Tag Archives: grill

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce

It might not be traditional American Labor Day BBQ food, but it is a favorite around here. If there is soy sauce involved, my kids will always eat it. Add some peanut butter, and Little J is in heaven!

I like to serve this with either grilled zucchini or asparagus. Set aside a little bit of the marinade before you add it to the pork and use it to marinate your vegetables for about half an hour before grilling.

Pork tenderloins almost always come two in a package at the store. Our family at home keeps shrinking, so now I usually divide the marinade in half and freeze one tenderloin in the marinade to cook another day. This also makes a good freezer meal to prepare ahead of time and have on hand for busy days.

RECIPE:

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce

2 (1-2 lb each) unseasoned pork tenderloins (usually sold 2 per package)
Optional: vegetables to grill: zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus
Hot cooked rice

Marinade:
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil or peanut oil
2 Tbs honey (or low carb sweetener)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili paste
1 tsp lemon pepper

Peanut Dipping Sauce:
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup water
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
2 Tbs honey (or low carb sweetener)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili paste
½ tsp lemon pepper
½ cup natural creamy peanut butter

Place pork tenderloins in a Ziploc bag. (**See note below if planning to freeze one or both)

Combine Marinade ingredients. If you will be grilling vegetables as well, set aside ¼ cup of the marinade. Add remaining marinade to the bag with the pork tenderloins. Place the meat in the refrigerator and marinate for 4-6 hours (up to several days). Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Slice squash lengthwise (or trim asparagus ends) and place in a Ziploc bag with reserved marinade for about 30 minutes.

In a Pyrex measuring cup, combine all of the Peanut Dipping Sauce ingredients except for the peanut butter. Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. Stir in peanut butter. Add additional water if the sauce is too thick or too strong. Heat for an additional 30 seconds, just before serving.

Prepare and oil grill. If you are using a gas grill, leave one burner of the grill unlit so that you can cook the tenderloin with indirect heat (so it doesn’t burn).  Remove the tenderloin from the marinade and place on the unlit side of the grill. Close grill cover. Grill the tenderloin for about 5 minutes per side (4 sides) until the internal temperature registers 145-150°F in the center. Remove from grill and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

While meat rests, grill the marinated vegetables over direct heat for about 3 minutes per side.

Slice pork diagonally into ½ – 1” slices. Serve the pork and grilled vegetables with peanut sauce and hot steamed rice.

**FREEZER NOTE: If you do not plan to eat both tenderloins (or just want to prepare a freezer meal ahead of time), place tenderloins in separate freezer bags and add half of the marinade to each bag and place in the freezer until ready to cook. The peanut sauce can also be prepared ahead and frozen. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before cooking. Do not freeze raw vegetables.

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Grilled Beef Kabobs

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Summer may be ending for school kids, but it is still perfect grilling weather and fresh corn and zucchini are still plentiful at the farmers’ markets.

You can alternate the beef and vegetables on the same skewer, or separate them into meat skewers and vegetable skewers. I usually grill them separately so that I can better control the rareness of the beef (we like it medium) and how cooked the vegetables are.

I made these with fresh corn, mushrooms and zucchini, but you can use any combination of fresh vegetables that you like (including peppers, yellow squash, onions, cherry tomatoes). I especially like these with fresh rosemary in the marinade. It pairs really well with the beef, but you can also use other herbs like thyme or oregano.

RECIPE:

Grilled Beef Kabobs

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Marinade:
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp salt
½ tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Fresh (2 Tbs) or dried herbs (2 tsp): Rosemary, thyme and/or oregano
Kabobs:
2 lb top round or sirloin beef steak, cut into cubes
Vegetables: Choose a combination of: fresh corn (cut into 1” rounds), onions, peppers, whole mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes
Hot steamed rice

Combine marinade ingredients. Place the beef cubes and half of marinade in a Ziploc bag or lidded container and marinate in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours (or up to 3 days). Set remaining marinade aside to marinate vegetables later. Add vegetables to reserved marinade and refrigerate for 1-4 hours (don’t over marinate the vegetables).

Place meat and vegetables on skewers, discarding meat marinade and saving vegetable marinade. Grill skewers until cooked to desired temperature.

Heat vegetable marinade to boiling. Set aside. Serve over rice with heated marinade.

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Asian Chicken Shish-Kabobs

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All of those summer projects that I plan in the spring seem to have a way of holding themselves over and turning into fall projects. Including any goals I had of blogging right through summer.

So, with one week of school under our belt and one kid driven 2000 miles away and deposited at college (and another to leave on a mission to Germany in a few weeks), I am finally getting a chance to sit at the computer.

