Thursday, October 4, 2012

Easy Grill Seasoning

I have tried dozens of grill seasoning recipes - looking for that ultimate balance of sweet and savory, smoky and peppery - and I've finally found one that really delivers on flavor.  Not too salty or too peppery, I've used this on chicken and pork with phenomenal results.

Now that I've found a good (and affordable) grill seasoning, I've made up about 2 cups worth, and this joins my Italian dressing style seasoning and my perfect pork ribs seasoning blends.  It's hard to create that right balance, but this blend gives a balance of smoky sweet flavor that is better than any other grill seasoning I've ever bought or made.

2 1/2 tsps. salt ($.05)
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper ($.05)
1/2 tsp. fresh ground white pepper ($.05)
1 tsp. smoked sweet paprika ($.10)
1 tsp. garlic powder ($.05)
1 1/4 tsp. toasted onion powder ($.05)
1/2 tsp. hickory smoked salt ($.05)
1/4 tsp. cumin ($.05)

Combine all and use to season pork, beef, chicken, or turkey.  For best results, seasoning meat or poultry 30 minutes to an hour before grilling.

Yields - 1 batch
Cost: $.45

Sage Stuffed Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Herb, and White Wine

I had a package of chicken thighs in my fridge that I needed to cook and to me, nothing says comfort food like roasted chicken - especially the dark meat.  I didn't have too much of a plan, initially I thought to stuff the chicken thighs with herbed mushrooms, but got to lazy to get the mushrooms prepped.

What I did have on hand was an open bottle of white wine, a lemon I needed to use before it got hard, and a pantry full of herbs and some fresh sage in the fridge.  With a few pantry staples, like olive oil and Italian salad dressing, I put together this new recipe.

Very affordable and easy to make, the prep time here was about 5 minutes.  Yes, getting chicken ready for the oven is really that easy and it always tastes moist and juicy after you roast it.

If you are a big fan of Mexican food, a few simple substitutions will give you fajita, burrito, or taco ready chicken in no time at all.  Just swap in lime juice for lemon, taco seasoning or a combination of cumin, paprika, onion, garlic, cayenne or chili powder, and oregano for the Italian spices I used and you are good to go.

If I'm lucky enough to have any of this leftover, I'll be fixing a chicken and rice soup and making a pizza blanco with it.  Leftover chicken never lasts very long in my house and often times I'll double an easy recipe like this just to give me something to work with for later on in the week.  Even chicken and mozzarella enchiladas and quesadillas are a great (and fast and easy) weeknight dinner to make from the leftover chicken this recipe could yield.

juice of 1 lemon ($.10)
3 T. white wine ($.10)
2 T. olive oil ($.15)
2 T. Italian salad dressing (free after coupons)
1 tsp. each: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and rosemary ($.10)
1/2 tsp. each thyme and white pepper ($.05)
2 tsps. each salt and basil ($.05)
3 cloves garlic, minced ($.10)
1 onion, roughly sliced ($.05)
2 T. canola oil ($.05)
4 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on ($.95)
8 sage leaves ($.10)

Heat oven to 350F.

In a small bowl, combine all the spices well and add to this white wine, lemon, minced garlic, salad dressing, and olive oil.  Stir well.

Add canola oil to bottom of a baking dish (3 q.t or smiliar size).
Toss onion in the bottom of the prepared pan.

Place 2 ssage leaves under the skin of each piece of chicken.  Top with the spice mixture, coating the chicken pieces well with the mixture.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175F.
Let chicken rest 10 minutes before serving.

Yields = 4 servings
Cost: $1.80
Cost per serving: $.45