Posts tagged ‘Grilling’

Recipe – Grilled Chicken With Spinach Pesto

The past few nights I’ve been working a bit later than I’d like to be. This fact usually means we do very quick things for dinner, like pre-made soups, leftovers worked into something new and different or meals that I can pick up on my way in from the office. Even though I knew I was in for a longer day, I’d have none of that tonight. Since I had leftover fresh spinach from Souper Sunday’s Creamy Chicken Florentine, I opted for a twist on a traditional Basil and Pine Nut Pesto.

Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto

We did our spinach pesto over a grilled chicken and paired it with balsamic marinated asparagus spears and fresh Roma tomatoes seasoned with salt and pepper. Here’s how you do it.


  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 fresh lemon squeezed
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Pine Nuts, Spinach, Black Pepper and Kosher Salt


1. Heat a grill pan on medium high heat. Lightly oil the grill pan. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and some garlic salt. Grill the chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Grill asparagus that has marinated in balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper on separate portion of the pan. Turn asparagus at the same time you turn the chicken. Remove after about 6 to 8 minutes. It should cook a little faster than the chicken. Just set it aside to cool.

2. While you’re grilling, combine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a food processor. Lightly pulse. Pause occasionally to gradually add the 1/3 cup of the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy.

3. Transfer the spinach mixture to a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan. Season the pesto with salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Spread the pesto over each piece of chicken and serve.

It’s awesome and super fast (like 15 minutes fast). I don’t think I’ve made something recently that Vita has enjoyed so much. She was raving about the spinach pesto and found herself looking for things to put it on after the chicken and tomatoes were gone. Enjoy!


February 4, 2009 at 7:55 pm 1 comment

Recipe – Grilled Greek Chicken Salad

Tuesday night was one of those nights that I honestly didn’t have anything planned for dinner. So when Vita sent me a text asking for a meal that she’d originally had at my mother’s house, I took it as a welcome out of having to come up with something original. I made two different meals. For myself, I made a Grilled Greek Chicken Salad. For Vita, simply grilled Greek chicken, grilled veggies and Tzatziki sauce.

Grilled Greek Chicken Salad

The real secret is good chicken breasts and the right blend of Greek spices. The best in my opinion is the blend my mother uses, which we buy at Rafal Spice Company in Detroit’s Eastern Market area. You can order it online here.

Various Veggies on a cutting board


  • 1/2 Red onion – chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper – Diced
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper – Diced
  • Black Olives – Diced
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Halved
  • 2 medium sized chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons of Greek Seasoning Mix
  • 4 cups pre-packaged salad mix
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat Greek Dressing
  • 4 tablespoons Feta cheese

1. Preheat grill pan over medium high heat. As your pan is heating, coat both sides of chicken breasts with the Greek seasoning mix.

Raw chicken with Greek spices.

2. Dice vegetables and spray grill pan with non-stick spray. Grill chicken four minutes per side and grill veggies until tender. Turn chicken and remove from grill. Allow chicken to rest.

Grilled Greek Chicken

3. Slice chicken and add to salad. Distribute toppings and dress to your liking.

This is so simple and so good. Vita’s dinner is pictured below.

Greek Chicken with grilled vegetables

Not really a complex recipe, but it’s really, really tasty. It’s so much more fun to make your own grilled salads anyway.

January 27, 2009 at 9:49 pm 1 comment

Recipe – Grilled Steak With Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

There are some days you just need to spoil yourself a little. Today, was one of those days for me. My wife is away for the remainder of the weekend visiting girlfriends, which makes it the perfect evening for me to do something that’s beef based. I’ve been having a craving for a nice grilled steak, so I opted for a steak with gorgonzola cream sauce.

Grilled steak in Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

The cream sauce takes a very long time, and requires a lot of attention, but the payoff is ohhh so worth it. Here’s how you do it.

Raw Steak


  • 2 10 ounce New York Strip steaks
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Gorgonzola and Parsley


1. In a medium saucepan bring the heavy cream to a full boil over medium-high heat. Once the cream has come to boil continue to boil rapidly for 45 to 50 minutes until it thickens. If you’ve never boiled cream before, it has a tendency to boil over VERY quickly. Make sure you stir it occasionally and keep an eye on it. This isn’t something you can set and forget.

2. As the cream begins to boil, rub your steaks in olive oil and give them a generous rub with salt and freshly ground pepper. After 35 minutes, toss your steaks onto a grill pan or on a traditional grill. Cook steak to your liking. I do about 4 to 5 minutes a side tops for a medium rare finish. Halfway through the grilling process, toss on 8 to 10 spears of asparagus and cook through.

3. Off the heat, add the Gorgonzola, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and parsley. Whisk rapidly until the cheeses melt and serve warm.

4. Plate your steaks and let the meat rest for approximately 4 minutes. Spoon Gorgonzola sauce over your steak and asparagus and grind two or three turns of freshly ground pepper over the top.

It’s a fantastic sauce and you’ll undoubtedly have leftovers. It’s great on crackers, grilled chicken or even as a salad dressing. Reheating it is VERY easy or you can have it cold.

