I received a package of True Made Foods from the company. No other compensation was received for this post.
For part of #CookoutWeek, I received a great little package from True Made Foods. It included their three current products: Ketchup, BBQ Sauce, and Veracha Hot Sauce. I love what True Made is doing – they use vegetables to naturally sweeten their sauces, cutting the sugars in half to make more nutritious sauces. And these sauces taste amazing.
As someone who tries to stick with real foods as much as I can, I love what True Made Foods is doing. For this recipe, I incorporated their Veracha Hot Sauce into an Asian-inspired marinade. Veracha is a thick, mildly spicy hot sauce, perfect for people like me who like things on the milder side. Veracha uses a combination of vegetables alongside jalapenos and cayenne to add the kick.
Everyone in our family enjoyed these grilled pork chops. I used my grill pan, because (like I said) our outside grill isn’t working right now. I’m sure they’d be even better with some charcoal flavor, too. 🙂
How can you go wrong with this cast of characters? I love having a big stockpile of Asian ingredients to throw together great marinades, sauces, stir-fries, and so forth.
1 to 2 T Veracha Hot Sauce (or other hot sauce, to taste)
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 lbs. bone-in pork loin chops
Whisk together all ingredients except pork chops in a bowl or measuring cup. Place pork chops in a large freezer bag, pour in marinade, and seal bag. Marinade in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
When ready to grill, preheat grill to medium-high heat. If using a grill pan, coat lightly with grapeseed oil or other unflavored, high-heat oil. Remove pork chops from marinade and let sit on a plate at room temperature while grill heats.
Grill pork chops on one side for 4 minutes; flip and cook another 3 minutes or until chops read an internal temperature of 145F. Let rest for 10 minutes before servings.
If I ever want to feel really lame as a food blogger (which I am not, really), a visit to Culinary Adventures with Camilla will do it for me. The woman is pretty much a miracle: she is a mom to two boys and sometimes posts four recipes a day, highlighting her family’s adventuresome eating style. And this month, her blog was my assignment for the Secret Recipe Club.
There is no way on earth, though, I can feel any animosity toward Cam. She is a wonderful food blogger, super supportive of other bloggers, and the group leader of our SRC Group B. I’m just jealous of her amazing blogging prowess, which I do not have.
My kids will generally eat any kind of chicken, no matter how it’s flavored, as long as it’s not too spicy. Which is good for me, since Mama doesn’t tolerate heat very well, although sad for Daddy, who loves spicy food. I was glad everyone loved this chicken, and we will definitely make it again.
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. chicken thighs (you can use skin-on, bone-in, or boneless/skinless)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground coriander or dried cilantro
1 T cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
Place raw thighs in a single layer in a 9x13 pan or other large, flat container. Mix all spices (remaining ingredients except oil) in a bowl, then rub chicken all over with the mixture. Cover container and refrigerate overnight.
Remove chicken for the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking time. Preheat oven to 400F. Move chicken to a baking dish if needed. Drizzle with olive oil for browning. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
(For bone-in thighs, you may need to increase this time. Boneless ones may take less time. Start checking after about 25 minutes to see if thighs are cooked through.)
Many, many years ago, I shared a favorite recipe from Kelly Minter’s No Other Gods Bible study, which I worked on when I was at LifeWay. It was high time to update this recipe with my own proportions and instructions!
We decided this summer to eat beans and rice once a week. My kids are so spoiled when it comes to food, given that we eat in the dining hall nine months of the year. They can pick and choose whatever they want, and definitely have never considered we or other people might not be able to afford meat or fresh ingredients. So this “beans and rice plan” has been a way to talk to them about people in other countries and how they eat. Not to mention it doesn’t hurt for us to eat meatless and save a few dollars, too. Mr. V and I love beans and rice and hope our kids can learn to love them.
(Verdict from week 1: David ate rice. Joshua ate one bite of avocado. Libbie found she could eat beans with a lot of rice and cheese, although she thought the texture was strange. I am proud of her for trying something new.)
Kelly’s original recipe calls for 4 whole cups of cheese on top of the beans. I used about 2 1/2 cups and our beans were swimming in cheese, so I think that’s plenty!
I realize the cheese increases the price on a beans-and-rice meal, but it’s a good place to start if you have kids who are scared of beans. I like these with avocado and sour cream, too, but they’re just as good as written (or with a runny egg for breakfast).
You can cook the brown rice however you like; I use Alton Brown’s method of oven-baked rice often, but the oven temps on this won’t match up. For this recipe, I used my brand-new Instant Pot to make the rice, and I was really happy with the texture and outcome! For brown rice, you use a ratio of 1 cup of rice to 1 1/4 cup water or liquid and cook for 22 minutes on high pressure. It’s like magic!
It’s another beautiful month of the Secret Recipe Club, y’all! You know what? I have been participating in the club for over four years now, with only a couple months off here and there. And it’s truly still enjoyable for me. I love getting to peruse new-to-me foodie blogs.
I think people probably get confused when they’re assigned my blog, since I’m not a *real* food blog. But I am glad they allow me to participate, and it makes sure I cook something new at least once a month!
This month I was assigned to A Spoonful of Thyme. Kathy has been blogging since 2009 about good food, memories, her children, and more. I really enjoyed perusing her gigantic recipe index, and finally got so overwhelmed that I let my husband pick the recipe for this month. He really liked the look of the Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, but determined that our kids wouldn’t touch them, sadly. (Stinkers.) So instead he decided on Lemon Chicken, Asian-Style.
I would never order this in a Chinese restaurant, even though I’ve seen it on the menu, because it doesn’t seem authentically Chinese to me. I didn’t see much fried when I was in China in 2002. But maybe I’m wrong? Either way, whatever the inspiration is, the sauce is nice and tangy and I enjoyed this dish!
