Monday, October 29, 2012

Marinating is Your Bestie: Weekly Menu 10-29

Marinated SAlmon, Flank Steak and Pork Chops

Some weekday mornings, it's all I can do to pack lunches and microwave some oatmeal for breakfast. But I can usually squeeze in maybe five minutes prepping a marinade and throwing in a protein because guess what happens 8-10 hours later? I can quickly grill, roast or broil something super flavorful. And that, my busy friends is why marinating can be your best friend. I put very few shortcuts or make ahead notes in below because marinating by definition is a make ahead and a shortcut.  Also, please know that it's hard to go wrong with a marinade. Feel free to riff on the recipes below and add in spices or seasonings that are complementary and sound good to you.

Also, marinating is not just for outdoor, warm weather grilling. One of the recipes below calls for roasting at a high temp in the oven, another can be broiled, plus indoor grill pans work well too. If you want to experiment with other marinades, try the Korean Style Pork Tenderloin or the Grilled "Unbelievable" Chicken, which are also ideal for prepping quickly in the morning and cooking quickly later in the day. 

  Barbecue Roasted Salmon

Roasted Salmon Marinated in Pineapple and Lemon juice
This dish has been a staple of ours for ages. The warm spices and bright fruity flavors of the marinade, combined with the oven-roasting cooking method guarantees perfectly cooked fish.

Sides:  Steamed Brussels sprouts and pearled couscous mix such as Near East

  • Buy canned, sliced pineapple or pineapple chunks and use the juice. Save the fruit for lunchboxes or another use.
Make Ahead Notes 
  • Zest the lemons for the spice mixture before juicing them for the marinade.
  • Combine marinade ahead and set aside in fridge. Note: This is one marinade that you don't want to use for much longer than an hour once you add the fish.
  • Combine spice mixture and set aside for later.
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets 
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder 
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind 
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • Cooking spray
  • Combine first 3 ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally.
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Remove fish from bag; discard marinade. Combine sugar and next 5 ingredients (sugar through cinnamon) in a bowl. Rub over fish; place in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with lemon slices, if desired.
Recipe from Cooking Light

Marinated Flank Steak

Honey Soy Marinated, Grilled Flank Steak
  Score the surface of the steak with a sharp knife to help the marinate penetrate the meat.

Sides: Baked potatoes and steamed green beans tossed with S&P and a squeeze of lemon

  • 1.5 lbs flank steak
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 -4 tablespoons honey (can use 3-4 tablespoons real maple syrup as a substitute)
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 -3 tablespoons coarsley chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 green onions, coarsley chopped 
  • In a zip-top bag, combine all marinade ingredients.
  • Score the surface of the uncooked steak about 1/4-inch deep across the grain. Add meat to bag and turn to coat with the marinade; place the bag into a large bowl.
  • Refrigerate for up to 24 hours (turning the bag a couple of times during the refrigeration time).
  • Remove beef from the marinade and allow all the marinade to drip off scraping off the chopped garlic pieces and green onions from the meat. Allow to sit out at room temp until ready to cook.
  • Preheat grill to high heat. Season beef with salt & pepper
  • Grill the meat about 5-6 minutes per side for rare doneness (turning ONLY one time, do not overcook the meat as it will cook a little more after removing from the grill). 
  • Remove to a plate/s and allow to sit for 10 minutes before slicing. 
  • Slice the meat across the grain.
  • To Broil:  Preheat broiler. Place flank steak on broiler pan and cook, turning once until medium rare, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove to a cutting board to rest.

Recipe from

Hoisin Marinated Pork Chops

Hoisin Marinated, Grilled Pork Chops
Remember, a little pink inside means a juicy pork chop!

Sides: Vegetable pot stickers (I like Trader Joe's) and sauteed sugar snap peas

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 bone-in  pork loin chops (about 3/4 inch thick) 
  • Cooking spray
  • Combine first 5 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add pork chops. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
  • Prepare grill.
  • Remove pork from bag; discard marinade. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until done.

Recipe from MyRecipes

Extra Credit: Monkey Bars

Moneky Bars - banana chocolate chip snack cake bars
Be sure to bake until the toothpick comes out clean. I prefer to store them in a bowl covered with a towel because an airtight container sometimes makes these banana bread-style bars turn mushy.

  • 1 2/3 cup (about 5 bananas) mashed ripe bananas 
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup oil 
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon each baking soda and cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour 
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips 
  • Heat oven to 350ºF. Line a 15 x 10 x 1⁄2-in. baking pan with nonstick foil (let the foil extend about 2 in. above pan at both ends). 
  • Whisk mashed bananas, sugar, oil, milk, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl until mixed thoroughly. Whisk in flour just until blended; gently stir in 1⁄2 cup of the chocolate chips. 
  • Spread batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. 
  • Holding foil by ends, lift from pan onto a cutting board. Carefully cut lengthwise in 4 strips and then cut each strip in 10; remove foil.
Recipe from Woman's Day


  1. I love marinades and now that I am vegan, I have found that they work extra hard for me as I can prepare two batches and throw a meatless protein in one and chicken in the other. Thanks for these recipes. I will have to try with my tempeh and tofu!

  2. Great point! I never thought of using one batch of marinate for a meatless dish, but I definitely will now. Asian marinades on tofu are my personal favorite.