Backyard BBQ Recipes: 15-Minute Skillet Pepper Steak

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to another weekend! Celebrate!

Today is my half day at work, and then once I’m out of my office- it’s off to lunch in the city with some friends and getting a jump start on my plans for the next couple of days. Not that I’m counting down to noon or anything, right?

Before I wrap up a couple of things I put off until the last possible minute and race out the door-I thought I’d share a quick, mess-free and pretty convenient recipe for those of you who- like me- are doing their best to savor the last of these final Summer days with as many backyard BBQs and cookouts with friends/family as you can fit into your schedule!

If you’ve got 15 minutes to spare and some steak and vegetables on hand, you can whip up this on-the-fly dinner recipe with no hassle and feed everyone in no time at all!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 12 ounces top round beef, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or other neutral oil), divided
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ white onion, thinly slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • Sesame seeds, as needed for finishing (this is completely optional. I skipped using these this time around because I didn’t want them to get stuck in my teeth!)

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Season the steak with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the steak to the skillet and stir-fry until browned on the exterior but not fully cooked, about 2 minutes.
  2. Transfer the steak to a medium bowl. Add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and crushed red-pepper flakes. Toss well to combine.
  3. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the peppers and onion in an even layer. Cook, tossing occasionally, until just tender, about 4 minutes.
  4. Push the peppers and onion to one side of the skillet and return the steak to the other side of the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir the garlic into the peppers and cook for 1 minute more.
  5. Garnish the steak with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

I’m a carnivore through and through- and I love burgers, steaks, chicken wings, etc. during the Summer. The steak was filled with so much flavor- and I added a little extra soy sauce to the vegetables after the fact to give them an additional kick, as well.

This dinner was filling for sure- but afterwards I didn’t feel gross or like I ate too much. It was just the right portion size!

I’d actually like to incorporate some grilled corn (my favorite!) the next time I cook up this recipe for guests in order to add even more flavors and textures to it. You can’t really go wrong with the vegetable choices, after all!

But I’ve got to head out and get to work. I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your Fri-yay and a fantastic weekend!

See you all on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

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 –

Summer Sweets: Frozen Strawberry Lemonade Pie

Good Evening and Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful start to your week! While my posts typically go up early in the mornings before I head into my office for the day- I was a little pre-occupied this past weekend- and with my hours changing a bit at work (I come in a little earlier, stay a little later- and have half days on Fridays now!) I didn’t have a whole lot of time to get this yummy, sweet and just the right amount of tart recipe up on the blog ’til now!

Lemonade is my go-to, non-alcoholic drink to serve during the Summertime- especially when it’s scorching hot out (which it definitely has been around New England lately!)– since it’s so refreshing when it’s made right. When I saw this strawberry-infused, set-it-and-forget-it frozen pie version a couple of weeks ago- I knew I had to try out the recipe during one of my days off to share with friends as we tried to beat the heat and stay cool!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 24 whole graham crackers, crushed into tiny crumbs (you should have 4 cups worth of graham cracker crumbs total.)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Water, as needed
  • 3 egg whites
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 8 ounces whipped topping, thawed
  • 16 ounces frozen strawberries, thawed

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. MAKE THE CRUST: Combine butter, crushed graham crackers, and ¼ cup sugar in a large bowl. Stir together until the mixture begins to stick together. To test the mixture, pinch a small amount at a time and see if it sticks. If it doesn’t- add a tablespoon of water at a time until it does.
  2. Divide the graham cracker crumbs between two 9 inch pie plates, using your fingers to press the mixture evenly across the bottom and up the sides. Place the crusts in the freezer while you make the fillings.
  3. MAKE THE FILLING: Place the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl. Use electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites on medium speed for 1 minute. Then add the lemon juice. Beat on medium high speed for another 4 minutes. The mixture will look foamy and thick. Add the sugar, a quarter cup at a time, and continue to beat on medium high speed for 1 minute after each addition (the eggs will take about 8 minutes total to whip up completely.)
  4. Add the frozen strawberries and beat on medium speed until they’re broken up and evenly distributed throughout the egg mixture. Fold in the whipped topping.
  5. Divide the strawberry mixture evenly between the two pie pans. Cover and freeze for at least six hours- or overnight.
  6. To serve, drop the pie plate in an inch of hot water for about 30 seconds to help loosen the crust. Then slice and serve!

I love this recipe because it’s sweet and sour- but the graham cracker crust helps break up the tartness with each bite! You can also add or reduce the amount of lemon juice and sugar incorporated into this if you want the pie to taste more sour or more sweet- depending on your personal preference. I think I’ll actually be adding a little more lemon juice next time!

Here’s to another lovely week of Summer ahead of us. We’ve already made it through Monday- so here’s hoping the rest is a breeze!

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 –