Southern BBQ Baked Beans

Ingredients:

1 onion, diced
½ green pepper, diced
10 slices thick-cut bacon, halved
3 cans (28 oz each) pork and beans
¾ cup BBQ sauce
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup distilled or cider vinegar
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Move the oven rack in the lowest position.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until about half-way cooked or until you have roughly 1/4 cup of bacon drippings. Transfer bacon to a paper towel reserving drippings in the skillet.

Add the onion and green pepper to the skillet and cook until tender.

Add the pork and beans and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer then pour into a 9” x 13” baking dish or pan.

Top with the partially-cooked bacon and bake uncovered for about 2 hours, stirring once.

Quick & Easy Barbecue Beans

Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped
1 pkg pre-cooked bacon slices, crumbled
2 cans pork and beans (15 oz cans)
2 cans butter beans (15 oz cans)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup barbecue sauce
2 tbsp.molasses
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder

Directions:

Rinse and drain butter beans.

In a 3 quart baking dish or dutch oven, combine all ingredients. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. This dish can be assembled and/or baked the day before your celebration to save time.

If you like a little meat in your bbq beans, you can add up to 1 lb of cooked beef. You may need a bigger baking dish though.

How to Make a Low-Carb Beef Stew

Beef stew is traditionally made as a broth stew with beef, carrots, onions, and celery. This is a healthy soup, but it turns into one filled with carbs when you add in the potatoes. The following recipe helps you make a stew that is lower in carbs so it might work better for the type of diet you are on.

Simple Ways to Make it Low Carb

Before we get into the actual recipe tips for putting together a low-carb beef stew, it helps to first understand what is going to reduce the carbohydrates. The main way to lower the carbs in your beef stew is to either use less potatoes or take the potatoes out altogether. Classic beef stew calls for beef, carrots, onions, celery, and potatoes. By taking the potatoes out altogether, you really help to reduce the carbs. Another good way to make it low-carb is to double up on the meat, and use half of the amount of vegetables you would typically use. This allows you to increase the protein and lower the vegetables carbs a bit.

Preparing Your Ingredients

Now comes the ingredients portion of the recipe. For a low-carb beef stew, start with your cooked meat. You should always make stew with meat that has already been cooked in the pan. This speeds up the stew process. Stew meat is typically used in beef stew, but if you have other types of cuts of beef, go ahead and chop them up into bite-size pieces, cook them, and add them to your stew.

You will still use veggies that other stews have, including carrots, celery, and onions. For seasonings, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic are typically used. You can make the soup broth by using beef broth and Worcestershire sauce, both of which are low in carbohydrates. If you want, you can add water and lower the broth amount a little bit.

Making Your Beef Stew

If you haven’t done so already, add some oil to your big soup pot and add the uncooked beef to it. Cook it up until is cooked all the way through. You can leave the oil and the beef in the pot for the remainder of the cooking. You are now able to add in your broth, Worcestershire sauce, veggies, and seasonings. However, if you are slow-cooking it, add the carrots and celery after about an hour of simmering the stew, since they get tender much more quickly.

Grilled Bananas

Ingredients:

6 firm bananas, unpeeled
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat the grill to medium/high heat. Meanwhile combine the sugar and cinnamon and prepare several toppings such as hot fudge, butterscotch or honey. Lay the unpeeled bananas on the grill and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, only turning once. The peels will be almost black when finished. Carefully remove the hot peels and toss the bananas into the sugar and cinnamon. Slice and serve while warm with a topping of choice.

Grilled Tequila Shrimp

Servings will depend on how well your guests or family like shrimp.

Ingredients:

2 pounds of large, unpeeled shrimp

½ cup of peanut oil (olive oil can be used instead)

½ cup of Tequila, any brand

¼ cup of lime juice

2 shallots, chopped

2 medium cloves of garlic, minced

2 teaspoons of ground cumin

Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

If you are using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for an hour before you get started.

Thread 3 or 4 shrimp onto the skewers and place them all in a shallow glass dish. Don’t use an aluminum pan!

In a bowl, mix the tequila, lime juice, garlic, shallots, cumin, and salt and pepper. Base the salt and pepper on your personal taste. Slowly whisk in the peanut oil until everything is well blended. Pour over the shrimp and leave in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours to marinate.

Oil the grill to prevent sticking or apply a non-stick spray like Pam. Bring the grill to medium heat. Lay out the skewers and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.

Note: Waste not-Want not! Use the remaining tequila to make a cocktail called Tequila Sunrise. The original recipe called for tequila, cream de cassis, lime juice and soda water but a more popular version uses tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup. It gets its name from the way it looks after pouring into a glass. To make 4 drinks, mix 8 measures of tequila with 8 dashes of grenadine and add orange juice.

