Meatless Grilling

By default, when it comes to thinking about grilling, I gravitate towards your more typical fare – hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, etc. But as I find myself eating meat less frequently, I’ve had the opportunity to experiment a bit with what I throw on the grill. We all know I’ve complained in the past about my inability to make non-fall apart veggie burgers, which I’m happy to report is improving. Since that was never much of a success (the one time I “grilled” homemade veggie burgers, they never cooked), I was weary about grilling things like tofu, and tempeh. Alternatively, if you are interested in grilled meats, check out the best turkey injection recipe, for you and your family.

Over the last few months I’ve learned just how versatile tofu and tempeh are, and finally decided to bite the bullet and grill some. While I haven’t grilled tofu yet (it’s on my to-try list, I promise) I did make the easiest BBQ grilled tempeh sandwiches. There is really little to no thinking involved, and for those hot summer nights post work-out where you really don’t feel like turning on the oven or even thinking about dinner, this can be yours in no time.

I’m really looking forward to trying out some new things on the grill this summer, so if you have any suggestions, send them my way! But in the meantime, go make this.

BBQ Grilled Tempeh and Veggie Sandwiches
– Serves 2 –

1 package of tempeh (I used Trader Joe’s)
1 medium green pepper, sliced into rings
1 large red onion, sliced into rings
4 Tbsp your favorite BBQ sauce, plus more for dipping and dunking
2 hamburger buns

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
2. Slice the tempeh in half as evenly as possible (they should be somewhat square shaped).
3. Coat each side of the “patty” with a Tbsp of BBQ sauce. Feel free to add more or less depending on your flavor preference.
4. Spray a grill basket with cooking spray, and fill with the onion and pepper.
5. Bring everything out to the grill, and cook the onion and pepper on the top rack while the tempeh is on the bottom rack, all for  10 minutes, flipping everything halfway through.
6. Assemble your sandwich with the tempeh patty, and onion and pepper rings. Add more sauce if you’d like, and keep some nearby for dunking!

Summed Up

As you know, I’ve recently started my official training for the Philadelphia Marathon in November. While I’ve overcome my nagging shin splits, I seem to have developed some tightness in my right hip, which could be a number of things. Thanks to my excellent Googling skills, I’ve decided it’s either Hip Bursitis, tendonitis, or ITBS. Either way, all I can do is keep on keepin’ on… meaning lots of foam rolling, ice, and Advil. It’s definitely been getting better since it came about two weeks ago, but it’s far from gone. Ahh, the life of a runner.

I decided to lead this post with that tid-bit of information, simply because of a realization I had during my 8 mile run on Monday afternoon. Firstly, I’d like to preface the run with the fact that I wound up leaving work early that morning due to getting sick in the bathroom. I have no idea what was wrong with me, but come late afternoon and a series of naps later, I felt fine enough to run. So, I headed to the gym (thanks thunderstorms), and set myself up for an 8 miler on the dreaded treadmill. I decided simply getting through the run was my main goal, so I set my pace at about 6.1, and just went.

While running, I was glued to The Food Network, watching 30 Minute Meals, Giada at Home, and Barefoot Contessa. Towards the end of my run, I realized that right there was pretty much the summation of my existence… running and food. Not a bad existence, if you ask me!

I happened to watch an episode of Giada at Home, where she hosted a little get together and grilled a bunch of different kabobs. This of course made me want one immediately, and it was convienient that veggie kabobs just so happened to be on our menu for the week! They were quick and easy, which was much appreciated after a long day at work, a trip to the allergest with the fiance, and then a run. The last thing I wanted to do was put effort into dinner. Thankfully, little effort was required, and it was delicious. Of course, you can make these bad boys with just about anything your heart desires, so get creative!

iPhone photo courtesy of Instagram!

Veggie Kabobs
– makes 10-12 kabobs –

1 medium eggplant, diced into large chunks
1 zucchini, sliced
1 red onion, diced into large chunks
1 green pepper, diced into large chunks
1 cup your favorite marinade (I used Ken’s tomato basil dressing)

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat
2. Combine all of the veggies together, and pour the marinade over them, mixing to ensure even coating. Set aside for about 30 minutes (or longer, if you have the time!)
3. Using kabob skewers, string the vegetables on one at a time, alternating (piece of eggplant, zucchini, green pepper, onion, repeat). Make sure to leave room at the top and bottom for accessibility!
4. Grill kabobs for about 15 minutes (depending on your level of char preference), making sure to rotate at least once

Sunday Barbecue and a Giveaway!