I modified to shallow-fry the chicken, although I think deep-frying like Kathy did gives it a better crust. I just don’t have a lot of deep frying skills and I try not to use the typical frying oils (like vegetable or canola). I shallow-fried the chicken in a combo of palm shortening and grapeseed oil, but you can do what you want!
We all thoroughly enjoyed this chicken and sauce over jasmine rice and accompanied by roasted broccoli, which I jazzed up by drizzling the florets with sesame oil as well as olive, adding to the Asian flair. Sesame seeds sprinkled on it all would be good, too!
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. It is ready to go when you put the end of a wooden spoon in it and bubbles form around the spoon. (Or 375-400 degrees.)
Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and pepper. In a measuring cup, beat egg, then stir in club soda. Add enough club soda mixture that the batter is a little more runny than pancake batter. For me this took about 1 1/3 cups.
Dip chicken cutlets in the batter, letting extra drip off. Deep-fry, or shallow-fry about 5 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked through. Place a cooling rack on a jelly-roll pan, and put cooked cutlets on the rack in a 300F oven to warm while you finish cooking the chicken and sauce.
For the sauce, bring all ingredients except cornstarch to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce by half (to about 1 cup of liquid). Add cornstarch slurry to boiling liquid and cook a few more minutes, until thickened.
To serve, drizzle sauce over chicken pieces. Sprinkle with chopped scallions if desired.
After wondering if I had been assigned to every single person from group A in the Secret Recipe Club, I got my blog for this month. And it was Chef in Disguise! Aha! Someone whose recipes I always lust over during the SRC reveal. This was a fun month for me.
Sawsan grew up in Jordan and lives in the United Arab Emirates, where she is an orthodontist. She offers recipes with Middle Eastern flair as well as those from around the world. I was in awe of all the different cultures represented in her recipe index.
I love to try new things and am an adventurous eater, so I would love to test out some of Sawsan’s recipes like Cauliflower Makloubeh. I almost made the Baked Kibbeh, but I was afraid my kids would turn up their noses or it wouldn’t taste right.
Here’s a side note for you: when I visited Brazil in 2007, we were in a city with a very large Lebanese population. Most of what we did was among these immigrants, and we ate a lot of food that Sawsan features in her Middle Eastern recipes section! I went to a cooking class with a few of my friends, and kibbeh was one of the dishes we “learned” to make. But the one time I tried to make it at home in the States, I felt like it tasted watery and bland. That was probably in 2007 or 2008, though, so maybe I should give it another try. /side note over
Anyway, I was craving steak, so when my in-laws were here for Libbie’s birthday last weekend I decided to make Sawsan’s recipe for Yogurt-Marinated Steak. But since I’d also been eyeing her recipe for Honey-Oregano Beef Onion Skewers, I had kebabs on the brain. So I cut my beef into cubes and made kebabs with the marinated meat, bell pepper chunks, and onion. I seared my kebabs on a grill pan, then finished them in the oven. We ate them alongside Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes. And it was all wonderful!
I can imagine using this marinade for chicken or pork as well. It has great all-around flavor.
Slightly adapted from Chef in Disguise for the Secret Recipe Club. The recipe calls for fresh rosemary, but I used thyme because I had some on hand. Any earthy, fresh herb would work well here, like parsley or sage.
2 lbs. top round beef
3 T plain yogurt
2 T white or red wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 T fresh thyme or rosemary, chopped (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 sweet bell peppers, diced into large chunks
1-2 onions, cut into very large dice
Cut steak into large cubes. Place in a gallon zipper freezer bag.
In a bowl, whisk together yogurt, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme or rosemary, oregano, and paprika. Pour into the bag with beef and squish around to cover beef. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, as long as overnight.
(You can also freeze this in the marinade for a make-ahead meal. Just defrost completely in the refrigerator before making kebabs.)
On wooden skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes before using), alternately thread beef, pepper pieces, and onion pieces.
Sear on a lightly oiled grill pan or skillet, then broil in the oven until to your desired doneness. Alternately, cook on a grill until to your liking.
Let’s be honest: despite the shelves of cookbooks, I get nearly all my recipes from blogs. A couple of weeks ago I made a menu plan, went to the store, and came back and cooked those meals I had written down. But when I got to this one I absolutely could NOT find the recipe!
I searched my computer histories to no avail. I checked a couple cookbooks I knew I had referenced in the last week. Nada. Well, I decided, I would just have to improvise.
And this sauce was so dang delicious! I am glad I didn’t give up on it. I knew the recipe I’d seen had shallots (because I bought one), Dijon mustard, and sour cream. I went from there. I ended up eating the sauce on the salmon, asparagus, AND the rice.
Yield: 4 servings, with extra sauce for vegetables or rice
You can cook the salmon any way you like, but I prefer roasting in the oven to pan-frying. I feel like it's easier to catch it before it overcooks.
4 salmon fillets
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
1/2 large or 1 small shallot, minced
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp. dried dill
about 2/3 c. sour cream
Preheat oven to 400F. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. If you want to roast asparagus or green beans along with the salmon, toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper as well. Lay on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake 10-13 minutes, until salmon flakes easily. (Time will depend on the thickness of your fillets. May take longer.)
Meanwhile, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Add minced shallot and cook until very soft. Turn heat to low and stir in mustard and lemon juice.
Remove from heat and gently stir in sour cream and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Plate salmon and drizzle/pour/dollop sauce over it to serve (or serve on the side, if your husband is nuts and doesn't like sour cream, like someone I know).