Better Summer Grilling

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We just can’t imagine summer without grilling. The two words practically go hand-in-hand. Not only does firing up the grill beat the heat of cooking indoors, but it provides some flavors that you just can’t get inside. This week we will provide tips and recipes to set you up for a summer of better grilling.

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mini chicken tacos

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It’s likely that there will be a theme for the shower and we have to admit, we are big fans of a little fiesta! The flavors are so fun and beg to be served family style! Just like the theme, these mini chicken tacos are sure to be a hit! They’re cute and not to mention, oh so tasty. Can’t find mini tortillas? Try making your own using large tortillas and a biscuit or cookie cutter!

Mini Chicken Tacos with Avocado Crema

Makes: 16-24 mini tacos
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients
1 ½ pounds skinless chicken breasts
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
½ red onion, finely diced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
16-24 mini tortillas, flour or corn
4 ounces queso fresco cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, sliced
sliced lettuce or cabbage
extra limes for garnish

chipotle lime crema
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
¾ cup half and half
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
juice of half a lime
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F.

Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to the skillet and let it get really hot. Once it’s hot, add in the chicken. Brown the chicken on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Cover the skillet and place it in the oven, roasting for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine cumin, paprika, chili powders, garlic powder and onion powder. Set aside.

While the chicken is cooking, combine the diced onion, tomatoes, lime juice and cilantro in a small bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper and set aside.

Once chicken is cooked, transfer chicken and pan juices to a bowl and add mixed spices. Use forks to shred the chicken and mix in the spices.

To assemble, place chicken in a tortilla and top with salsa, crumbled cheese and a drizzle of crema. Serve with avocado, sliced cabbage (or lettuce) and a squeeze of lime.

homemade baked donuts

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Raise your hand if you’re drooling! *both hands up here* We absolutely love these homemade baked donuts and think they should be at every celebration. Baking instead of frying definitely takes a bit of complication out of the recipe (and makes them a little healthier!) and the glaze provides a great way to add pops of customized color!

Homemade Baked Donuts with Vanilla Glaze

Makes: 8 Donuts
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
¼ cup milk
¼ cup yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
vanilla glaze½
cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons milk
optional: food coloring and sprinkles

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a donut pan with a nonstick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg, milk, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until no clumps of flour remain and everything is well combined. Be careful not to overmix.

Spoon the batter into the donut pan or use a large Ziploc bag to pipe into each cavity, filling ¾ of the way full.

Place the pan in the oven and bake 8-10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Add 1 tablespoon of milk, and whisk to combine. If it’s too thick, add additional milk, about ½ teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Add food coloring as desired.

Once the donuts are completely cool, dip them into the glaze. Return to the wire rack and add sprinkles. Allow the glaze to set for 30 minutes before serving.

grilled stone fruit

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Warm weather calls for fruity desserts – and that’s just what we have here! These fabulous little treats can certainly be made on a grill, but we love using a cast iron grill pan too! Not to mention, it’s a great back up plan for rain! Our favorite part of this recipe? The EASY mascarpone ice cream! Don’t have the time? Whipped cream or whipped mascarpone will do!

Grilled Stone Fruit with Mascarpone Ice Cream

Makes: 4 servings
Total Time: 20 minutes + freezing time for ice cream

Ingredients
mascarpone ice cream
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of flaky sea salt

4 peaches (or other stone fruit), halved and pit removed
4 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon cinnamon
honey
almonds, toasted
sprigs of mint

Directions
To make the ice cream, add the mascarpone and sweetened condensed milk to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip until smooth and combined. Add the heavy cream, vanilla and salt. Whip until stiff peaks form. Spoon the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze 4-6 hours or overnight.

Preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat and brush the grates with oil.

In a large bowl, toss the fruit with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place fruit, cut side down in the pan. Grill for 2-3 minutes, or until light char marks appear, flip and grill another 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan.

Serve the fruit warm, with a large scoop of mascarpone ice cream, toasted almonds, a few sprigs of mint and a drizzle of honey!

Pan Seared Garlic Herb Pork Chops

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What else does cast iron do SO well? Sear meat! Because cast iron gets very hot, you are able to create that perfect sear on a piece of meat to lock in juices and flavor! Aside from perfectly seared meat, this recipe utilizes herbs, lemon and white wine (our favorite flavors of summer!) to create an easy, and somewhat decadent meal that will require barely any clean up!

Pan Seared Garlic Herb Pork Chops

Makes: 4 servings
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
4 boneless pork chops
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon herbs de provence
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
garlic white wine sauce2
tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup dry white wine
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon herbs de provence
4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves

Directions
In a large bowl, whisk flour, garlic powder, onion powder and herbs de provence. Season
generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.

Dip each pork chop in the flour mixture, making sure to cover completely. Once the pan is hot, add dredged pork chops and sear 3-4 minutes on the first side — keeping on medium-high heat. After 3-4 minutes, turn the heat to medium and flip, cooking for another 3-4 minutes.

Remove pork chop from the pan and transfer to a plate. Cover to keep warm.

To make the sauce, return the skillet to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons butter and minced garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add flour to the butter mixture and whisk. Pour in wine and cook for 1 minute. Add lemon juice, stock, cream, herbs de provence and thyme. Season generously with salt and pepper. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, then taste and add more seasoning if desired.

