Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mesquite Grilled Tacos

IT'S TACO TUESDAY! I have to admit I have become a little obsessed with tacos lately. I look at everything and wonder would that make a good taco? I have always loved them but when I found a YouTube channel called Aim'em and Claim'em Smokers doing Taco Tuesdays; I started having them every week. You have to check out James' channel it not only delivers a delicious taco every Tuesday. He is also a very experienced BBQ fanatic. He shares all his tips and techniques for grilling, barbecue and smoking. He has also graciously made his version of two of my tacos on video to share with his subscribers. Go check him out!

Okay now for another delicious taco! This taco gets it inspiration from a meal dear sister had at a local restaurant called The Oyster Bar & GrilleThe restaurant is so good! It is sort of an island or coastal twist on Mexican food. Check them out too! They grille all their delicious food with Mesquite. She had Mesquite grilled tuna and buttered grilled veggies with fresh pico. Now doesn't that sound like it would make a great taco meal? It does, oh boy it does! I used a smoking tray you can buy at the store to get that Mesquite flavor. It is so easy you unwrap it and toss it on the grill. The wood chips inside start to smoke and they impart delicious flavor to whatever you are grilling. I grilled zucchini, squash and a red poblano as a side. I grilled both shrimp and tuna for the tacos. I also made a spiced butter to bathe everything in. Many Mexican restaurants serve a spiced butter with their grilled meats. It was amazing! The Mesquite smoke and the butter has to be my favorite part of this recipe. The veggies and shrimp seemed to absorb the most smoke. The butter is flavored with chicken bouillon, garlic and wine! It was great with everything including the pico. Such a great combo. I can't wait to try these tacos with beef or chicken too. That butter and Mesquite are too good not to give it a try. I will caution, do not marinate the tuna and shrimp for more than the time it takes to heat the grill. The lime juice will start to cook them. Check out the photos below you can see the tuna changing color just after 10 minutes. I hope you will give these tacos a try. I loved telling you about them just as much as eating them.


Mesquite Grilled Tacos
Serves 2

Ingredients

12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tuna filet
Juice of 1/2 of a lime
Drizzle of Olive oil
Several dashes of Maggi Seasoning Sauce
Spiced Salt (or salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes)
Mesquite Smoker Tray
2 wooden skewers, soaked
4 small flour tortillas
Spiced Butter (recipe below)

Directions

Place skewers to soak for 20 minutes.

Pre-heat grill on high for 10 minutes. Place smoker tray on grill while pre-heating.

Drizzle shrimp and tuna filet with olive oil, lime juice and maggi seasoning. Turn to coat with marinade. Season both side of tuna and shrimp with spiced salt and set aside. Just before grilling thread shrimp on skewers.

Grill shrimp and tuna for 2 minutes each side for a total of 4 minutes. The tuna will be medium rare, if you prefer it medium or well adjust cooking time. Remove from grill and rest while warming the tortillas. Top or brush with spiced butter.

Place a skillet on high heat, when hot warm the tortillas on both sides until warm and blistered.

To serve place grilled shrimp or tuna in a warm flour tortilla. Top with Pico de Gallo and serve with a ramekin of melted spiced butter.



Do not over marinate the tuna and shrimp!
Ten minutes is just right.








Spiced Butter

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter with canola spread
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules (Knorr)
1 clove (1/2 tsp.) garlic, minced
1/16 tsp. black pepper
1/16 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 leaves cilantro, minced
1/4 cup white wine (Chardonnay)

Directions

In a medium sized bowl combine all ingredients except wine, whisk to combine. Slowly incorporate wine whisking until thoroughly combined. Place in a container and refrigerate until ready to use.



