Grilling is always fun. We have a family barbecue every Sunday. It’s lots of fun and a great way to catch up with each other after a busy week. One of the problems I run in to is finding new recipes to grill. Sure hot dogs, burgers, and steaks are easy, but every now and then we need a change. That’s why I’m always in search of a new barbecue recipe. I like to try them out during this weekly family dinner, and if everyone likes it we make it part of our menu.
Last month I tried this new marinade, mostly because I had all the ingredients in the pantry. But also because I love balsamic vinegar, which is the main ingredient to this recipe. I call it Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade.
The best part about marinades is that it flavors your meat with very little work. It’s simple, just toss the ingredients together, soak the meat, and let the marinade do the rest of the work! I marinate my meat in the refrigerator overnight. The longer is marinates the more flavorful it will be, but you don’t want to marinate it more than a day or so, because when marinated too long the meat starts getting this tough jerky like texture and it may eventually spoil. If for some reason we don’t use the marinated meat the next day I freeze it, marinade and all. That way I just thaw it out when we’re ready to grill.
Just before grilling I skewer the beef cubes on bamboo skewers, but you can use metal skewers if you have them. We do have a bunch of pretty metal skewers we brought home from Turkey one year, but cleaning them after the barbecues is an extra chore I can do without. When you do use bamboo skewers remember to soak them in water for about 10 – 15 minutes before putting the meat on, it keeps them from burning when you pop them on the grill.
Another helpful tip when grilling is to not over cook the meat. Grill meat until it is just about done to the way you want it (rare, medium, well). In short remove it from the grill before it is the desired “doneness”. Place grilled meat in a covered pot or roasting pan and let rest covered for 5 minutes before serving. This allows the meat to finish cooking and to release its juices. Try it out! You’ll end up with tender juicy meat! It works for steaks too!
Having said that here’s my recipe for Vinaigrette Marinade! By the way you can use the same marinade on chicken, lamb, or shrimp. Just don’t mix the meats, make a separate batch of marinade for each type of meat or seafood.
3 Lbs. Beef Tenderloin cut in 1″ cubes (you can use your favorite beef cut)
1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tbs. Finely Minced Garlic
1 Tbs. Fresh or Dried Rosemary
1 Tbs. Fresh or Dried Oregano
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 Large Onions cut into large chunks
1 Large Green Pepper cut into large pieces
1 Basket Mushrooms, washed and patted dry
Combine Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, and seasonings in a large ziplock bag. Seal bag and shake to combine all the ingredients together.
Add meat cubes to the marinade. Seal bag and shake to cover all the meat.
Refrigerate at least 3 hours, for best flavor marinate in the fridge overnight.
About and hour or less before grilling place meat, onions, peppers, and
mushrooms on skewers. Alternate meat with veggies.
Grill over medium heat until meat is just about done the way you want it.
Place skewers in a large pot or roasting pan with a lid. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to allow meat to finish cooking and release its juices.
Serve hot with rice, potatoes, and other sides.
Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade
Tender, juicy, and flavorful grilled meat that's perfect for any cook out.
One of my favorite Chinese seafood dishes is Salted Pepper Shrimp, we used to order it every time we dined at a Chinese restaurant. Since I found a recipe for it we can enjoy it at home. I modified it to fit our tastes and I think made it a bit simpler to make. Served over steamed white rice it’s yummy!
1 lb. Medium to Large shrimp – peeled and deveined
1 tbls. sea salt
1/2 cup corn starch
2 tbls. ground white pepper
2 tbls. ground black pepper
1 tbls. garlic powder
3 tbls. chopped green onions
2 tbls. minced garlic
1/4 + cup peanut oil
Place shrimp in a small bowl and cover with warm water
Add sea salt and let soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour
In a shallow bowl mix together corn starch, 1 tbls. each of white and black peppers, and garlic powder
Drain shrimp and lightly pat dry with a paper towel
Heat peanut oil in wok or large frying pan on medium heat until hot
Coat each shrimp in cornstarch mixture and place in wok
Cook until shrimp turns pink – turn halfway for even cooking – you may need to add more peanut oil if it gets too dry
Place cooked shrimp on paper towel to drain – Do not turn stove off
If pan is dry add a tbls. more peanut oil – add mince garlic and stir until it starts turning golden
Add fried shrimp back into pan
Add chopped green onions and stir til green onions turn bright green and starts to soften
One of my favorite dishes is Chicken Marsala. I’ve tried many different recipes in my quest for the perfect one; tweaking each one until it was just right.
Here is the recipe I use and my family loves it. The sauce in this version is thicker and creamier than other versions due to the heavy cream and corn starch. If you want a thinner sauce please read the notes at the end to see what ingredients can be omitted or substituted.
This recipe is very easy to make and should be served soon after cooking. Left overs can be refrigerated, in fact it tastes even better the next day!
