Backyard BBQ Recipes: Honey-Lime Chicken and Veggies in Foil

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I’m getting ready to finish an early morning stretch and then get to work on some cases while simultaneously preparing for plans tonight with a particularly handsome fella- but before I dive right into that- I wanted to share a 30 minute recipe that is going to make your next grilling endeavor a breeze.

After fighting off wasps that have congregated on my back porch over the course of the past couple of weeks- I declared myself victorious and able to use my grill again without risking a hospital visit from being stung 100+ times. My first order of business were whipping up these “pocket dinners”- meaning the meal is cooked to perfection within a tin foil pocket.

It’s super easy to do- and, like many of the recipes here- can be completely customized with your choice of vegetables and seasonings.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Four 6-ounce chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ears corn, halved
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the butter, olive oil, garlic, ginger, honey and lime zest.
  2. Using 12-inch sheets of foil, build four packets. Place a chicken breast in the center of each. Season it with cumin and paprika. Divide the asparagus among the packets. Brush the chicken and asparagus with the honey-ginger sauce and season with salt and pepper. Fold the foil over the food inside and crimp several times to seal.
  3. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the packets until the chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. About 5 minutes before the chicken is finished, add the corn to the grill and cook until it’s browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  5. Garnish the chicken with cilantro and green onion before serving.

What I love the most about this recipe- apart from quite a few different flavors  and textures blending perfectly together- is that this is also a pretty healthy dinner, too. The chicken breast isn’t covered in fattening breading and the vegetables are, well- vegetables. You can’t really mess those up.

I’ve since fallen down the “Pocket Dinner” rabbit hole online- finding a ton of recipes similar to this one to try- so here’s hoping the wasps keep away so I can keep using my grill during the next couple of weeks!

Enjoy your Hump Day, everyone! See you all on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: Cheeseburger Skewers

Good Morning, Happy Monday- and Hello July!

Before I finish up some pre-holiday work at the office and prepare to take a mini blogging break for the Fourth of July (I’ll be back on Friday!)– I wanted to share a backyard BBQ/cookout/Independence Day recipe that is ridiculously simple to make, tastes delicious- and can be completely customized!

Also, not that it’s not *the* most important thing- but these sure do look cute in photos, too!

There’s obviously a million and one ways to arrange a burger these days, using a number of tasty and unique ingredients. BBQ bacon burgers? Bleu cheese burgers? Burgers with fried eggs on top? Burgers with crushed potato chips grilled in (awesome, by the way.) The possibilities and combinations are endless!

For this recipe, all you really need is the beef (or beef substitute, per your personal preference) and your selection of toppings to arrange on your stick. You can lay out the toppings on individual plates and let your family and guests assemble their own- and offer up some dipping sauces to top off their creation!

I’ve found that kids love this recipe, because it lets them be creative and make their own burger- and eating them off of the skewer is half of the fun!

But, if you’d like to know the basic ingredients needed to make this recipe- I’ve got you covered!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 lbs of lean beef (I used 93%!)
  • 2 tablespoons of prepared mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 20 slices/chopped pieces of American cheese (measuring about 1″ x 1″)
  • 4 ounces cooked and chopped bacon
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 red onion, sliced/chopped
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 20 dill pickle chips/slices
  • Ketchup, mayo and/or mustard (optional for serving/dipping)

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Using your hands, gently mix together the beef, mustard, salt, onion powder and pepper. Form into 20 (golf ball size) meatballs.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan to high heat and grill the meatballs for about 3 minutes on each side, or until your preferred level of finish.
  3. Lay out your toppings on individual plates: cheese slices on one plate, chopped bacon on another, lettuce on another, etc. until each topping has it’s own respective place in the line. Fill three small serving bowls at the end of your toppings line with your dipping sauces (one for ketchup, one for mustard, and one for mayonnaise.)
  4. Assemble the skewers with the meatballs, cheese, bacon pieces- and the toppings of your choice. Dip your skewers in your desired sauces- and enjoy!

If these aren’t the most convenient (and cute) pre-fireworks appetizer, then I don’t know what it!

I hope everyone living here in the States has a wonderful Independence Day. I’m still scoping out the best place to watch the fireworks with friends, so we’ll see if I can get any good shots as the night progresses.

I’ll be taking a few days off from the blog-o-sphere for the occasion, but I’ll be back on Friday morning with some more content!

Enjoy your week, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: Mini Lobster Rolls

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

Despite the fact that most of this past weekend was rained out- I still had an amazing couple of days off from work and out of town- and even found the time to whip up one of my favorite recipes in-between thunderstorms that had rolled through the area and (briefly) interrupted some outdoor dining plans with friends.

Having been born and raised in New England- I’m very particular when it comes to seafood. If it isn’t directly from the ocean-to-the-table, then I want no part of it- and it’s pretty much an unspoken rule that clam chowder cannot be anything less than exemplary.

Of course, there are many varying opinions when it comes to one favorite Summertime recipe in particular- the lobster roll- which can take on many different forms and incorporate many different flavors. Wanting to create smaller portions of the standard hot dog roll or 6″ sub-sized version to make these easier to pass around during the aforementioned outdoor dining plans- I used a fool-proof recipe that excludes the unnecessary ingredients (looking at you, shredded lettuce) and instead features some unexpected flavors that actually work surprisingly well together- like dill and Dijon mustard.

