Pineapple Meatball Kebabs with Apple Slaw

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I am usually on the prowl for easy delicious recipes that cater to busy families, which is a trend you’ll notice if you scroll through my posts. That said, this is not an outwardly weeknight “quickie” recipe. However, there are ways to make this dish more weeknight appropriate, which is something I recommend. What I did was make the meatballs and sauce (separately) ahead of time. This way when we were ready for dinner I just fired up the grill, sauced the pre-made meatballs, and enjoyed. If you want to do this just sauce what meatballs you know you will eat, and put the rest in the fridge.  I will say that the extra time it took to initially put this dinner together was well worth it. The tangy sweet sauce is the showstopper in this dish which paired really nice with the crunchy apple slaw. I HIGHLY recommend doubling the slaw recipe because it was so refreshing and we went through the first batch pretty quickly. This dish was inspired from two different recipe blogs. The meatballs were adapted from Savory Nothings which is a gorgeous blog with stunning photos and easy to follow recipes. The slaw was adapted from Damn Delicious which is also a beautiful recipe blog (my favorite part of her posts are that she adds the nutritional facts for each recipe). Give both blogs a look if you try and like this recipe their recipes are a tad different from this one and they have tons of other tasty posts.

TIME: approximately 1 hour 15 minutes with prep.com

SERVES: approximately 6

Ingredients for Meatballs :

  • 1.5 lb ground beef
  • 1 lg yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 scallions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, (I toasted mine a bit before adding)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 20 oz can of crushed pineapple in 100% pineapple juice
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp garlic powder

Ingredients for Apple Slaw:

  • 1 bag of slaw mix (I would recommend getting an extra red cabbage and carrot, chopping/slicing them up, and adding them to the mix. There is never enough red cabbage or carrot in store bought slaw).
  • 2 granny smith apples, julienned
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Meatballs and Sauce:

  1. If you are pairing the meatballs with the slaw recipe prepare the slaw first as it needs to be refrigerated for at least an hour before serving. That recipe can be found below
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 F, also if you are using bamboo/wooden skewers soak them in water for 30 minutes.
  3. Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Form small balls and line them up on a greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake the meatballs in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until no longer pink in the center (I always reserve one meatball as my “tester” to check for pinkness and when cooked to check for taste). Once cooked, set the meatballs aside to cool.
  5. While the meatballs are baking and cooling combine all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it begins to lightly boil. Be sure to stir the sauce frequently as it will burn if not tended to. Once boiling turn heat down to a simmer continuing to stir until it is nice and thick. Once thick remove the saucepan from heat.
  6. Once meatballs are cooled string 3-4 meatballs on each skewer. Spoon or brush the sauce over the meatballs, coating them really well.
  7. Fire up your grill and cook the kebabs until nice scorch marks appear.
  8. Plate with your favorite sides (aka the slaw recipe below) and Enjoy!

Directions for Apple Slaw:

  1. In a large bowl combine the slaw mix and apples.
  2. In a separate bowl mix all the “wet” ingredients together until well combined.
  3. Pour the saucy mixture over the apples and slaw. Toss until the slaw is nice and coated.
  4. Cover and put in the fridge for at least one hour.
  5. When ready to serve toss the slaw and plate.
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me.

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Grilled Jerk Wings

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I tend to make major leaps after a small success. I pulled off a grilled romaine salad so I got cocky and took my grilling challenge to wings. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little terrified. Additionally I’ll be honest and admit that the emergency water bottle was used a handful of times to put out small rack fires.. However I pulled it off and these wings were yummy. Who knows what’s next in my grilling adventure. Tri-tip anyone?

These wings are spicy and tangy. The original recipe called for a Scotch Bonnet chile pepper which is reportedly much hotter then the habanero pepper I used. If you like really really hot wings then I suggest finding said pepper and using it in this recipe. Our grocery store does not carry it so I had to substitute. I also shared some wings with my neighbors who are connoisseurs of all things chicken wings and they suggested rounding out the sauce with something sweet such as honey. I will certainly heed this advice and cannot wait to make these again. As for the grilling process, this recipe is pretty easy to follow. You season the wings, grill them, and toss them in sauce. Done deal! These will be great for the upcoming Super Bowl and quickly approaching summer barbecues.

Serves: 4     Calories: 460 per serving     Time:25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chicken wings, we bought party wings already cut
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • *optional* any chicken rub you like, I used garlic powder, onion powder and a pinch of poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 large habanero pepper, minced (wear gloves when handling these hot peppers)
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • scallions, chopped for topping

Directions:

  1. Light your grill and heat to medium, approximately 350 degrees F
  2. Rub your wings with olive oil, salt, pepper and optional chicken rub.
  3. Put chicken on the grill and turn them occasionally cooking for 25-20 minutes. Times vary depending on the size of your chicken and how often you lift the lid of your grill to turn the wings. Do not open too much as it releases the heat and takes longer to cook your wings. You will know the chicken is done by cutting into one of the wings and finding that there is no redness near the bone.
  4. While your wings cook prepare the sauce by mixing together the vinegar, habanero, mustard and oregano in a large bowl.
  5. Once wings are done and have a nice char add them to the bowl with sauce and toss coating them evenly.
  6. Top the wings with chopped scallions and enjoy!

*photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from:

Schlesinger, Chris.  Willoughby, John. “Jerk Wings from Hell.”  Grill It!. Ed. Louise Abbott, Marek Walisiewicz, Kati Dye. New York: DK Publishing, 2008. 165. Print.

Grilled Romaine Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

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I am good at cooking. I am scared of baking and terrified of grilling. If you frequent this blog you know of my experiences with the grill. If you don’t frequent this blog I’ll clue you in quickly. I have been known to set a grill to flames and even when the gas is turned off the grill is still engulfed by fire. Up to this point I have not had the finesse to master the grill. Now that it is 2016 and I’m feeling quite comfortable in the kitchen I’m taking it outside and learning to conquer my fears.

This salad is my first attempt and I am happy to report that so far I am pulling it off. I quite enjoyed the charred bits of romaine and would liken the wilted bits to spinach. The entire thing does not wilt or char, but the enfolded parts stay crisp leaving this salad with a lot of texture. The grilled corn and tomatoes with feta add a sweet and creamy taste. The star of this show, however, is the Dijon vinaigrette. It is the perfect tangy addition to this salad. The onion and garlic gives you a little bite but the vinegar and Dijon really stand out and balance out the sweet creaminess of the corn, tomatoes and feta. I am certainly going to make this dressing and try it on other salads. For someone who does not grill this was extremely easy to pull off. If you’re a beginner like me and are looking to learn the craft of grilling I highly suggest you start here.

Serves: 4  Calories: approximately 220 per serving  Time: 1 hour soak, 15 minutes prep, 30 minutes grill

Ingredients:

  • 3 ears fresh sweet corn with husks on
  • 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, depends on how large your lettuce is
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 hearts of romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 carton of grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese

Directions:

  1. Soak corn with the husks still attached in a bowl of full of enough water to cover them. Let soak for an hour
  2. Prepare dressing by combining 3 tbsp of the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, chives and garlic. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Once an hour has passed place the corn (still in husks) on your grill rack over medium heat, approximately 350 degrees F. Cover and grill for 20-30 minutes or until the kernels are tender. Turn the ears of corn once to get an even char. Once kernels are tender remove corn from the rack and set aside to cool enough to handle.
  4. While corn is cooling brush the romaine with remaining 1 tbsp of oil. You may need a little more oil if your romaine is bigger. Depends on the size of your lettuce really. After they’re all oiled place them on the grilling rack over medium heat (again approximately 350 degrees F). Let them grill for about 3 minutes until they are charred to your liking and slightly wilted. Plate the romaine chunks.
  5. Corn should be cool enough to handle by now. Strip off the husks and the silk. Using care, cut the kernels from the ears of corn into a large bowl. Add the tomato halves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle this corn and tomato mixture with about a tbsp of the dressing and toss. Top the each romaine chunk with a bit of this mixture. Sprinkle feta over the salad and drizzle the whole plate with more Dijon Vinaigrette.
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from:

Better Homes and Gardens. “Grilled Romaine Salad with Tomato and Corn Tumble.”  Fresh Grilling. Ed. Jan Miller. Iowa: Meredith Corporations, 2014. 215. Print.

Sweet Cilantro Lime Chicken Kebabs

10389603_10205765390272086_5517173262006650960_nI have finally found a way to get Chance, our 4-year-old, to eat chicken that isn’t pressed into a patty with who knows what else. I’m learning that Chance takes interest in things that are not “ordinary.” We usually eat dinner with a fork, so handing him chicken on a stick was the hook (and he bit!). I’ve made this recipe a number of times since our initial trial and can attest to how easy this is to make. I suggest marinating the chicken all day if you can. Throw it in the marinade first thing in the morning then string them onto kebab sticks right before grilling. I would liken the flavor to teriyaki but it isn’t sticky-sweet like teriyaki can usually be. It has a nice zesty zing because of the lime and am looking forward to warm summer nights grilling these puppies out on the patio.