Beef Kebobs with Asian Slaw

Ingredients

1 1/4 pounds boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup teriyaki sauce
1 small head green cabbage, tough outer leaves removed
1 bunch green onions
4 rings fresh pineapple
1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for brushing

Directions

Use a sealed container to marinate the beef in 1/2 cup of the teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes. Prepare a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill to medium-high, and oil the grates.

Thread the beef onto skewers. Cut the cabbage in half and remove the core, then cut the halves into quarters.

Brush canola oil on the cut sides of the cabbage, the white parts of the onions, and the pineapple slices. Then brush oil on the skewered beef.

Grill the beef for 2 minutes per side, turning once, or until cooked to your liking.

Grill the cabbage, onions, and pineapple rings for 2 to 3 minutes or until you have visible grill marks, turning them once with tongs.

Bring everything inside.

Chop the onions (include some of the green), the pineapple, and the cabbage and combine them in a large serving bowl.

Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of teriyaki sauce with the 1/4 cup of canola oil, pour it over the slaw, and toss it all to blend.

Serves 5.

Barbecue Rubs Made Easy

A rub is certainly one area where cooking allows for individuality. Adding sugar will cause a sweet crystallization and is especially good on pork. Adding herbs, crushed garlic, ginger, or turmeric, for example, will render a different flavor all together. Grilling is probably the most chosen of cooking methods in which a rub is used although baking and pan roasting are popular as well. When grilling, a dry rub is used whereas a wet rub might be better suited for baking where liquid is present. A good rub will be a balance of flavors which complement the food, not overpower it.

To get started, decide how much to make. Since your rub will develop over time, it might be better to start with a only a little. Be sure to record each mixture so that once you get it just right you have the formula. Remember that a rub will begin to lose its flavor after a few months. Choose a flavor, sweet, sour, or bitter and build on it. Experiment with different types of sugar and salts. Add paprika for color, peppers or chilies for zing. Try your blend on different types of meat and vegetables to see what works together.

Many people use a brine to add flavor as well as moisture but it contains a lot of salt (1 cup to 1 gallon of water). A marinade mix can be added to the brine and it will soak into the meat with the brine. But, beware of getting a double dose of salt! Make sure you omit the salt in your marinade or you’ll have meat that’s too salty to eat. Also note, any meat labeled “enhanced or basted” has been injected with a salt solution. Heavy meat needs to soak in the brine for about 1 hour per pound of meat, but lighter types, like shrimp, only need 30 minutes. If the meat is covered with a layer of salt when removed from the brine it needs to be rinsed to remove this. Otherwise it can go directly to the grill.

Depending on where you live, rubs can be wet or dry. In Memphis, Tennessee, for example, meat is seasoned with a dry rub and mopped with BBQ sauce when served. Kansas City, on the other hand, uses a wet rub on their meat before and during cooking.

While exact recipes are seldom given to the public, you can find many on-line that are similar in taste. Here is one very close to Rendezvous from Memphis. This will make about 2 cups, enough for 12 pounds of ribs, and can be stored for several months.

Ingredients
8 tablespoons paprika
4 tablespoons powdered garlic
4 tablespoons mild chili powder
3 tablespoons ground black pepper
3 tablespoons kosher salt
4 teaspoons whole yellow mustard seed
1 tablespoon crushed celery seed
1 tablespoon whole celery seed
1 tablespoon dried crushed oregano
1 tablespoon dried crushed thyme
1 tablespoon whole allspice seeds
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon whole coriander seed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon Accent brand seasoning (be aware this contains monosodium glutamate)

Using Wood Chips When Grilling

There’s nothing quite like grilling during the warm summer months. When you choose to grill with wood chips, you can infuse the meat with delicious flavors that you can’t get otherwise. While you can use any type of wood chip when grilling, some chips go better with particular types of meat. Use the following combinations to get the best flavor possible when cooking meat on your grill.

When beef is your meat of choice, you may want to use either mesquite, oak or cherry wood chips to give it a unique flavor your friends and family will love. Mesquite is a great choice if you have Tex-Mex foods on your menu. Cherry wood will add a fruity flavor to your meat with just a hint of tartness.

Chicken is a more delicate meat. Using subtle flavored chips will ensure you don’t overpower the meat itself. Apricot, hickory, maple and pecan are good choices when chicken is on the grill. Use apricot or maple to add a little sweetness to your meat. This will allow you to reduce the sugar-laden condiments you normally use. If you like a little nutty taste, pecan wood chips will provide that undertone.

Speaking of pecan wood chips, they are also great to use when you have a duck on the grill. Many people don’t consider cooking duck much less tossing it on the grill. You won’t be disappointed when you have grilled duck to serve for dinner.

