Monday, May 31, 2010

Grilled Pork Ribs

My honey just made us some of the most fabulous ribs. He really likes to grill and has been trying out some new recipes. This one definitely delighted my taste buds. I'm still thinking about the ribs and wishing we had leftovers. Too bad we gobbled up all the ribs in one sitting. So I asked my hubs to share with you his technique. Here he is...

Here are the steps I used to Barbeque Pork Ribs on my small two-burner gas grill. Every grill will probably cook differently, but the concepts are the same.

1) Remove the pork ribs from the package and remove the silvery membrane on the bone side of the ribs. Start at one of the corners and you can get under the membrane and start peeling it away. Once you've lift off part of the membrane, you can grip it with a paper towel so it doesn't slip out of your hands. Then wash the rack of ribs thoroughly with water and pat dry with paper towels.

2) Add a good "rub" to the ribs. This is what will really give the ribs a good flavor. Here's the rub I used:

1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp salt
3 tsp brown sugar

Mix all the ingredients up and spread it over both sides of the rack of ribs. Spread half of it on the meat side and literally "rub" it in and work it into the meat. Spread the other half on the bone side and do the same thing. Wrap the rack of ribs that have just been "rubbed" in saran wrap and place in the fridge for 24 hrs.

3) Make the "smoke bombs". Get some grilling wood chips (I use Hickory smoke flavor). The smoke produced from these will add some extra flavor to the ribs. Place about half a cup of damp wood chips in the center of a sheet of aluminum foil. Wrap them up in such a way that there is only one layer of foil on one side. Then on that side, punch some holes in the foil (I use a fork). When I made these ribs, I made two "smoke bombs".

4) The key to grilling pork ribs is using "indirect" heat. With my smaller gas grill, the way I set it up is like this (see picture below). Place the "smoke bombs" on top of the lava rocks beneath the grilling rack in opposite corners. Then place a disposable aluminum pan and fill it about 1/2 to 3/4 full with water and place it on top of the grilling rack. This doesn't steam the ribs but does keep them from drying out. My grill has 2 layers of grilling racks (I think the top one is a warming rack, but that is what I'll use to grill the ribs). If your grill does not have this, you can just get an extra grilling rack and place it on top of the aluminum pan. Warm up the grill on MEDIUM heat for about 10 minutes. This will get the wood chips to start smoking. Right before you put the ribs on the grill, turn the grill down to LOW heat.

5) When the grill has warmed up sufficiently, take a folded paper towel soaked in vegetable oil and rub it over the grill rack. This will prevent the ribs from sticking to the rack. Place the pork ribs with the bones facing down on the top rack and baste the meat with apple cider. This will help tenderize the meat, keep them moist and add some flavor to the meat while grilling.

6) Check the ribs every 45 minutes and baste them with the apple cider each time. Avoid checking more frequently as everytime you open the grill, you loose the smoke and the heat. Also, do NOT turn the ribs. You will grill the ribs with the bones down the whole time.

7) It takes about 2.5 - 3 hours to cook the ribs. Time will vary according to the grill. You kind of have to experiment. There are number of ways to tell if the meat is done: the temperature of the meat is between 160-180 degrees, the meat flakes off the bone, and a tooth pick or fork will pass easily through the meat.

8) The last 1/2 hour is when you add your favorite barbeque sauce. Baste the meat side with your favorite barbeque sauce and let cook for 5 minutes. Then flip the ribs and baste the other side and let cook for 5 minutes. Repeat this until both sides have been basted three times (total of 30 minutes).

9) Your ribs are done! Enjoy!

Let me just reiterate that these ribs were delish!!! Thanks to my hot hubby for the great meal!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Honey Curry Chicken

This is another recipe I found on Sister's Cafe. It's really yummy and so quick and easy to make which means it is my kind of dinner!

Honey Curry Chicken
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6-8) or chicken tenders (2.5-3 lb)
¼ c. butter or margarine
½ c. honey
¼ c. prepared mustard
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. salt

Place chicken in greased casserole dish. Melt butter in a pot on stove. Add other ingredients to pot and mix well, warm only, no need to boil. Pour mixture over chicken. Place in oven, bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear. Garnish with sautéed mushrooms (in butter, with salt and pepper) if desired.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thai Lettuce Wraps

So I love lettuce wraps. Really love them. To the point where, when I go out to eat at any restaurant I often order lettuce wraps as my meal. I have tried lots of lettuce wrap recipes that call for lots of crazy ingredients. Things you don't normally have around the house. So I buy all the stuff and then I am disappointed because they don't taste as good as I think they should. When I found this recipe, I was super excited because most of the ingredients I had already. I was hoping it would be better than the rest. I was not disappointed. They were delicious! My hubby loved them too! Plus, they were so easy to make. I am so happy to have found this recipe. A huge thanks to Sister's Cafe for the fantastic recipe!

Thai Lettuce Wraps

1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into small chunks
Salt and freshly, ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. sweet chili sauce
1/4 c. honey
1 iceberg lettuce heads, cut into halves or quarters (I did halves.)
1/2 c. honey-roasted peanuts, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 handful basil, chopped (fresh is best but not essential)

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with one turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. (Or you can use Pam, and a little water when needed to save calories.) Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook in the pan until golden brown on all sides.  Add in the red pepper and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add in the chili sauce and honey and simmer to reduce it and coat the chicken. Add the chopped peanuts, lime juice, and basil to the chicken mixture before serving. To serve, lay the lettuce leaves on a platter. Scoop some chicken mixture onto each leaf. Serve and enjoy! (You could also just have each individual add the chopped peanuts, lime juice, and basil to their own chicken mixture according to their tastes. It's up to you.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tortellini Spinach Salad with Balsamic-Tomato Vinaigrette

Tortellini Spinach Salad with Balsamic-Tomato Vinaigrette

20 ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 (14.5 oz.) can quartered artichokes
1 (9 oz.) bag fresh baby spinach
1 (3 oz.) bag sun dried tomatoes or jar of sun dried tomatoes, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup diced red onion
Shredded Chicken

9 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ tablespoon tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/8 teaspoon each)
3/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons sugar

Cook tortellini in boiling water until al dente. Drain and toss (carefully so the tortellini don’t break apart) with a teaspoon of olive oil to keep from sticking. Let cool in colander. In a large bowl, toss all the salad ingredients together after the pasta has cooled.

In a blender add all of the dressing ingredients except for the olive oil and process until smooth. Then, while the blender is running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until completely combined. If serving the salad right away, immediately pour the dressing over the salad and toss well (you may not need all the dressing). Serve.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

German Chocolate Cheesecake

This is heaven on a plate. I love German Chocolate Cake and Cheesecake. Combine the two and you have got something I'm going to savor for life! This is one of my favorite desserts now! I found the recipe when I was pregnant and have saved it for when I wasn't constantly nauseous! I'm so glad I did because it was scrumptious! The recipe came from Mommy's Kitchen.

German Chocolate Cheesecake

1 package german chocolate cake mix

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, cubed (not margarine)
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups flaked coconut
1-1/2 cup chopped pecans

Prepare cake batter according to package directions; set aside. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour half of the cake batter into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Gently pour cream cheese mixture over batter. Gently spoon remaining batter over top; spread to edge of pan. Bake at 325° for 70-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. For frosting, in a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, butter and egg yolks Cook and stir over medium-low heat until thickened and a thermometer reads 160° or is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla; fold in coconut and pecans. Cool until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cooled cake. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 16 servings


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