Coconut Lime Shrimp Skewers

In our house shrimp is always a welcomed weeknight dish. By the time we get home from the gym it is usually after 6pm and our appetites are ravenous. If I haven’t prepared something on the weekend, I need our post-gym dinners to get on the table quick! This recipe goes from skewering to eating all in under a half an hour.

I love citrus based shrimp marinades (this one is a fave!) but shrimp is so delicate that you can’t let it sit in citrus too long or it begins to cook. While Melissa’s Ginger Lime Shrimp recipe is my go-to when I have an 40 minutes to prep/marinate, I wanted to find something that I could let sit overnight without risking the shrimp getting chewy and cooked by the citrus. This way I could prep it on a Sunday and have Post-Gym protein ready to go on the grill right when we got home on Monday — no waiting required. Then I found this recipe — similar flavors, but a slightly more forgiving marinade. Yay, coconut milk! Totally awesome in a weeknight pinch!

Check it out:

Coconut Lime Shrimp Skewers
Author: 
 

Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Coconut Milke
  • 2 lbs shrimp (21-26 ct) peeled and deveined
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl combine first five ingredients. Add shrimp, tossing to coat and chill, covered, at least one hour but up to 24.
  2. Meanwhile, soak skewers if using wood for up to an hour.
  3. When you are ready to cook, prepare a grill on high heat (450-550 degrees) and place 3-5 shrimp on skewers.
  4. Grill, turning once, until flesh has turned pink and is slightly charred. About 3 minutes each side.
  5. Serve garnished with salt, a squeeze of lime juice and extra lime wedges on the side.
  6. Enjoy!

;

The flavors almost had me convinced I was enjoying a tropical vacation on a Monday night. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalmost. :)

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Blackened Grilled Chicken


Blackened is a word where the more you type it, the more it doesn’t look like a real word. I assure you it is. And speaking of real, this blackened chicken is REAL-ly DELICIOUS.

In my arsenal of super simple recipes, this one ranks close to the top.  I’ve made this chicken every week since we’ve been doing the Whole 30 because I can prep and grill it quickly on Sunday and it’s perfect to have laying around as Post-workout protein, a salad topping for a quick lunch, or to chop into chunks and mix up with some homemade mayo and celery for a spicy Cajun chicken salad.

Simplicity, for the win.

Blackening is a cooking technique that involves butter, spices and a hot cast iron skillet, and is traditionally used for fish. But if you mix up a blackening rub and use it on grilled chicken, you evoke all the fun and flavor of blackening, but without having to stand in front of a hot stove during the summer.

So let’s talk about essential steps. There are three. You ready?

3 Step Blackened Grilled Chicken
 

Ingredients
  • ¼ Cup Salt
  • 1 Quart Water
  • 4-6 Large Chicken Breasts
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Oil for your grill

Instructions
  1. Brine Your Chicken Breasts — This sounds very fancy but it is actually really easy. Ever since I learned how to do this, I won’t grill chicken breasts without brining. It makes THAT big of a difference. All you do is throw your chicken breasts in a gallon sized ziploc bag. Then in a pyrex mix ¼ Cup of Salt into 1 Quart of water until it is mostly dissolved. Pour the mixture into your bag of chicken and let it sit for an hour or two. Note: I keep my ziploc bag inside another bowl just in case it decides to leak or something. Chicken juice leaking in the fridge is No Bueno.
  2. Liberally Sprinkle Your Rub Onto The Chicken. Then, um…Rub. Get a good coating on each side so it can get all up in your chicken. The brine gives you moisture and flavor from the inside, the rub is giving you a little FLAVA for the outside.
  3. Oil Up Your Grill and Grill Out! Make sure to oil the grates of your grill so there is no sticking (pour a little on a paper towel, turn the heat down for a quick second, rub your grates, presto!) Grill your chicken breasts until they are full cooked inside (depends on the size and thickness of your breast, but I usually find it to be somewhere between 5 minutes each side with the grill open, and a few minutes with grill closed.)

 

See? I told you it was easy!

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak

flank steak

As much as I like to talk about making things from scratch and DIYing and…wait, I rarely talk about DIYing, that was a bold face lie. So, let’s start over — as much as I like to think about DIYing and taking the time to make things from scratch and “enjoying the process” and all that — sometimes I just really love convenience. In the kitchen, this translates to a love of meals that come together quickly, yet are still full of flavor. So now that the weather is heating up I want to talk about a MAJOR FAVORITE in our household.