For this month’s Hormel challenge, I decided to stick with a barbecue theme. With the weather being so warm, I’ve wanted seasonal meals pretty much every day. It seems like the default meal preparation of choice when having a gathering during the summer months is to fire up the grill. So, that was exactly what I did.

If you remember, I received a pretty sweet goodie bag as a “welcome” to the Hormel Extended Family Food Blogger. Well, they want to offer a Foodosaurus Rex reader a similar goodie bag! All you have to do is leave a comment telling me about your favorite thing to grill (it can be anything)! You have until Thursday at 9pm EST to enter.

On the menu was pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, and grilled stuffed jalapenos. Of course, this was all cooled down with some of our favorite beers. I grabbed a tub of Lloyd’s pulled pork, and it had enough flavor that was all we needed on the sandwich front. As for the baked beans, I grabbed a can of Bush’s black bean fiesta “grillers.” My fiancé and I were of course drawn to it as soon as we saw mention of black beans, chipotle, and peppers. I’m not a huge fan of “traditional” baked beans so this was a delicious change of pace – I’d definitely recommend them!

As for the stuffed jalapenos… yum. I had tried my hand at them about a year ago with stuffed poblano peppers as well, and had baked them. So, when I saw YumSugar had a recipe for them on the grill, I had to give them a try. Below is the recipe for how I made mine.

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos inspired by YumSugar
– makes 10 jalapeno halves –

5 large jalapenos, sliced and deseeded
1/3 cup whipped cream cheese
1/4 cup Mexican or taco blend cheese
3 scallions, diced
2-3 Tbsp Panko bread crumbs

1. Preheat grill to medium-high
2. Combine cream cheese, shredded cheese, scallion, and bread crumbs
3. Fill each jalapeno with the cheese filling, trying to fill each one evenly
4. Grill for about 8 minutes, until bottoms are lightly charred (either put them in a gril basket, or use some foil)

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! Leave a comment about your favorite thing to grill, and do it before Thursday at 9pm EST!

Heat Wave Fries

The past few days have been quite warm. Actually, they’ve been down-right HOT.

Growing up, whenever it was hot out, my mom would refuse to put the oven on. In the days prior to us having central air it was a godsend, and then even after we finally had central air installed, the tradition stuck. Her logic was that heating up an oven would only heat the entire house more than what was bareable. So, this meant our dinners were either grilled, or in the rare event we needed something to be cooked in some sort of oven, we opted for the toaster oven, which emitted far less heat. Like most things you encounter when you’re young, this is something that’s stuck with me, and is the norm in my own kitchen.

With it being so hot this past week, I insisted on grilling. Not only does warm weather put me in the mood for grilling, I just couldn’t stand the thought of heating up my oven to 425 degrees. It’s making me sweat just thinking about it. So, since I couldn’t make oven fries, I made grill fries! They had a perfect crisp (with a little char, of course) and were full of flavor even though I didn’t season them too much. They were a perfect compliment to our grilled veggie burgers! You should make these.

Grill Fries
– Serves 2 –

2 baking potatoes, sliced into wedges
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat
2. Toss sliced potato wedges with oil, salt, and red pepper flakes
3. Place wedges on the top rack of the grill, and cook on each side for about 10 minutes, or until crisped to your liking

Taking the ham out of the burger

The first time I had a portabello “burger” was at The Cheesecake Factory in college. I’m not sure what made me pick that off the menu, but it was delicious. At the time, I didn’t realize just how meaty portabello mushrooms are, and what a great meat substitute they make. Even people that aren’t huge mushroom fans will likely enjoy a portabello.

So, with the weather being so nice the past few days, I really wanted to grill up some vegetables, and thought portabellos would be great. Of course, just the mushrooms themselves weren’t enough, so I made them into “burgers” with marinated zucchini, and red peppers on a roll with of course, gouda cheese. Throw in a side of curried sweet potato fries, and you’ve got perfection.

Balsamic Grilled Portabello Mushroom “Burgers”
– Serves 2 –

2 rolls (I used Kaiser)
2 medium sized portabello mushrooms
1 medium sized zucchini, sliced
1 medium red pepper, sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove of garlic, diced
2 slices of smoked gouda cheese (or your favorite cheese)
1/2 small red onion, sliced

1. Heat grill on medium-high heat
2. Combine the garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil in a medium sized bowl. Add the vegetables, making sure to coat them completely.
3. Using either a grill basket or aluminum foil, place the vegetables on the grill. Cook on each side, about 10 minutes until there are grill marks and they are cooked through.
4. Layer the cheese on the bottom of the bun, followed by the portabello mushroom, zucchini (about 3-4 slices), and red pepper. Top with raw red onion, and enjoy!


