HOMEMADE BBQ SAUCE – OOEY GOOEY STICKY BBQ RIBS – YUM YUM GOOD!

I’ve been experimenting for years to get the perfect BBQ sauce and I think I’ve finally done it. The trick it turns out is that ketchups are not all the same! I recently found a wonderful new organic ketchup, Portland ketchup, that is full of body and flavor and it turns out that it also makes a fantastic BBQ sauce base.

BBQ RibsHOMEMADE BBQ SAUCE
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 1/2 cups Portland Ketchup
In a large saucepan combine all the ingredients except the ketchup. Cook uncovered until sugar is dissolved and all ingredient are well blended. Add ketchup and bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring often (about 30 minutes) until dark and thick.

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CranBlackberry Sauce

A new twist on an old standard – YUMMY!

CRANBLACKBERRY SAUCE
1 cup orange juice with pulp
1 bag cranberries, washed and sorted
1 box blackberries, washed and sorted
1 kiwi, diced
2 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange peel
  • Wash cranberries and drain in colander. 
  • Mix orange juice and sugar in saucepan until dissolved. 
  • Add cinnamon and orange peel. Stir well.
  • Add the cranberries and simmer over medium high heat until bubbling, stirring often. 
  • When the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat. Cook 10 minutes uncovered or until all cranberries have ’popped’. 
  • Sauce will thicken as it cools. 
  • Can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or frozen for future holidays.

Yields: 2 cups

***I like to make a double batch at Thanksgiving and freeze half for Christmas.
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BLT Chicken Sandwiches with Rosemary Mayo – Fire Day Friday

I can’t say it’s the best looking sandwich I have ever made, but what I can say is that it’s one of the best tasting ones I’ve had in a long time.  I guess you truly can’t go wrong with bacon and cheese, though, can you?
This is a fun way to jazz up a chicken sandwich or a BLT – however you look at it, you will not be sorry if you do make it!
Don’t feel like grilling?  No worries, bake or pan sear the chicken, it will still be good.  Heck, use chicken tenders instead of breasts – it doesn’t matter, cause it will still be good 🙂
BLT Chicken Sandwiches with Rosemary Mayo
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
olive oil
garlic salt and pepper
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp
1 roma tomato, thinly sliced (I actually used cherry tomatoes because I had them on hand and they worked just fine)
lettuce
melty cheese – I used a jalapeno pub cheese – or you can skip the cheese all together
2 hoagie buns or sandwiches rolls of your choice
For the mayo:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1-2 teaspoons freshly minced rosemary leaves
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients together for the mayo, until well combined.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Rub olive oil on both sides of each piece of chicken.  Season with garlic salt and pepper (or whatever spice mixture you prefer).  Place directly over the fire and grill about 8-10 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes.

Build your sandwich however you like, but I slathered mayo on the top and bottom bun – placed the chicken first, added the cheese, topped with bacon, tomato and lettuce – dinner is served!  Enjoy!

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MUSHROOM GRAVY ~ TASTE AND CREATE

Taste and Create was started as a food event by Nicole from For the Love of Food.  The whole purpose of Taste and Create was, and has been, and continues to be to create a community of bloggers who test each others’ recipes and share links. The participants of the event are paired together and try a new recipe from one another’s blog.
This month I was paired with PJ from Seduce Your Tastebuds. I love being paired with someone from another country as I inevitably learn sooooooo much, not to mention get to use my metric conversions.  I chose her Mushroom Gravy recipe. I chose it because I love mushrooms, but also for the unique way she makes it – in the pressure cooker!  Genius, pure genius!  I made pork cutlets and mashed potatoes for it to go on. And everyone loved it!
PJ’s recipe:

Button mushrooms – 200grams , washed , pat dried and quatered
Onion- 1, chopped
Tomato – 1, chopped
Curry leaves- a few
Coriander powder- 1 teaspoon
Chilli powder -1 teaspoon
Oil- 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste

Saute with a little oil and grind to a smooth paste with a little water

Pearl onions- 5 numbers
Green chilli – 1
Aniseed- 1/2 teaspoon
Poppy seeds- 1 teaspoons
Cashewnuts- 5 numbers
Ginger- 1″ piece
Garlic- 2 cloves

  1. In a pressure cooker, heat oil and saute onion till translucent
  2. Put in tomato and cook till soft.
  3. Add the curry leaves, ground paste, coriander powder, chili powder, salt and mix well.
  4. Cook for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle a little water if the mixture is very dry.
  5. Put in the mushrooms and add 1/2 cup of water. Take care in this stage as water oozes out of mushrooms while cooking so adding too much water will make the gravy very watery.
  6. Pressure cook this for 1 whistle or 8- 10 minutes.

