JOPLIN, Mo. —
Are you just now getting the grill fired up for summer, or are you one of those who grills year-round?
Either way, I know you are looking forward to a summer of great meals, courtesy of the gas or charcoal that fuels your grill.
Getting the perfect grilled steak, chicken or chop is usually a lot of trial and error because of many factors involved. Bone-in or boneless, thin or thick-cut, rare or well-done? Some experts say to start over high heat with a good sear, then move to indirect heat to continue. Others say to start and stay with indirect heat.
Some say turn the meat only one time, while others say flip frequently. To marinate or not to marinate? This is another question for lots of grillers. All of these are a matter of personal preference. You know your cook stove and how to get the best results. The same goes for your grill. It has its own little quirks that only you know about and can work around.
Do better cuts make better end results? Sure, if cooked correctly. But you can ruin a very expensive piece of meat, too. I once heard Anthony Bourdain say that a chimpanzee could cook a great cut of meat, but it takes a real cook to make the lesser cuts more desirable.
No matter the cost of the meat, all grilling know-it-alls agree that letting the meat rest three to five minutes before cutting into it makes all the difference in the world in the final product. If you don’t let it rest, you will stop the carry-over cooking and will be losing the great juices that make for a moist bite every time.
Most of us are probably familiar with the beer can chicken recipe you can fix on your grill. You might even have the metal contraption that holds the can and the chicken upright, but it’s no problem if you don’t because the chicken will sit right up on the beer can. My nephew, Billy, fixes one of these almost every weekend in a smoker, and I always expect the chicken to break into a dance. When I see it sitting there, its wings and legs look ready for action.
I’m not a beer fan, but the end result from cooking your chicken like this is worth trying.
Marlys Weston, of Baxter Springs, Kan., wrote to me requesting a beer can chicken recipe for the oven instead of the grill, and I was able to find one. That means we will have an extra recipe this week.
Beer can chicken for the oven
1 whole 4-pound chicken
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 opened half-full can beer, room temperature
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon pepper
Remove neck and giblets if they are in the chicken. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Rub entire chicken with oil. Mix salt, pepper and thyme in a bowl then sprinkle on chicken. Place beer can in roasting pan and lower chicken onto can so chicken is sitting upright with the can inside the cavity. Bake on lower oven rack at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.
Be careful when you remove the chicken as the can will be very hot and may stick to the chicken. I am not a beer fan, in fact, I’m probably one of the ones who dislike the taste the most, but I found that the end result you get from the beer is worth trying. You will not know there was beer involved in the cooking when you taste the chicken. I was told you can substitute a can of baked beans for the beer, and you will have baked bean flavor with the chicken juices for a tasty side dish. My concern with this is that the thicker beans may result in the chicken not being as moist. But I’m sure the beans would be fabulous. If you don’t want to use beer or beans, use a half full can of chicken stock instead. Thanks, Marlys, for requesting this great chicken recipe.
The rest of today’s recipes come from The Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook. The cauliflower is a super fast side dish. Substitute broccoli for the cauliflower, or mix it up with a little of each. I’m tempted to substitute Velveeta for the Parmesan, but the recipe really is great to fix just the way it’s printed. The main tortellini dish is a vegetarian dish, but you probably won’t even notice the lack of meat in it. The makeover oatmeal bars are a lighter version of an old standby, turning out moist and flavorful. Have a super week and happy eating.
11/2 cups fresh cauliflowerets
5 teaspoons reduced-fat butter
2 teaspoons flour
3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Minced fresh parsley, optional
Place cauliflower in a steamer basket; place in a small saucepan over 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream, cheese, salt and pepper. Add cauliflower to cream sauce. Cook and stir over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley if desired. Yields 2 servings.
1 (19 ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup fat-free milk
1 (8 ounce) package fat-free cream cheese, cubed
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Cook tortellini according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, sautŽ mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in milk; heat through. Stir in cream cheese until blended. Add spinach and Italian seasoning; heat through. Drain tortellini then toss with sauce and tomato. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Yields 5 servings.
Makeover oatmeal bars
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup raisins
In a large bowl, beat the sugar, applesauce, oil and syrup until well-blended. In a small bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, salt and allspice; gradually beat into applesauce mixture until blended. Stir in raisins. Spread batter into a 9- by 13-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars. Yields 20 servings.