Hickory wood chips are universal as they can be used with any types of meat. You can’t go wrong when pairing hickory wood chips with pork. Whether you’re grilling pork ribs, ham steaks or pork chops, hickory is the best choice. You can add a few apple, or even apricot, wood chips if you like a slightly sweet and fruity taste with your pork.

It used to be that lamb was a common grilled dish but it isn’t served as often as it once was. Lamb can be an expensive cut of meat, but there’s nothing to compare it with. When choosing to grill lamb, use cherry wood chips. The fruity, tartness provided by cherry wood chips is out of this world.

More and more people are choosing to grill seafood now that there are special pans or grates to grill them on. Fish and seafood is best paired with alder, apple, maple or oak wood chips. Alder will bring out the natural flavors of the seafood while apple will enhance the flavor of the fish.

Turkey may be most often prepared at Thanksgiving but there is no reason not to enjoy it throughout the year. Use pecan wood chips when you grill turkey as it will add a nutty flavor to the meat.

Wood chips for grilling are available to purchase at most discount or hardware stores. You can also purchase them from online sources which may have a wider variety to choose from. When considering how much to buy, keep in mind that hardwood chips will last longer than softer woods.

No matter what meat you choose to use, getting different flavors from wood chips is an easy thing to do. Remember to soak and drain the wood chips prior to adding them to the smoker box on your grill.

Vegetable Marinade

Grilling is associated with the aroma of searing meat and often over looked is the healthiest part of a meal; the veggies! Flame kissed with a slightly smoky flavor, grilled vegetables can become the best part of the grilling experience. Delicious!

Most vegetables cook evenly and are less likely to stick if marinated first. A marinade is made of three main components; an oil, an acid, and a seasoning blend. Although any type of oil can be used as the base of a marinade, using a virgin olive or a coconut oil is better from a health standpoint. A small amount of oil is necessary to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the grill.

The marinade must also contain either an acidic component such as lemon or lime juice or wine vinegar, or, an enzymatic blend made from foods such as pineapple or papaya. Depending on individual preferences, spices or herbs are mixed with these to flavor the food. Since there are so many possible combinations, every dish can boast its own marinade.

A marinade will naturally draw the water from vegetables. Therefore, those with less natural water seem to work particularly well when the veggies are going to soak for a length of time. For instance, artichokes, asparagus, zucchini, onions, peppers, mushrooms and cauliflower can be marinated for quite a while.

Vegetables with high water content, such as tomatoes, need to marinate separately or be added shortly before use to prevent a dilution of the marinade.

A marinade can be mixed from any spices that suit your taste. For instance, if you have a liking for Thai food, the following marinade will give you that flavor but without excessive sodium, and can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.

1/3 cup of rice vinegar
1/3 cup of water
2 teaspoons of low sodium soy sauce
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 Tablespoon of minced ginger
2 Tablespoons of unsweetened orange juice

Good vegetables for this marinade would be squash, peppers, carrots and cauliflower. If they are going to be grilled, allow vegetables to soak for an hour. Another option would be to simmer the vegetables in a saucepan with the marinade for about 5 minutes.

For an interesting, somewhat sweeter blend of spices, mix these together and let the vegetables soak overnight.

½ c. canola oil
½ c. olive oil
3 c. apple cider vinegar
½ c. granulated sugar
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp. prepared mustard
1 tbsp. salt
Black pepper to taste

Suggested vegetables for this marinade are hearts of palm or artichoke, carrot slices, zucchini, cucumbers, celery and whole, small tomatoes.

Here are few more marinades that you may want to try…

1 hot Chile pepper, minced
2/3 cup orange liqueur
1 bunch fresh cilantro
4 1/4 cups fresh orange juice
1 1/3 cups coriander seeds, ground


1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. cider vinegar
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 scallions, minced


1/3 c. chili sauce
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. sugar
2 bay leaves

The thing to remember about mixing a marinade is that it isn’t rocket science. If the blend of spices is well received by your family and guest. then it’s a hit! Just keep experimenting and you’ll soon have a favorite.

Burgers with Flair

Fresh ground beef makes the best burgers due to the fat content. It can be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator for 2 days. Beyond that, it needs to be well wrapped and frozen. When the time comes to thaw it, place on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent any drips from contaminating other food.

While there’s nothing wrong with a good old fashioned cheeseburger, you can wow your guests at your next cookout by adding a little flair. First, let’s start with a basic burger recipe.