Once the pressure releases,transfer into a serving dish and serve garnished with coriander leaves.

Note :

  • If the gravy becomes watery, cook uncovered for some time till the gravy reaches the desired consistency.
  • Instead of cashew/ poppy seeds, grated coconut can be used.
  • For a different flavor, garam masala/ sambar powder can be added in step 3

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      Fire Day Friday: Grilled Shrimp with Grapefruit BBQ Sauce

      I’ve been on quite the shrimp kick lately.  You see, there was a time where I was hesitant to purchase it, because, living in the desert, we can’t get a lot of fresh shrimp.  Well I had a bad experience with frozen shrimp once, hence the hesitation.  I broke through that though, and finally started cooking with shrimp again.  And boy am I thankful I did.  I adore shrimp… there is so much you can do with it.  And it’s at it’s best when grilled.  At least, that’s my opinion… and that counts for something, right??

      This wasn’t the best concoction ever, but it was good.  Believe me, we ate the hell out of this…there were no leftovers 🙂  I liked the sauce, but surprisingly, I liked it much better on the shrimp than by itself… and that is an odd thing for me to say, trust me.  Nevertheless, this is definitely one to try!

      Grilled Shrimp with Grapefruit BBQ Sauce
      Adapted from Robin Miller
      Printable Recipe 
      Ingredients:
      36 extra larges (31/40 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
      2 yellow bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks
      10 cherry tomatoes
      6 Tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
      2 Tablespoons ketchup
      1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
      1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
      1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
      1/2 teaspoon chili powder
      1 teaspoon olive oil
      1/2 – 1 teaspoon chipotle puree
      wooden or metal skewers (if using wooden, soak in water for at least 30 minutes)

      Directions:
      In a bowl, mix together the grapefruit juice, ketchup, mustard, sugar, cumin, chili powder, olive oil and chipotle puree until well combined.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of the sauce.  Place the shrimp in a shallow dish and pour the remaining marinade over top of it.  Toss to make sure all shrimp are coated with marinade.  Cover and place in refrigerator for 2-4 hours. 

      Preheat grill to 350 degrees F.  Thread the shrimp onto the skewers.  Thread the peppers and tomatoes on their own separate skewers, or thread them together with the shrimp, it’s up to you.  Place directly over the fire and grill until shrimp is pink and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side.  My tomatoes only sat on there for about 4 minutes all together and the peppers were done in about 8 minutes.  Baste the shrimp with sauce at least twice during the grilling time.  Remove from grill and serve over rice.  Enjoy!

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      Fire Day Friday: Grilled Pork Chops with Tzatziki Sauce

      I know there are at least a dozen, if not more, blogs out there with recipes for Tzatziki sauce…but this was the first time I had actually made it myself, so I just had to share it with you all!

      I took a few of these ideas from Chris at Nibble Me This and Andrea The Kitchen Witch, so I can’t even take real credit for this recipe.

      What I did do all by myself was cut my own loin chops.  I found a very large 6 pound piece of boneless pork loin for like $4 the other day and I just couldn’t pass it up.  What it meant, though, was that I was going to have to cut my own chops.  Last time I did that, I ended up with some really extra thin and quite strangely shaped pork chops.  This time… well, it wasn’t perfect, but that’s ok, I’ll just keep practicing 🙂

      The pork was cooked perfectly…if I do say so myself.  It had a wonderful mild flavor to it, but what makes this all come together, is definitely the sauce.  As most of you know by now, I do my love sauces.

      My recommendation… try this one … you will not be sorry you did!  Oh, and I brined these chops for an hour and a half and then I let them sit in the marinade for another hour and a half.  You can choose to skip the brining part if you want, but, if you have the time, please don’t skip it…  You will thank me in the end, trust me! 

      Grilled Pork Chops with Tzatziki Sauce
      Adapted from Nibble Me This & Andrea The Kitchen Witch
      Printable Recipe 
      Ingredients:
      4 boneless pork loin chops (thick or thin, whatever your preference though I would go for a thicker cut if you can find it)
      For the brine –
      3 cups water
      2 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
      2 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
      2 teaspoons minced or chopped garlic
      1 teaspoon white or black pepper
      For the marinade –
      3 Tablespoons olive oil
      2 Tablespoons lemon juice
      1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
      1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
      1/4 teaspoon Greek Seasoning (optional)
      For the tzatziki sauce –
      6 oz Greek yogurt
      1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      1/2 teaspoon dried dill
      1 teaspoon olive oil
      2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
      just over a 1/4 cup chopped English cucumber (you can always add more if you want)

      Directions:
      Mix the water, salt, sugar, garlic, and pepper together.  Place chops in a resealable bag and pour the brine over it.  Seal and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 1.5 hours.  Remove from brine and rinse pork thoroughly under cool running water.  Thoroughly rinse out the resealable bag also, and place the pork back inside.  Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and pour over chops.  Seal and let marinate in the refrigerator another 1.5-2 hours. 

      Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, garlic powder, salt, and dill.  Add the red wine vinegar and oil and stir to combine.  Stir in the cucumbers.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

      Preheat your grill to 375 degrees F.  Place the pork directly over the fire and grill for 3-6 minutes per side, depending no how thick your chops are, or until the internal temperature registers 145 degrees F.  Remove from grill and allow pork to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving…they will continue to cook while they sit.  Serve with tzatziki sauce and enjoy!

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      Fire Day Friday: Sparkling Barbecue Chicken

      Last year, I won a copy of Steven Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue! and it has become one of my favorite cookbooks… or grill-books I should say 🙂  Either way you say it, I love it.


      Now, I have not made as many things out of this book as I would like, but I’ll get there, I just need time and patience.

      Of all the recipes I have tried, though, this one is definitely the easiest.  It was a quick way to put together a tasty meal with very little effort.  And, I thought it was an interesting little spin on the standard barbecue chicken.

      So what makes it sparkling?  Lemon-lime soda, of course.  The great thing is, this barbecue sauce truly did sparkle.  And the soda brought a bit of a sweet flavor to the barbecue sauce.  It was delicious!

      Sparkling Barbecue Chicken

      Adapted from Steven Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue!
      Ingredients:
      1/4 cup lemon-lime soda (like 7up or Sprite)
      1/4 cup ketchup
      1/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce (recipe for homemade bbq sauce)
      1/4 teaspoon black pepper
      1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
      4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

      Directions:
      Mix together all the ingredients except for the chicken, in a bowl until well combined.  Reserve 3-4 tablespoons of the sauce.  Put chicken in a resealable bag and pour the remaining sauce of the chicken.  Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours (you can really get away with 2, but the longer it marinates the more flavorful it will be).

      Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Brush oil on the grill grates.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and place directly over the fire.  Grill for 8-10 minutes per side or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.  You can use the reserved sauce for basting in the last 5 minutes of grill time or you can serve it along side – heck, do both, I dare you 🙂  Enjoy!

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      Fire Day Friday: Steak Sandwiches with Chimichurri Mayo

      Sometimes I get so caught up in trying to find exciting new recipes that I forget about the simpler things in life….like sandwiches.  Sandwiches are so versatile and simple.  What’s not to love about that?  With a busy schedule and less and less time in the kitchen this week, I wanted to make something that would be filling and yet still make it seem like I worked hard to create a fantastic dinner 🙂  Enter the steak sandwich.  Simple, true, but add a little chimichurri mayo and, well, suddenly your steak sandwich is anything but simple.  It’s flavorful, it’s a tiny bit spicy, and it’s fresh tasting.  Definitely a great alternative to your usual sandwich spread.

      I kept the steak marinade very simple, I knew the mayo would have a great flavor and I didn’t want that to be over shadowed.  You can marinate your steak in anything you want though, or even just drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, steaks don’t usually need much, they are usually so flavorful in themselves.
      Steak Sandwiches with Chimichurri Mayo
      Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers
      Ingredients:
      1 lbs. top sirloin (or any steak really)
      1/2 cup beer (I used Bud Light)
      1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
      1 Tablespoon Sambal Oelek (chili paste)
      5 Tablespoons mayonnaise
      1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
      1 garlic clove, finely minced
      1 teaspoon dried oregano
      1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
      1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
      4 hoagie buns, french rolls, or thick cut crusty bread
      Lettuce (optional)
      Tomato (optional)
      Cucumber (optional)

      Directions:
      In a bowl, mix together the beer, Worcestershire, and Sambal Oelek.  Place steak in a resealable bag and pour marinade over it.  Let marinate for at least 4 hours.

      Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes until smooth.  Add the parsley and stir to combine. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to use. 

      Preheat grill to 400 degrees.  Place the steak directly on the grill grates and grill until cooked to your liking.  I prefer medium rare so I put my steak on for about 5-6 minutes per side, depending on thickness.  Remove from grill and allow to sit for 5 minutes before slicing thin against the grain.   Slather some of the chimichurri mayo on the bread (I toasted my buns first..yum!!), arrange steak on bun and top with lettuce, tomato, and/or cucumber.  Enjoy!