Low Country Grill

I have been wanting to try this foil pack on the grill for a long time. My family and I love low country boils. We have drug out the big pot and made several over the years. The idea of cooking it in foil on the grill seemed so much easier. Mom and I decided to try it this weekend. We went shopping for the ingredients, made the Peanut Butter Brownie Yogurt Pie, made Chorizo Tacos for lunch and to end the evening we made this Low Country Grill. It was a full day. The foil packs turned out so delicious! The flavors are intensified cooking them this way, no water to wash a way a drop of that flavor. That being said next time I will add a tablespoon or two of stock, wine, or even beer to each pack. Two of the packs started to caramelize a bit (see last photo). It was not burnt, in fact the caramelized onions were delicious. I just think a little liquid will prevent it from happening. I will experiment a little more on my grill. Every grill is a little different and you have to adjust cooking times and know where the hot spots are. I don't know Mom and Dad's grill that well. So use the recipe as a starting place, adjust to fit your families tastes and your grilling equipment. Just try it! You will not be disappointed. The flavor really gets absorbed by the potatoes and the lemon is delicious on the shrimp. So good and so easy to clean up. You will see!


Low Country Grill
Serves 4

Ingredients

8 small new potatoes, halved
2 onions, cut into 6 wedges
1 lemon, quartered
1 large garlic clove, quartered
2 ears of corn, cut into 4 pieces
2 links of smoked sausage, cut into 4 pieces
32 shrimp (about 1 lb.), deveined
8 small bay leaves
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Extra Spicy Mrs. Dash, to taste
Stock, water, wine or beer (optional)

Directions

Pre-heat grill to high heat for 15 minutes.

In the center of four pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil, layer ingredients. Start with 4 potatoes halves, 3 onions wedges, 1 lemon wedge, a piece of garlic, 2 corn pieces and 2 pieces of sausage. Top each with 8 shrimp, season each with salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash. Tuck 2 bay leaves in each packet. (Add liquid if using.) Seal foil packet by rolling the sides of foil over the top; then seal and secure the ends. Place on the grill lowering temp to medium. Cook at medium for 20 minutes. Remove from grill and allow to cool a little before opening.




Sunday, August 2, 2015

Peanut Butter Brownie Yogurt Pie

This is so funny but the inspiration for this Yogurt Pie came from a girls trip to a burger restaurant. Mom, dear sister and I went to Twisted Root for burgers. The burgers were good, the toppings amazing, but the most memorable thing was the dessert we tried to share. We ordered one piece of Peanut Butter Brownie Pie. It came to the table frozen solid. All we had was plastic utensils to try to eat this thing. We struggled, bending most of the utensils just to saw and chip at the delicious peanut butter ice cream and brownie filling. Then there was the crust, it was a really thick homemade Oreo crust and it was rock hard. I was laughing as I watch my Mom and sister saw and stab at it trying to get a bite. Then it happened! One of them who will remain nameless to protect their reputation, picked it up with their hands and gnawed on it just to get a bite. I really started laughing then. Eventually after lots of laughing, no manners, sawing, bent plastic tools, the pie was gone. It was so good! The pie was really rich and decadent. I bet thawed a little bit, it would have been much easier to eat. 

On the way out of the restaurant Mom and I discussed how to recreate this pie at home. I was sure it would be pretty easy; peanut butter ice cream, oreo pie crust, brownies, I mean that sounds simple enough. Then I had the idea to try to make it a yogurt pie. I don't think we would save any calories, but maybe a little fat? It would definitely be packed with protein from the Greek yogurt and peanut butter. Well this weekend we gave it a try. It was really easy, more assemble than cooking. It was also just as decadent. The only trick is to mix the peanut butter with one carton of yogurt at a time. You want it to be thoroughly combined and a little fluffy before you fold in the whipped topping. We used store bought brownies cut into bite size pieces and folded them in as well. We were both pleased with the results. I will definitely make it again next time I have a peanut butter and chocolate craving.




P.S. My apologizes for the photography. 
I was at Mom and Dad's and did not have my camera with me.


Peanut Butter Brownie Yogurt Pie
Serves 6

Ingredients

2 cartons of light vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup smooth peanut butter
12 oz. carton of light whipped topping (Cool Whip)
4 store bought brownies, cut into pieces
1 prepared Oreo cookie crust

Directions

Place one carton yogurt in a mixing bowl. Fill carton with peanut butter and add to bowl, combine yogurt and peanut butter really well. Add second carton of yogurt mixing well. Add an equal amount of whipped topping (about 1-1/2 cups or half of the carton) gently fold whipped topping into yogurt. Cut 3 brownies into 9 squares each, fold into yogurt mixture. Pour into pie crust and spread evenly. Place pie in the freezer and freeze solid. When frozen, spread the top with the remaining whipped topping, and garnish with additional brownie pieces.