And these don’t take long to make at all! Even better!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1¼ pounds cooked lobster meat, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 16 mini brioche hot dog buns or rolls
  • Chives, for garnishing

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice and mustard. Stir in the lobster meat, celery, scallions, parsley and dill; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, brush the melted butter onto both sides of the hot dog buns and/or brioche rolls and then place them in the hot pan. Toast until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes.
  3. Fill each bun with lobster salad. Serve immediately, garnished with chives.

Even though we had to eat these inside once the rain started to pour down instead of outdoors and under the shade of the trees as originally planned- it didn’t take away from the experience of biting into this recipe for the first time. Between the lobster, the lemon zest, the Dijon mustard and the dill (and don’t forget those perfectly toasted rolls/buns!) this was like a beach party for my taste buds.

And, for some added seafood flavor- why not throw some chopped shrimp or scallops into the mix, too? I’ve done it before- and it tastes incredible!

But now with it being Monday and there being a stack of work on my desk- I’ve got to dive right into this and start getting things done!

Have a great Monday, everyone! Here’s wishing you all a good week ahead!

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: Pesto Zoodles

Good Morning, everyone! It’s officially Hump Day!

I was really excited to share this recipe I whipped up this past weekend for a quick outdoor brunch with friends, because not only is it a healthier alternative to regular pasta (which I love, don’t get me wrong)– but it’s also really flavorful and super easy to make!

You can buy “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) pre-made in the produce section at most grocery stores, but if you want to make them the old fashioned way- you can pick up an easy to use and inexpensive spiral vegetable slicer like THIS ONE. I use mine to make zucchini noodles, summer squash noodles, and butternut squash noodles for my Fall/Autumn recipes!

But let’s get back to this very tasty- and very green dish- that only takes about 20-25 minutes to prep and cook!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

FOR THE PESTO:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

ZOODLES:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 zucchini, cut into noodles
  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • Parmesan cheese curls, as needed for garnish
  • Red-pepper flakes, as needed for garnish (optional)

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. MAKE THE PESTO: In a food processor or blender, pulse the basil, garlic, pine nuts and grated Parmesan until coarsely chopped.
  2. With the food processor running, add the olive oil gradually and mix until the pesto is a thick paste. Add more olive oil as needed to adjust the consistency. Add salt and pepper.
  3. MAKE THE ZOODLES: In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the zucchini noodles and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes more.
  4. Add the pesto and toss until the noodles are well coated.
  5. Serve warm, garnished with Parmesan curls and red-pepper flakes, if using, to taste.

What I loved most about this dish, apart from the taste- was that I didn’t feel overly full or stuffed after I ate a plate of it. I was satisfied and comfortable- and didn’t need to take a three hour nap while it sat in my stomach before I could feel energized or productive again. The zoodles were refreshing, filling- and delicious!

I’m looking forward to re-making this with a creamy Alfredo sauce in place of the pesto sauce at some point within the next week. I bet it’s going to be so good!

Here’s hoping you all have a terrific Wednesday! I’m off to work!

P.S. – Have you entered my Beach Giveaway?

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: Crispy Baked Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

Yesterday was a bit strange around here- with severe thunderstorms sweeping through the state well into the evening. We even had a tornado watch in effect for a few hours- but thankfully nothing came of it apart from some slightly terrifying lightning and a bit of rain/hail. Just another late-Spring-early-Summer day here in New England, really!

Tonight I’ll be heading to the Paradise Rock Club over on Comm Ave to catch a set by Editors (who I haven’t seen in years!)- but before I power through my work day and get over to the venue- I wanted to share a recipe my mom and I whipped up this past Sunday while we were spending Mother’s Day together.

I’m a big fan of tacos- any kind, really- and experimenting with different flavor combinations is something I really enjoy when I’m making my own at home for myself or guests. I also love seafood- so street-style fish tacos are pretty much a win/win. Add some red cabbage cole slaw and a twist of lemon and/or lime? You’ve got a delicious lunch to serve at your next cookout!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

FOR THE FISH:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought taco seasoning
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ pounds tilapia, cut into 1½-inch-wide strips

FOR THE CABBAGE SLAW:

  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime (for these tacos, I used a lemon, instead!)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE TACOS:

  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 12 tortillas
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime (again, I used a lemon, instead!)
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. MAKE THE CRISPY BAKED FISH: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk the eggs. In another wide, shallow bowl, whisk the flour with the taco seasoning to combine.
  3. Working in batches, dip the fish into the egg and then into the flour mixture, tossing well to coat. Place the breaded fish on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the strips are breaded. Spray the top of the fish with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Bake the fish until they are golden brown and very crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Flip the fish with a spatula halfway through cooking to brown on both sides. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. MAKE THE CABBAGE SLAW: In a large bowl, toss the red cabbage with the green cabbage, carrots, red onion, jalapeño, lime zest, lime juice, rice vinegar and olive oil to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  6. MAKE THE TACOS: In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream with the lime zest and lime juice to combine. Set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, place 2 or 3 tortillas in the pan and heat until lightly browned on both sides, 1 minute per side. Repeat until all tortillas are toasted.
  7. To serve, place 3 tortillas on each plate, and fill each tortilla with 1 or 2 pieces of fish. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of slaw on top of each taco and drizzle each taco with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the sour cream. Garnish each plate with 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves.

I actually served the minced jalapeño separately so that my mom would be able to control the amount of hot and spicy on her own tacos (she’s very particular!)– and it worked out well! With some sour cream on the side for dunking//drizzling- there were so many amazing flavors incorporated into these- and I’ll definitely be making another batch of them soon!

Here’s to Wednesday being a breeze for all of us. It’s almost the weekend, everyone. Hang in there!

xx

– Ashley –