Reduce heat to low and add pork chops back to the pan. Depending on the thickness, you may need to cook for several more minutes until pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. Drizzle each chop with sauce and serve immediately.

creamy baked eggs and greens

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Who thinks this looks worth waking up for!? *Both hands raised!* This recipe utilizes one of the things we love so much about cast iron – creating perfectly sautéed greens on the stovetop then transferring to the oven for perfectly baked eggs! Want to go from stovetop to oven to table? Grab a lovely dishtowel, a trivet and some pot holders and breakfast is served!

Creamy Baked Eggs and Greens

Makes: 2-4 servings
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
2/3 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1 garlic clove, halved
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons leek, white and light green part only, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons scallion, sliced
5 ounces fresh spinach
5 ounces fresh kale, stems removed, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions
Mix yogurt, garlic and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Melt butter with oil in a large, heavy 10″ cast iron skillet over
medium heat. Add leek and scallion, then reduce heat to low. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add spinach, kale and lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, until kale and spinach are wilted, 4-5 minutes.

Make 4 deep indentations in the center of the greens. Crack 1 egg into each indentation,
carefully keeping the yolks intact. Transfer to the oven and bake until the egg whites are set, about 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let eggs set for several minutes. Sprinkle with fresh oregano and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately with a dollop of yogurt.

cucumber grapefruit Paloma

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Light, refreshing, and oh so tasty! Sounds like the perfect recipe for mom doesn’t it? We love this cocktail for it’s general drinkability during the warmer months ahead, but also for its ability to easily turn into a mocktail! Just skip the tequila and add a few more splashes of juice and sparkling water.

The Perfect Paloma

Makes: 2 drinks
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
4 ounces Reposado tequila
1 ounce fresh lime juice
3 cucumber slices
3 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
pinch of salt
1 ounce club soda
3 tablespoons simple syrup or agave

Directions
In a shaker, muddle the cucumber slices and lime juice. Add the tequila, grapefruit juice and simple syrup. Add in a small pinch of salt. Shake to combine.

Pour over ice into two glasses rimmed with salt or sugar (optional).

Top with club soda and stir to combine. Garnish with lime, grapefruit slices and/or cucumber slices.

Fresh Homemade Salsa

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Homemade Salsa

Makes: 8-9 Pints Total Time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients 10 cups peeled, chopped and drained tomatoes 3 cups onion, chopped 1 ¾ cups green bell pepper, chopped 5 jalapenos, membranes and seeds removed (leave seeds for extra spice), chopped 7 garlic cloves, finely minced 2 ½ teaspoons cumin 2 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper 2 ½ tablespoons canning or pickling salt 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 1/3 cup sugar 1 ¼ cups apple cider vinegar 16 ounces tomato sauce 12 ounces tomato paste

Directions To peel the tomatoes, preheat the oven broiler to high. Then cut tomatoes in half and place cut side down on a large greased baking sheet. Place under the oven broiler for 3-4 minutes, watching closely, until the skins begin to puff. Remove from the oven, and let them cool for several minutes. When the skins will start to wrinkle, slip the skins off. Continue until all tomatoes have been peeled. Blanching the tomatoes to remove the skins is also an option, however broiling results in better flavor.

After the tomatoes have been peeled, place a colander in the sink and add the tomatoes. Gently break the tomatoes into pieces with your hands and pull out the white cores as you find them. Let the tomatoes drain for 30 minutes or so.

After 30 minutes, combine all salsa ingredients in a stainless steel (SS is important because from an acidity standpoint) pot. Stir together and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Prep your jars by sterilizing the cans in a water bath. Place steamer rack in the bottom of a large stock pot or canning pot. Place new or clean mason jars on the rack. Fill the jars with water and fill the pot with just enough water to come to the top of the jars. Heat water to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes.

Sterilize the lids by placing in a bowl and covering with boiling water.

Ladle salsa into sterilized jars, leaving about ½ inch at the top. Wipe the rim of the jar clean with a damp paper towel. Place lids on the jars and screw on the lid rings. Do not overtighten to ensure that you get a good seal.

Place the filled and lidded jars back onto the rack in the large stockpot of hot water you used to sterilize the jars.

Cover the jars with at least 1-inch of water. Bring to a rolling boil and process for 15 minutes (times depend on your altitude! For altitudes 1000-6000ft process for 20 minutes and above 6000ft process for 25 minutes). Then turn off heat and let the jars sit in the water for 5 minutes.

Remove the jars from the water bath and let sit on the counter for several hours until completely cool. The lids should “pop: as the salsa creates a vacuum under the lid.

If a lid doesn’t seal, either replace the lid and reprocess in a water bath for another 15 minutes, or stir in the refrigerator and use within several days.

Label the salsa and store! Canned salsa should be eaten within about a year.

Blackberry Honey Jam

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This homemade blackberry jam is sweetened with honey, rather than white sugar – sweet and healthy!

Homemade Blackberry Honey Jam

Makes: 4 Pints Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients 3 lbs fresh blackberries 1 ¾ cups honey 2 large Granny Smith apples 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions Wash the blackberries and place in a large stockpot.

Slice the apple into quarters and remove the core. Grate both apples, leaving the skin on. Add to pot with blackberries then add honey and lemon juice.

Heat on high until the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes

Use an immersion blender (or potato masher) to puree blackberries until smooth and there are no chunks.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for an additional 30-45 minutes, based on consistency. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

Place in prepared jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace at the top and can using a water bath. Process for 10 minutes.