Grilled Zucchini and Bell Pepper Salad

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Sometimes being simple is best, like the grilled veggies and a hint of cheese in this satisfying salad.

Serves 4

4 zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
One 6 ounce package Gorgonzola cheese
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ cup dry roasted almonds
⅓ cup fresh basil

Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Slice the zucchini and bell peppers into long strips and brush with some of the oil. Grill vegetables for about 3 minutes, or until grill-marks form, on each side.

Meanwhile, crumble the Gorgonzola into a bowl and toss with the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and almonds. Toss with the grilled vegetables and arrange on a plate. Top with fresh basil and serve.

Hot Pepper Jack Grilled Chicken



This dish is  a reinterpretation of the classic  Monterey Chicken.  Instead of chicken breast,  I used chicken thighs that were marinated and grilled and topped the chicken with, Hot Pepper  Jack cheese, roasted red peppers* and crumbled bacon.


Serves 4

¼ cup honey
¼ cup light  soy sauce
¼ cup Worcestershire
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper,to taste
4  boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 slices Hot Pepper Jack  cheese
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 Roma tomatoes,seeded and diced*
Sliced scallions, for garnish
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large bowl, add the honey, soy sauce, Worcestershire, mustard and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the chicken thighs to the bowl and stir to coat evenly.  Cover with  plastic wrap and place in  the refrigerator  and  marinate for  an hour or  overnight for the best results.

Preheat a grill to medium heat and oil grates well.

Remove chicken from marinade. Discard marinade. Grill the chicken 6 to 8 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through. Make sure your heat isn’t too high to prevent the marinade from burning.

Brush each chicken thigh generously with 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey and top with a slice of cheese. Top with the crumbled bacon and the tomatoes.

Cover the  chicken  with  a foil tent and close the grill for 2 to 3 minutes until cheese is melted.

Remove the chicken from the grill and place on  serving platter . Garnish with scallions and cilantro and serve.
*Cook’s Notes:
You can substitute roasted red bell pepper for the tomatoes or use cherry tomatoes.

Grilled Oysters



It is time to pull out the grill from the garage, dust of the cobwebs and fire it up with charcoal and great food.

And one of my favorite things to grill during the summer are oysters—big, fat, juicy and succulent oysters on the half shell.  This recipe is one of the easiest things to make, and the end results are so delicious that this will be your go to summer dish for family and friends to enjoy over and over, again during those summer cookouts. Ahh, the fun of summer and the endless possibilities of grilling everything edible under the sun.


6 Large shell-on oysters
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
Harissa spice, to taste
2 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
Lemon wedges, for serving

Shuck the oysters and set aside.

Top the oysters with the chopped garlic, parsley leaves, and season with harissa (to taste). Add some melted butter in each oyster.

Grill on outdoor grill for about 5 to  minutes or until they are cooked. Serve immediately. You can add a splash of lemon juice before eating.



Cook’s Notes:
If harissa is to strong of a spicy bite for the taste buds, paprika is a great substitute for the spice.

The secret trick about shucking oysters is to have the “flatter” side of the oyster facing you, then start at the hinge of the oyster (the pointed end of the oyster). Insert an oyster knife or a small knife at the hinge, twist the knife a few times and pop the shell open.

If you bake these oysters, preheat your oven to 375ºF and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

If you have difficulty in shucking oysters:
Place the oysters, very hot, preheated grill, cover and cook for 1 minute. The oysters should now be slightly open. Quickly remove the oysters.

Hold the oyster with an oven mitt or a thick kitchen towel and use a shucking knife, a flat case knife, or even a clean flat tip screwdriver and pry open the oyster. It should easily open.

Spoon the butter garlic sauce into each oyster and return oysters to the grill. Cover and grill 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and harissa or paprika and serve. Parenting Team FC Contributor

Pomegranate Steak

Steaks are simply delicious, and the flavor of beef can be enhanced with the the simplest of ingredients. If you are looking for a change of pace, take advantage of using ingredients like fresh pomegranate seeds and cilantro to wake up your taste buds.