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak.

Can we talk about Flank steak for a minute? I mean, why wouldn’t we be talking about Flank steak — what else do you talk about around the water cooler on a Wednesday, right? Flank steak is one of those long and flat steaks that come from the abdominal area of a cow, and because ab muscles are *supposed* to be all rock hard and stuff, it can be a little tough. But if you treat it right, it will make your night — and yes, that is a poem I just wrote. Who wants to offer me a book deal on my poetry collection?

What that means to you, my friends, is that flank steak loves a good marinade. And I’m going to tell you about the best one I know of. It’s originally from Simply Recipes (who I love because on top of being brilliant, she’s from Carmichael — AWESOME!) but I make a substitution to keep it Paleo. Yo. (That was poem number two. You’re welcome.)

The thing I love about this marinade is that it involves simple ingredients, it’s quick to mix up and you can drop your flank steak in there in the morning, on your lunch break, or even the night before as it imparts awesome flavor. Heck I’ve popped my marinating steak in the fridge at 4:30 when I get off work and still had dinner on the table before 7. So it is super versatile! (Just don’t do more than 24 because the acidity of the marinade will start breaking the proteins in your meat down. No bueno.)

Enough talk though, let’s get to the goods, shall we?

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak
adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
* 1/3 cup coconut aminos
* 1/4 cup honey
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 pounds flank steak
* Kosher salt
* Garlic pepper (or just regular black pepper and garlic powder)

Method

1. Score the surface of the steak with 1/4 inch diagonal knife cuts about an inch apart across the grain of the meat. Mix up your marinade and pour it over your steak in a large freezer bag. Pop in the fridge and leave for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

When it’s time to grill:

2. Grease your grill with olive oil (You can use a brush or just oil on a paper towel) and then preheat the grill on high for about 10 minutes. Flank steak likes high direct heat. This is awesome and practically fool-proof. Another reason I love this recipe.

3. Take the steak out of the marinade bag and generously season both sides with salt and garlic pepper. Garlic pepper is so darn awesome, you should try it. But if you don’t have it – salt, pepper and garlic powder will work just fine. Again be liberal with these seasonings. They make a nice tasty crust on the outside.

4. Drop your steak on the hot grill. I use a gas grill and I grill the entire time with the cover open. The breakdown goes a little something like this for a perfectly medium rare steak:

Grill for 2-3 minutes, then turn the steak 90°
Grill for 2-3 minutes, and flip over
Grill for 2-3 minutes, then turn the steak 90°
Grill for 2-3 minutes, and you’re done.

Yes, I use a timer. Yes I enjoy criss-crossed grill marks. You might too?

Diptic

4. We are a medium rare household, and it’s a good thing too because flank steak gets a little tough if you over cook it. Adapt your cooking time from the suggestion above to your household’s liking. Then take it off the grill and place it on a cutting board (it’s efficient!), then cover it with foil and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.

5. Slice across the grain, and at a slight diagonal and enjoy!

6. And if you REALLY like convenience, enjoy on paper plates out in the back yard like we did! CONVENIENCE FOR THE WIN!

photo

*****

How do you usually prepare flank steak? I love this recipe so much, we hardly ever deviate. But I am totally open to suggestions! Pass your recipes along.

Grilled Salad

The first time I ever heard of anyone grilling lettuce was on a Food Network episode that involved The Neelys.  Grilling Salad?  I was pretty sure they were smoking more than just the pork butt in their BBQ Restaurants.  But I did bookmark it in my brain as something to try at another time, and one night — feeling kind of lazy about the idea of chopping up a million ingredients — I tried it; and lo!  The Lazyman’s Salad was discovered.  

Grilled Romaine, specifically, is one of my favorite creative ways to enjoy a vegetables when cooking out.  There is a bit of showstopping appeal when you put a head of lettuce on a BBQ, and who doesn’t love a little showstopping now and again?  You can thank me later for not embedding the video for that similarly titled awful Danity Kane song in this post.  If I promise you one thing, I promise you that this recipe is better than entire Danity Kane oeuvre (and a Rainbow Cadillac, whatever the hell that means!)  

(P. Diddy is such a linguistic visionary.)