Curried Sweet Potato Fries
– Serves 2 –

2 medium sweet potato fries
1 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Peel and slice potatoes, to look like french fries
3. In a medium bowl, toss the fries with olive oil and curry powder, making sure to coat evenly
4. Spread on a greased baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes

Moles and Molé

On Tuesday, I was thrilled that the projected high temperature was 80 degrees with sun. I couldn’t wait to get in a run after work, and heat up the grill for dinner.

There have been some seriously warm days the past few weeks, sandwiched between days of serious rainfall. I was able to take advantage of the warm weather for my run on Sunday, which actually resulted in a sunburn. I’m now on mole watch, which is something I’m sure any of my fair skinned readers know all too well – when we inspect and make note of all freckles and moles to make sure they don’t change and look “abnormal.” This usually means I find something, freak out, and then am told I’m insane. But you can never be too safe! I’m definitely going to be slathering on the sunscreen before my runs now.

Tuesday’s run was after work, so the sun wasn’t too much of an issue. The heat, though, was a killer. Both my fiancé and I just couldn’t power through our 4 mile run – it was brutal. Neither of us had any energy and our legs felt like lead balloons. I didn’t feel like I was struggling aerobically, but I just couldn’t hang energy wise; I don’t know if it was the heat, going to bed late the night before (boo end of the semester), or a combination. I just have to remind myself that for every not so great run, there will be a great one to follow.

Once I was done whining about our run, I marinated some chicken in Dona Maria molé sauce. I was lucky enough to have this sent to me to sample in preparation for Cinco de Mayo, and I thought it’d be great with grilled chicken. The chicken only sat in the molé sauce for about 30 minutes before going onto the grill, and it was plenty of time for it to really absorb the flavor. Since it’s a thicker sauce, it didn’t require an overnight/few hour soak. Having a sauce already made that will really jazz up an otherwise boring meal (sorry, but just plain grilled chicken is boring) was great – perfect for a weeknight dinner. I also received a can of diced pickled jalapenos, so I threw those on top of the chicken for a little kick.

I decided to keep it simple and just have brown rice with sauteed onion, pepper, black eyed peas, and corn. The rice we used was from our Half Marathon (or 9.55mile race) goody bag. I think it’s so random to get a mini bag of Carolina brown rice, no? But I’m certainly not complaining!

The meal was super simple, and really flavorful. Plus, I really only did half the work. I forgot how much I like cooking in the summer, because it means getting my fiancé in the kitchen (or in this case, manning the grill)!

Grilled Chicken Mole
– Serves 4 –

4 thin chicken cutlets
1 cup Dona Maria Molé sauce

1. Heat grill to medium-high heat
2. Fill tupperware container with 1/2 cup of molé sauce. Add chicken, then cover with remaining sauce. Make sure to coat chicken completely (don’t be afraid to get in there!).
3. Once grill is heated, cook chicken breasts, about 5 minutes on each side (depending on thickness), until done [no pink!] 

Omelet Burger, also known as a Ramly

Last week, SeriousEats’ A Hamburger a Day had a post on Ramly Burgers, which is essentially an egg-wrapped hamburger from Malaysia (as the post’s byline describes). While I knew nothing about Ramly burgers or Malaysian street food before seeing the post, after reading it I was intrigued by the idea of a burger wrapped omelet, and knew someone that would love to try it.

My fiancé had his first egg and burger experience in London a few years ago, and can rarely pass it up if he sees it on the menu while we’re out. I myself have never had an egg on a burger, and actually until recently thought it was just plain weird. Knowing that he’d love the idea of an egg burger, I was able to rope him into doing most of the work – all part of my master plan! I figured we’d make our usual burgers, and then when it came time to omelet it, I would just wing it.

Considering I had no master plan and our skillet really isn’t big enough to get a large, thin omelet (see notes below if you find yourself in a similar predicament), this turned out quite well! Served alongside a grilled ear of corn and some simple salad, this was the perfect way to enjoy yet another beautiful day. Oh, and eating outside with a beer in hand didn’t hurt either.

Omlete aka Ramly Burger
– makes 2 burgers –

4 eggs
2 Tbsp water
1/4 lb. beef chuck (I used a 90:20 ratio)
1 jalapeno, diced
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup shredded cheese
2 hamburger buns

1. Heat grill to medium-high heat
2. While grill is warming up, using your hands combine hamburger meat, diced jalapenos, and seasoning. Once well combined, form two even patties
3. Cook patties on either side 5-6 minutes, cooking to your likeness (this left them about medium)
4. Meanwhile, whisk four eggs and a water together. Grease a large skillet and warm over medium-high heat. Pour half of the egg mixture into the skillet, making sure to move the pan so as to not have the egg stick to the pan.
5. Once it’s been heated for about 3-4 minutes, add the burger to the middle, and gently fold the sides over the burger.* Cook 2 minutes. Flip, and cook additional 2 minutes.
6. Repeat with remaining egg mixture and second patty.

