Bold and Flavorful Marinade!

Marinades can add a great flavor to your grilled meats, vegetables or even tofu. Recently, I shared with you my Steak Rub recipe. Today I’m sharing a marinade bursting with flavor that will make your taste buds zing! Gluten-free food does not have to be boring! Just make sure that your soy sauce, vinegar and spices are free from gluten, so that the marinade is safe for you and everyone to enjoy!

Bold and Flavorful Marinade

Ingredients

¼ cup of olive oil

1/8 cup water

3 Tablespoons of soy sauce

3 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

zest and juice of one lime

3 to 4 Tablespoons of brown sugar (depending on your taste)

1 Tablespoon of fresh rosemary and/or thyme

1 clove of garlic minced

Directions

Mix all of the ingredients in a large Ziploc bag. Place steak, chicken, pork or tofu into marinade and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours up to overnight. Remove, dry off whatever you marinated and cook how you like. This is great for the grill!

 

You may be wondering what that strange green thing is holding up the ziploc bag? I got it as a present for Mother’s Day. It makes filling a ziploc bag for any reason, so much easier and folds away.

Are you grilling this weekend? What is your favorite tool for grill prep? What is your favorite item to grill? Let me know in the comments!

Here are some of my favorite grilling tools:

Here are some other recipes if you need some inspiration for your weekend bbq:

Haddock on the Grill

My favorite bbq sauce recipe

Tomatillo Salsa

 

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This doesn’t cost you any extra, but if you like something I love and buy it, I get a small percentage and can continue blogging.

Beef Pot Roast

Winter will not quit here in the northeast! While the weather doesn’t yet call for actually making lemonade from lemons, take advantage of the cold and make warm, comforting food for you and your family. I have found it is definitely worth the effort to put the time in to prepare a meal in the morning before heading out the door, so you can come home to a completely finished meal that you just need to serve up.

This Beef Pot Roast recipe is an entire meal in your slow cooker. After preparing, there is no more work!

Beef Pot Roast

Ingredients

2 to 3 pound roast sirloin, or other favorite cut

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 pound of potatoes, diced

3 to 4 large carrots, peeled and diced

8 ounces of sliced baby portabella mushrooms

3 shallots, diced

2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1/8 cup of red wine vinegar

1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar

1/8 cup of soy sauce (I use La Choy gluten-free soy sauce)

1/8 cup Worcestershire

¾ cup of beef stock

2/3 cup of water

2 Tablespoons of brown sugar

Directions

Take roast out of the refrigerator and rub with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper and 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  Turn slow cooker on low and add potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, shallots, garlic, 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. Toss to cover vegetables.

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Sear roast on all sides and place into the slow cooker on top of the vegetables.

In a medium bowl mix the remaining ingredients and then pour over the roast. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Pot roast is the ultimate comfort food! Bonus, this is naturally gluten-free. Just make sure that the vinegar, soy sauce and herbs you use are gluten-free. I like to use Badia or McCormick dried spices. Badia is certified gluten-free and McCormick will mark on their bottles if there is any gluten present.

Here are some more slow cooker ideas from previous posts. What is your favorite slow cooker recipe?

Balsamic Honey Mustard Slow-Cooked Pork Loin

School vacation is over!! While there have been weeks in the past where I have felt sad that school vacation is over, this time, as I drove away, I turned up the music and was literally dancing in my seat! (Sing Justin Timberlake’s, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” when you read that paragraph) Anyway, now back to the routine of cooking and writing (and lots of laundry).

Using your slow cooker is always a great way to have a delicious meal waiting for you when you get home. I especially like to use it on Saturdays when we are running around with errands, parties and basketball games. The aroma that awaits when walking in the door is heavenly.  This pork loin is comfort food at its best. I kept this easy and served it with polenta and microwaved frozen peas on the side. A gorgeous comfort meal with very little effort!

