Thursday, August 28, 2014

20 Favorite #Grilling Recipes for Labor Day Weekend

Scrumptious Grilled Chicken, 1 of 15 favorite #grilling recipes.

Ready to fire up that grill for Labor Day Weekend, but looking for some inspiration about what to make? You've come to the right place! I've round up some of my favorite grilling recipes and gathered some additional ideas from my fellow Sunday Supper bloggers. We've got grilled chicken, pork, beef and fish for your main courses, a tasty appetizer, and yes, a martini recipe that entails grilling! I lead off with my recipes, followed by the ideas I've gathered from others.

Simply Scrumptious Grilled Chicken with Garlic Basil Butter: Bone-in chicken breasts can be a good value. Many online recipes for them can get a bit complicated; my recipe streamlines the process with tasty results!

Grilled Swordfish and Eggplant with Fusilli and Tomatoes I'm a fairly new convert to the virtues of eggplant. Grilling is the key for me. This Sicilian inspired combination was very good, shared for a Sunday Supper event earlier this summer.

Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa We love our salmon here! Often I grill it with just a simple soy marinade, but made it a bit fancier with a yummy mango salsa for the July Wine Pairing Weekend event (served it with a White Burgundy).

Grilled Swordfish with Pineapple Salsa Gotta love salsa! The pineapple in this one gets grilled along with the fish, great flavors.

Heaven Sent Grilled Pork Chops:  The succulent bone-in pork chops with a simple garlic cumin rub get their name from our nine year old's reaction to how tasty they are! Consider this one if you're looking for something that packs a lot of flavor with minimal work.

Cilantro and Lime Marinaded with Chipotle Cream This is one of my all-time favorite recipes, especially served with these Sweet Potatoes with Cumin Sage Butter. This was another Wine Pairing Weekend pairing, served with a Bonny Doon Syrah.

Grilled Steak with Garlic Cumin Rub Regular readers of Cooking Chat may have figured out by now I use this rub a lot! Hey, when you've got something that packs a lot of flavor but also gets a thumbs up from a nine year old, you're going to make it a lot. This is another easy option for a low maintenance weekend grilling plan.

Grilled Steak Tacos with Awesome Avocado Chimichurri Sauce: Entertaining this weekend? This is a great way to get your guests some steak without breaking the the bank! A few pieces of beef along with the tasty sauce makes a a great taco. "Awesome" was the operative word for the sauce when we served it to family at a recent gathering.

awesome avocado chimichurri sauce

Recipes from Sunday Supper friends: Sure, the favorites I just shared from my own summer grilling gives you a good range of options to choose from. But why not ask some other food bloggers for some of their favorites, and make the list bigger? That's what I did, and here are some more great grilling ideas from members of the Sunday Supper community.

Herbed Cream Cheese Grilled Bell Pepper Boats A tasty looking appetizer seems like a good place to start the list of ideas from my fellow bloggers! Carla from Chocolate Moosey has grilled up some peppers and filled with cream cheese and fresh herbs for a must-try summer appetizer.

Seared Trout on the Grill with a Tropical Viogner Sarah from Curious Cuisiniere came up with this one for our July Wine Pairing Weekend event. This post demonstrates that cooking whole fish on the grill can be pretty easy, and is especially nice served with a good wine!

Marinated Grilled Octopus If the grilled whole trout got your creative juices flowing, maybe you are ready to try the grilled octopus from Culinary Adventures with Camilla! Gotta love that this dish was inspired by her kid's requesting this when visiting the local fish market...and now he has some interesting leftovers to scare his friends at school!

Italian Dressing Grilled Shrimp Sticking with the seafood theme for a bit longer (easy to do, writing this from Cape Cod!), here's a great looking grilled shrimp from Julie, a.k.a. The Texan New Yorker.

Grilled Red Snapper with Cilantro and Onion Stuffing Another tasty idea for grilled whole fish! This one from Stacy at Food Lust People Love has a stuffing that certainly has me wanting to give this a try.
Grilled Red Snapper from Food Lust People Love for Cooking Chat grilling roundup.
photo courtesy of Stacy Livingston Rushton, Food Lust People Love

Piri Piri Grilled Chicken Ready to kick things up a notch? Stacy has you covered with this recipe from Food Lust People Love! Plenty of hot pepper and garlic flavor here, inspired by a trip to Portugal.  Or maybe you'd like the similar flavors to go with some grilled fish.

Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks I love Indian flavors, especially on chicken, so definitely like the sound of this grilled chicken recipe from The Texan New Yorker.

Finger Lickin' Chicken Drumsticks Another chicken drumstick option for you, this one via Tara from Noshing with the Nolands. Yum!

Grilled Chicken with White BBQ Sauce Here's a creative BBQ sauce for chicken from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen. I don't think I've had white BBQ sauce but I'd like to try this!

BBQ Cauliflower Curry Grilled veggies can be wonderful, and Tara from Noshing with the Nolands has put her stir fry BBQ wok to creative use with this dish!

Grilled Baby Romaine Lettuce with Parmesan Vinaigrette Wow! I wouldn't have thought of grilling lettuce, but this recipe from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen looks awesome.