*My skillet wasn’t large enough, so I wasn’t able to fully fold the egg over the hamburger. Don’t fret if you can’t either, it’s still delicious. But if you can, more power to you!

Grilling shrimp is hard – and delicious

Sometimes you find a recipe, and you know you need to make it as soon as possible. Those were my exact thoughts while perusing my co-worker’s Fitness Magazine late last week during lunch. There was a recipe for Grilled Curried Shrimp with Mango Cous Cous, and since I didn’t have a pen and paper with me, I took a picture of it with my iPhone so I could copy it down later.

While planning our meals for the week, I decided it’d be a nice Sunday night meal especially since it was a holiday weekend. I had to implore the help of my fiancé for the grilling, which turned out to be pretty difficult. I’ve always heard that preparing shrimp is some what of a pain, but I didn’t realize actually grilling them would be tedious as well. We decided to get frozen shrimp and I thawed it out in water for 15 minutes. They were already deveined but I need to peel it, which was annoying and a bit time consuming. After that, thought, the preparation was easy; cut up the mango, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic, cook the cous cous, mix the curry and coat the shrimp with it, then grill.

The Mango Cous Cous

Once I prepared the shrimp, I handed the reigns over to my fiancé to cook them. Well, we lost a few shrimp to the bottom of the grill, as they slipped through the grate. Thankfully, though, the recipe only called for 3/4LB. of shrimp and I used the whole bag which was a full pound. Other than losing a few shrimp, the meal went off without a hitch. And, since yesterday was such a gorgeous day, we were able to enjoy our meal outside with some home brewed beer! Such a nice end to summer (insert sad face here).

As Bubba would say, "The Shrimps"

Both my fiancé and I aren’t huge shrimp fans – or fans of much seafood for that matter. We do love sushi and good salmon, but that’s as far as our seafood adventures seem to go. So, making this particular dish was a little out of character for us, but with ingredients like red curry paste and jalapeno peppers, I knew it’d be worth it. We’d definitely make it again, but with the difficulty we had on the grill, and the time it took to peel the shrimp, it’ll be an every so often recipe.

Grilled Curry Shrimp and Mango Cous Cous
– Serves 4 –

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

1 cup whole wheat cous cous
1 mango, pleeled & diced
1 tsp finley diced jalapeno pepper
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 tbsp red curry paste
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp finely minced garlic
3/4 LB shrimp, cleaned & shelled (tails on)
1 7-oz container 2 percent Greek yogurt
1 tsp grated ginger Lime wedges (optional)

1. Cook couscous according to package. Combine w. mango, jalapeno pepper, 1 tsp lime juice and half the cilantro. Season w. salt & pepper
2. In large bowl, whisk together curry paste, vegetable oil, 1 tbsp garlic & remaining lime juice. Add shrimp & toss to coat
3. Mix together yogurt, ginger and remaining cliantro & garlic in small bowl. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. Heat grill to medium high. Grill shrimp until just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
5. Arrange shrimp and couscous on a platter and serve w. yogur sauce, adding lime wedges (optional).

I’ll grill anything – including pizza

I found a recipe for grilled pizza a few weeks ago, and after finally procuring a grill, we had to try it. I’d heard of grilling pizza before (I mean heck – you can grill lettuce) but had never actually done it. I was excited, but a bit nervous for it’s outcome. I had visions of an extremely charred and barely edible crust, or the opposite, a just warmed not crispy crust. My fiance and I somehow managed to grill it pretty perfectly – a nice crunch around the edge of the crust, and keeping it crisp, but not over or under cooked towards the center. Plust, all of the veggies and cheese were just the right temperature.

This “Smoky BBQ Grilled Pizza” comes from Eating Well, which YumSugar had linked to a few weeks ago. I saved it in my Dinner cart on KartMe until the perfect moment, which was this past Thursday. I grabbed a package of pre-made pizza dough from Wegmans’, and it actually had two pizzas in it – enough for a breakfast pizza on Saturday! The recipe calls for tomatoes, but I forgot to grab one at the store (story of my life), so instead I caramelized some onions and tried to salvage what I could of the wilting Jamaican hot peppers. That added a nice sweet kick to the already tangy pizza.