Serves 2

Olive oil, for brushing
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground Black pepper, to taste
2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 5-inch lengths
2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, for garnish
4 Tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred outside and medium-rare within, about 6 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice across the grain.

To serve the steaks garnish with the pomegranate seeds and a sprinkling of cilantro.

Grilled Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Onion and Jalapeño Salsa and Roasted Red Pepper Mayo

Burgers with caramelized onions, jalapeno seasoning and red pepper mayonnaise Recipe

The best thing about traveling is getting a chance to enjoy other cuisines from around the world.

We discovered the best of both world’s when we found a little restaurant serving American Cuisine with a Mexican twist.

queso oaxaca mexican cheese

Oxaca Cheese Photo Credit, Gourmet Sleuth, 2015

Talk about flavors! These grilled cheeseburgers with caramelized onions and jalapenos dressed with a roasted red pepper mayonnaise and salsa really hit the spot. This is not your ordinary cheeseburger.The ground sirloin, the ground beef and  chorizo sausage meat mixture creates a juicy hamburger filled with such flavor that is so richly deserved.  And the flavors are intensified with the addition of  Mexican Oxaca cheese, a rich buttery and slightly salty mild semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk, similar to unaged  Monterey Jack, but with a mozzarella-like string cheese texture. It is named after the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, where it was first made. Chef Rick Bayless has an excellent tutorial for any one who may be interested in making Oxaca Cheese in their home kitchens. (Just click on the link here for Oxaca homemade cheese).

And just a note on the adobo seasoning,  You will find the recipe below. I usually make my own and it is a staple in my pantry. It’s great on almost anything. You can use it as a spice rub, in soups and sauces or mix with a liquid to make a marinade. Homemade adobe has a better flavor than most of the commercially available brands that you can find in your local supermarkets.

I hope that you will enjoy this offering as much as we did while on vacation, as well recreating when returned home for our family and friends at the house.

For the Adobo Seasoning:
Makes About 1/3 Cup
1 Tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder (or flakes)
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon parsley flakes
1 Tablespoon achiote powder
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 Tablespoon salt

Combine the spices in a small glass jar and seal with an airtight lid. Store the  jar, in a cool  dry place. It will keep for up to 6 months.

For the Roasted Red Pepper Mayonnaise:
2  medium-sized  roasted  jarred red peppers, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper freshly ground, to taste

For the Burgers:
3/4 pound of ground sirloin
3/4 pound ground beef shoulder
1/2 Mexican chorizo sausage, raw, casing removed
1 large yellow onion, grated
1 Tablespoon of Adobo Seasoning
1/2 cup of  bread crumbs
6 slices of Oaxaca or Mozzarella cheese

For the Salsa:

2 T ablespoons of olive oil
2 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
Kosher salt, to taste
Back pepper freshly ground, to taste
1/2 cup of bottled jalapeño slices, drained
1/2 cup dark brown sugar

6 hamburger buns, for serving

To make the red pepper mayonnaise,  add the red peppers to  a blender or food processor. Add the mayonnaise and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the flavor by adding the salt pepper. Transfer  the mixture into a glass container, cover and refrigerate for  at least 4 hours or overnight preferably, for the best flavors.

To prepare  the burgers,combine ground sirloin, the ground beef shoulder, the chorizo, onion, the adobo seasoning and the breadcrumbs  in a large bowl and gently mix until the meat mixture is well combine. Make 6 well shaped patties and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, side by side in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This step is crucial because it helps the burgers to firm up before cooking.

To make the salsa, heat the oil in a  cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Add the brown sugar and jalapeños. Cook for about 10 to 15  minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions and jalapenos are caramelized and tender. Transfer to a bowl; set aside to cool.