Grilled Lemon Cherry Drop Martini All this grilling is going to make you thirsty! So why not add some lemons to the grill and try this creative martini recipe from Renee at Magnolia Days. So fire up the grill, pour a glass, and enjoy your weekend!

Got a favorite grilling recipe of your own to share? Please let us know about it!

Grilled Lemon Cherry Crop Martini. Renee Dobbs photo & recipe featured in Cooking Chat Labor Day grilling roundup.
photo courtesy of Renee Dobbs, Magnolia Days

Monday, August 25, 2014

Heaven Sent Grilled Pork Chops

grilled bone-in pork chops with garlic cumin rub. Cooking Chat recipe.

"Is this pork chop from heaven, Dad, or did you make them?"

High praise from our 9 year old for these grilled bone-in pork chops! So I had to get this recipe posted so that you might get a chance to try them while it is still grilling season. This is a very simple recipe, so what made it so tasty?

The flavorful spice blend helps for sure. Grilling the bone-in version of pork chops helps keep the meat juicy and flavorful. And there was just enough fat around the edges to give it a hint of bacon taste, and we know that has to be a good thing!

This is easy enough to make as a midweek supper as you start getting into the back to school routines. You can easily modify the amount of the rub ingredients for more pork chops if you like.

3 bone-in pork chops, thick cut (an inch or more thick)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
stirring up some garlic, cumin and salt for grilled pork chop rub.

Pre-heat a grill to medium high. Combine the cumin, garlic powder and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle the rub on both sides of each pork chop, and rub it into the meat. Let the pork with the rub sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to let the flavors absorb into the meat.

Spray the grill with cooking oil. Place the pork chops on the grill on direct heat. Cover and grill for 6 minutes, then turn the pork chops of to the other side. Grill 5 or 6 minutes more until done to your liking, taking care not to overcook it. Let the chops rest for a few minutes, then serve. We enjoyed ours with a green salad.
grilled bone-in pork chops served with a green salad. Cooking Chat recipe. #grilling

Wine Pairing: Pork chops with some spice might typically have me thinking about a Spanish wine. But I sampled a great lineup of Italian wines at Pairings before making this dish, so grabbed the 2010 Azienda Agraria La Perticaia Montefalco Rosso from Umbria for our pairing. It's 70% Sangiovese along with 15% Sagrantino and 15% Colorino. A nice blend of fruit and spice, with enough heft to work with the chops. Yum!

Grilled Pork Chops Served with an Italian red wine: Azienda Agraria La Perticaia Montefalco Rosso

Friday, August 22, 2014

Join us for #winePW 4: Regional Food and Wine Pairings

a pasta dish inspired by the Portuguese red wine it was served with. Regional Food and Wine Pairings is #winePW 4 theme.

Some wine and food was just meant to go together. Sure, there might be technical explanations such as weight or acidity levels underlying a good pairing. But often the reason a dish goes well with a particular wine is that the cuisine is rooted in the same region where the wine grapes were grown. We will focus on the interplay of food and wine that hail from the same region for Wine Pairing Weekend 4, "Regional Food and Wine Pairings" on Saturday, September 13.

Let me say another word about what we are looking for on this theme. You might choose to share a classic pairing, such as Boeuf Bourguignon with a red Burgundy. But you could also feature a dish inspired by the cuisine of a wine region, that is your own invention rather than a classic recipe. The Tuscan Inspired Beef Stew I made for our wine club this winter comes to mind as an example of this approach. Or you might simply use a few ingredients common in the wine region you are focused on as your launching point. Get creative, and join us for the #winePW fun!

Before I get into the details about how you can join use for #winePW 4, let me give a shout out to the bloggers who joined us for the August #winePW event: Curious Cuisiniere, Vino Travels, Culinary Adventures with Camilla, ENOFYLZ Wine Blog, Take a Bite Out of Boca, foodwineclick, Pull That Cork, Tasting Pour, Meal Diva, Grape Experiences, and Confessions of a Culinary Diva. Direct links to their #winePW 3 posts can be found here. A great group, and we'd love to add you to the list for #winePW 3 if you are a blogger!
Tuscan beef stew paired with wines from Tuscan. An example of Regional Food and Wine Pairings, #winePW 4 theme.

Details for participation
Are you ready to jump in and participate in the third #winePW? Here are the details:

