marinade

Two For You

This post is about two recipes I made recently that turned out exceptionally well.

The first was a dinner made perfectly for a sunny, warm evening spent on a deck with a grill. The evening was cooling down after a record hot day and Michael had biked home from work. I got home from the gym and we relaxed outside with a glass of wine while it cooked. The side dish, Creamy Dill Cucumber salad, was really quick to make, kind of a lazy man’s tzatziki sauce.

I halved the recipe since I only had one cucumber (although it was a very large cucumber so….it might be pretty close to the recipe). Either way, my calculations make it about 160 calories for Michael and I splitting half the recipe.

Creamy Dill Cucumber Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Servings: 8

From: http://www.nutritiouseats.com/creamy-dill-cucumber-salad/

Ingredients

  • 2 English cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • Freshly grated black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place cucumber slices in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with salt and toss, let sit for ~20 minutes or until they lose some of their water. Remove cucumbers, squeeze and blot dry with paper towels.
  2. In a large bowl, mix sour cream and vinegar until combined. Stir in red onion, garlic and dill.
  3. Add cucumbers and stir to combine. Season with black pepper to taste (optional).
  4. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Creamy Dill Cucumber Salad

Serves

Amount Per Serving
Calories 85-100
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=38556

I didn’t follow the directions exactly (it would help if I read the instructions first, right?) and skipped the step with the salt and cucumber. Oh well! It didn’t seem to matter. The cucumber salad was delicious and not soggy at all.

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I’d been marinating some chicken thighs in a store-bought lemon and herb marinade and even though it was store-bought, it turned out to be really, really good. I was happy with the end results.

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I definitely prefer to make my own marinades (and I’m pretty good at it) but this one was just fine and good for a work night when I didn’t have much time. The cucumber salad went well with the lemon chicken.  I think next time I’ll try it with plain Greek yogurt.

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Michael and I split the whole cucumber salad and it was delicious! Definitely staying in the rotation for this summer.

The second recipe was a crockpot recipe I found on a food blog. I had some frozen pork chops (from Costco) that had been cut in half so I used 4 thin pork chops instead of the 6 thick ones the recipe called for.

Easy Crockpot Thai Pork

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Servings: 4-6

From: http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/pork/easy-crockpot-thai-pork-2.html

Ingredients

  • 6 thick cut boneless pork chops-trim fat
  • 1 lg red bell peppers-chopped
  • 1/3 c prepared teriyaki sauce
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 3 lg cloves garlic-minced
  • 3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • FOR SERVING:
  • 1/2 c green onion-chopped
  • 2 limes-cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 c dry roasted peanuts-chopped
  • cooked rice

Instructions

  1. Grease crockpot or use a plastic liner.
  2. Place pork, bell peppers,broth, teriyaki sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes and garlic in cooker. Cover and cook on low setting until pork is fork tender, 6-8 hours.
  3. Remove pork from cooker and coarsely chop. Add peanut butter to liquid in cooker; stir well to dissolve peanut butter and blend with liquid to make the sauce. Return pork to sauce and toss to coat the meat.
  4. Serve in shallow bowls over hot rice. Sprinkle with green onions and peanuts. Pass lime wedges, to serve with this wonderful dish.

Nutrition Facts

Easy Crockpot Thai Pork

Serves

Amount Per Serving
Calories 257 calories (not including rice)
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=38556

It took about 15 minutes to throw everything in the crockpot and just let it do it’s magic. I did this one on a Sunday and spent the rest of the rainy day catching up on some TV shows while it cooked.

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I checked on it periodically and had some doubts about the pork. It was starting to look a little overcooked but I decided to just wait and see. About 30 minutes before it was going to be done, I shredded the pork, added the peanut butter and then mixed the pork back into the sauce.

The sauce thickened up nicely with the peanut butter and it smelled great! I started the rice cooker with some jasmine rice while I finished things up.

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I LOVED the flavors. The peanut butter was not overpowering and it wasn’t too spicy (next time I’ll add more red pepper flakes). I topped the dish with crushed roasted peanuts, green onions and drizzled some fresh lime juice on it. Everything went together perfectly. I loved how the peanut topping added some crunchiness to the meat.

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The red peppers were pretty decimated by the time the dish was done cooking. I might add them later in the process next time just so they don’t get so mushy. Michael loved this recipe. It’s definitely the kind I would make for a dinner party.

Using 4 thin pork chops got me about 4.5 servings total. I had leftovers for lunch the next day and it still tasted great. The pork wasn’t dried out like I had worried it would be.  It could definitely be done with chicken, too.

Both of these recipes were winners! I hope you give them a try.

A Return of a Favorite

Sunday night dinner was an easy one. With my Achilles Boot on it makes it difficult to stand for extended period of times without feeling back pain so I couldn’t try any new recipes this weekend. Instead I picked up a steak for dinner. A Tri-Tip steak this time. Last week’s steak was a bit on the chewy side, so I hoped this different cut would be better.

I marinated the steak in Merlot, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce.

I tossed in some spices and minced garlic:

I let the steak marinade for about 3 hours (mostly because I got caught up in watching Colin Firth movies on Netflix and forgot to get the steak going).

Sunday night we brought back an old favorite. It’s been too long since we’ve had Gnocchi.

A serving of gnocchi is 3/4 of a cup each. I measured out 2 cups total for us (it’s a difficult item to measure accurately). I sipped on some wine while we cooked.

It’s been too long since we’ve cooked with pesto and I’m glad Michael grabbed some from Costco.

I steamed some broccoli to go along with dinner while Michael grilled the steaks.

According to some internet research Tri Tip steak is the perfect steak for grilling and I agree with that. I am very pleased with how dinner turned out.

The steak was juicy, tender and delicate. I loved it! The marinade was delicious too.

I mixed my gnocchi and steamed broccoli together with the pesto to coat everything.

If you haven’t tried the combination of pesto and steak–DO IT! It is so tasty!

The final verdict: Tri Tip is excellent. We watched the new Top Chef All-Stars while we ate dinner. I am so glad the show is back! Plus they have a bunch of my favorites on the show too. In my opinion, Season 5 New York was by far the best season of Top Chef. Las Vegas is a close second.

Dessert was vanilla ice cream with chocolate fudge syrup. We watch the finale of The Walking Dead. I’m bummed the season is over already. AMC has another winner, for sure!

QUESTION: What is your favorite cut of steak? And are you watching Top Chef All Stars?