I had quite the navel-gazing post planned today, but I can’t quite work up the muster to tackle it. Instead, I present to you three recipes I’ve tried and loved over the past week, with my modifications.
BBQ Boneless Country Style Ribs with Portobello Baked Fries with Red Pepper Aioli
Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a big, meaty rib, grilled, slathered in barbecue sauce.
I marinated the ribs for eight hours in regular Coke. Just Coke. The expert who taught me this years ago swears by Pepsi, but we’re a Coke household so that’s what I had. Now this is gross when you think about it–like really think about it–but soda (pop) has this way of dissolving meat (and other foods) upon contact. If you’re a soda drinker, it’s the equivalent of a mouth swish after a big cheeseburger and fries. So soda makes your meat more tender because it starts dissolving the fiber of the meat that keep it together. The flavor of the meat is only mildly sweet, which will work well with whatever sauce you choose.
After about 20 minutes on the grill high heat, turning once, the meat started to look done so it was time for the sauce. I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle sauce. High fructose corn syrup be damned, I love Sweet Baby Ray’s and have for years. Apply sauce to one side, close the grill and let it be for 5-7 minutes, then turn them and do the same on the other side.
Also, always let your meat sit five minutes after grilling or cooking. I learned this from Rachael Ray, and I really hesitate to ever say I learned anything from Rachael Ray, but it works. It locks in the juices and just … settles the meat. Trust me.
To counter the calorie explosion in the meat, I made portobello baked fries. A few changes:
I didn’t slice my own mushrooms–the store sells pre-sliced portobellos in a bin. I didn’t worry about the gills, which were still there in the pre-sliced mushrooms. Didn’t matter to me.
I failed at being Italian and didn’t have an egg, so I shook my mushroom slices in olive oil and then coated them. There wasn’t enough coating that stuck to be crunchy, but the flavor was there.
For my breading, I used: an equal part whole wheat breadcrumbs and panko, grated parmesan cheese, parsley, granulated garlic, salt, and pepper. Proud Italian Cook mentions using polenta in the breading, but that would have been too much work for me. Maybe next time.
To counter the low-calorie mushrooms, I made the red pepper aioli. Aioli is a fancy word for flavored mayo. Made it with Kraft mayo with olive oil and marinated mild sweet red peppers.
From the same blog (Proud Italian Cook… follow it… love it) this eggplant salad sandwich was amazing. Here’s a picture of the ones I made:
A pair of changes:
- I fried half my eggplant and baked the other half. I didn’t find any noticeable difference between fried pieces and baked pieces, and baked is healthier, so I’ll do that from now on.
- I’d add more torn basil to the lettuce/vinaigrette mixture to kick up the flavor.
This meal is surprisingly quick to prepare, minus the time to preheat the oven. You can slice the tomatoes and cheese and ready the salad while the eggplant’s in the oven.
After that eggplant is cooked–which takes about 20 minutes at 450 to get to tender-crisp, turning once–all you have to do is stack, pin, and eat.
This is definitely a fork-and-knife sandwich. I made two per person but we probably could have handled three. This left us wanting more.
This was last night’s dinner and it was a hit. Gina’s recipe (at the link above) calls for chicken thighs but the breasts were cheaper at the store this week!
The side dish I made was an organic baby romaine salad with this Greek vinaigrette dressing, dried cranberries, and feta.
The whole dinner took about 30 minutes, not including marinating time.
I didn’t take a picture because I ate it too quickly. But here is Gina’s picture:
Instead of using my oven, I grilled the chicken on medium high after marinating it in the artichoke heart marinade for two hours, making sure to cut deep slashes in my chicken breasts so that the marinade would sink into it. I made a foil packet to grill the artichoke hearts. I started them both on the grill at the same time and they were done at the same time, so that was convenient.
The dressing was really tangy–I halved this recipe for two servings of salad and it still made extra, which I poured over the chicken and artichokes. I think that, despite what the recipe says, a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and oil always works better. One thing I hate is a dressing that tastes more of oil than anything else. So that’s what I did and it worked well.
I served it with two small slices each of cheddar bacon focaccia I got from our local grocer’s bakery.
Our plates were clean after this meal.
If you’re interested in the types of things I cook, or want to cook, follow me @ nutellabagel on Pinterest.