Archive for the ‘grilling’ Category

Best Ever Grilled Chicken Fajitas

I do not bestow this title lightly.  This recipe really is The. Best. Ever.  Thank you, Annie!  Thank you, thank you.  It was not just the margaritas talking when your husband said “this chicken is a miracle.”   (Or maybe it was, but they were speaking the truth.)

I’m a huge fan of fajitas, but rarely order them when out…I just cannot overcome my passionate love of enchiladas (another story).   I had given up on making them at home because I felt beaten down by constant disappointment.  But after reading Annie’s review, I went for it one more time and was so, so happy to have found (yes, I am going to say it again) The Best Ever fajitas.  They have so much flavor.  They are so good.  Please, I am begging you…make them now.

To make a pretty quick and sure-to-please meal, pair the fajitas with some refried beans, grilled veggies, and margaritas.

Ingredients:

⅓ cup lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes or a bottle)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 jalapeno, seeded, ribbed and diced
1½ tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied (6 halves total), about 1½ lbs.
1 large red onion sliced into ½-inch thick slices, rings not separated
2 large bell peppers  stemmed, quartered and seeded
8-12 (6-inch) flour tortillas
salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc., for toppings, if desired

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, jalapeno, cilantro, salt and pepper.  Place the chicken breast halves in a separate bowl and pour in just enough marinade to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes, reserving remaining marinade.  Brush both sides of the onion rounds and peppers with the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat your grill.  Remove the chicken breast halves from the marinade and place them and the onion rounds and peppers on the the grill.  Cook the chicken until it is well browned and until it is no longer pink inside.  Cook onions and peppers until spottily charred and crisp-tender, turning once or twice as needed.  When the chicken and vegetables are done, transfer them to a large plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Turn the heat on the grill down and in 2 or 3 batches, transfer the tortillas in a single layer to the now empty grill.  Cook until warm and lightly browned, about 20 seconds per side.  When the tortillas are done, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel or foil.

Meanwhile, separate the onions into rings and place them the bowl with reserved marinade.  Slice the bell peppers and chicken lengthwise into narrow strips and add them to the bowl with the onions.  Toss well to combine.  Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a large platter with the warmed tortillas.   Serve with accompaniments, if desired.  (I found that sour cream worked really, really well with these fajitas and enhanced their flavor.)

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, via The Way the Cookie Crumbles and Annie’s Eats.

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Chicken Cobb Burgers

In the summer, BK routinely has hankerings for Cobb Salad.  I, myself, very much enjoy it as well, but have come to terms with the fact that unless I have it for lunch with some good bread, I’m going to be hungry an hour later.  BK has not come to terms with this.  In fact, just the other night he ordered Cobb Salad.  I warned him, but he got it anyway and then sure enough, as soon as we got home, he announced he was hungry.

When I saw this recipe for Chicken Cobb Burgers, I knew it was for us…Cobb Salad, but filling!  The burgers are really delicious…BK had the leftovers the next day for lunch and told me repeatedly that he wished we had made more.  In fact, when I was editing the photos, I turned to look at him and he was staring at the computer screen with a crazy glint in his eye…I think he was contemplating trying to grab the burger out of the computer screen…

We discussed making this with chicken breast instead of ground chicken.  Its a pretty big burger though, and the chicken breast results in a softer burger that probably makes it easier to eat without everything sliding out.  If you use chicken breast, it would certainly taste good, but could be messier and harder to eat.

Ingredients:

For the burgers:
8 (½-thick) strips bacon
1 ½ pounds ground chicken, 90 percent lean
2 tablespoons canola oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup crumbled blue cheese (can certainly use more if desired)
1 large beefsteak tomato cut into 4 slices
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 8 slices

For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely shredded romaine lettuce

Directions:

Make the vinaigrette.  Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and oil in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using to allow the flavors to meld.  Just before assembling the burgers, place the romaine in a medium bowl and toss with the vinaigrette.

Heat the grill to medium.  Place the strips of bacon on the grill (lay them across the grate so they don’t fall through) and grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and slightly crispy. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Increase the heat of the grill to high.

Form the meat into 4 (8-ounce) burgers, brush with the oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides.  Grill the burgers until golden brown on both sides and cooked completely through, about 5 minutes per side.  Top the burgers with the blue, close the cover, and continue cooking until the cheese begins to melt, about 1 minute longer. (I found it kind of hard to top the burgers with the crumbly blue cheese while they are on the grill.  I did my best and then put more on after we took the burgers off the grill…it still melted.)

Place the burgers on the bottom half of each bun and top with a slice of tomato, 2 slices of avocado, 2 slices of bacon and some of the dressed romaine.  Cover each burger with the bun tops and serve.

Slightly adapted from Bobby Flay via Food Network.

Mexican Club Sandwich

Years ago, our local paper published the recipe for one of my favorite mexican restaurant’s club sandwich.   It quickly became a staple at our mealtimes, but has been on an extended moratorium lately.   A while back, I was heading out on a longer-than-usual work trip and made a batch of these for BK to eat while I was gone.  I know some might think that this was very old-fashioned of me, but really its just practical: I worry that if I don’t make food, I will come home to find BK has starved to death while standing in front of our pantry full of food and insisting that there is nothing to eat.

In any case, after eating four of these sandwiches in a few days, BK informed me he would not be able to stomach another for quite some time.  But the other week I informed him that I thought we should lift the moratorium.  He agreed we were ready.  And I’m so glad.  These sandwiches have everything: the four different kinds of protein make it hearty and satisfying; the onion slices provide a nice crunch; the jalapeno and chipotle give it a kick; the avocado adds a wonderful cool creaminess; and toasting it pulls everything together.

