-24 hours; thread onto skewers. Grill over hot coals, basting with reserved marinade, for 4-5 minutes; turn and grill another 4-5 minutes. Serve on bread. 6 servings.

Shrimp and Vegetable Kabobs

1 1/2 pounds unpeeled medium fresh shrimp
1 8 ounce bottle Italian dressing
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
1 large onion, cut into chunks
16 small fresh mushrooms
2 small zucchini, cut into 1 inch slices
1 large green pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces

Peel shrimp, leaving tails intact; devein, if desired. Combine salad dressing,cheese, water and pepper. Place shrimp and dressing in a large shallow dish. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain shrimp, reserve marinade. Bring marinade to a boil over high heat; remove and set aside. Alternate shrimp and vegetables on 8 12 inch skewers. Grill, uncovered, over medium coals or gas grill. 3-4 minutes on each side, until shrimp turns pink. Baste with marinade frequently. 4 servings.

Grilled Fajita Kabobs

1 1/4 pounds steak
1/3 cup Italian dressing
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 green bell peppers, cut into chunks
2 medium onions, cut into chunks
8 medium flour tortillas, warmed

Soak bamboo skewers ten minutes. Trim fat from steak, cut into 1 inch cubes. In a small bowl combine dressing and lime juice. Thread beef, peppers and onions onto the skewers, brush with dressing. Grill 10-15 minutes until all is done. Season with salt if you wish. Serve on tortillas with salsa.

Vegetable Bratwurst Kabobs

2 medium onions
2 medium summer squash
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
dash pepper
1 pound bratwurst
2 red or green sweet peppers

Cut meat and vegetables into 1 inch chunks. Combine oil, herbs, vinegar and garlic. Add vegetables and meat and marinate several hours. Drain, reserving marinade. On four long skewers, thread meat and vegetables, alternating order. Grill over medium coals or heat about 15 minutes, turning and brushing frequently with marinade. Makes 4 servings.

Beef and Mushroom Kabobs

1 pound sirloin steak
1 medium green or red pepper
2 tablespoons oil
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
12 large mushrooms
1 tablespoon each lemon juice and water
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. pepper
salt to taste

Trim fat, and cut steak into 1 inch cubes. Whisk together oil, lemon juice, water, mustard,honey, oregano and pepper in large bowl. Add beef, pepper and mushrooms, which have been cut into chunks., turning to coat. Thread onto skewers, alternating. Grill for 9-12 minutes, turning occasionally.

Jalapeno Cheeseburgers

3 pounds ground chuck
2 tablespoons seeded, chopped jalapeno peppers
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
12 thin tomato slices
12 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted on grill

In a medium bowl, combine ground chuck, peppers and chili powder, mixing lightly and thoroughly. Shape into twelve 1/2 inch patties. Place on grill over medium coals or heat. Grill uncovered 14-16 minutes until no longer pink, turning once. During the last one minute sprinkle each pattie with 1 tablespoon of cheese. Place on buns with a tomato slice. Serves 10-12

Wagon Wheel Pasta Salad

2 cups wagon wheel pasta
3/4 salsa
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup diced Cheddar cheese
1 cup small cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup sliced green onions with tops

Cook pasta according to directions; drain. Transfer to a large bowl; cool. In small bowl, mix salsa, mayonnaise and salt. Pour over pasta; mix. Add beans, cheese, tomatoes, green pepper and onions. Add more salsa to taste. Makes 10-12 servings (6 cups)

Fresh Salsa

3 large whole tomatoes, or 28 ounce can seasoned diced tomatoes
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. oregano leaves, crushed
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Drain tomatoes if canned, chop and seed if fresh. In bowl combine all ingredients, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate several hours to blend flavors. Serve with tortillas chips. Makes 12 servings.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Frugal Tips: Hodge Podge

This week I have a variety of different tips shared by the FamilyCorner message board members. I've done the first one myself, but I've added a note that may be helpful to some.