Balsamic Honey Mustard Slow-Cooked Pork

Ingredients

3 to 4 pound pork loin

1 ½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 ½ Tablespoons of olive oil

4 medium shallots, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

2 cups of beef stock

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 Tablespoon agave syrup

1 Tablespoon of honey mustard

Directions

Rub the salt, pepper and thyme all over the pork loin. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sear the pork loin on all sides.

Place pork in your slow cooker.  Add shallots, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes.

In a measuring cup, mix together stock, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and agave. Pour mixture into skillet with the shallots and garlic, mix and cook for 5 more minutes. Pour liquid, shallots and garlic over the pork in the crock pot. Rub the honey mustard on the top of the pork loin. Cook on high for 1 to 2 hours. Turn slow cooker down to low for 4 to 6 hours. Or cook it on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Gravy

Ingredients

Cooking liquid from slow cooker

3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon agave syrup

2 Tablespoons of cornstarch

2 Tablespoons of softened butter

Directions

Pour all the shallots, garlic and liquid from the slow cooker into a high sided skillet after the pork is done. Bring to a boil. Add the balsamic vinegar and agave. In a small mug, combine the butter and cornstarch. Whisk the butter and cornstarch mixture into the gravy. Cook about 5 minutes until thick. Pour through sieve into your favorite grave boat (I like to use a travel coffee mug! keeps it warm.)

Looking for other slow cooker ideas?  Check out some of my favorites here.

Burrata and Tomatoes with Fresh Basil

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. It’s on a Tuesday night, so planning a romantic dinner amidst the usual weeknight craze of kids activities, homework and work can be a challenge. This appetizer or snack for 2 takes less than 10 minutes to make. It is decadent, delicious and oh so easy to make.

 

Burrata with tomatoes

Ingredients

1 – 4 ounce ball of burrata

Handful of grape tomatoes (8 to 10), chopped

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon of kosher salt

Pinch of black pepper

3-4 leaves of fresh basil, torn

Directions

Dry off the burrata carefully with a paper towel and place on the center of the plate. Place tomatoes around it. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the tomatoes and burrata. Lastly, shower the plate with fresh basil. Serve with 2 forks 😉

This would be a great appetizer to serve with my poached salmon and quinoa risotto. Top off the meal with ice cream sundaes with fresh whipped cream.

What are you serving for Valentine’s Day?  or celebrating early over the weekend?

Easy Green Bean Holiday Dish

It’s Christmas Eve! It’s the first night of Hanukkah! Still need a quick and easy side dish? Look no further than these roasted green beans!

Green Beans

Ingredients

About 1/2 pound of green beans, cleaned

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean green beans by rinsing and snapping of ends. Toss green beans with oil and spices and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve.

Green beans go nicely with pasta, roasts, turkey, ham, whatever you are serving!

Best wishes your cooking goes well over the next few days! Remember it doesn’t have to be perfect 🙂

Happy Holidays!

Other side dish ideas if you need:

Polenta, an easy holiday side dish

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish: My favorite! Acorn Squash

Twice Baked Potatoes, a perfect holiday side dish

 

 

More leftover ideas and some comfort food for those cold snowy nights

I feel like I’m finally getting a hang of using up all my leftovers and not just as the same dish it was, but transformed so my family doesn’t get bored. There are a couple of dishes that are great for transforming meats, veggies, like quesadillas or chili or a baked pasta dish. Here are a couple of things I have made recently.

Eggplant Rolotini with Orzo
Olive oil
1 small onion diced
1 small/medium eggplant sliced thin to make rolls, and extra pieces chopped
1 28oz can of tomatoes (diced or crushed. Substitute 3-4 medium tomatoes in the summer)
Oregano
Thyme
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder (can use fresh garlic, 1-2 cloves minced depending on how garlicky you like it)
1-1/2 cups Fresh ricotta
1 egg
12 ounces orzo
4 cups of stock (veggie or chicken) or water
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add chopped pieces of eggplant and more olive oil if needed. Sprinkle salt, pepper, oregano and thyme onto eggplant and onion mixture. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add in tomatoes. While that is cooking, take ricotta cheese and egg and mix together with a little pepper, garlic powder and salt. Take mixture and spread across top of long, thin piece of eggplant and roll up. Take the sauce off of the heat and place roll up in the sauce. Repeat.  Drizzle eggplant roll ups with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover and place in 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes.
Make orzo according to package. Serve with eggplant and sauce.
I made this recently for a cooking club and we had to bring something that started with the same letter as your last name. Very fun!