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Grilling is one of our favorite ways to cook during warm weather months. I have one child in particular who especially loves it when “soup” on the menu plan get replaced with “grill”. (How anyone can dislike an entire category of food, “soup”, is still beyond my comprehension)

Shish-Kabobs are a little more work than normal grilling, but they can be marinated early in the day, or the day before, and then assembled just before cooking.

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You can thread meat and vegetables together on the skewers, or separate them. I like how they look all threaded together, but it is easier to keep your veges from getting overcooked while waiting for your chicken to cook through if you cook meat and vegetables on separate skewers.

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RECIPE:

Asian Chicken Shish-Kabobs

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Boneless chicken, cut into 1” cubes
Red/green peppers, diced
Zucchini, diced
Yellow squash, diced
Onions, cut into large chunks
Cherry Tomatoes
Whole Mushrooms
Fresh Pineapple chunks, optional
Hot steamed rice (white or brown)

Marinade:
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup water
2 Tbs vinegar (I use rice vinegar)
2 Tbs oil
2 Tbs honey (or 10 drops liquid stevia)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp grated fresh gingerroot
¼- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

If using bamboo skewers, soak skewers in water for 30 minutes.

Combine all marinade ingredients. Place chicken and vegetables (everything except for pineapple) in two separate containers. Pour marinade over chicken and vegetables, using half of marinade for each. Do not marinate pineapple. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes, or refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Just before putting onto skewers, stir pineapple into container with vegetables.

Drain marinade from vegetables (not chicken!) into a Pyrex measuring cup. Set aside. Discard marinade from chicken.

Place chicken, vegetables and pineapple on skewers. Grill or broil until chicken is cooked through.

Microwave reserved marinade from vegetables until it begins to boil. Serve kabobs with hot marinade and rice.

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Chicken with Red Thai Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Salad

One more grilling recipe while the weather is still warm!

Asian flavors make a frequent appearance at our dinner table. Thai is one of my personal favorites. It can be made as spicy or mild as you like by adjusting the curry paste or red peppers. This chicken can either be prepared on the grill, or inside in a skillet.

I used the last of the Thai basil from my garden in this, but it is also good with chopped cilantro.

When I cook it inside, I pound the chicken flat first, so that it will cook more quickly. On the grill, I leave the chicken pieces unpounded. The sauce is made from coconut milk, peanut butter and red curry paste, plus a few other standard Asian ingredients (ginger, garlic, soy sauce). The sauce goes together quickly with the use of a regular blender (although, after a cooking demo today, I am feeling some serious Vitamix envy!)

This Thai cucumber salad was a nice accompaniment to the chicken. It is light, just a little sweet, and a little spicy. Made with my favorite little pickling cucumbers.

RECIPES:

Chicken with Red Thai Peanut Sauce

1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
¼ cup soy sauce
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs brown sugar or 5 drops liquid stevia
2 tsp red Thai curry paste
1 tsp chicken bouillon

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
about 2 Tbs peanut oil
3-4 Tbs finely chopped Thai basil or cilantro

In a blender combine first 9 ingredients. Blend until combined.

Put each chicken breast inside plastic bag or between plastic wrap and pound to even 1/2 inch thickness. (*NOTE: Pounding the chicken will make it cook quickly on the stovetop. Alternately, you could grill the unpounded chicken breasts on an outdoor grill)

Heat 2T oil in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt and black pepper, then add chicken to pan and sauté until chicken is cooked through. If you need to cook your chicken in batches, then keep chicken warm (on a plate under foil) while cooking additional chicken.

Add sauce to pan. Scrape off browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn off heat and mix in chopped Thai basil or cilantro. Serve immediately over warmed chicken breasts, with additional chopped Thai basil or cilantro for garnish, if desired.

Thai Cucumber Salad

4-6 small pickling cucumbers, sliced
½ of a small red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup rice vinegar, unsweetened
¼ cup fresh lime juice (or use additional 1/4 cup rice vinegar)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs sesame oil
5 drops liquid stevia (or 1 Tbs sugar)
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
¼ tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes

Mix sliced cucumbers, onion and cilantro in a bowl. Stir together remaining ingredients. Pour over cucumbers.

 

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Grilling with Chipotles

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As summer winds down, I find myself grilling even more. Trying to squeeze out every last drop of fresh summer goodness, before giving way to the rib-sticking comfort foods of fall and winter.

Grilled flank steak is one of our favorites. I love that I can prepare several at a time: preparing the marinade in the morning and putting one marinated flank steak in the fridge for dinner, and a couple more in the freezer for meals another night.

This flank steak has a wonderful smoky,  slightly spicy flavor. Which went perfectly with this Chipotle Lime Quinoa and White Bean Salad. Quinoa (KEEN-wa), is a gluten-free grain that has a similar texture to couscous, but with a slightly nutty flavor (which makes sense since it is actually the seed portion of a grain).