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      Fire Day Friday: Grilled Pork Chops with Pineapple Cucumber Relish

      When I was in college (in Nebraska), we used to frequent this little place called Cliff’s Lounge.  Cliff’s Lounge was known for it’s Kamikazes.  Fifty (yep..5-0) different flavored Kamikazes to be exact!  It was a college students little heaven, trust me!  And we aren’t talking shots…we are talking large (did I mention LARGE) glasses of the devils’ own liquid!  My top 3 picks from that list of 50 were:  Purple Hooter, Troutwater (don’t judge), and Pineapple.  I have a vague memory of consuming all three one night… but we’ll skip over those stories as my mom might be reading this!!

      So, I guess you are probably asking yourself why I’m telling you this, right?  Well, it seems that every time I eat or drink something pineapple, I am reminded of the Pineapple Kamikazes at Cliff’s.  Don’t ask me why, it’s been years since I’ve been to Cliff’s, but there was just something about those tasty drinks and the green tissue paper balls hanging from the ceiling that I will never, ever forget.  Plus, this is a little plug for Cliff’s – if you are ever in Lincoln, Nebraska, I highly recommend stopping by for a drink or two (or three).  The atmosphere alone is worth checking out!!
      ANYWAY…on to what we are really here for:  If you have followed by blog at all, or have read at least one of my posts here since the beginning of the year, than you will probably know that I have a thing for sauces.  When I say sauces, I do have to include salsas and relishes to that mix…as I see it, salsas and relishes are just chunky forms of sauce anyway 🙂
      My only problem with this meal was that I could not find thick cut pork chops.  UGH!!  It’s getting harder and harder for me to find anything but paper thin cuts.  What I hate the most is that the cook time has to be very hot and very fast so that it doesn’t dry out.  If you find thicker chops, grab them…just remember to keep them on the grill longer.  Other than that, this meal was perfect.  The flavors melded perfectly together… but I believe one of the best flavor combos out there are pineapple and pork!

      Grilled Pork Chops with Pineapple Cucumber Relish
      Adapted from Food Network Magazine
      Printable Recipe 
      Ingredients:
      1 cup chopped or crushed pineapple
      1 Tablespoon pineapple juice
      2 teaspoons lime juice
      1 teaspoon creamy peanut butter
      1 teaspoon fish sauce
      1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
      1/4-1/2 English cucumber, finely chopped
      salt and pepper
      4 pork chops (whatever cut you can find will work – ours were boneless loin chops)
      2 teaspoons olive oil
      garlic salt
      pepper
      cayenne

      Directions:

      Rub the pork chops on both side with olive oil.  Season with garlic salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  If using thin chops, leave them in the fridge until you are just ready to throw them on the grill…the colder your thin chops are, the better.
      In a food processor, puree 1/2 a cup of the pineapple along with the lime juice, peanut butter, and fish sauce.  In a bowl, add the cucumber, jalapeno, and remaining pineapple.  Pour the puree over and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.

      Preheat your grill to 425 degrees.  Grill, covered, for 3 minutes, flip and grill another 2-3 minutes.  Remove pork from the grill, serve with relish.  Enjoy!

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      Fire Day Friday: Mediterranean Grilled Chicken

       

       Do you ever get home from work and realize you are just not in the mood to cook?  It doesn’t happen to me too often, but when it does, I find myself facing a dilemma.  To cook or not to cook?  If I don’t cook, what will we do for dinner?  Heat up chicken nuggets or frozen burritos?  UGH.. no thank you… I mean if I’m going to go through the effort of even doing that, why not go the extra step and cook something a bit more healthy.  Hence the dilemma… I don’t want to cook, but I don’t want to eat junk either.


      So what’s a girl to do?

      This girl just figures out a way to put as little time and as little effort into dinner as I possible can.  I guess that’s why my grill is my go to device in those situations.  I use propane, so it’s simple to click a button, let it preheat, and slap some meat on it. Of course, the fast and easy way must also be a tasty way, and this recipe is just that!  It’s simple, it’s flavorful, and it’s perfect for those nights where you want something good, but you don’t want to have to put a lot of effort into it.

      Mediterranean Grilled Chicken  Adapted from Pam, For the Love of Cooking
      Printable Recipe 

      Ingredients:
      4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
      1/4 cup mayonnaise
      2 Tablespoons lemon juice
      2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
      2 garlic cloves, finely minced
      2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
      Salt and pepper

      Directions:

      In a bowl, mix together the mayo, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, and oregano until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken in a resealable bag or shallow dish and pour half of the sauce over the chicken.  Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour.  Cover the reserved sauce and leave in refrigerator until you are ready to grill the chicken.

      Preheat your grill to 400 degrees.  Oil the grill grates.  Remove the chicken from the bag and place directly over the flame.  Allow to grill for 8-10 minutes per side or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.  Serve with the reserved sauce and enjoy!
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