It literally was grilled for 10 minutes, and though a little charred around the edges, overall a decently cooked pizza. My fiancé and I devoured the whole pizza (hey, it was kind of small) with a salad, and we were stuffed! Sure, it’s supposed to serve 6, but after a solid run and a long day of work, the pizza was no match for the two of us! I know BBQ sauce in place of tomato sauce sounds kind of odd, but it works – especially with that smoky grilled flavor! Either way, you can really put whatever you want on your pizza. I made a breakfast pizza Saturday with scrambled eggs, onions, peppers, corn, beans, salsa as the sauce, and cheese. It was equally delicious!

Though we’re out of dough for now, I have every intention of grilling up some other pizza concoctions, so suggestions are welcomed!

Pardon the less than stellar iPhone picture!

Barbecued Smoky Corn & Black Bean Pizza
from Eating Well

1 plum tomato, diced
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 pound prepared whole-wheat pizza dough
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella, preferably smoked mozzarella

1. Preheat grill to medium.
2. Combine tomato, beans and corn in a medium bowl. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a large baking sheet. Stretch the dough into about a 12-inch circle and lay it on top of the cornmeal, coating the entire underside of the dough.
3. Transfer the crust from the baking sheet to the grill. Close the lid and cook until the crust is puffed and lightly browned on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes.
Using a large spatula, flip the crust. Spread barbecue sauce on it and quickly sprinkle with the tomato mixture and cheese. Close the lid; grill until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the crust is browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

Summertime Nomz

Man, I have been seriously lacking in the blogosphere lately, haven’t I? My sincerest apologies! This whole going back to school while still working full time and simultaneously trying to plan a wedding and somehow still have a life is quite time consuming.

I have to admit, I haven’t done much exciting cooking recently. My time has been spent at a LOT of BBQ’s, and it isn’t even officially summer yet! So, I figured this post could be about two of my favorite things: summer and eating. These are two very broad topics, but I’m referring to their relationship to one another. I mean BBQ’s, ice cream, iced coffee, eating outside and all that other goodness.

In the past two weeks I’ve devoured enough BBQ-style food to last me a lifetime. Hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, grilled chicken, grilled veggies, ribs, and more. There’s just something so wonderful about the smell of a grill, no matter what’s on it cooking. I relish the days where you’re driving with the windows down, and you can smell someone’s grill off in the distance. I think I’ve been craving BBQ food more and more simply because my fiancé and I don’t have a grill. We’re in the process of procuring one from my parents (they’re getting a new one), but we haven’t gotten it yet and are chomping at the bit to use it. I suppose we better pick something phenomenal to grill first!

In addition to summertime food, there’s also summertime drinks. This means lots of iced coffees, teas, lemonades, frozen concoctions, and everyone’s favorite, booze! I myself am a big fan of mojito’s, Patron and pineapple, and margaritas! Other than that, you can probably find me sucking down iced coffee throughout the day. Now, I’m going to have to agree with Shelby from eat, drink, run that iced coffees are a waste of money; how can some frozen water jack up the price nearly a dollar?! Because of that I find myself making iced coffee on most occasions, which is actually pretty easy. I just double brew (so if I need three scoops for hot coffee, I’ll do six instead), and if I have the time, I throw it in the refrigerator for a bit. That way, I don’t need to use as much ice. Delicious!

While I haven’t explored the veggie BBQing world too much, I think I’m going to try it a little more this summer. I’m a big fan of Morningstar Farm’s spicy black bean burgers, and Dr. Praeger’s california burgers, but I think I want to branch out some more. I know Morningstar makes a mean “grillers” version that is apparently pretty close to an actual burger. I’m a little “meh” about veggie hot dogs, mainly because I’m not a huge fan of regular hot dogs either. I’m also looking forward to just grilling a ton of veggies; eggplant, zucchini, squash, corn… yum! Oh, and I’m totally grilling a pizza and getting my salad on. I’m not talking about boring lettuce thrown together. I mean bean salads, pasta salads, and crispy veggie salads. I’ve been lucky enough to stumble upon some really good side and main dish salad recipes that are pretty easy and straight forward, so I’m definitely looking forward to those, too.

As you can tell, I have big plans for myself in terms of cooking this summer. There’s just something so wonderful about sitting outside (sans bugs, of course) enjoying some good food and drink. Sure, living in New Jersey means probably a lot of bugs, and serious humidity. But every once in awhile we get ourselves the perfect day, and I can’t wait to make good use of it. So feel free to send any good grilling recipes my way, I’m going to be a grill master by the end of the summer – you just wait and see!