So back to the salad!  Even though I have only ever grilled with romaine, I am going to assert that it is the perfect Grillin’ Lettuce.  (I believe that’s what’s called Begging the Question.  Miriel, please school me on this.) Idiom debates aside, the only preparation that a head of romaine needs is to be sliced in half, keeping the core in tact, and brushed with a bit of Olive Oil, Salt + Pepper.    (You can brush oil on both sides, but I find that it is really only necessary on the inside)  If you want to get really nutty, you could add other dried herbs at this point too.

In the meantime, light your grill and let’s get that sucker going on a relatively high heat.  While you are waiting for it to heat up, let’s talk toppings, shall we?


This is a salad, so toppings are really up to you.  Ok, that was a good talk.   

Just kidding.  This is where you can customize to meet any of your dietary needs.  Paleo friends, for example — cut the cheese.  You know, um literally.  For the sake of demonstration, today I want to talk about Grilled Cobb-Esque Salad, because really…why not?  It’s a salad full of bacon and stuff and well, I tend to agree with this sentiment:

Found on pinterest.  Thank god there is now a website where I can find blurry, terrible pictures of signs about bacon.  THANK GOD.  

So while taking a break from pinning arbitrary pictures, and waiting for my grill to heat, I chopped up some Avocado, Tomatoes, Blue Cheese (actually Costco chopped that up, Thanks Costco!), Red Onions, and a Hard Boiled Egg.  I also grabbed a stash of bacon bits from my fridge that I pre-cooked over the weekend.  What? You don’t have bacon bits in a tupperware in your fridge?  GET WITH THE PROGRAM AND GET YOURSELF SOME, they will not go to waste!  Well unless of course you are a vegetarian.  Then don’t do it.  That would be weird. 

So we are now about to reach the hardest part of this recipe, but I assure you it is all mental.  We are going to — wait for it — put the lettuce on the grill.  I know, you never saw that coming, did you?
Your brain will say no, but I promise your tummy will say yes!  Just try it!  

I know.  It kind of makes you want to shake your head.  Have faith.  Have I steered you wrong yet?   
So you will be standing at the grill watching all of this go down and wondering what I’ve been smoking (been there) for about 5-6 minutes.   Then your heart will do a little flip.  Well not your heart, the romaine heart.  And actually, you will be doing the flipping.  See what I did there?  That’s what’s called lame comedic wordplay.   
Thank you!  I’ll be here all day.  
Then, Behold!  Grilled Lettuce!  Could you die?  Wait, don’t die.  The ending will totally worth it and this is not the end.  This is the part in an episode of Law & Order where they bring the first and most obvious suspect in and arrest him, even though there is like, 30 minutes left in the episode so it can’t possibly already be solved.

So you will want to go ahead and leave it on for another minute or two just to get everything a bit tender.  The thing about this lettuce is that it doesn’t get all wilty and gross, which — isn’t that what you think when you think about hot lettuce?  But it is the furthest thing from that, I swear.  It’s crunchy, tender, and full of flavor — and that’s even before you add the toppings.  


Ah yes, back to the toppings.  


So when you pull that shrimp off the barbie and put it on the plate, make sure to dress it before you add the toppings.  Let all of that dressing deliciousness seep into the nooks and crannies of the lettuce so that every bite is full of flavor.  For my Cobb-esque Salad I used a blue cheese vinaigrette.  I could bathe in blue cheese vinaigrette, but you can feel free to pick your own favorite salad dressing.  

I’m open minded like that.  


Then, let’s add our toppings.  Feel free to pretend you are a food stylist while you do this, but just for the sake of full disclosure, these salads taste the best when they look like your produce drawer threw up.  It’s not always a pretty dish, but is ALWAYS delivers on the tastiness.

I think P. Diddy would approve!  



Although I chose to put a lot of toppings on this particular incarnation of a Bad Ass Salad, I have also made it really simply with only lettuce + tomatoes or lettuce and thinly sliced red onion — really it works with whatever you have on hand.  It’s an exciting texture experience, plus all you have to do is cut your lettuce in half.  I mean people presume it to be fancy and high maintenance but it’s just lazy and easy masquerading as awesome! 

It is the Ke$ha of the salad world, people.


So go forth!  Grill Your Lettuce!  

And when you do, tell me know how you like it, would ya?


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