The Grill

Sometimes I mis-calculate.  I’m sure this has never happened to you, but it’s a common occurrence in our house to have the occasional leftover.  Most of the time we eat them as-is.  Yet, I always feel disappointed, as though I’m just having a lesser version of whatever was made the night before.  If you can somehow take those ingredients and re-invent them, they seem to take on their own life, and leave you without the sense of ho-hum longing that leftovers usually leave you with.  So take your leftover roast chicken, and shred it over your next salad, or in our case last night, take your leftover steak, and make an amazing little sandwich.  Here’s what you’ll need:

Leftover Steak
French Crunch Rolls
Your favorite Mustard (right now mine is horseradish mustard)
Your favorite cheese (I had Gorgonzola in the fridge at the time)
Washed Mixed Greens

Now all you have to do is slice the rolls in half, slap some mustard on one or both sides, and place on a cookie sheet.  Place the steak on one side, and the cheese on the other.  Broil until the bread is crispy, the steak warm, and the cheese melted (this took about 3 min for me).  Drizzle with additional mustard if desired, and load up with your mixed greens.  Cut, serve, enjoy.  Mmmmmm…a warm crunchy sandwich that no one will believe you made just because you were trying to clean out your fridge.


This risotto nearly inspired a haiku poem, from which I will kindly spare you.  This was one of those rare and divine moments where you throw a few things you have on hand together, the heavens part, and you know that you couldn’t have designed a dish to marry flavors like this.  The juicy smoky grilled chicken, the creamy, spicy risotto, and the sweet squash all come together to make a taste bud happy.  I know that the risotto takes a little stove time, but it’s well worth it.

1lb. Aborio Rice
30 oz. Vegetable/Chicken Stock
A wine glass-full of Dry White Wine
3-4 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
A small handful fresh Sage Leaves
Fresh Parmesan Cheese, Grated (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)

1 med. Butternut Squash, cut in half and de-seeded
Olive Oil
Cinnamon, ground
Cayenne Pepper, ground

4-6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (depending on size)
Whatever seasoning you like (I used Emeril’s Essence, since I received a free bottle the other day.  It was really pretty good to.  Just a little bit spicy and smokey).

Rub chicken in whatever seasoning you’ve chosen.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a baking dish large enough to hold the squash, place squash flesh side up in the pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, and then sprinkle with cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper (just until lightly coated with each…easy on that cayenne).  Place in the oven and roast for about an hour.  About half-way through the baking time, start the risotto.

butternut squash

In a small- med. size saucepan heat the broth over low heat.  In a large saucepan drizzled with olive oil, heat the garlic on med-high heat for about 2 min.  Add the A. Rice and cook for an additional 2 min.  Add the wine and stir until absorbed.  Then add about a ladle-full of broth to the rice, stirring constantly, until absorbed.  Repeat until all of broth is used and rice is soft and creamy, stirring constantly.  About 10 min into cooking the risotto, throw your chicken on the grill and cook for about 10 min per side (about 20 min total). You should be able to walk away from the risotto just long enough to throw this on a grill pan or the outside grill, but make sure to run back in start stirring ASAP.  You’ll need to get back to the risotto before it turns into gum paste or burns (don’t worry about the chicken—-she can take care of herself until the 10 min flip).


Once your risotto is done, your squash should be ready to come out of the oven.  Take the skin off, scooping the flesh out with a spoon.  Add the squash to the risotto, as well as the sage, and salt and pepper it to taste.  Slice your chicken (which should now be ready to come off the grill), and sprinkle the risotto with some of the Parmesan.  Garnish with sage if you like and enjoy.

(Serves 6-8, depending on portion size)

My husband mans the grill.  I man the stove and oven.

On nights when I’m not really wanting to cook, he graciously takes over with the grill outside.  Last night we had Fajitas.  In 105F weather I didn’t hear one complaint from him.  Thanks, Husband.


