Teriyaki Chicken Marinade



When I grill chicken, I usually use a bottled marinade to flavor and tenderize the meat.  Well, this week I ran out of my favorite supermarket brand and decided to revisit an old recipe of my own.  I often pair this marinade with a few finely chopped slices of pineapple to give it a Hawaiian flair.  A hearty helping of rice and vegetables works great with this teriyaki grilled chicken dish.

Teriyaki Chicken Marinade

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons white vinegar

 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 medium onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, graded

1/2 cup finely chopped pineapple, optional

In a medium bowl, mix the soy sauce, water, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, oil, onions, garlic, and ginger. Whisk together until sugar is dissolved. Add optional pineapple.  Using a plastic bag or covered container.  Pour mixture over chicken pieces and marinate for 3 hours or overnight.  Grill or bake chicken until a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached.

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Queso Blanco Chicken and Salsa

On a recent Saturday outing, my family and I stumbled upon a quaint new restaurant in the middle of our town square featuring Mexican cuisine.  As we were seated in the festive dining room, a heaping basket of freshly made chips and salsa was delivered to the table.  Looking over the extensive menu, I was excited to find a chicken dish that seemed fresh and flavorful with simple ingredients.  I immediately requested the dish and continued to munch on the crispy chips and spicy salsa while listening to the sounds of the lively Mexican music streaming through the sound system.  

As we waited for our meal to arrive, we chatted about our desire to visit a local farmer’s market to find lots of fresh produce to make our own salsa when returning home for the day.  

Alas, our meals arrived and as the waitress placed the scrumptious looking dish in front of me, I realized how simple it would be for me to replicate the flavors at home and quickly made a note of all of the items on the plate.  After a lovely meal, we headed out to the farmer’s market located a few short blocks through the town square. We enjoyed a lovely walk through the bustling scene teaming with a variety of fresh vegetables and quickly scooped up the ingredients needed to replicate my chicken dish.  This is how I assembled my own version of the delicious meal…

Queso Blanco Chicken and Salsa

6 chicken breasts

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 (15 oz.) jar Queso Blanco Dip

1 1/2 cups Fresh (or store bought) Chunky Salsa (see recipe below)

6 ears corn, shucked and cleaned

2 avocado, sliced

Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Bake or grill for 30-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  In the meantime, place ears of corn on outdoor grill or indoor grilling skillet, roast until tender.  Slice corn off of the cob.  Season to taste with butter and salt, if desired.  In a microwave safe bowl, heat Queso Blanco Dip until warm and pourable.  To serve, place a chicken breast on each plate, drizzle with Queso Blanco Dip and garnish with fresh cilantro. Next,  add to the plate, a couple of heaping spoons of roasted corn, fresh salsa, and slices of avocado.  Simple and delicious!

Homemade Chunky Salsa

2 cups ripe plum tomatoes, diced 

1/4 cup white onion, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice, bottled or fresh

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

1 small garlic clove, minced

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  Cover tightly and refrigerate before serving.



Sweet and Spicy Pepper Relish

While waiting in the checkout line at a local grocery store this week, I noticed a monthly cookbook tucked into the magazine rack close to the register.  The front cover and title focused on “Canning and Preserving”.  It was a “Taste of Home” publication and I’ve always been a big fan of the reader provided recipe contributions showcased in the magazine. I’m a sucker for spending extra cash in the checkout lane so I threw the book in my cart.

 As I thumbed through my newly purchased mini-cookbook, a recipe for pepper relish caught my eye.  It looked simple and straightforward so I decided to purchase the ingredients to give it a try. 

The result, a sweet and spicy mixture that’s a perfect condiment for bratwurst links,  steak or baked chicken. Great with anything cooked on the grill…   It can also be used as a flavorful appetizer paired with cream cheese and crackers.



 Here’s the link to the recipe:  

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/autumn-pepper-relish/print

I changed the pepper ratio a bit, but not much…

Sweet and Spicy Pepper Relish

(Adapted for Taste of Home)

6 medium sweet red peppers 
2 medium green peppers

6 jalapeno peppers

4 medium Granny Smith apples (about 1-1/4 pounds)

2 medium pears (about 1 pound)

1 medium onion

3 tablespoons canning salt

2 cups white vinegar

2 cups sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon fennel seed

Seed and coarsely chop peppers. Peel and cut apples, pears and onion into 1-in. pieces. Pulse in batches in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl; sprinkle with salt and toss. Let stand 6 hours. Rinse and drain well; blot dry with paper towels.
In a Dutch oven, combine drained pepper mixture, vinegar, sugars and fennel seed; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 40-45 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Carefully ladle hot mixture into eight hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/2-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.

Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 20 minutes. Remove jars and cool for 12 to 24 hours before removing the bands and storing in a cool, dry location.

Homemade Savory Breakfast Sausage

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There is a small neighborhood grocery store not far from my home. It carries an assortment of staple groceries for local families needing a few things, without having to travel into town for a big shopping haul. After a late Friday work meeting, I stopped in to buy some milk and eggs for the weekend.
As I headed to the back of the store, I was lured in by the selection of fresh cut meat the butcher had displayed in the meat case. For a small market, this grocer always carries a wide variety of cuts that are quite reasonably priced. I purchased some chicken breasts, ground beef, and a few pounds of freshly ground pork.
This butcher incorporates just the right blend of pork cuts to make the perfect homemade sausage recipe. I knead lots of ingredients into a big bowl of ground pork and shape the mass into several round patties very similar to the familiar pre-packaged, national brand, sausage patties found in the refrigerator case in a typical grocery store. These homemade patties far exceed the flavor and tenderness of store bought sausage. Add your own ingredients to suit your family’s taste…

Homemade Savory breakfast Sausage Patties

2 pounds ground pork
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

In a large bowl, combine the sage, salt, ground black pepper, marjoram, brown sugar, crushed red pepper and cloves with ground pork. Mix well with your hands and form into patties, if desired. Sauté the patties in a large skillet over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees and meat is no longer pink.
Note: You can use the bulk sausage to make this delicious Savory Sausage Crescent Braid recipe too!

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Marinated Grilled Salmon

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Yesterday, while grocery shopping with my youngest daughter, we spotted some beautiful looking salmon steaks in the meat market case. M suggested that we buy a few steaks to grill for dinner. We also picked up some squash, (to make our Autumn Squash and Apple Bake) salad fixings, and potatoes.
I’m happy to say that we had the perfect fall grilling weather. For the marinade, I use Marzetti’s brand Italian salad dressing because it has a little sugar in it. This caramelizes during the grilling process and gives the salmon a great texture.
We enjoyed a lovely Sunday evening meal together and all agreed that we should add more fish to future dinner menus.

Marinated Salmon Steaks

3/4 cup Marzetti’s Sweet Italian Dressing
4 salmon steaks, about 1-1/2 inches thick (about 2-1/2 lbs.)

Add salmon and marinade to large, shallow non-aluminum baking dish or plastic bag; turn to coat. Cover, or close bag, and marinate in refrigerator, turning occasionally, up to 30 minutes.
Remove salmon, discarding marinade. Grill or broil salmon, turning once, cook until salmon flakes with a fork (about 3-5 minutes per side on high heat).image

Grilled Corn on the Cob

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Ok…it’s grilling season and the Indiana corn is ripe for the picking. As blueberry season winds down…fresh vegetables are truly showing off their colors. This year, we planted plenty of tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, herbs, peppers, cauliflower and squash. Our property seems to be surrounded by acres and acres of beautiful golden corn. Farmers in the area often put a table out at the end of their driveway with a load of fresh picked corn. Next to the corn sits a coffee can where neighbors and others passing by can leave their money to pay for their corn purchase.
This recipe is surprisingly tasty. The corn in Indiana is super sweet so the flavorful herbs contrast the sweetness quite well. While I often steam or boil corn on the cob…this recipe is a nice change of pace.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

6 ears of corn, husked and cleaned
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup butter, softened

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. In a medium bowl, mix together the chili powder, oregano, onion powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix the softened butter into the dry ingredients. Brush this mixture on each ear of corn. Wrap each ear tightly in aluminum foil so melted butter does not leak out during cooking.
Place wrapped corn on the preheated grill. Grill for 20 to 30 minutes turning corn several times during cooking.

My Little Secret Steak Seasoning Mix

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This week, a local market had a great sale on lean steaks so I bought a boatload of them…some to freeze and some to season and grill. Yesterday, after a local charity run and a beautiful day, I fired up the grill for a delicious steak dinner.
I used to buy expensive pre-mixed meat seasonings but soon realized that mixing my own seasonings was certainly more economical but also so much better when tailored for my families taste. This “secret” recipe is a bit like a Montreal steak seasoning and it makes meats tender and flavorful with a bit of a spicy twist. Sprinkle the seasoning on anything that you might be grilling. I’ve even sprinkled it on grilled pineapple and peaches. …So good!

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My Little Secret Steak Seasoning

2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons hickory smoked sea salt
4 teaspoons paprika
2 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Mix all seasonings together and store in a tightly lidded container in a cool, dry place. Use as a rub for steak, pork, chicken, and shrimp. Sprinkle over grilled fruit or vegetables.