Like most people, I have favorites ~ shoes, a broken in pair of jeans that fit perfectly. . .a necklace that seems to go with everything. My even kids used to accuse me of playing favorites with our dog. I also have a favorite marinade ~ it’s easy, delicious, never lets me down and fits perfectly with almost anything from pork to shrimp to this Honey Sriracha Grilled Chicken with mango salsa. If you want in on this recipe, along with my tip on how to never eat dry chicken again, read on.
“. . .shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That’s about it.” – Bubba Gump. Wait Bubba there’s more — Honey-Sriracha Grilled Shrimp Salad and I just know you’ll like it. This is going to be a great weekend for grilling and I have a really good recipe for you today for something different to throw on the grill. This Honey Sriracha Grilled Shrimp Salad is both sweet and spicy and works for both lunch or dinner. I was on a sriracha this, sriracha that phase a while back which also included the purchase of a sriracha t-shirt. I got a bit carried away (you think? ~ insert sarcasm) and moved away from it for a while, but let me tell you, I’m glad I’m back. You will be too.
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We had a bumper crop of tomatoes last year ~ I’m talking tomatogeddon, so store-bought sauce wasn’t on my radar. The tomato season here in the Midwest doesn’t last long though; usually 4-6 weeks at best, so we harvest, share, freeze, share and freeze some more until there’s no more room in the freezer. I chopped, roasted, sautéed and simmered my way to a freezer full of marinara (among other tomato dishes). But by early spring the only sign left of tomatogeddon and my homemade marinara was the faint aroma of garlic that refused to leave my fingertips. Actually, I kind of like that aroma, but that’s for another post. I used to make 20 Minute Asparagus Tortellini Marinara during ‘tomato season’, but a homemade marinara turned this 20 minute dish into 60. I was intrigued by the NEW Prego® Farmers’ Market sauces now available in Walmart stores. When I read the label ~ the same farm-fresh ingredients picked at just the right time that I use in my own homemade garden-fresh marinara ~ I jumped.
If you’ve ever travelled to the Traverse City, Michigan area, you may have tasted some variation of a Michigan Salad (sometimes called the Michigan Cherry Salad). Basically, it’s greens, tomatoes, a strong cheese (usually blue), some dried fruit, possibly Granny Smith applies, nuts and a vinaigrette. For $12-15 it can be yours in most restaurants there. For another $5 they’ll throw on some grilled chicken. Plus tax and tip. If I sound less than enthused, it’s because this amazing salad is so easy to make that I have a hard time shelling out that much for it. My other issue is dried fruit on a fresh salad when there’s so much fresh fruit all around us this time of year. So I’ve changed up the ingredients a bit and included my recipe for homemade raspberry vinaigrette that may not change your life, but will make you very happy when you eat it. It’s delicious ~ oh ~ and you don’t have to be from Michigan to enjoy this salad-that-acts-like-a-meal.
Ultimate Chicken Nachos. What makes something ‘ultimate’ is subjective. Tyler Florence calls his best recipes ‘Ultimate’. I would agree. I checked, but couldn’t find any sort of TF Ultimate Chicken Nachos recipe. Maybe nachos just aren’t Tyler’s thing. Nachos are my thing, though. I could eat Mexican food a few times a week if I didn’t think hubby would abandon ship. When I’m in a restaurant with a group ~ and by group, two or more will do ~ and nachos are on the menu, I’m ordering one. They’re great to split. As I’m eating them, I secretly ~ or maybe not so secretly~ grade them based upon taste and the nacho’s components and whether it covered all the required bases. I’ve had this thing for nachos for a long, long time ~ going back to my single girl Taco Bell diet days. I started on beef nachos, then a few years ago I got hooked on Chicken Nachos and I haven’t looked back.
For Mother’s Day my daughters took me to one of the new downtown restaurants, Savannah Blue. It was a fun girls’ day and the food did not disappoint. If you’re ever in the neighborhood. . .The menu is contemporary southern-soul food, inspired by the deep south with dishes like Braised Ox Tail with a Wisconsin Cheddar Risotto and a Black Eyed Pea Hummus appetizer we devoured. I recreated an easy version anyone can whip up at home ~ as an appetizer or a light lunch on warm days. Our temps literally went from 58° two days ago to a whopping 93 today. Even the air conditioning isn’t doing much to energize me right now. I’m game to leave the windows open ~ provided there is a
strong breeze strong cool breeze. At 93°, those windows are completely closed, AC humming my favorite song. . .
With Father’s Day coming, it dawned on me that most men I know love meat ~ especially if that meat has a bone it. Think chicken wings ~ and T-bone steaks. I don’t have proof, but I’m convinced it goes back to their caveman days. So today I have a recipe for bone-in Grilled Pork Chops with a homemade glaze the whole family will love. It’s really easy, but no one needs to know that and it’ll have you shining like a grilling rock star.
Inspiration for new recipes is everywhere. I look for it in magazines, restaurants, on TV ~ though we said goodbye to cable over a year ago so it’s limited and of course, from my family and friends. Last weekend my daughter was over and commented how “wasteful” all the crumbs at the bottom of the potato chip bags are. I had to laugh because when she was a teenager she didn’t consider a 45 minute shower wasteful and when “not me” left the TV on and went upstairs to take said shower, no one thought it was wasteful except me. So as I pressed my fingers together to snag the last teensy bit of potato chips from the bottom my favorite bag of barbecue chips ~ please don’t judge me – they were SO good — it occurred to me that maybe there is something productive I could with them other than just allowing them to stain my fingertips. My sister-in-law has been adding crushed potato chips on the top of her Cheesy Potatoes for as long as I’ve known her. Gloria’s Cheesy Potatoes are nothing short of amazing. Maybe even life-altering. Seriously, not a person on this entire planet would argue with that. So if she can do it with such rousing success, why couldn’t I do it with this salmon?
I’m not sure how the day got away from me, but it did. I had high aspirations when I got up this morning, but before I knew it, it was midafternoon and almost time for my monthly
book wine club meeting with some of my favorite women. We’ve been a book club for a dozen or so years now ~ friends longer than that ~ and there was actually a time when we used to read. Times change though and somehow life got even busier (or did the days just get shorter?) so we no longer read an assigned book every month. It works out just fine because it leaves more time for important things, like food. . .and wine. . .and friendship. Wait ~ you’re here for Marinated Rosemary Chicken Kabobs, right? Read on. . .
In my mind Memorial weekend kicks off the start of summer. Barbecues, boating and the start of a whole new menu that includes some cold salads I haven’t seen in months. They’re like old friends, especially this Pesto Tortellini Salad — even though I haven’t seen you in months, we just pick up right where we left off. My 9 year old neighbor told me summer starts on June 9 at exactly 12 p.m. — the day and time she gets out of school for the summer which to her means long days of playing outside, keeping a vigil for the ice cream truck and staying up a little later at night. Who could argue with that?