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This week is going to be bananas. Weeks after weekends away are always a little off for me; the house is a mess of laundry and luggage, I didn’t get to cook all weekend, and I didn’t work on the weekend like I usually do.

This week just happens to also be chock full of meetings, events, and getting my body ready to run the Boston Marathon. I am exhausted already!

Luckily, I had a fantastic Easter weekend with my family, complete with a belated birthday dinner celebrating yours truly.

My sister hosted, and we kicked off with some playing outside with my niece and nephew while sipping on Gloria Ferrer Va de Vi, undoubtedly one of my favorite sparkling wines.

Va de Vi

Gloria Ferrer

table setting

My brother-in-law manned the grill, cranking out a feast of grilled sweet peppers (SO good!).

roasted peppers

He also grilled perfect filet mignons; you could cut them with a butter knife. I had a few bites; I don’t eat a ton of red meat, but these were too good to pass up!


And grilled shrimp, as I requested. Brushed with garlic and oil and quickly grilled, these were perfect and tasted like summer.

grilled shrimp

Dinner also included corn on the cob, baked potatoes with sour cream, and an ice cream sundae bar. A great meal paired with people I love the most is more than I could ever ask for.

In an unfortunate “twist” I was running around with the kids searching for Easter eggs on Sunday when I stepped into a hole and landed hard on the side of my ankle. Not the best timing! It’s throbbing as I write this, and I can only hope there’s enough ice and Advil in the world this week. Fingers crossed. . .

Now I am off to Newburyport for a long afternoon meeting and hoping to make it back in time for a last yoga class before the marathon, modified for my ankle, of course.

I hope to see some of you tomorrow at the TAPEÑA Meet Up at Tapeo!

How’s your week lookin’?

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Tags: celebrations, filet mignon, Food, Gloria Ferrer, grilling, holidays, shrimp

It’s another giveaway today! I am in a great mood because it’s Thursday, it’s beautiful and breezy, I got about four and a half  hours of work done last night after 5:00, and we are going on a mini vacation to the Quebec countryside this weekend. What’s not to love?!

Let’s rewind a week, shall week? Last week I received a beautiful, heavy box in the mail from the folks at Girard’s Salad Dressings. I was excited to find a bunch of fun items inside, including four of Girard’s salad dressings: Greek Feta, White Balsamic, Light Champagne, and Old Venice Italian.

Girard's Salad Dressings

I am on a feta kick, so we went straight in for the Greek Feta to make a simple grill pan dinner on a hot night. I should also mention we have barely been grocery shopping so we were pretty excited to have new food items in the house Winking smile.

Girard's Greek Feta

We generally don’t eat dressing on salads, I usually just got for a splash of balsamic, so we started by using the dressings as a marinade for zucchini spears and shrimp.

marinated zucchini

marinated shrimp

Then I remembered why I love having ready-made dressing on hand. It makes for such a quick and simple dinner! The feta dressing was salty, tangy, and really added a pop to the shrimp and veggies. Dinner was done in 10 minutes, and cleanup was a cinch.

grilling shrimp and zucchini

We’ve started using the Greek Feta on salads which we really haven’t eaten much this summer. I have been eating huge bowls of arugula, spinach, roasted red peppers, beets, and tuna in oil, topped with a little bit of the dressing, and it actually makes me excited to eat raw veggies again. Sure, it’s a little more fat than my typical balsamic, but eating salad with a little dressing is better than no salad at all, in my book. I have lunches I look forward to, and I am feeling better. Maybe Girard’s provided that little push I needed.

They also provided some recipes for the dressings, and once I am home long enough, can’t wait to try them!

Girard’s is generously giving one of my readers the same four pack of dressing I received. I would love to know your favorite recipe idea using one of the dressings, so to enter please leave it in the comments below.

I’ll choose a winner on Monday. Good luck, and thank you Girard’s!

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Tags: Food, giveaway, grilling, salad

Ahhh summer. Time for simpler meals cooked and eaten outdoors with friends and family, lingering into the later evening hours to enjoy that extra daylight. It’s also a time for prep-ahead less fuss meals, which makes meat and veggies, marinated overnight, some of my favorites for summer cooking.

Chicken marinated in a mix of yogurt and some sort of herb or spice blend is a favorite. Yogurt makes the chicken super moist and flavorful.

Fage yogurt

One of our dinners last week was just that, chicken breasts marinated overnight in a mix of Fage 0%, the only Greek yogurt I use these days, and salt-free dill seasoning.

yogurt marinade

Because I marinated it for over 24 hours, the chicken was super tender and absorbed a lot of the dill flavor. I didn’t grill, was too last to clean the grill pan. Instead, I cooked it in a frying pan and topped with thawed butternut squash at the end. It was a random combination, but I wanted something healthy, and it worked.

yogurt marinated chicken

Here are a few other great ideas for marinating meat or veggies this summer!


Plain old Italian dressing! It can easily liven up the most boring chicken.

Lime and cilantro: It’s fat free and helps to tenderize the meat. Just don’t put it on too early. Citrus can “cook” proteins (as in ceviche).

Cider vinegar, brown sugar, and tomato paste: A quick BBQ sauce, use some as a marinade and reserve some for dipping later.

Olive oil and garlic: Another simple one, and a favorite for marinating and grilling strips of fresh summer zucchini and shrimp.

As far as beef goes, you know I don’t make it that often, but below is a marinade recipe that has really been a crowd hit in the past. It makes people think I know what to do with beef.

Whether it’s fish, veggies, chicken, pork, or beef, what is your favorite homemade (or store-bought!) marinade or rub for grilling?

Mouthwatering Steak Tips Marinade

Free range, grass fed steak tips

1 cup Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice of one whole lemon

4 cloves garlic, minced

pinch of rosemary

liberal sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup brown sugar

marinated steak tips

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Tags: cooking, dinner, Food, grilling, recipe, summer

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