Note: Remove the pie from the freezer when you sit down to dinner. That way it is thawed just a bit and you will not bend any utensils or lose your manners when it is time to serve dessert. LOL!




No plastic utensils were harmed in eating this pie.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Jambalaya Grill Packets

Guess what! I am still cooking with foil. In fact I made these Jambalaya Grill Packets three times before I finally took photos. I made it once just for me in recipe development, then I made it for the family. They all loved it. Then my favorite person in the world was here last weekend and I made it for him. I was busy having fun and did not even think about photos. So tonight I made it one more time so I could get photos to share with you. It is an easy, fresh twist on jambalaya. It has all the flavor of an oven cooked jambalaya, but the veggies are more apparent. And you do not have to heat up the house with the oven. You assemble the packets, place on the grill and come back 20 minutes later. Done! It is really a great summer meal. A super easy way to share a taste of Louisiana with your family and friends. I have made it with both white and brown converted rice; both work well. I think the white rice absorbs a little more liquid then the brown, but both taste great. I will caution you about seasoning. Rotel tomatoes have some heat so if your sausage is spicy go light on the creole seasoning. But if your a heat seeker, add red pepper flakes too. That is what I did tonight and it was deliciously spicy. So good! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and friends.



Jambalaya Grill Packets
Serves 4
                  
Ingredients

2 cups converted white or brown rice
2 tsp. Chicken Tomato Bouillon
1 can Rotel tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
12 Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 link of turkey smoked sausage, sliced
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
Black pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Creole seasoning, to taste
2 bay leaves, torn in half
Handful of parsley, chopped
2 green onion, sliced

Directions

Pre-heat grill to high heat for 15 minutes.

Drain Rotel tomatoes reserving the liquid in a 2 cup measuring cup. Add enough water to the tomato liquid to equal 2 cups. Combine rice, bouillon and tomato water in a bowl stir and set aside for at least 5 minutes. Place tomatoes over rice mixture.

Chop garlic, onion, bell pepper, and celery place on top of tomato and rice mixture. Stir to combine and place in the center of a four pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place a fourth of the shrimp, sausage and chicken on top of each packet. Season each with salt, pepper and creole seasoning. Tuck half a bay leaf in each packet. Seal foil packet by rolling the sides of foil over the top; then seal and secure the ends. Place on the grill lowering temp to medium. Cook at medium for 20 minutes. Remove from grill and allow to rest five minutes. Serve garnished with parsley and green onions.





Linking to:
Reasons to Skip the Housework: STH Link Party #81

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Chorizo Potato and Egg Tacos

Yummy! Yummy! Breakfasts tacos! Or in our case lunch. Dear sister was off today and I had a very light work load today at home. So I finally got around to making these delicious Chorizo Potato and Egg Tacos. I have dreamed about them ever since I discovered my love for chorizo. When I lived in Texas it was common to see potato egg and sausage tacos on breakfast menus. They were so good! I just knew chorizo would take them to a whole different level. I started with the chorizo, I knew cooking it would render some tasty fat to cook the potatoes in. I precooked the potatoes a bit in the microwave to give them a head start. They browned crispy in the chorizo fat absorbing all the flavor. Last thing to prepare were the eggs, fluffy and cheesy with the addition of a Mexican cheese blend. Everything was so good together in a warm tortilla. With the spicy chorizo they don't even need salsa. They are great on their own. Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I will definitely make them again for years to come.


Chorizo Potato and Egg Tacos
Serves 2                                  

Ingredients

1 medium Idaho potato, peeled and diced
1/2 (9 oz.) tube of pork chorizo
1 tsp. vegetable oil (optional)
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
4 small flour tortilla
1 tsp. butter
3 eggs, beaten
4 Tbsp. Mexican cheese blend, divided

Directions

Place potatoes in a microwave safe bowl. Rinse potatoes with water until water runs clear. Drain water from potatoes, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 3 minutes.