  • Send an email to tell me you're in: Include your blog url, Twitter handle, link to your Pinterest profile, and any other social media detail. If you know your blog post title now, include that...but you can send me that a bit closer to the event, I'd like to get a sense of who's participating and give some shoutouts and links as we go. If you're a past #winePW blogger, just your post title will do unless you've updated any of the other details. The email is winepairingweekend AT
  • Send your post title to me by Tuesday, September 9, to be included in the preview post. I will do a preview post shortly after getting the titles, linking to your blogs. Your title should include " #winePW 4" (Note: I'd like us all to use the hashtag in the title to make it easier to see the posts getting shared on Twitter)
  • Publish your post between 12:01 a.m-7:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday, September 13. You can always schedule your post in advance if you will be tied up around then.
  • Include a link to the other #winePW participants in your post, and a description of what the event is about. I'll provide the html code you can easily put in your initial post--which will link to people's general blog url--then updated code for the permanent links to everyone's #winePW posts.
  • Get social! After the posts go live, please visit your fellow bloggers posts' to comment and share. I'll follow-up later with some specific strategies for that social sharing.
  • Sponsored posts OK if clearly disclosed. Please be sure to disclose if your post is sponsored or if you are describing wine or other products for which you have received a free sample.
  • Live #winePW Twitter Chat September 13, 11 a.m. ET: Participating bloggers and others interested in the subject will connect via a live Twitter chat. It's a nice bring way to bring in others interested in the subject who didn't get a chance to share a blog post. You can definitely still join the blog event if you're not available for the live chat.
  • Highlights on Some #winePW participants will be invited to have their posts featured on the Wine Pairing Weekend site. The goal of the site is to create a growing database of great pairings for a wide variety of wines and food. You can let me know in your email with post title if you're interested in having your post included on the site.
  • Regional wine reps: Would love to hear from representatives of a wine region interested in being part of the #winePW 4 fun. Just drop me an email at winepairingweekend AT if you woud like to explore possibilities.

  • OK, that's all I can think of for now. For more of the backstory on Wine Pairing Weekend, check out the original post introducing the idea. Please let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments; or you can also email me at winepairingweekend AT Cheers!

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    Grilled Steak Tacos with Awesome Avocado Chimichurri Sauce

    avocado chimichurri sauce for steak tacos. Cooking Chat recipe.

    Sure, awesome gets overused. But this ever-so-tasty avocado chimichurri sauce definitely needed an adjective in front of it, and "awesome" was the one used by several of our guests when I made the sauce for grilled steak tacos recently. Plus, avocados are awesome in their own right, so the name seems fitting.

    These steak tacos make great party food. You can offer a group of 8 to 10 guests some tasty steak without breaking the bank--serving the steak in tacos with a side of refried beans stretches the meat nicely, and the sauce gives it a fancy touch. Another reason it's great for a party is that you can get much of the work done ahead of time, with just a few prep tasks to do when your guests are with you. This could be scaled up pretty easily, too. Plus, who doesn't love a taco bar, where you can decide for yourself how much of each tasty item you want to put in your taco?

    steak ready for tacos with avocado chimichurri sauce

    Ingredients (serves 8 to 10)

    1.75 lbs sirloin steak (2 good size steaks)
    1 1/2 sweet onions, sliced thin
    2 different colored bell peppers, coarsely chopped
    tbsp olive oil

    avocados for chimichurri sauce
    For the marinade and base for avocado sauce
    6 cloves garlic, minced
    1 scallion, minced
    1 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1 tbsp Champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar would do
    1 ½ tsp cumin
    pinch red pepper flakes
    1 tsp salt

    Finish the sauce with:
    ¼ cup chopped parsley
    ½ tsp minced jalapeno
    2 avocados, diced close to serving time
    1 tbsp lime juice

    Fix up those tacos:
    2 packs soft taco shells (take them out of fridge when you start making the marinade)
    sour cream
    lettuce or other salad greens
    refried beans

    Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl (the garlic through cumin and salt). Place the steaks in a large sealable plastic bag, then pour in 1/3 cup of the marinade mixture into the bag, setting aside the rest of the marinade. Seal the bag, and gently toss the steak around with the marinade to get it well-coated. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. About 4 hours is optimal.

    avocado, parsley, pepper and garlic for avocado chimichurri sauce

    Finish the avocado sauce by taking the remaining marinade that you set aside, then stirring the parsley, jalapeno, and lime juice into the reserved marinade. You can have all this ready to go well before your dinner, then stir in the diced avocados closer to serving time.
    avocado chimichurri sauce for steak tacos. Cooking Chat recipe.

    You can get the onions and peppers sauteed in advance, and re-heat when ready to serve, or make while your guests are there. I'd suggest at least get the chopping done in advance! To prepare them, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat, then add the onions. Saute, stirring occasional, for at least 10 minutes until the onions are soft. Add the peppers, saute for another 10 minutes. This pepper and onion mixture can be kept on low heat to stay warm until serving time. A little extra cooking just makes them tastier!
    slicing steak for avocado chimichurri sauce for steak tacos.
    Now, you've got the preliminaries taken care of, it's time to grill that steak! Take the steak out of the fridge 15 minutes before grilling time and pre-heat the grill to medium high. Shake the excess marinade off the steaks, then place them on the grill. For medium rare, which I recommend for this cut, grill 5 to 6 minutes on one side, then flip over to grill another 5 minutes on the other side. Remove the the steak to a serving platter. Slice the steak thin after it has rested a few minutes, and have it ready to go on the taco bar.

    You can set up the rest of the items on the taco bar as the steak grills. Line up the soft taco shells, steak, avocado sauce, onions/peppers, sour cream, lettuce and beans and let folks build their own tasty creations. I like to go through the line first and point out the items people can choose from so they don't miss anything. Enjoy your taco party!