RECIPES:

Grilled Chipotle Flank Steak

2 chipotle peppers in adobo
1 Tbs adobo sauce (from chipotle pepper can)
2 cloves garlic,  chopped
¼ cup orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1  tsp oregano
¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
½ tsp kosher salt
1 flank steak (about 2 lb)

Combine everything except the steak in a blender, and process until peppers are chopped. Place flank steak in a Ziploc bag or glass baking dish, and add the marinade.  Refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight (or freeze in the Ziploc bag until another day).

Heat grill. Remove steak from marinade. Brush grill lightly with oil. Grill steak for 7-8  minutes per side for medium rare (adjust time based on thickness of meat and heat of grill). Let meat rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice across the grain.

Serve with Chipotle Lime Quinoa and White Bean Salad OR use it as a base for fajitas with grilled onions and peppers in tortillas.

Adapted from The Perfect Pantry

Chipotle Lime Quinoa and White Bean Salad

1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh corn, cut from the cob (or 1 can corn)
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
2-3 green onions, chopped (about ¼ cup)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 limes, juiced (about 6-8 Tbs)
Zest of one lime
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 chipotle peppers, finely chopped
1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from can of chipotle peppers)

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Cool.

In a large bowl, combine cooled quinoa, beans, corn, red pepper, green onions and cilantro.

In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice and zest, olive oil, salt, garlic powder, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. Stir into quinoa mixture. Cover and chill until serving.

Note: This can also be made with cooked brown rice or couscous instead of quinoa.

Adapted from Picky Palate

 

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Teriyaki Salmon and Green Beans with Bacon & Pine Nuts

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Two of my favorite items from Costco are the large Alaskan (or Copper River later in the summer) salmon fillets and the packages of thin French green beans. This meal combines both for a quick to prepare, healthy and flavorful dinner..

These large fillets will feed about 4 people. Start by lining a baking dish with non-stick foil (or spray regular foil with non-stick spray). Place salmon fillet in the baking dish, skin side down. Sprinkle salmon with lime juice (lemon would be fine, as well).

DSC02657-1 Notice how the acid in the lime juice starts cooking
the salmon before you even put it in the oven.

Top salmon with this soy based marinade and sprinkle with fresh chives or green onions. The marinade includes soy sauce, olive and sesame oils, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. (Save half of the marinade to serve with the salmon)

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Bake at 425°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until salmon flakes with a fork. Once cooked, the salmon will easily slide off of the skin with a little help from a spatula. Cooking it with the skin helps to keep it nice and moist.

Serve salmon with additional sauce on the side (bring reserved marinade to a boil in a small saucepan before serving).

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Green Beans with Bacon and Pine Nuts

This side dish comes together really quickly, especially if you use another of my favorite Costco items: precooked bacon. I coarsely chop the pre-cooked bacon and cook it in a small skillet with the pine nuts until the nuts are lightly toasted.

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Remove bacon and pine nuts from pan. Add 1 Tbs olive oil (if you are not using precooked bacon, you could just use 1 Tbs of bacon drippings from the pan) and the green beans to the skillet. Cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add 2 Tbs water to the pan, cover, and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until beans are crisp-tender. These thin French beans cook very quickly and are very tender. Don’t overcook!

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Stir in bacon and pine nuts and serve.

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RECIPES:

Spicy Teriyaki Salmon

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1 large salmon fillet
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs balsamic or rice vinegar
1 Tbs honey (or 10 drops liquid stevia)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (add more for more heat)
1 Tbs sesame oil
2 Tbs fresh chives or green onions, chopped

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Line a baking dish with non-stick foil (or spray regular foil with non-stick spray). Place salmon fillet in a baking dish, skin side down. Sprinkle salmon with lime juice.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and sesame oil. Pour half of sauce over salmon. Set remaining sauce aside. Sprinkle salmon with chives or green onions.

Bake at 425°F for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through. Fish should flake easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, bring reserved sauce to a boil in a small saucepan. Serve over cooked salmon.

Green Beans with Bacon and Pine Nuts

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1 lb French green beans (or regular beans, snapped)
6-8 slices bacon, chopped
¼ cup pine nuts

Cook bacon in a small skillet until almost crisp. Add pine nuts and cook until nuts are lightly toasted. Remove from pan.

Drain bacon drippings, leaving 1 Tbs of drippings in the pan. (If you are using precooked bacon, and there are no drippings, add 1 Tbs olive oil to pan).

Add green beans to the pan and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes.  Add 2 Tbs water to the skillet, cover, and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until beans are crisp-tender. Do not overcook.

Stir bacon and nuts back into beans and serve.

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Grilled Asparagus with Garlic & Lemon Thyme

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This is the side dish that accompanied the Grilled Peruvian Chicken Thighs.

Asparagus is great on the grill, just be careful not to overcook it, or to let it fall through the grill slats.