If you must reheat, warm the sauce over low heat until melted, then whisk vigorously until the sauce comes together.

Let me know if you try it… the sauce is really easy but tastes gourmet!

January 24, 2009 at 8:22 pm 4 comments

Recipe – Grilled Chicken With Lemon Basil Dressing

After our morning workout, I decided to give a recipe I originally saw on Giada De Laurentis’ Food Network show, Everyday Italian a go, while making a few modifications of my own. So before leaving for work, I made the marinade for grilled chicken with lemon basil dressing. I’m happy to report that it turned out fabulously.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Dressing

Looks pretty appetizing huh? Allow me to attest, the dressing is AMAZING. I’ll be using it for everything from salads, to marinades Here’s how to make the whole shebang.

Fennel Seed

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons (for marinade) plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds (the original recipe calls for a course crush, but Vita isn’t a big fennel fan. I left them intact for a milder flavor)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • teaspoon grated lemon zest

Lemon, Basil and Garlic on Cutting Board


Raw Chicken with Lemon Fennel Marinade

Whisk in 1/3 cup of oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, fennel seeds, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a heavy-duty, zippered, plastic bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day, turn the chicken occasionally if you have time. Just be sure you get to toss it every now and again before you bring it to the grill.

Basil, Kosher Salt, Pepper, Lemon Zest and Garlic in Food Processor

Blend the basil, garlic, lemon zest, remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth. Once you’ve got it evened out, blend in the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Season the basil sauce, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired. I don’t think you’ll need it though, as it’s already a flavor backed punch.

Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to plates. Drizzle the basil sauce over and serve.

The lemon basil sauce adds a huge kick to the chicken, giving it a lot flavor. The marinade makes the chicken really, really moist and the fennel adds a lot of earthy tones to the meat. This is a recipe I have a feeling I’ll be making over and over again. Vita said the chicken “dances” in your mouth. I’d agree, it’s really strong and very zippy. Try it, I have a feeling you’ll like it.

January 21, 2009 at 8:43 pm 1 comment

Recipe – Pasta with Spicy Spinach and Garlic Italian Sausage

I’m resolving to start cooking fresh daily. I’ve found that since I commute so far, it’s getting difficult to come home, pull everything out and then get cooking. Now, I shop on my lunch hour, prep the meal in my head and I’m straight to cooking with almost all the ingredients I need, right in my shopping bag. So, yesterday when I was on my shopping excursion I couldn’t pass up some fresh made pasta or the spinach and garlic Italian Sausages (chicken) that they had just placed at the meat counter.

What I ended up making last night was a nice spicy pasta with the fresh linguine and made a tomato and Insalata Caprese as a side. Nice and quick, and very hearty meal for an October night that reminded me just how cold it’s going to get in Michigan soon.


  • 2 large Roma Tomatoes
  • About 8 medallions of fresh Mozzarella cheese
  • Four fresh Italian Sausages of your Choice (we did Spinach,Garlic and Wine)
  • 1 pound of fresh semolina linguine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pasta sauce
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup of diced mushrooms
  • 3 tabespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. In a saucepan, cook onion, carrot and garlic in olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add tomato sauce, mushrooms and crushed red pepper to the mix and stir well. Add any additional spices you like. I usually toss in a few tablespoons of oregano and basil and an extra pinch of garlic salt and a splash of red wine. Allow the sauce to simmer for at least 10 minutes if not 15 to 20 to allow the flavors to merry.

2. While your sauce is cooking, use a grill pan or your outdoor grill to start cooking your sausages. I cook with gas in my house and since it was raining out, I used the grill pan we got for our wedding. It’s pretty amazing and super speedy.

3. Cook the sausages thoroughly, turning after about 4 to 6 minutes. Once they’ve got a nice brown crust on each side, pull them from your pan and set them aside to rest for a few minutes. While you’re letting them rest, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

4. Cut the sausages into bite sized medallions and promptly add them to your sauce.

5. Once your pasta water comes to temperature toss the fresh linguine into the pot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes tops. Fresh pasta is a totally different beast than the dried, and if you want any sort of texture to the pasta, you have to mind the clock and be quick about stopping the cooking process.

6. Once you’re done, combine everything in the pasta pot and serve. It’s really hearty, warming and the sausage really does a nice flavor job on the sauce as well. We toss a little Parmesan Reggiano over the top as well.

7. The Insalatta Caprese is really easy. Slice your tomatoes into thin medallions, layer it on a plate with your mozzarella medallions and either sprinkle with some chopped fresh basil or tear off whole leaves as we did.

8. Drizzle olive oil and dress the plate with some kosher salt and some cracked black pepper.

That’s it! Serve it with a wedge or two of crusty bread to mop up your excess sauce and you’ve got a great, hearty Italian meal.

