Sunday, July 15, 2007

I'm taking requests...

Yahoo--it's summertime! I hope you're enjoying the sun, the water, and the oven-free recipes I put up last month. But summertime also means that my brain is on vacation, and I'm drawing a blank as to what kinds of recipes I should post for July.

So I have decided to take requests... Is there anything you would like to see? Please take a minute and comment back to me on what kinds of recipes you'd like me to compile, or if you have specific recipes you'd like to know more about--that's fine, too. Just let me know! Now that we have reliable internet (cross your fingers for us), I should be able to respond pretty quickly. I will post my answers below, so keep checking back!

Can't wait to hear from you!!!

Meat Marinades

My sister's friend Amber asked for some new marinating ideas. I know what you mean--they get pretty boring. I don't have all the answers, but I have tried a few recipes that have worked for me. Here's a little list:
  • Good Seasons Italian dressing--you buy the dry packets and make it up yourself; it's really the only salad dressing we have, we love it so much! Try soaking your chicken in it, too.
  • Have you ever tried Sprite or 7up? The carbonation is a great tenderizer--I've heard that Coke works too, but I've never done it.
  • Lawry's makes a whole line of good marinades. Just go down the aisle and see what pops out at you--we've had lots of success with the baja lime one.
  • My friend Jennie makes an awesome Teriyaki Chicken, this is the marinade she uses: equal parts ketchup, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Make up as much as you need to cover the amount of chicken you have, and you will not be disappointed. I make a lo mein stirfry dish to go with this chicken, and it's amazing. I will try to remember and put it up soon.
  • You can always try something new on your own! Experiment by doing something like olive oil and lemon juice, throw in fresh minced garlic and some Parmesan cheese. Sometimes simple is incredible--basting a steak with butter, then a dash of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper right on it while it's grilling is my dad's specialty. Be creative!
Those are my only ideas for now. I hope they help! If anyone else has good marinades, please feel free to post them in the comments section...

Peanut Butter Cookies

I've had some requests for cookies--which I know have gained their popularity not by my efforts at all. Jeremy is the baking master in this house... So here are a couple of his famous ones!

Peanut Butter Cookies (from BH&G)
1/2 C butter
1/2 C peanut butter
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
Granulated sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter with mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Beaet till combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and vanilla till combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour. If necessary, cover and chill dough till easy to handle.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in additional granulated sugar to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten by making crisscross marks with the tines of a fork. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes or till bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Makes about 36 cookies.
***You can also add the Hershey kisses to these, of course.

Magical Mint Kisses

We always put these on the Christmas plates we pass out to our friends during the holidays. They come with this stipulation: if you're not eating them right out of the oven, stick them in the microwave for 10 seconds and you're in for a treat!

Magical Mint Kisses
1 C butter, softened
2/3 C sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C cocoa
About 48 Hershey's Mint Kisses
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until creamy. Stir together flour and cocoa; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Mold scant tablespoon of dough around each Hershey's Mint Kiss, covering completely. Shape into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool about 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Roll in powdered sugar. Roll in sugar again just before serving, if desired. Yield: about 48 cookies.

Grilled vegetables

OK, so Lisa H. asked me to post some good ideas for veggies on the grill. Perfect timing, because recently I went to Target's outdoor section, and they had all their grill stuff on clearance. So I bought a little metal basket-type thing with holes in it for grilling veggies... right up my alley! You don't HAVE to have this little contraption in order to grill veggies, but it's made it a lot easier for me. You can also form a low-lying rectangular box with edges out of foil and put it right on the grill. It's just a little more precarious.
Here's what I did: I just cut up all different-colored peppers, fresh mushrooms, yellow squash, pre-boiled red potatoes, and an onion (red or yellow), tossed them with some olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh-ground pepper, threw them in my little basket and put the basket on the grill next to my chicken. It's that easy! Just turn the veggies a couple times and cook them till they look right to you. You can also toss in some minced garlic and/or parmesan cheese, if that's more of what you're in the mood for. Just experiment and have fun!

Summer Veggie Bake

Here's another idea for using those wonderful, colorful summertime vegetables.... This dish is great with grilled or broiled fish. I'm trying out a new Parmesan Salmon recipe next week and will post it if it's good!

Summer Veggie Bake

2-3 large tomatoes, sliced
2-3 green bell peppers, sliced into rings
1-2 large yellow squash, sliced
1 red onion
3-4 T butter, cut into small pieces
salt & pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese

Spray the inside of an 8x8 or 9x13 glass pan (depending on how much you want to make). Layer it kind of like lasagna--one layer of each vegetable, then sprinkle on a little salt, pepper, butter, and parmesan cheese. Repeat as many times as you need until the dish is full. Then sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on top, cover it with foil and bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. For the last 10 minutes or so, take off the foil and allow the cheese to brown.
***Feel free to use other large vegetables--whatever you have that will go well together. The point is to keep it colorful and make it taste good. Good luck!