Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grilled Artichokes

The other day I bought a couple artichokes. Only a couple because these were the big daddy of artichokes. I mean really! Somebody gave this plant and extra dose of fertilizer. These are so big that I couldn't just steam them for a meal. Well I could but I'm an artichoke freak. I could probably eat both of these and never touch the meat on my plate. But I'm not sure The Fireman would find this massive artichoke as appealing as I do. He likes artichokes but its only a like and not a love. I love artichokes. So tonight I'm pulling out all the stops so he will love them. This isn't the quickest way to cook them but it's totally worth the work. I'm banking on the smokey grill to help me along. We are grilling some Blue Moon Chicken. These artichokes will cook right along the side of the chicken. Vegetables have never been so manly.

4 artichokes (again I'm using 2 that are the biggest I've ever seen)
Lemon cut in half
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce Or ponzu
1 tb Dijon
¼ cup olive oil-canola

alright, first things first. We need to prep these artichokes. Artichokes are known for having thorny leaves. You could leave them on but I like to snip them off. It's a chore but it's go fast.
Then trim up the stem. If I WASN'T grilling, I'd cut it completely off so the artichoke would sit on a plate all pretty but since I'm grilling, I want the stem so I can grab them on the grill easily and because frankly it's pretty.

Artichokes don't like to be cut and then exposed to the air so take that lemon you cut and rub it on the cut areas. you don't have to. It won't change the flavor at all. It just keeps it from browning the way a potato would if left exposed to the air.

Pop into a full pan of water. Squeeze the lemons into the pan. Once the water starts boiling, add a liberal TB or two of kosher salt.

Boil for a good 30 minutes. When you can pierce a skewer thru the them, they are done. Drain in a colander. I like to let them cool in the colander to assure there is no added water.

Here's the part that's work. Five minutes top. But it's work. Cut each artichoke in half.
Clean out the choke leaving the heart. The choke is the fuzzy center that is not edible. Take out the purple tipped petals too. They are too flimsy for eating, and won't hold up on the grill. Discard all of the centers.
Now since these monsters are so dang big, I am cutting again. I wouldn't do this if they were smaller.
Take all the remaining ingredients and mix them in a ziplock bag.

I like to do it in a bag and place the bag in a bowl. The bowl remains clean but it ensures no spilling
Grab the bag and mix well with you fingers. No your hands don't go inside the bag but squish the bag up. No dirtying up and dishes. My kids will love that.
Place the artichokes in the marinade. You don't need to refrigerate. Just leave on the counter. I'm marinating all afternoon but you could easily do this in 30 minutes. Best results are over night. (obviously then you put it in the refrigerator)
Drain artichokes (just take some tongs and pull out of the bag) and place cut side down on a grill. My grill is on low but it's new and HOT. Grill until lightly browned on the cut side, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn artichokes over you could drizzle some of the remaining marinade over the artichokes but frankly I didn't need to. Grill until petal tips are lightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes more.

You could serve with a serving sauce. One of my favorites is a quick Dijon sauce. Just mix equal parts light mayo with Dijon mustard. But I have to warn you, a dipping sauce really isn't necessary. These are that good. So good that The Fireman ate an entire artichoke proclaiming "this is the only way to make them"

Monday, August 29, 2011

Grilled Turkey Sweet Italian Sausage Sandwiches

One of my favorite new gadgets is The Fireman's grill. I have to admit that he has come home on more than one occasion to me grilling on it. I have nicknamed myself "the Grillmaster" which I am not sure he appreciates too much. Really it is the convenience of "firing" up the grill in seconds, not having to light a fire with wood, and cooking outside when it is hot outside or inside. I think I managed to get the hang of it so easily because it has a temp gauge on the outside. Being an avid cook, I am used to watching temperatures so to assure food is cooked thoroughly.