Basic Burger Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound of ground beef
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
½ teaspoon of dried basil
4 slices of sharp Cheddar cheese
4 buns

Directions
Heat the grill to high. Mix everything together except for the buns and the cheese. Grill 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until done. For a juicy burger, do not press down on the burgers while cooking. Brush the buns with a bit of olive oil and add to the grill to toast. Place the cheese on the burgers during the last minute of cooking. Serve on the toasted buns with the condiments of your choice.
To give it some flair, just use your creativity. The sky is the limit. You can keep it simple or go as elaborate as you’d like. Let’s take a look at some options.

Pine Nuts, Broccoli and Feta Cheese:
1 pound of ground beef
2 tbsp. sun dried tomatoes
2 tbsp. roasted pine nuts
2 tbsp. chopped broccoli
2 tbsp. crumbled feta
2-3 tbsp. olive oil

  • Amounts given are for 2 burgers

Divide ground beef into 4 patties. In a bowl, mix the sun dried tomatoes, roasted pine nuts, chopped broccoli and crumbled feta with a little olive oil. Place a large spoonful of this mixture on one patty and cover with a second patty. Pinch the edges together. Repeat for the other burger and grill. Toast the buns and garnish the burger with some mayo and lettuce or spinach.

Garlic, Onion and Blue Cheese

1 pound of ground beef
1 Tablespoon of spicy brown mustard
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 chopped green onions
2 ounces of crumbled blue cheese
1 egg
1 Tablespoon of water
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients just until blended. Shape the mixture into patties a bit larger than the bun and about ½ inch thick. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or more. Make sure the grill is well oiled and very hot. Place the burgers over the direct heat and grill for 5 minutes on each side. Serve on toasted buns.

Turkey Pita Burger

For a twist to your barbeque, try using something besides ground beef and hamburger buns. Turkey has become a popular choice in health food circles and it can be grilled and served on Pita bread for a non-traditional burger. The ingredients in this recipe are mixed in with the turkey as well as served over them as a sauce.

1 pound of ground turkey
½ of an onion, diced
¾ teaspoon of oregano
2 cups of plain yogurt (or mix some with sour cream)
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
2 teaspoons of onion powder
2 teaspoons of dried chives
2 teaspoon of dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
Pita Pockets

Mix one cup of the yogurt with the garlic powder, onion powder, chives, parsley, salt and pepper. In another bowl, mix half of this yogurt mixture with the turkey, oregano and chopped onion. Form the patties and cook over high heat until done. Meanwhile, blend the other cup of the yogurt with the cucumber and mash. When the burgers are done, place them in pita pockets and top with the cucumber sauce. Mozzarella cheese can be melted over the turkey burgers just before removing from the grill if wanted.

Apple Chicken Burger

Chicken takes on the taste of whatever is added to it and makes a perfect burger for the grill. The apple in this recipe produces an incredible flavor.

1 pound of ground chicken breast
1 peeled and shredded apple
½ of an onion, finely minced
½ teaspoon of salt
1 and ¼ teaspoons of poultry seasoning
½ cup of bread crumbs (more if needed to hold the burger together)

Blend together, shape into patties and grill. Try adding apple chutney on top for a most unusual burger.

Spicy Fiesta Burger

1 pound of ground beef
1 package of taco seasoning mix
¼ cup of chive and onion cream cheese
1/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Here’s another example of filled burgers that kick the flavor up a notch. Mix ground beef with the taco seasoning mix and make 8 patties. Blend flavored cream cheese with shredded cheddar cheese and spoon onto 4 patties. Cover with the other 4 patties and pinch the edges to seal.

Bring the grill to medium heat and cook the burgers until done, about 8 minutes per side. Place on a toasted bun and top with a type of salsa and avocados.

Healthy Turkey Burgers for Kids

12 ounces of ground turkey
½ cup of diced celery
1 small box of frozen spinach, thawed
½ teaspoon of poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon of garlic salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
Enough bread crumbs to hold the patties together.

Be sure to drain the spinach and squeeze out the excess moisture. Divide into patties and grill or fry in a skillet and serve with mushroom gravy over noodles or rice.

Portobello Mushroom & Avocado Meatless Burger

4 Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
1 sliced onion
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 sliced avocado
½ teaspoon of minced garlic
2 Tablespoons of soy yogurt
4 roasted red peppers
4 hamburger buns

Brush the mushrooms and onion with oil and sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper. In a large, heated skillet, cook mushrooms about 10 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a plate, cavity side up, and cover to keep warm.

Using the same skillet, cook the onions in the same manner. Meanwhile, mash together in a small bowl, ½ of the avocado, yogurt, garlic, and some salt and pepper. Spread this on the bottom of each bun. Add the mushroom and fill with onion and roasted pepper. Top with the remaining avocado and top bun.

Burgers aren’t just burgers anymore. With a little imagination you can create flair-filled burgers that will be the talk of the town.