Monday, May 13, 2013

Get Grilling Again: Weekly Menu 5/13/13

Easier Simpler Better Weekly Menu: Get Grilling Again

Hello friends, 

Do you feel springy yet? Maybe? While some of us were shoveling ice into mint juleps outside on Derby day a couple of weeks ago, others were shoveling snow (shout out to friends in Colorado). I think we can all agree we're ready to dust off the grill and move the cooking outside. And if you read this blog from time to time, you know I'm a big fan of marinating in the morning and grilling for dinner to make for a simplified dinner preparation.

Here are a few of my favorite grilling recipes to get you back in gear. Enjoy!   

Honey Soy Marinated Flank Steak

Honey Soy Marinated, Grilled Flank Steak
  Score the surface of the steak with a sharp knife to help the marinade 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

Glazed Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken thighs with sesame noodles and roasted broccoli

Though the sesame noodles play a supporting role in this menu, don't skip them. Make a double batch and eat them for lunch or send in kids' lunchboxes as a sandwich alternative.

Sides: Sesame noodles from the Pioneer Woman site and broccoli florets tossed with a couple teaspoons of sesame oil, S&P and roasted at 450 for 10 minutes, then toss and roast another 5 minutes or so until lightly browned and just tender.

  • Use jarred, minced ginger (usually found near jarred garlic)
 Make Ahead Notes:
  • Combine sauce ingredients ahead and refrigerate until you're ready to cook
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds) 
  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  • Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir well. Add chicken; toss to coat.
  • Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from grill; cover.

Herbs de Provence Lamb Chops

Herbs de Provence Lamb Chops with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots
 Never tried lamb on the grill before? This is the one to try. Lamb chops can be pricey, but the flavor is worth every penny.

Sides: Roasted carrots and roasted or mashed potatoes with chopped fresh chives
Make Ahead Notes
  • Combine the first five ingredients (all but the lamb chops) and refrigerate until ready to use
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 (4-ounce) lamb loin chops, trimmed
  • Cooking spray
  • Prepare grill.
  • Combine first 5 ingredients; rub evenly over both sides of lamb.
  • Place lamb on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
Recipe from Cooking Light

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

Monday, May 6, 2013

Noodles & Rolls: Weekly Menu 5/6/13

Family friendly dinners featuring pasta, rolls and bagels

Hello friends - Having gone dark here at ESB over the past couple of weeks, it's good to be back! I've noticed there tends to be a clear correlation between the presence of carby dishes in my house and the amount of stress I'm feeling. So as you can see, it's been especially crazy around here!

Regardless of the motivation, the results were tasty. Boil some water and throw in the pasta, or start toasting those buns and join me.

Need some more inspiration? Try these dishes from previous Weekly Menus.

Cider Vinegar Braised Chicken Thighs

Cider Vinegar Braised Chicken Thighs served with egg noodles and carrots
This dish is perfect for a Sunday evening - it takes a bit longer than weeknight dinners, but is SO worth it, especially for the smell in your kitchen. Don't skip the step of broiling the chicken at the end to crisp up the skin.

Sides: Egg noodles, steamed green beans

  • Buy leeks already cleaned and trimmed (such as Trader Joe's)
  • Use pre-chopped, jarred garlic
Make Ahead Notes
  • Clean and chop carrots, garlic and herbs

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives 
  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat olive oil. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the casserole, skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat, in batches if necessary, turning once, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer  to a platter. 
  • Spoon off all but 2 TBSP of the fat in the casserole. Add the carrots, garlic and leek and cook over low heat until crisp-tender, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until thickened, 3 minutes. Add the broth, season with S&P and bring to a boil. Nestle the chicken in the sauce, skin side up. Transfer the casserole to the oven and braise chicken for about 50 minutes, until cooked through. 
  • Preheat the broiler. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet, skin side up. Broil on the middle rack of the oven until the skin is golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. 
  • Simmer the sauce over moderate heat until reduced to about 4 cups, 10 minutes. Stir in the butter until melted. Add the parsley and chives and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the casserole, skin side up, and serve. 
Recipe from Food & Wine 

Italian Sausage with Peppers & Onions

Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions on a roll with green salad

Mmmm, carnie food.

Sides: Good sub rolls and a green salad, such as the Chickpea & Spring Green Salad that I've been obsessed with all spring

Make Ahead Notes
  • Chop onions and peppers
  • Measure out dry ingredients
  • 6 (4 ounce) links sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Place sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown on all sides. Remove from skillet and slice.
  • Melt butter in the skillet. Stir in the yellow onion, red onion, and garlic, and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in red bell pepper and green bell pepper. Season with basil, and oregano. Stir in white wine. Continue to cook and stir until peppers and onions are tender.
  • Return sausage slices to skillet with the vegetables. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, or until sausage is heated through.
Recipe from Allrecipes

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair
 If you're serving this to kids and suspect they might not be fans of the sauce, keep the chicken and plain pasta separate for them.

Sides: Spinach or arugula salad

Make Ahead Notes
  • Rinse, drain and chop artichoke hearts
  • Chop parsley
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 thin chicken cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts packed in water, rinsed, drained, and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons rinsed and drained capers
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces angel-hair pasta
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Place flour in a shallow dish, and season with salt and pepper. Dredge cutlets, shaking off excess. In a large skillet, heat 1 TBSP oil over medium-high. Cook chicken in batches, adding remaining oil as needed, until light golden, 1 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to a dish and keep warm.
  • Add broth to skillet, and bring to a boil; cook until reduced by half. Add artichokes, capers, and the chicken with any juices. Gently swirl to combine, and bring just to a boil. Remove skillet from heat. Swirl in butter, and cover to keep warm.
  • Add pasta to boiling water. Cook until al dente; drain. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta, topped with parsley.
Recipe from Martha Stewart

Extra Credit: "Closed Kitchen Eggs"

"Closed Kitchen Eggs" inspired by the book Rules of Civility
 This was my lunch a few days ago when I was craving eggs and feeling inspired by the beautiful book Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, in which a character named Katie cooks what she calls "closed kitchen eggs" for a friend. They are browned and herby and delicious. Make them now.

  • 2 eggs
  • Salt & Pepper - about 1/4 tsp each
  • A pinch of garlic powder
  • A TBSP or two or grated cheese (I used smoked Gouda)
  • A tsp or two of chopped fresh chives (optional)
  • Note: This is a bit like cooking an omelet - add just about anything that sounds good
  • A tsp or two or vegetable oil
  • Whisk eggs with all seasonings and cheese
  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in a small frying pan
  • Pour eggs into pan; cover and reduce heat to medium
  • Cook until set, about 3-5 minutes (eggs will puff up a little)

"I cracked two eggs in bowl and whisked them with grated cheese and herbs.  I poured them into a pan of heated oil and covered them with a lid.  Something about heating the oil and putting on the lid makes the eggs puff up on contact. And they brown without burning.  It was the way my father used to prepare eggs for me when I was a girl, though we never ate them for breakfast.  They tasted best, he used to say, when the kitchen was closed." - From Rules of Civility

Quote found on the Turtle and Leaf Blog