Leftovers: Added the orzo and some of the diced cooked eggplant in with a white pork chili (see below)
Barley risotto, Roasted Butternut Squash and Balsamic Garlic Pork Tenderloin
(a recipe for when you have lots of time to cook. If you don’t, make some baked potatoes or even sweet potatoes instead of the risotto)

2-3 lb pork tenderloin (you could also use beef or boneless chicken or turkey breast)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup apple juice
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup soy sauce
3-4 sprigs of thyme
1 medium sized onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced salt
lemon pepper
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
olive oil
2 cups pearl barley
8-10 cups broth (veggie, chicken or beef or even water or a mixture), heated
parmesan

Turn crockpot onto low. Pour in balsamic, apple juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, thyme, 1/2 of the onion and 2 of the garlic cloves. Mix the sauce and taste. If too acidic for your taste, add more apple juice. If you want it to have a little more of a savory bite add more Worcestershire sauce. Dry the pork and rub it with salt and lemon pepper and then place it in the sauce in the crockpot. It should cover it about 3/4 or so the way up the pork. Close and let cook 6-8 hours on low. When it reads 170-180 degrees on a meat thermometer, the pork is done. Take it out to rest. If you want gravy, add the cooking liquid to a large saucepan and bring to a boil to reduce by about 1/2. Then strain. I use a spoon that is a large strainer since its easier than pouring it out and then back in the pan. Taste. I usually add a little more apple juice, a Tbsp of brown sugar and some black pepper. Lastly add a cornstarch mixture (2 Tbsp cornstarch to 1/2 cup water) and whisk until thick.

Spread the squash out on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt and lemon pepper. Roast in oven at 375 degrees for about 30-45 minutes.

In a medium sized sauce pan on medium high heat, put enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Add remainder of onion and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. Add barley and cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add about 1 cup of the broth and stir until absorbed. Keep adding a ladle or 2 of broth at a time until absorbed and the barley is the consistency that you like to eat it. This can take about 45 minutes. Finish with a handful of parmesan.

Leftovers: I used the pork and barley, along with the eggplant and some orzo from another meal to add to 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 diced zucchini, 1/2 jalepeno (seeded and taken out before eating), cumin and chili powder to make chili. I put everything in the crockpot and cooked on low for 2-3 hours. I used the butternut squash in a quesadilla with cheddar. The kids loved it! Well, 2 out of 3 did at least 🙂

Another good idea for leftovers is to make an Asian noodle dish. For some reason, my 4 year old has decided she LOVES Asian food, so I’m trying to make it more. The other day for a quick week night meal, I took some shredded turkey out of the freezer (from the holidays) and made a turkey, broccoli and edamame noodle dish with whole wheat spaghetti noodles.

 

 Cook the noodles as directed on package. Put a little bit of vegetable oil in a large sauce pan or a wok if you have one, on medium high heat. Add 1/2 onion sliced thinly and 1 clove of garlic, minced. Cook until onions are translucent. Add turkey and cook until heated through. Throw in a handful of frozen broccoli and a handful of frozen edamame (shelled). Then add sauce. I made a sauce with leftover pineapple juice I had in the fridge, with terriyaki sauce, soy sauce, a little brown sugar and a drop of sesame oil. It was so good! Let cook for 5-10 minutes on medium. Add a little cornstarch if you want the sauce thicker. Add noddles to pan, mix and serve!