To save money on vacation: put the amount of cash needed for each activity in a labeled envelope, adding a bit extra for souvenirs and including any coupons. Afterward, any extra money can be added to another envelope for later. (Note from me: Cash is too tempting. I used to do this same thing. But instead of cash I wrote out a check. That way the check was subtracted from the bank balance and just showed as outstanding. No cash to "borrow" from in the envelope.)

I save 2-liter bottles and fill them with water, then freeze to put in the cooler.They really work great keeping things cold.They work a lot better than ice packs.

If it isn't something important that I am printing, I use the back-side of previously printed paper. I just make sure it doesn't have any creases or crinkles before loading it into the paper bin.

When pump-style hand soap gets to the bottom and it doesn't want to come out of the pump, I take the lid off, add a little water, put the lid back on and shake it up and we have about half a bottle of soap again.

I've been taking our empty garbage bag boxes, freezer bag boxes, etc., and cutting them down and using them for drawer organizers. This has been especially helpful in the kitchen "junk" drawer.

I came across a "stainless steel soap." It is just a round piece of stainless steel that is used to remove fish garlic & onion odors from your hands. Why buy the stone when a stainless steel spoon or other piece of silverware will do the same thing?

When I was looking at grocery ads, the sale prices of certain things seemed to be really good. But the package size has gotten smaller! So they have pulled another fast one! Check carefully before you buy.

To see more frugal ideas, visit Thrifty Thursdays.

~ Amanda

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Household Questions and Answers

Besides the noble art of getting things done,there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials. ~Lin Yutang

Today I have some great household questions and answers for you. I hope everyone is enjoying the weather. We are finally seeing plenty of sunshine and lovely breezes here! I planted pansies yesterday morning, and have been weeding everyday. Have you noticed the weeds always grow faster than the flowers?

I have been adding about two tablespoons of chlorine bleach in about 2 gallons of rinse water for my hand washed stainless steel spoons and forks. I recently noticed the tableware has a darkened appearance. What can I use to remove this discoloration? ~Jimmy

There are several things known for putting a shine back into stainless steel. Wiping with undiluted white vinegar, club soda or rubbing with lemon peels. You can also soak in the vinegar or club soda if need be. Always rinse and dry afterwards.

I put some commercial salsa in Martha Stewart plastic ware from K-Mart. Big mistake, since I can't get the aroma out. I've tried the newspapers sealed in bowl itself, rinsing and soaking in lemon juice to no avail. Either I resign myself to only using this bowl for this salsa, which I love by the way, or throwing it out entirely... ~Isabelle

Here are a few more things to try. Soak the bowl in borax and hot water or straight vinegar. Then wash, rinse and dry. Or put some unused coffee grounds in the bowl and cover it for a day or more. Yes, some salsas can be almost deadly:)

Our daughter got glue on her favorite jeans while helping her dad in the basement, of course she didn't tell me about it until the glue dried. How can I get the glue out of the jeans? ~Cheryl

Most stain tips are for glue that hasn't dried. WD-40 comes up again as being able to remove glue on clothing. One interesting method I found was to freeze the jeans for 24 hours, then pour boiling water over the glue stains and they should loosen.

We have a great bunch of tips on odor removal:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Old Fashioned Cooking Terms

Several months ago I picked up a small cookbook at a thrift store called "Good Ole Country Cookin'". I'm sure you've seen these types of books before. It's a compilation of recipes from women all over some small town in rural America. There books are put together and sold as a fundraiser at church or the county fair. 

While it's a wonderful treasure trove of recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation, they are so old and out dated that the directions are often lacking our modern terms, temperatures, ingredients and methods.

There are quite a few recipes in this book I would like to try, but when the instructions for Aunt Mildred's Sweet Cakes say to bake in a hot oven, what exactly does that mean anyway? Well, don't give up on those old recipes just yet. Below are quite a few "translations" that may come in handy when you run across one of these nostalgic books!