Today's lunch is so easy and really cheap. My family could not go out to a restaurant and order these for what I paid at the store. Added bonus is not waiting for a patio seat. Now if you are watching your figure, these are turkey sausages which have less calories than the pork version. This makes up for the beer they will cook in and the french roll that I can't resist. My onions are grilled but will soak in the leftover beer (you'll see-amazing) but I love to top with some Spicy Mustard! These happen to be an easy summer lunch but you could make these in the winter inside. Serve over mashed potatoes in the winter and you will be amazed how yummy it is.

All you need is
1 package of Turkey Sweet Italian Sausages
1 package french rolls
1 beer
one onion sliced in THICK slices
Mustard for topping

Turn the grill on. Place the raw sausages in a grill safe pan. I like to use these oversize cake pans. Pour the whole beer in the pan
swimming in beer. What can be wrong about that?
Might have to have a drink of it too
now slice the onions really thick
spray with cooking spray and salt and pepper both sides
place the pan on the grill
add the onions to the grill
now close the grill. The heat will cause the beer to boil and it will cook the sausages on the inside. let them cook for five minutes and then turn them. Check the onions. Do not turn them until them are nice and charred. Close the lid and let them cook five more minutes
Now take the sausages and put them on the grill. Place the onions in the pan with what is left of the beer
the onions will soak up what is left of the beer and you will love it. Grill the sausages until they are brown.
I like to toast the buns. But that's just me!
Now assemble!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blue Moon Marinated Chicken

Blue Moon Marinated Chicken

I love Blue Moon. It's s favorite around our house. Add an orange and I'm in heaven. Blue Moon Pulled Pork Tacos is a favorite in our house. But I got to thinking, I've marinated chicken in beer before but never with Blue Moon. It's time to do this!

Now I'm using skinless boneless chicken breasts that are pre seasoned and I'm only using this because it's what I have. Really chicken breast with skin and bone would be more desirable for grilling. It helps with not only flavor but keeping the chicken moist on the grill. This way I'm doing tonight is only healthier. So I'm really counting on the beer to do it's thing.

Blue Moon Marinated Chicken
1 blue moon
1/4 cup vegetable oil/canola
1/4 cup Creole mustard
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tb orange juice

Its too easy. Put a zip lock bag into a bowl. This is just so I don't accidentally spill it on the counter which is always an option. Pour all the ingredients into the bag
beer!! It's early or I would be partaking too
dont forget the garlic! Mmm Garlic and beer
just slice the onions. Dont put too much effort into it. Its just to flavor the beer..or the chicken
Pick the bag up and just mix it up
oops dont forget the orange juice! Blue Moon and Orange juice and like Peas and Carrots
Add the chicken. Again these are pre seasoned but use what you have
Seal it all up and put into the frig
turn every hour or so..
I mean doesn't that look tasty? Am I the only one getting hungry?
Emma wants some chicken too!
Make sure you cook it thoroughly
Let sit for a couple minutes before slicing. Pour some of the juice over the chicken once plated

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Funeral Potatoes

Funeral Potatoes

You have to get past the name of this potato casserole! Named for being brought to church functions or funerals but oh so good. In fact the smell while they are baking kills me. No really. I love the smell of crunchy fried onions and cheesy potatoes baking. You can forget about the rest of dinner. These are all this girl needs. This isn't my only version. If French fried onions aren't your thing then try my Chili Cheese Hashbrown Casserole.

1 bag frozen shredded hashbrowns
1 can cream chicken soup (any cream of something soup will work)
1 cup light sour cream (a girl has to cut calories somewhere)
2 cups shredded cheese
1 small can French fried onions

Dump all the ingredients into a large bowl (except the French fried onions)
Mix well
Dump into a greased 9x13 baking pan. I like the see thru glass ones. It helps for making sure the bottom is brown enough. I like it crunchy.
Top the potatoes with the french fried onions. Dab the top with some butter (or just spray with some cooking spray but I like the butter-light butter works too)
Bake 325 for about an hour. Or until golden brown.
I like to bake it until the bottom is brown too
Let sit a minute or two before cutting into...well if you can. I can't! Can't wait!!!
mmmm There is something about cheesy potatoes that I just cant resist. I will blow my diet and gladly run extra for this (and seconds)

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