Fruit: It’s Not Just For Dessert

I know it seems like we just dine out or eat desserts all the time around here, but, honestly, we do eat other things! 😉 I bought a new Foreman Grill just before Christmas and have used it several times already. Most recently, I used it to grill a large flat of boneless chicken breast. Because I was serving it with BBQ sauce initially, I did not season it all before grilling it. After dinner and a lunch of leftovers, there were two chicken breasts left — not enough for the whole crew for lunch by itself, but, by turning it into chicken salad, I had enough leftovers for another lunch for myself the next day! A perfect way to stretch out the menu. This wasn’t made from a recipe, but from simply tossing in this and that, whatever was on hand.  It’s a little bit of summer to shake the winter blues.

Chicken Salad
2 grilled boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1 apple (Jonagold in the picture), cored & chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/3 – 1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/3 – 1/2 c. dried cranberries
1-2 Tbsp. finely minced onion
2 Tbsp. low-fat mayo
1/4 c. (or more, depending on your taste) Ranch dressing (mine was made by mixing a dry packet with plain yogurt)

Toss all ingredients until well mixed. Great plain, on a sandwich, or on a bed of greens.

Adult Food

The four Tartlets have gone with The Husband’s Parents on a little adventure to eastern Montana. We’ll follow them next week and rendezvous at the family reunion for The Husband’s maternal side of the family. Until then, we are footloose and fancy free for nearly a week. This is the time that foods that little tastebuds don’t appreciate or seem too expensive to buy for 6 people begin to appear on our menu. Last night I made a nice dinner for us using a recipe I pulled from the Sunday paper years ago. While salmon is The Husband’s favorite seafood, this Asian orange glaze is not his favorite preparation (but it is *mine*).  He likes it grilled with just a little lemon juice and served with tartar sauce.

I didn’t have quite enough orange marmalade on hand so I ended up using about 2/3 orange marmalade and 1/3 apricot preserves. It was very good. I didn’t have the scallions on hand, but it makes the salmon look pretty if you use them.

To serve with the salmon, I made brown rice similar to this, using chicken broth, soy sauce, and pineapple juice for the liquid and adding both garlic and ginger to the pot. I grilled some broccolini (baby broccoli) drizzled with lemon juice, just until it was bright green but still crisp (about a minute on each side), and sauteed some baby portabella mushrooms to go with it. I was first introduced to broccolini at The Great Impasta and love it, which is surprising considering that I really don’t love broccoli at all. However, it tends to be rather expensive so I rarely buy it. It made a nice treat for an adult meal.

Grilled Salmon with Orange Glaze

½ cup orange marmalade
2 t. sesame oil
2 t. soy sauce
½ t. grated fresh ginger root
1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
3 T. white rice vinegar

1 lb skinless salmon fillet, cut in four pieces

6 thinly sliced scallions with some green, optional
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, optional

Combine marmalade, oil soy sauce, ginger, garlic and vinegar. Heat grill. Brush orange glaze on each side of salmon and grill about 5 minutes on each side. Top with scallions and sesame seeds and serve.

Notes:
This can also be done with the skin on, just lay the fish skin side down on foil on the grill or in the oven (350 F) and spread with glaze. When the fish is cooked and tender, slide a spatula between the meat and skin, lifting the meat off the skin.

Betty’s Teriyaki Chicken

Although I’ve enjoyed some good teriyaki at the homes of other people, I’ve never had good success trying to reproduce it at home.  And any of the bottled sauce I’ve purchased has been nothing but disappointing.  When I found this recipe for Grilled Teriyaki Chicken in my inbox, I was cautiously optimistic.  I only had enough ingredients on hand to make enough marinade for about half the drumsticks I purchased (I bought them rather than chicken breast because it was on sale!) and I thought it would be good to have some plain ones anyway, just in case this was a total loss.  It was anything but!  This was very popular.

I served it with some brown rice that I made using beef broth (because I didn’t have any chicken stock on hand) with fresh pineapple juice (~1/3 c. for 2 1/2 c. raw rice) and a few spoons of marinade before I added the chicken to it.  It was tasty, but could have used a little more of  the flavoring from the marinade and a little more pineapple juice.  We also had corn on the cob, green salad, and fresh fruit to round out the meal.  Mmm!  It was a great summer meal and one we will definitely repeat.  I’m copying the recipe here, just in case Betty Crocker dumps it from the site later.


Teriyaki Marinade (from BettyCrocker.com)

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I left this out since I was using skin-on drumsticks)
2 teaspoons grated gingerroot
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Chicken
8 bone-in chicken breast halves (about 3 pounds)

In shallow glass or plastic dish or heavy-duty resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix all Teriyaki Marinade ingredients.

Add chicken; turn to coat with marinade. Cover dish or seal bag and refrigerate, turning chicken occasionally, at least 1 hour but no longer than 24 hours.

Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat. Remove chicken from marinade; reserve marinade. Cover and grill chicken, skin sides up, 5 to 6 inches from medium heat 15 minutes. Turn chicken. Cover and grill 10 to 20 minutes longer, turning and brushing 2 or 3 times with marinade, until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut. Discard any remaining marinade.

Ribs On The Grill

After the vegetarian meal on Sunday, I made a meal fit for any carnivore. I’ve cooked a lot of different meats on my grill but I hadn’t done ribs yet, in part because Thing 1 and I really love ribs and it would be so disappointing to have them not turn out well. Meijer had frozen ribs on sale for $1.69/lb so I bought two slabs to try my hand with them.

Oh, YUM! They turned out perfectly. It was part of my ‘I’m feeling too lazy to cook’ day, so I just used some bottled Famous Dave’s Sweet and Zesty sauce, our current favorite. Too bad Thing 1 has a sore throat and a little cough because I don’t think she enjoyed them fully. If she were healthy, I’m not sure there would have been leftovers! 😉

Meals on Wheels

I frequently volunteer to take meals to new moms. I know how nice those are to receive and I like to pay the same kindness to these new young moms as I received. Tonight I made some lime chicken as well as steak kabobs that were marinated in homemade balsamic vinaigrette — heavy on the balsamic vinegar, light on the olive oil, a few squirts of Worcestershire sauce. Mmmm. It’s my favorite way to make steak kabobs. They smelled so good. I smelled them in the car all the way over there and the aroma still lingered all the way home. I couldn’t wait to have my own.

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Except when I got home, they were all gone. The family scarfed them all down and all that was left was the chicken. And they only left one spoonful of fruit salad (not counting the mess Things 3 & 4 made on and around their plates). Sigh. I guess I’m going to have to reserve my own plate when off to deliver meals! 😉

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When I take the whole clan grocery shopping, we always have to cruise by the bakery. The girls talk about what their next birthday cake should be, even if it’s 362 days ’til the next birthday. And the ladies at the bakery hand out free cookies to little twinkies. Thing 1 has been enamored with the Lemon Supreme Cakes lately — I’m not sure if the cake itself is lemon but it has a thick layer of lemon gel on top and yellow frosting all over. It looks like it should glow in the dark. That’s what she wants next birthday. No candles.

So tonight I made something like that for the new parents, without the artificial color and neon glow. I made a yellow cake and put a layer of lemon gel in between layers and frosted with lemon cream cheese frosting and put another layer of lemon gel on top and decorated it with fresh raspberries. The bits of cake I took off to level tasted lovely with the lemon gel. In fact, if I had an ice cream maker, I would put some lemon gel in a batch because I think that would taste fantabulous.

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Clear Lemon Filling (from Betty Crocker)

3/4 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt

3/4 c. water

1 t. grated lemon peel
1 T. butter or margarine

1/4 – 1/3 c. lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Remove from heat; add lemon peel and butter. Gradually stir in lemon juice. Cool thoroughly.

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Yellow Layer Cake (adapted from Betty Crocker)

2 1/4 c. cake flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. plain yogurt
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 large eggs (1/3-1/2 c.)

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour baking pan (2 x 8-inch or one 13 x 9 inch).

Measure all ingredients into large mixing bowl. Blend 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan(s).

Bake 30 minutes for rounds or 40 minutes for oblong. Cool.

Feasting Like Royalty

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The Husband is suffering for his work again, this time by going to a conference in Ft. Lauderdale, where it is just as hot and humid as it is here, if not more so. I wish I could sleep well when he’s gone, but I don’t. So, I’m dragging around, tired and unmotivated, and threw some drumsticks on the grill tonight with absolutely no seasoning on them at all. I served it with BBQ sauce (store bought) for dipping, a bag of microwaved frozen vegetables, bagged green salad, and potato chips.

Suddenly Thing 2 perks up — HEY! I didn’t realize we were having a *feast* tonight.

Me: *Feast*?

Thing 2: Yeah! They always have these things at feasts in castles with the kings and queens! Wow! We get to have a FEAST tonight!

So the girls alternated between behaving like “kings and queens” and rude barbarians who grab their drumsticks and growl and smack their lips a lot while they feast.

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Fresh Corn

It’s not truly summer until there’s fresh corn. Anything else is just hot, uncomfortable weather, not summer. 😉 A month or so ago I grilled corn for the first time. I peeled back the husk and cleaned off the silk, washed the corn, then slid the husk back around the corn and grilled it next to the meat.

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The Husband loved it. The kids, not so much. So a couple of days ago I grilled 6 ears of corn for our dinner, but Things 1, 2, and 3 did not eat theirs. Thing 4 loves corn and ate every bit of hers.

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To use up the leftover corn, I resorted to an old farm recipe. Fried corn. It’s very simple — cut the corn off the ear (frozen also works), fry in a little olive oil with onion and peppers. We especially like green chiles but the neighbors gave us some red peppers when they left town and they look marvelous with the corn. This is also good with zucchini.

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