I serve Chicken Marsala with garlic mashed potatoes or my cousin’s “poor man’s pasta” the recipe for that is at the bottom of this post.
The Best Chicken Marsala Ingredients: 1 lb. mushrooms
4 tbls. butter
2 tbls. minced garlic
1 cup Marsala wine
1 tsp. corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, pounded to 1″ thickness
2 tbls. olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. ground sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
10 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh parsley chopped
1. Wash mushrooms and pat dry. Slice into thin slices.
2. Melt 2 tbls. butter in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes.
3. Add garlic and wine to the mushrooms. Lower heat and gently simmer until wine reduces, about 15 minutes.
4. Add cream, corn starch, and sea salt. It should thicken slightly. If it’s too thick add more wine to desired consistency, but not more than another 1/2 cup. Set aside. *
5. Combine flour, ground sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder in a shallow bowl.
6. Heat oil and 2 tbls. butter in a skillet over medium heat.
7. Toss chicken tenders in flour; shake off excess; fry in olive oil/butter until cooked thru and is golden brown.
8. Pour Marsala sauce over chicken. Add cherry tomatoes. Simmer until tomatoes are soft, but not mushy.
9. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
* For thinner sauce OMIT heavy cream and corn starch in step 4. Add salt and set aside. Cook chicken as directed. In step 9 BEFORE you sprinkle with parsley stir in 2 more tbls. butter, stir until butter melts. Sprinkle with parsley.
Poor Man’s Pasta Ingredients: 1 lb. Pasta
3 tbls. butter
1/4 shredded fresh parmesan cheese
1. Cook pasta as directed on box.
2. Drain pasta.
3. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
4. Add cooked pasta. Toss in butter until pasta is covered.
5. Add parmesan cheese. Toss pasta until cheese is evenly distributed.
Wash mushrooms and pat dry. Slice into thin slices.
Melt 2 tbls. butter in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes.
Add garlic and wine to the mushrooms. Lower heat and gently simmer until wine reduces, about 15 minutes.
Add cream, corn starch, and sea salt. It should thicken slightly. If it's too thick add more wine to desired consistency, but not more than another 1/2 cup. Set aside.
Combine flour, ground sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder in a shallow bowl.
Heat oil and 2 tbls. butter in a skillet over medium heat.
Toss chicken tenders in flour; shake off excess; fry in olive oil/butter until cooked thru and is golden brown.
Pour Marsala sauce over chicken. Add cherry tomatoes. Simmer until tomatoes are soft, but not mushy.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
Poor Man's Pasta
Cook pasta as directed on box.
Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
Add cooked pasta. Toss in butter until pasta is covered.
Add parmesan cheese. Toss pasta until cheese is evenly distributed.
For thinner sauce OMIT heavy cream and corn starch in step 4. Add salt and set aside. Cook chicken as directed. In step 9 BEFORE you sprinkle with parsley stir in 2 more tbls. butter, stir until butter melts. Sprinkle with parsley.
Here’s a new hummus flavor I whipped up for the family. It goes great with the Beef Shawarma wraps I make. It’s very easy to make. You can use a food processor, but I was too lazy to take out my processor so I made it in my Ninja blender, it worked just as well.
I use sun dried tomatoes I buy in the open markets of Venice. I store them in the freezer and soak them in water for a few hours before using them. You can use the sun dried tomatoes they sell in jars at the produce section of your local supermarket. As for the roasted red pepper I just use the ones in a jar I get from the supermarket.
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1 cup chick peas – Garbanzo Beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbls. sesame tahini
1 tbls. minced garlic
1 tsp. sea salt
Juice from 1 lemon
Extra Virgin olive oil (optional)
Place tomatoes in blender or food processor – blend until finely chopped
Add red peppers – blend until finely chopped and mixed well
Add chick peas, oil, tahini, garlic, salt – blend until it becomes a soft paste
Add lemon juice – blend until it’s absorbed
Move to serving bowl or dish. If desired drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil before serving.
If you haven’t guessed by now I love Mexican Food! I can eat it everyday! One of my favorite Mexican dishes are chicken tacos. I love them wrapped in fresh warm flour tortillas. The chicken filling is real easy to make, if you’re pinched for time you can even use taco seasoning packets to give it that Mexican flavor. But I like to make it from scratch and sometimes I experiment a bit with the ingredients. Recently I came up with these Margarita Chicken Tacos, they are delicious!
What makes these Margarita Chicken Tacos different is that the chicken is marinated in, you guessed it, tequila and lime juice; hence the name Margarita Chicken Tacos! They really are easy to make and are too yummy!
I marinate the chicken about an hour before I sauté it. I serve it fresh wrapped in warm flour tortillas and topped with chopped cilantro, cheese, sour cream, and salsa. It’s a complete meal in a tortilla.
Here’s the recipe. I hope you’ll love it as much as we do.
8 Pieces Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs – cut into cubes