Serves: 4     Calories: 199/serving     Time: marinade time: at least an hour     cook time: 8 mins 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce, we use reduced sodium
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, divided
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, we use the tenders as I find it easier to trim and cut into little pieces
  • Bamboo skewers

Directions:

  1. Combine soy sauce, salt, pepper, honey, oil, garlic, lime juice, pepper flakes and 1 tbsp of cilantro in a large bowl.
  2. Trim chicken and cut into bite size pieces. Place the chicken into the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. We let ours sit for about 7 hours.
  3. If using wooden skewers soak in water for at minimum 10 minutes before letting them sit on the grill.
  4. String the chicken pieces onto the skewers (getting rid of the remaining marinade) and grill on each side for approximately 5-8 minutes.
  5. Garnish with the remaining 1 tbsp of cilantro.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe found at http://www.budgetsavydiva.com 

Grilled Pierogies and Kielbasa

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Growing up Pierogies were sort of a staple in our diet. We had then for dinner at least one a month so I have always loved these pasta/potato pockets. I guess the pierogie movement never made it out west because Perry claims that in his 52 years of life he’s never had one. I was appalled upon hearing this and insisted we make pierogies straight away. I will never eat perogies any other way again. This recipe is absolutely perfect and I challenge you to try and top it 🙂 I did have a little grilling trouble (as per usual) so my recipe differs from the original which tells you to grill the pierogies. My grill was literally on fire… Like I turned off the gas and the whole grill was still in flames. Needless to say I did not grill everything that was to be grilled. I only “grilled” (and by grilled I mean “smoked”) the kielbasa.

Cook time: 30 min     Serves: 4     Calories: 580    Carbs: Approximately 11.3 per serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of Kielbasa, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 tbsp. whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 large white onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 lb frozen potato-and-cheddar pierogies (or any flavor that takes your fancy) , do not thaw
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat a grill to medium. Grill the kielbasa, turning, until marked, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter (If you see smoke like I did turn off the gas immediately and have a water bottle handy…Hopefully you guys aren’t as bad at grilling as I am.)
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the mustard and vinegar in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil until smooth
  3. Toss the onion and pierogies with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Slide into pan and cook on medium high, covered, until the pierogies thaw and the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Turn the pierogies and onion and continue to cook, covered, until the pierogies are cooked through and the onion is tender, 4 to 6 more minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet or platter.
  4. Slice the kielbasa into pieces and add to the bowl with the mustard dressing. Roughly chop the onion and add to the bowl along with the pierogies and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and toss.
  5. Dish and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Original recipe belongs to http://www.foodnetwork.com

Island Sliders With a Kick

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These babies were just the thing to polish off the beautiful summer day today. The pineapples and chicken burger patties were juicy, flavorful, and grilled to perfection. The only thing I might add is a tsp of teriyaki sauce. All together these hit the spot.

Makes 9 sliders at 151 calories per slider

Ingredients:

  • 1-8oz can of pineapple slices, draines
  • 2-3 skewers
  • 3 slices pepper jack cheese, sliced to drape over 9 mini patties
  • 9 slider buns
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided into 1/4 tsp
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, divided into 1/4 tsp
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, soy sauce, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp chili powder,  salt, cumin, and garlic in a large bowl. Mix and divide into 9 large even balls. Keep in mind that the mixture might be a little sticky so don’t expect the balls to be perfectly formed. Just make sure you use close to the same amount of mixture per “ball.” Form patties, making them slightly thinner in the middle.
  2. Mix together the remaining 1/4 tsp paprika and 1/4 tsp of chili powder and sprinkle over the patties.
  3. Refrigerate the patties for 30 minutes. Do not skip this step because  it will be difficult to transfer the patties to the grill.
  4. Preheat your grill to medium-high and grease the rack with cooking spray.
  5. Cook patties for 2-4 minutes per side or until cooked through. If you are using cheese (which I highly recommend) add it to the patties when you have a minute left on your timer.
  6. String pineapple chunks onto skewers and grill for 1-2 minutes or until you begin to see grill marks.
  7. Toast your bun if you wish and put together your sliders.
  8. Enjoy!

*Photo is original belonging to me

**This recipe was modified but you can find the original at http://homeiswheretheholmansare.blogspot.com/

Grilled Garlic and Herb Shrimp

936185_10200890596645292_808899930_nWith summer around the corner we decided to bust out to grill and start trying some summer recipes. I believe skewers are a staple in the summer recipe category so I did a search and found this absolutely delicious recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com I wouldn’t change anything about this recipe which is not something that happens often so you know this is a must try. I let them marinate for about 4-6 hours making them extremely flavorful. My two year old picky eater even had one!

Serves: 4         Calories: 336

Ingredients:

– 1 tsp ground paprika

– 1 tbsp fresh minced garlic

– 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend

– 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

– 2 tbsp olive oil

– 1/4 tsp ground pepper

– 1 tsp dried basil

– 1 tbsp brown sugar

– 1lb large shrimp

Directions:

1.) Whisk paprika, garlic, Italia seasoning, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper, basil, and brown sugar together in a bowl until blended. Fold in the shrimp and toss to evenly coat.

2.) Cover and refrigerate for AT LEAST 2 hours. Toss once halfway to coat again.

3.) Remove shrimp from marinade and place on a preheated grill (med/high heat).

4.) Cook, turning once, until opaque in the middle (5-6 minutes approximately)

5.) Serve immediately and enjoy!

*Photo is an original taken by me

**Original recipe can be found at http://www.allrecipes.com