Foodie with a toddler…

I have finally been carving out some time to cook! Most of it has been on the grill (no pots and pans!). I also am getting creative with my lunches and food throughout the day. Eating quickly and sometimes with one hand are preferable, but I want to eat fresh and healthy. Today I had a caprese salad, goldfish crackers and some blueberries. Definitely a meal worthy of a foodie with a toddler (hence the title) 🙂

Quick, little clean up, easy meals are important right now. Here’s what I’ve been cooking:


Grilled sirloin (salt, pepper), peas (frozen – made in microwave), grilled polenta cakes (premade polenta rolls, sliced, rubbed with olive oil and sprinkled with shredded parmesan, all topped with a dollop of sour cream and chopped chives. [modified version of recipe I saw on Seattle PI or Seattle Times online]. This is the adult version.

Here is the toddler version. Karina wasn’t too impressed. She loved the steak though!

This is what other members of may family had for dinner 🙂 The boys love their milk/formula!

Tonight I made some farfalle pasta with shrimp, balsamic grape tomatoes and feta. Make farfalle. Defrost frozen already cooked shrimp with tails off, squeeze fresh lemon juice over shrimp after you dry them off and salt and pepper. Cut tomatoes in half and cover in bowl with balsamic vinegar (looks prettier with white balsamic – cheap at Trader Joes) and whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. I used basil and rosemary. Toss all together with some crumbled feta. Yum! In the past I’ve added steamed broccoli and used leftover salmon instead of shrimp.

Very good and very easy. Nice for a summer’s evening with a glass of Riesling.

I keep frozen hamburger patties and hotdogs on hand so that we can grill up a quick summer favorite when we don’t have anything else. Add a salad and its a great summer meal.

I also grilled some pizzas the other night. See link for past grilled pizza recipes. This is not relaxing and was definitely pushing the boundaries of what I’m capable of and only worked because the twins decided to sleep from 5pm to 10pm. I made my regular mozzarella with sauce and basil on Trader Joe’s wheat dough. Then I made a bbq chicken pizza. In an effort for effortless cooking, we often buy the already roasted chickens at Fred Meyer and had about 1/3 of the chicken left. I shredded the chicken and mixed it with a smokey bbq sauce, molasses, honey and some brown sugar, saving some of the sauce to spread on the dough. I caramelized a shallot and sliced up the mozzarella (maybe next time I would use goat cheese). Here is the recipe I was inspired by.

Now I really should go to sleep (especially since all three kids are sleeping – which is rare!).

Last of the summer and first fall farmer’s market trip!

So we don’t have our laptop back yet, so I still can’t post the beautiful pictures of my tomatoes!! But I figured I would post to give you some ideas of what I’ve been doing with my cherry tomatoes and lemon tomatoes from the garden.

My new favorite breakfast is a tomatoes, herbs and an egg on toast. I’ve made a couple of versions, but basically you dice up tomatoes mix with a little salt, pepper, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and whatever fresh herbs you have. Let that sit while you make a piece of toast in the toaster + make an egg either over medium or over hard or you can poach the egg (I’ve never been very good at it. Only one out of 8 tries does that come out right!) Put the toast on the plate, top with egg and then tomato mixture. Add a couple of slices of avocado if you have it.Yum. Karina doesn’t like it too much, but she doesn’t really eat tomatoes. More for me 🙂

I’ve also been grilling more pizzas with tomatoes and making bruschetta. I also made a Rachel Ray recipe with a tomato and cucumber salad. Her recipe is basically to make a meatloaf with ground turkey, greek seasoning (oregano, mint, salt, pepper, lemon zest), feta + spinach. Your own homemade gyros! One the side mix tomatoes, cucumber, salt, pepper and red wine vinegar.

Anytime you want more specifics on the amounts, please let me know! I am trying harder to make note of how much I use, but don’t always write it down. I’m happy to tell you more details!

The new fall produce has arrived at the Ballard Farmer’s Market! Last week I bought a spaghetti squash and made a new take on spaghetti and meatballs. Here is the recipe I’ve given before that is my go to for spaghetti squash. Then in a crock pot put 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, 1 cup beef or chicken broth, 1 cup water + 1Tbsp Worcestershire sauce with a bag of frozen turkey meatballs from trader joes. Cook for 2-3 hours on low.

Fall is my favorite season so stay tune for some great fall comfort food recipes!!