Steak (rubbed with cumin, salt, pepper, and a touch of cayenne if you can handle it)
Bell Peppers of various colors
Black Beans (pre-soaked if they were dry, and drained if from a can)


Sour Cream
Any other fixin’s that you like

Drizzle the veggies with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Grill veggies and steak until charred on the outside (you may wish to put the steak on a couple of minutes after the veggies if you like it more on the rare side).  Meanwhile, warm your tortillas and beans on the stove.  Once everything on the grill is done, chop into strips and serve it up.  If you want to go low-carb, just skip the tortilla and pour the veggies over the steak.  Super easy.

grilled garlic bread

You waistline may not thank me, but by gum, your taste buds will.  Next time you’re out at the grill making some skewers or tuscan lemon chicken, throw these on.  I think I remember reading something about garlic warding off vampires….so if you’re sick of all the Twilight hype,* this may just be the thing for you.

What you’ll need:

Ciabatta, or other crusty bread
Butter, softened
A good amount of garlic, chopped
Fresh parsley, chopped

Split your bread open with a sharp knife.  In a bowl combine butter, garlic, and parsley.  With a spatula or butter knife, spread the butter mixture over the bread.  Grill until butter is completely melted and bread is slightly crispy (this should be pretty quick, so make sure to watch yourself).  Nothing fancy.

*Or just sick of hearing Rob Pattinson’s name screamed from teenage girls at a ear-piercing decible.


I love simple things.  Ok, so I also like really complicated things, but I want them to be about chemistry and philosophy, not cooking.  While my parents were in town two very important things happened (other than the obvious wonderful time together): The girls beat the boys in trivial pursuit (ok, ok…so the second round, not so much) and we ate skewers.

Always great for a party, you can make them up the night before and send your husband to man the grill the next day.  If you don’t have a grilling husband, you can always pull a few friends/family members outside to socialize with you.


chicken, cut into chunks
beef, cut into chunks
various bell peppers
red onion
your favorite teriyaki sauce
bamboo or metal skewers

Load the meat, veggies, and fruit onto the skewers, alternating the items as you go.  Place them in a shallow dish (like a 9×13) and pour the teriyaki over them to marinate.*  When you’re ready to cook, heat your grill and cook for about 7-10 min, flip over, and cook for another 10-12 min, or until done.

If you want to check out something TOTALLY different, a friend of mine asked me to guest blog on his page.  It’s up now.  Check it out.

*If you want some extra spice, add some crushed red pepper to the marinade.


Sooooooo this didn’t turn out so blackened.*  However, it DID turn out really flavorful and juicy.  It’s still a must try….just make sure to really crank out the flames.  The green beans were lovely, quickly tossed with some garlic and olive oil and grilled right alongside the meat.  Now that the weather is nice again (75 and sunny yesterday!), make sure you take advantage of the outdoors.

“When you’re ready to cook, simply put the meat on to a barbecue or under a hot grill for 15 to 20 minutes or until nicely charred. Every time you turn the meat, brush it generously with the leftover marinade so you build up a sticky, blackened glaze. When they’re done, put the fillets on a big platter and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice the meat between the skewers, or just slice each fillet in half, and sprinkle over some chopped coriander or squeeze over some lemon juice if you fancy.”

*If you missed Part 1 ” The Marinade,” just click here.


The Marinade:

We were going to make this last night, but it just didn’t happen.  The good news?  What was going to marinate for about an hour will, by the time I get home tonight, have sat for a full 24 hrs.  Mmmm flavor– I can taste it now.  Jamie Oliver’s site had this listed as a new meat recipe a few days ago and the pork loin in the fridge was crying out to be smothered in this beautiful sauce.  I’ll post the results tomorrow.  I have pretty high hopes, so keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned.

½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 cloves
1 heaped tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
zest and juice of 1 orange
a small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked and very finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely chopped
150ml/5½ fl oz Heinz organic tomato ketchup
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

“To make your marinade, crush up the cumin, fennel seeds and cloves in a pestle and mortar and mix with the paprika, orange zest and juice, thyme, garlic, ketchup and balsamic vinegar. Season the pork fillets with salt and pepper, then toss them in most of the marinade until completely coated. Feel free to marinate for half a day, but at least an hour.”

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