This is a simple recipe for grilling vegetables. In a large Ziploc bag, combine olive oil, garlic, fresh lemon thyme (other good herbs to use: fresh rosemary, oregano, basil, Thai basil, cilantro, sage) and salt & pepper. I leave the garlic cloves whole, but then  smash them somewhat while they are in the bag with the olive oil. Add washed and trimmed asparagus. To know where to trim your asparagus: hold a stalk in your hand and start to bend it near the bottom. The asparagus end will snap off at the perfect spot. No more tough ends!

Let asparagus sit in the marinade at room temperature for 30-60 minutes for best flavor. (It can also be cooked right away if you are short on time; the garlic just will not be as infused into the oil).

Remove asparagus from oil and place on a hot grill, turned to low (for gas grills). I like to grill the garlic as well, but I do often lose some through the grates. You could use a grill screen to avoid this.  Grill 5-7 minutes, depending on the temperature of your grill. Watch them carefully, turning often.

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This is also great with fresh zucchini. The zucchini in our garden overproduced this year, while our tomatoes were sadly underperforming. But now, the only things left in the garden are the green tomatoes that never ripened. I need to pick those today before I lose them to frost! Maybe some Green Tomato Salsa.

RECIPE:

Grilled Asparagus with Garlic & Lemon Thyme

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1 bunch asparagus
2-3 Tbs olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, whole or crushed
2 Tbs fresh lemon thyme (or other fresh herb)
¼ tsp coarse sea salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper

Combine asparagus with oil, herb and seasonings in a Ziploc bag. Marinate 30-60 minutes at room temperature for best flavor. Cook 5-7 minutes on a hot grill (turned to low, for gas grills), turning often.

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Grilled Peruvian Chicken Thighs

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Welcome to No Empty Chairs.

I have been a long time food blog reader, and have finally decided to join the throng! My goal with this blog is to share a little bit of our home (via the family dinner table) with anyone who loves the combination of family, friends and food. So pull up a chair and join me around our family’s table: I want no empty chairs when dinner’s served.

As I prepared to begin this blog journey, I wrestled with where to start. Should my first post be a signature dish? Gourmet fare? A family favorite? In the end, I decided to just begin right where we were: on an ordinary Tuesday evening; with whatever I was planning to cook that night for dinner. Tonight, as the fall weather still has a bit of warmth in it, I decided to uncover the grill, maybe for the last time this season, but I hope not. I still have several grill recipes that I am hoping to try out before winter sets in for good.

So, on the menu tonight is Grilled Peruvian Chicken Thighs. I slightly adapted the recipe from Andrea Meyers, choosing to cook thighs instead of breasts (and altering the seasonings just a little). I love cooking boneless chicken thighs, especially on the grill. They are moist and flavorful, and they are very forgiving to those of us who are constantly being paged by demanding children. “M-o-m!! I need you!”  seems to punctuate the air at least every 5 minutes, and twice as often while I am either cooking or talking on the phone. So my grill does not always get the attention it deserves.

I love this recipe for many reasons: mostly because there is so little clean up. Also because it is so versatile in terms of how many it will feed. The amount of marinade is suitable for just a few pieces of chicken, or a large amount. It is also great to freeze. I will usually make up a double batch: one to eat that night, and the other to stick in the freezer for a night I need to be able to just pull something out to cook with minimal preparation.

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In a Ziploc bag, combine the chicken thighs with all of the marinade ingredients. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, if possible, but at least a couple of hours.

If you can remember, take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you begin cooking. This will help the chicken cook more evenly on the grill.

Remove chicken from the marinade and place on a hot grill. Go help your daughter with her math homework (hoping you can still remember how to graph a trigonometric function), enlist someone else to set the table, and start your side dishes. Tonight we had grilled asparagus (which I will post next time) and a rice pilaf.

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Make your way back outside to turn the chicken over (and start your asparagus, if that is on the menu). Total cooking time for the chicken should be about 15-20 minutes, depending on the temperature of your grill (or if, like me, you have to keep rearranging the chicken to compensate for the hot & cold spots on the grill).

Everyone in our family really enjoys this meal. I love it because it is so simple, and the rest of the family loves it because it is so flavorful and tender.

RECIPE:

Grilled Peruvian Chicken Thighs

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1/3 cup soy sauce
Juice & zest from one fresh lime (about 3 Tbs lime juice and 1/2 tsp zest)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp dried oregano (or 1-2 Tbs fresh)
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
9-12 boneless chicken thighs
Lime wedges

In a Ziploc bag, combine marinade ingredients. Add chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator 8-24 hours.

Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes before you plan to begin cooking. Preheat grill. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade and place  on the hot grill. Cook about 10 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Squeeze lime wedges over chicken and serve.

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