Thursday, July 29, 2010

Honey Garlic Pork Chops, Red Potato Bundles, and Grilled Cherry Tomatoes

It's summer time and that means everyone is breaking out their grills! Grilling gives food a unique flavor that can not be replicated by cooking in an oven and it just screams "SUMMER". It encourages interaction and fun times out doors.....yes, grilling is one good way to prepare food!

Besides, for some reason, it seems men really like to play with fire!

During the warmer months, we cook our frequently. Most times our menu consists of the traditional grilling fare; hot dogs for the kids, hamburgers, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, and occasionally we will grill ribs or chicken.

We also just got back from vacation. Since we ate most of our meals in the hotel suite, which had a kitchenette, it means we ate hot dogs, mac and cheese, canned pasta, fruits and sandwiches. I was ready to make some real food again!!

For this night we grilled pork. It was easy to make but it does need to be marinated for at least 4 hours, and ideally for 8 hours, before grilling.

I also like to make foil packets of chopped veggies and/or small potatoes in individual sizes. It's an easy way to get vegetables on the grill as well, and not have to cook those separately indoors. Personally, I think the texture is better than cooking them indoors.


Honey Garlic Pork Chops
serves 4

(this is not gluten free unless you use a special gluten-free soy sauce)

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 boneless pork loin chops, about 6 oz each

In a gallon size ziploc bag, combine all ingredients and seal. Turn to coat and refrigerate for 4-8 hours, turning every so often to evenly marinate.

Drain and discard marinade. Grill, covered, over medium heat for about 16-18 minutes or until juices run clear.

Red Potato Bundles
4 servings
(this dish is gluten free)

  • 12 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • dash pepper
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Place the potatoes evenly distributed on 4 pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil the potatoes, garlic, and onion. Top with rosemary, pepper and cheese. Drizzle with oil. Fold in edges of foil and seal tightly. Grill for about 40 minutes. Carefully open foil to allow steam to escape.

Grilled Cherry Tomatoes
(this dish is gluten free)

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons butter

Place tomatoes in heavy duty foil about 24x12 inches.

In skillet, saute garlic and oregano in butter for about 2 minutes. Pour over tomatoes. Seal foil tightly. Grill 8-10 minutes and turn once. 4 servings

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grilled Ginger Salmon, Sugar Snap Peas, and Citrus Carrots and Sprouts

Fish. There's a lot to be said about it.

I don't much care for seafood. However, fish is really good for you. Salmon, in particular, is high in Omega-3 fats. This is a fat that our body requires yet can not manufacture on its own, making it necessary to get this vital nutrient from other sources. Omega-3 is "good" fat.

The numerous benefits of this essential fatty acid include the reduction in the risk for fatal heart arrhythmia since omega-3 acids increases heart rate variability, a measure of heart functionality. It also helps lower triglycerides which are linked to cardiac diseases while boosting HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol. It has also been shown to help control high blood pressure, which in our house is a concern.

It acts as an anti-coagulant, therefore reducing the risk for stroke. Omega-3 is also good for our brain. The brain is composed of more than 60% structural fat. The fatty acids found in fish like salmon help to move nutrients across the fatty membranes of our brain cells and help to eliminate the wastes. Related studies also show that cognitive related problems such as Alzheimer's, dementia and even behavioral disorders can be improved by the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies are also starting to show that omega-3 may also help reduce the risk of colon and prostate cancer.

Wow! Almost makes me want to eat it......almost. (I'll stick with supplements.)

With it being summer, you can grill the salmon outdoors too! Woo hoo, make a cook out of it and let that fish stink up the outside rather than the inside of the house. Watch out, tho. You may notice that all of the neighborhood cats may think they're invited to dinner as well.

While I hate peas, I will eat sugar snap peas. Go figure, but for some reason, the taste and smell is much more subtle and therefore more tolerable for me. Peas have a decent amount of protein in them, being legumes, so will pack a powerful nutrient punch. as for carrots and brussels sprouts.....we all know that carrots help our eyes. They are packed full of Vitamin A, among many other nutrients. And those little sprouts.....they are very effective at strengthening the body's immune system. Good stuff, vegetables.

Now if we could only get the kids to eat them!

These recipes are all gluten free, too, if that is something you follow.

Grilled Ginger Salmon
  • 1 cup gluten free soy sauce (San J brand is GF)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 (5 inch) piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 (3 pound) whole salmon fillet with skin
  • 1 untreated cedar plank
  1. Whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, minced ginger, olive oil, and garlic in a bowl, and pour into a resealable plastic zipper bag. Add the salmon fillet, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight or up to 2 days.
  2. About 1/2 hour before grilling, soak cedar plank in water.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  4. Remove the salmon from the marinade, and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade. Place the salmon, skin side down, onto the cedar plank.
  5. Grill with the grill cover closed until the salmon is opaque but still juicy, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove the salmon from the plank in one piece, leaving the skin on the plank.

Sugar Snap Peas
59 calories per serving

  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • kosher salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Spread sugar snap peas in a single layer on a medium baking sheet, and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with shallots, thyme, and kosher salt.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, until tender but firm.

Citrus Carrots and Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 pound fresh brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 pound fresh baby carrots
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 drops hot pepper sauce (optional)

  1. Place brussels sprouts and carrots in a large saucepan with a small amount of water; cover and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients. Drain vegetables; add butter mixture and toss to coat.