October 3, 2008 at 10:04 am 2 comments

Recipe – Teriyaki Salmon with Grilled Pineapple

I love all seafood, and for my money, Salmon is always up there. It’s a very strong flavor, but I enjoy strong flavors, especially with seafood. And last night, we finally had enough time to get to some serious cooking. The weather was absolutely stunning, which made it the perfect end of summer night to do fish and grilled pineapple – one of Vita’s favorite things.

This is also a very quick grilled meal, so it’s perfect for when you’re short on time. We served it with a side of green beans.


Teriyaki Sauce ( I like this recipe from Tyler Florance)

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup scallion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

Other ingredients

  • Two salmon steaks
  • 1/2 pineapple, cut into spears
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 2 cups of green beans

1. Combine all teriyaki ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 1 hour before use.

2. After marinade has come together, add it to your salmon steaks and let it rest in a large zip lock bag for up to eight hours, but a minimum of 15 minutes. It can be brushed on if you don’t want the flavors to penetrate the fish.

3. Preheat grill and be sure to use a non-stick grill spray, or even butter to be sure that your fish doesn’t stick.

3. Just how long your fish should be grilled can only be estimated by size and shape. For a 1/2-inch cut of salmon, I’ll leave the grill at a medium highe heat and you should cook the first side 3 to four minutes before I flip. Then it’s about a solid 4 minutes on the second side.

4. After you’ve cooked the first side of your fish, add the pineapple, allow grill marks to appear and turn frequently. You want it to get warm enough for the juices to get going in there, but you don’t want to cook it so long that it might dry out.

Super good, super easy. Enjoy!

September 19, 2008 at 11:33 am 7 comments

Recipe – Greek Buffalo Burgers

Today was probably the second best day of the year (the first being my wedding day!) because football has returned. And given that my lovely bride is on call tonight, I had the day to myself – which provided for ample opportunity to take in lots of gridiron action and get to grilling and Week 1 of my new Sunday feature, Gourmet from the Tailgate.

My choice for Week 1 action? A really great, really healthy, Greek Buffalo Burger. It features feta cheese, colossal Greek olives, Roma tomatoes and mild yellow pepper rings. It’s absolutely fantastic and a lot more flavorful than your run of the mill tailgate burgers. Trust me guys, the effort is worth it.

If you’ve never tried a buffalo burger or buffalo meat, I highly recommend it. My local grocer carries it most weeks and it’s absolutely certified organic. It’s also quite lean. The meat I get most often comes from Maverick Ranch, a family owned ranch dedicated to environmentally sustainable ranching. Their Buffalo program raises meat on only natural grasses, omits any animal by-product and antibiotics. They also use no hormones. These are really great alternatives to the frozen beef patties or ground beef, and you’re helping sustainable farming (go you!).

So, let’s get cooking.


  • 1 pound Ground Buffalo Meat
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes sliced into rings
  • 2 Tablespoons mild yellow peppers
  • 7 colossal Greek black olives – cut into quarters
  • 3 tablespoons Crumbled Feta Cheese (get the dried kind not the brine packed, it will add too much salt and kill the taste of your buffalo!)
  • 2 tablespoons Dan’s Burger seasoning (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 whole wheat kaiser rolls

1. Pull the meat from your package and place it into a medium sized bowl. After you’ve washed those hands, massage the meat a bit and add the burger seasoning and the lime juice. If you’d like, you can add the feta at this step or use it as a topping. I use 1 tablespoon per half pound of meat, so you don’t add too much salt to the buffalo.

2. After kneading the spices into the buffalo meat, form two patties (I like my burgers thick, but if you want smaller patties, you can probably pull off four from a pound of meat).

3. Once you’re done, bring your meat out to a pre-heated grill and toss those babies on.

4. Cook according to directions on the package. Because it’s leaner than beef, Buffalo will cook faster! So, if you like your burgers a bit more on the rare or medium rare side, be sure you pull them off sooner than you think you’ll need to. In my experience Ground buffalo will reach 160˚F 15%-20% faster than ground beef or even ground sirloin. If it’s your first time cooking with buffalo, use a thermometer and check the internal temperature often. Mine took about 4 minutes a side, if not a little less, for a nice pink medium rare.

5. Place your burger on a kaiser roll and top with the colossal Greek olives, the feta (if you didn’t add it to the meat), the pepper rings and the tomatoes. Couldn’t be easier!

These burgers are huge on flavor and the tart feta cheese, tang of the pepper rings and rich saltiness of the Greek olives all play very well with the slightly gamier taste of the Buffalo meat. These things literally melt in your mouth they’re so lean. All in all, they’re a lot healthier for you as well. So you won’t feel as guilty polishing off that second one if you’re on your own (though admittedly I couldn’t finish the second). It pairs very well with Sam Adams’ Oktoberfest and is perfect for any football pre-game.

Now, if I could only get the lowly Lions to play as well as these things taste. At least I’ll have the food coma to overcome the poor score.

Oh, and if you want to try my spice blend here’s the recipe!
Dan’s Burger Rub (Recipe good for 1 pound of meat)

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Celery salt

September 7, 2008 at 8:42 pm 5 comments

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