Oven temperatures:
Slow = up to 300 F
Very moderate = 300 F - 350 F
Moderate/Medium = 350 F - 400 F
Hot/Quick/Fast = 400 F - 450 F
Very Hot/Very Quick = 450 F - 500 F

Baking times:
Cookies: bake until just golden
Cakes: bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and toothpick or butter knife inserted in center comes out clean
Bread: bake until bread pulls away from sides of pan, or when tapped you hear a hollow sound
Custards: bake until just set
Single crust filled pies: hot oven (425-450 F) for 1st ten minutes to crisp the crust, lower to moderate (350 F) to finish
Unfilled pie shell: bake at 425 F for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly browned
Unfilled tart shell: bake at 425 F for 12 minutes

Baking Temps:
Cookies, cakes, quick breads: 350 F
Yeast bread: 375 F
Yeast rolls: 400-425 F
Tarts: 375 F

1 pound yields:
4 cups sifted flour
4 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
3 1/2 cups graham flour
3 cups cornmeal
5 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 1/4 cups white sugar
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/3 cups molasses or honey
2 cups milk
4 cups nut meats, chopped
3 cups dried fruit

lard = use shortening
fat = means butter
sour milk = buttermilk OR 1 tablespoon vinegar added to 1 cup whole milk
sweet milk = milk (whole is best for baking, but 2%, 1% and skim can be used succesfully)
cake compressed yeast = 1 package active dry yeast

pint = 2 cups
quart = 4 cups
gill = 4 ounces (1/4 pound, metric = 5 ounces as a metric pound is 20 ounces)
peck = 8 quarts
bushel = 4 pecks

And just for fun, here's a recipe you might enjoy:

Tea Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup chopped dates or raisins
1 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients, rub in peanut butter, add fruit, stir in milk. Pour into small greased bread pan and bake in moderate oven about an hour.


~ Amanda

Garden Tips: Good Bugs & Helpful Plants

It is always a great pleasure-and surprise-when you happen on just the perfect place in which to plant some special treasure.~Margery Fish

The topic of beneficial plants and insects in our garden is one that is VERY in-depth, but I wanted to share just a few basics today. There are good bugs and wildlife that we really do want to attract to our gardens, even if they may give us the "willies" . A few main good bugs are: hover flies (syrphids), parasitic wasps, ladybugs (lady beetles), lacewings, some flies and our friend the spider. So, how to we encourage these bugs?

Well, for starters, teach your kids and grandkids to observe the bugs, but don't touch. Spider webs are homes, and we should admire them but not mess them up. Second, we can plant herbs and other plants that these bugs prefer.

Some are:

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare): this one is a favorite of many good bugs. It's a big plant so give it room! Don't plant it in moist areas where it may mold. It's easy to grow and it's a good pest deterrent when dried or used in a spray.

White Sensation cosmos (cosmos bipinnatus): This one is also a great plant, for attracting those good bugs and because it's an easy to grow annual. Direct seed where you want it to grow and enjoy. It's grows 4-5 foot tall and makes a good back of the border plant.

Lemon Gem marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia): also known as Signet marigolds. These have an added plus of being lemon scented. They grow to 10-12 inches tall in mounds. Great for containers, window boxes and small enough to plant in front of your vegetable rows! These are easy to grow as well by direct seeding.

Herbs: Caraway (carum carvi), Dill (anethum graveolens) and fennel (foeniculum vulgare). All three of these are not only great herbs for cooking, but can be planted through out your garden to attract good bugs as well. Do plant them away from each other however. Start indoors or direct seed. We also have features on all three of these in the garden section.

Your garden is a world all it's own. There is activity that we don't see, and some we do. There is much we can't control, but we can work with the information we have to try and work things to our advantage and hope for a great harvest. Gardeners never stop learning and should always be open to new ideas!

Grow cheerful zinnias by direct seeding!