Friday, May 14, 2010
Granted, my posts have gotten less frequent since the baby arrived, but I am still committed to Dinner on A Deadline. Homework for this week was "planning." Never my strong suit, being a right brained, creative type, but like Frank Sinatra, I did it "My Way."
At the beginning of the week I had the conversation with hubby on scheduling - what nights will he be home and what nights he has meetings or other obligations. He told me he would be home Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday, and on Tuesday we would have our big city friend, Rufus, joining us and it's a tradition that they barbecue. Easy enough.
Now, to scan the freezer. We had chicken, and steak. Perfect for barbecue. I have a simple marinade that I use for chicken. I know I could use a bottle of italian dressing, but have you read the ingredient list on most of the bottles? I swear I can't pronounce most of it, so I have a basic marinade I use and "doctor" it up depending on what herbs I might have around. Here are the ingredients for the basic marinade:
Olive oil - I don't use Extra Virgin here because it's just going to get cooked. Save the good stuff for your salad dressing!
Vinegar - here I used White Balsamic, but be creative - if you're grilling pork, an apple cider vinegar would be nice, or red wine vinegar is good for flank steak
Salt - here is used Mediterranean Sea Salt, but Kosher is great, too
Pepper - I like freshly ground
My proportions are as follows - there is no science to this
A "count" of olive oil for each piece you are grilling - i.e. 4 pieces of chicken, you pour as you're counting 1, 2, 3, 4 (I made this up, but it works)
I did about double the count of vinegar - it pours slower, but really did it until it equaled a little over 1/3 cup (again, NOT science)
Salt - about 7 cranks on the grinder (if I were using Kosher I would have used 1t. for this amount)
Pepper - about 7-8 turns of the grinder
There's a reason recipes say "season to taste" It's OK to "wing it!"
Add any herbs that might go with what you are grilling - in the summer I love basil with this, but also know that the marinade is good just as is, extremely cheap to make and takes almost less time than opening a bottle of salad dressing, and you know EXACTLY what's in it!
Next, I pour this over the chicken in a plastic bag and let it sit for at least 30 minutes like this:
You can even mix the marinade in the bag if you like!
Next for the steak - here's my trick. I watch for beef tenderloin to be on sale at our local market - no kidding, I think I got this for $3.69/lb. Then, have the butcher cut it into filets - thickness of your choice - I usually do about an inch, which makes for a perfect serving size. Then I portion into quart size freezer bags and take out what I need. I also label them so I know how many are in the bag and when I froze them....
Oops! These have been here a while, but guess what, they were surprisingly fresh looking when thawed, so luckily no freezer burn. All the more reason to plan your dinners!
A tender cut like this gets simple treatment - a little olive oil and salt & pepper. That's it.
I tossed a mixed green salad with strawberries & goat cheese, used a basically the same mix for the marinade for the simple salad dressing and we were set!
Uncle Rufus was a happy camper! And so was Mary-Claire!
My Wednesday dinner was shrimp from the freezer, linguine from the pantry and jarred pasta sauce. Not fancy, not pretty, but I did it! And we liked it!
Now awaiting my next assignment from Dinner On A Deadline!
Have a great weekend!
The Real Housewife of Sheboygan County