They keep pretty well, so feel free to bring the extras for lunch the next day.  For best leftover results, I’d recommend assembling ahead of time, but grilling and inserting the avocado right before you eat.  If that isn’t possible, make the full sandwich ahead of time and nuke it (with the avocado temporarily removed) for a bit before you eat.

Ingredients:

4 slices bacon, cut in half to form 8 short pieces
2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 thin slices ham, cut in half to form 8 pieces
1 ½ tablespoons chipotle adobo sauce (from a can of adobo chili peppers)
1 ½ tablespoons low-fat sour cream
1 ½ tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
4 hoagie rolls or 4 ciabatta rolls about 6 by 4 ½ inches
1 can nonfat refried beans
4 ounces shredded or thinly sliced Chihuahua cheese (may substitute sliced muenster or provolone cheese)
½ cup thinly sliced white onion
2 pickled jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and cut into thin slices

Directions:

Heat a nonstick grill pan or George Foreman over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp; transfer to drain on paper towels.

While the bacon is cooking, cut each piece of chicken horizontally to form 2 equal portions, for a total of 4; place between 2 layers of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness of 1/2 inch. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper to taste.

Wipe the excess fat from the grill pan or George Foreman, add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes on 1 side until lightly browned, then turn and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the ham to the grill pan or George Foreman for a few minutes to crisp it up a bit.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.

While the chicken and ham are cooking, combine the chipotle adobo sauce, sour cream and mayonnaise in a small bowl.

Cut the rolls in half lengthwise. Line them up on a large cutting board or work surface covered with wax paper. Spread the chipotle mixture on the cut sides of the bottom halves of the ciabatta; spread the refried beans on the cut sides of the top halves. Cut the chicken into pieces as necessary to cover the chipotle spread. Layer the ham, crisped bacon and cheese, pressing down as you go. Scatter the onion and jalapeno pepper slices on the cheese, and complete the sandwiches with the top halves of the ciabatta.

If necessary, spray the same grill pan with nonstick cooking oil spray and heat over medium to medium-low heat; as an alternative, heat a George Foreman grill or panini press.  Add as many sandwiches as will fit, bottom side down, weighing them down (if using a grill pan) with a heavy cast-iron skillet or a plate with heavy cans on top.  If using a grill pan, cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly browned and crisp and turn the sandwiches over and cook about 2 minutes on the second side.  If using a George Foreman or panini press, grill for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp .  Transfer the sandwiches to the cutting board or work surface and open them between the chicken and ham layers. Add several slices of avocado and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Re-close the sandwiches.  Invert to right side up and cut in half, pressing down firmly.  Serve warm.

Adapted from “Rosa’s New Mexican Table,” by Roberto Santibanez, via The Washington Post, June 2007.

BBQ Chicken and Grilled Veggie Revelation

My feelings about BBQ chicken could have really been summed up as “meh.”  Until now.  It was BK’s turn to pick dinner and BBQ chicken it was.  I faithfully basted the little guys with some BBQ sauce and let them sit for a few hours.  Then we grilled.

Well, I don’t even know what to say.  They were crispy and carmelized and BK cooked them just perfectly.  Its been two days and I can’t stop thinking about that amazing BBQ chicken…

Who knew?

Same with the vegetables.  I don’t dislike veggies, but I don’t gobble them up.  But zucchini, onions, potatoes, asparagus or peppers brushed with a little olive oil and sprinkled with some coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, then grilled so they have a bit of char on them?  So good.  I know this probably falls into the “how were you so completely unaware of this” camp, but I just love them.  And lucky for me, BK hates onions and zucchini, so I get them all to myself.  I gobbled them up.  Just like a turkey.  Gobble gobble.

P.S.  In case you were wondering, that first home-grown zucchini tasted amazing.  Like freshness and butter and hard, hard work battling amazon plants and bugs.

Sirloin and Summer-Vegetable Kebabs with Chimichurri

The cavemen had it right: fire + meat = deliciousness.

My husband, BK, and I moved in the fall and now have a deck with a grill.  I have quickly become obsessed with grilling, so much so that BK has suggested we buy a propane reader, stat.

The recipe is perfect for summer.  We actually put all kinds of veggies on the kebabs…squash, zucchini, red and green peppers, tomatoes, onions…although only I eat the onions.  BK has termed onions “weird” and “evil” and refuses to eat them or anything else in the “onion family,” which he broadly defines to include scallions, leeks, shallots, and chives.

I’ve made the chimichurri with dried herbs before out of desperation …its not perfect, but it’ll do…you just have to let the dried herbs sit in the liquid for a while so they aren’t crunchy.

Ingredients:

1 pound beef sirloin tips (cut into 1 ½ inch pieces)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 medium zucchini
1 small yellow summer squash
1 onion
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh oregano
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Directions:

Marinate beef sirloin tips in 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and freshly ground pepper in a shallow dish for 30 minutes. Soak 4 wooden skewers in water. Meanwhile, slice zucchini and summer squash into 1/2-inch rounds. Cut onion into wedges and red bell pepper into 1-inch pieces.

Heat grill to medium-high. Thread beef onto skewers, alternating with vegetables. Grill for 7 to 8 minutes per side. Whisk together parsley, fresh oregano, garlic cloves, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and coarse salt. Drizzle sauce over kebabs.

Source: Martha Stewart Living

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