Place a pan over medium heat. Add chorizo to pan, cook stirring often until the chorizo is reddish brown with crispy edges. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add a little oil to chorizo fat if necessary and return pan to heat. Drain potatoes and add to pan in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Brown on one side for 5 minutes and then flip potatoes and brown for 5 more minutes. Continue cooking flipping potatoes until brown and crispy on all sides about an additional 5 minutes. Remove from pan and taste for seasoning adjust if necessary.

Place a dry skillet on high heat, when hot warm the tortillas on both sides until warm and blistered. Place in a clean dish towel to keep warm.

In pan used to cook chorizo and potatoes, lower heat to medium low. Add butter to pan; when melted pour in eggs and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. of cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir eggs gently folding until just set, remove from heat.

To assemble the tacos, place two tortillas on each plate. Place 1/4 of the potatoes, chorizo, eggs and remaining cheese on each tortilla.










Linking to:
My Turn for Us: Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends
Reasons to Skip the Housework: STH Link Party #81

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Creole Catfish Foil Packet

I am really enjoying cooking with foil these days. It is so easy and mess free. Something you might not know about me is I do not like cleaning pots and pans. I don't mind loading the dishwasher, but washing the pots is not my thing. They are heavy and cumbersome. So these foil packets on the grill are amazing! NO POTS!!! It is a complete meal in a foil pouch. For this foil pack I turned to those familiar Louisiana flavors. I started with rice, using converted rice pre-soaked in water and bouillon for extra flavor. Then I add the trinity of onions, celery and bell pepper. I chose both catfish and shrimp for the protein. And to finish the dish, I added a slow cooked tomato flavor with chili sauce and fresh tomatoes. The end results a deliciously moist catfish filet over rice and veggies with almost a shrimp creole topping. It really turned out great! I was a little worried that the rice would be over or under cooked. But it was perfect. I will definitely use this technique for more foil packets featuring rice in the future.


Creole Catfish Foil Packet
Serves 1

Ingredients

1/2 cup converted brown rice
1/2 tsp. Chicken Tomato Bouillon
1/2 cup water
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 catfish filet                                                    
Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy, to taste
Sea Salt, to taste
2 to 3 Tbsp. Chili Sauce
4 Shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 to 3 sprigs parsley, chopped
1 green onion, sliced

Directions

Pre-heat grill to high heat for 15 minutes.

Combine rice, bouillon and water in a bowl stir and set aside for at least 5 minutes.

Chop garlic, onion, bell pepper, celery and tomatoes place on top of rice mixture. Stir to combine and place in the center of a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place catfish filet on top and season with Mrs. Dash and salt. Top with chili sauce then place shrimp on top. Season the shrimp with more seasoning. Seal foil packet by rolling the sides of foil over the top; then seal and secure the ends. Place on the grill lowering temp to medium. Cook at medium for 20 minutes. Remove from grill and allow to rest five minutes. Serve garnished with parsley and green onions.







Want more Foil Packets?
Check out these posts:


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Peach Pico de Gallo

This post started out as a taco idea, but I soon discovered that one ingredient stood out as the best part of the taco. The Peach Pico de Gallo was definitely the star. The taco was okay but nothing to drool over. The crunchy, sweet and juicy topping was something to get excited about. How did the new pico come to be? Well I wanted to make a fruit topping for a mustard grilled pork taco. I used my usual Pico de Gallo recipe and substituted 3 peaches for some of the tomatoes. I also used a yellow bell pepper instead of the green. This is what makes the peach pico crunchy. I omitted the garlic altogether and added some agave nectar to adjust the sweetness of the peaches. It really turned out amazing! It is great with chips for a sweet and salty snack. It complements BBQ flavors well. It is also delicious with pork, chicken, fish and shrimp. I also tried some on a ground turkey taco that I had seasoned with Piri Piri Barbecue Sauce. Very good! Definitely a great use of all those summer peaches available now. I will definitely make another batch before summer is gone. I hope you will too.



Peach Pico de Gallo
Makes about 5 cups

Ingredients

3 large peaches, pitted and diced
1 roma tomato, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 small red onion, diced
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar, or to taste
Handful of cilantro, chopped
Kosher salt to taste

Directions

Chop all ingredients and combine in a large bowl.  Add lime juice, oil, vinegar and cilantro. Stir to combine and season with salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with chips, BBQ, pork, chicken. shrimp, or fish. Try it as a salad topper too!





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