To cook the burgers,  make sure the grill is rack has been brushed and is  well cleaned. Brush  the rack with the oil. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Place the patties on the grill and cover with the grill lid. Cook for  for 15 to 20 minutes. Since they contain raw chorizo,  make sure that you are flipping the burgers every 5 minutes. Check the burgers to see that they are cooked and feel firm when it is depressed  in the center with your finger. Continue to grill them for 15 to 20 minutes, reducing the fire as needed, until they are thoroughly cooked. During the last few minutes, put a slice of cheese on top of each patty. Close the grill to allow the cheese to melt, for about a minute or two.

Separate the buns and  lightly brush them with oil and toast on the grill for 1 to 2 minutes to get a light char. Remove from the grill and set aside.

To serve, spread about 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise on both sides the grilled side bread. Place a burger on top  of the bottom bun and spoon  1 to 2 teaspoons of salsa on top of the burger, Close the sandwich and serve hot with yucca fries or plantain chips.

Grilled Honey Sesame Chicken Kebabs

I was looking for something that is sweet, savory and easy to make and the grill today. And fortunately I found a recipe on that fit the bill. The original recipe calls for dark meat chicken, but I substituted the protein with lean chicken breast. Just make sure you marinate the chicken for more than an hour to make sure that the chicken does not dry out while grilling. Given the amount of sodium that can be found in commercially made soy sauce and oyster sauce, I opted to use a reduced sodium soy sauce as well.

These few substitutions will make a healthy meal for those  who are watching their sodium intake.

Adapted from

Makes 10-12 skewers 
8 ounces chicken thigh and leg meat (dark meat), cut into small pieces*
Bamboo skewers
Oil, for brushing
White sesame seeds, for garnish
Black sesame seeds, for garnish
2-3 scallions, sliced on the diagonal, for garnish

1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon Chinese rice wine
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
3 dashes white pepper
1/2 Tablespoon honey

Rinse the chicken and cut into small pieces. Pat dry with paper towels. Soak the bamboo skewers for 30 minutes before using.

Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients in the Marinade for 30 minutes. Make sure the Marinade nicely coat the chicken meat.

Thread 3 to 4 pieces of chicken onto the bamboo skewers. Set aside.

Heat up the grill and grill the chicken skewers on both sides, until nicely cooked and slightly charred. Brush some oil on both surfaces while grilling.

Top the honey sesame chicken skewers with sesame seeds and chopped scallions. Serve warm.

*Cook’s Note:
The dark meat can be substituted with lean chicken breast, cut into chunks, if desired.

Grilled Steak with Green Tomato, Black Plum, and Red Cherry Salsa



Grilled steaks are great just by  themselves with just a little salt and pepper sprinkled onto the before cooking. But with the abundance of the summer produce available this time of year, an unusual summery salsa of sweet cherries and plum, with chopped green tomatoes for tartness and crunch can also be used as a relish for steaks as well.

Serves 2

3 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more  for brushing
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large green tomato, cored and cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 black plum, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1/2 cup fresh sweet cherries, pitted and quartered
1/4 cup pitted Niçoise olives, chopped
2 Tablespoons finely chopped basil
2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground Black pepper, to taste
2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 5-inch lengths


In a large bowl, whisk the 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the red wine vinegar, soy sauce and sambal oelek.
In a small skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add the sliced onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Scrape the onion into the vinaigrette and let the mixture cool. Add the green tomato, plum, cherries, olives, basil, parsley, cilantro and sorrel, if using. Toss well and season with salt and pepper.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred outside and medium-rare within, about 6 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice across the grain. Serve the steaks with the fruit salsa.

Grilled Shrimp with Peach Salsa


Serves 4
For the Shrimp:
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

For the Peach Salsa:
3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped peeled peaches
1/2 cup coarsely chopped tomatoes
1 cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup coarsely chopped red onion
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine the salt,  cumin, pepper, brown sugar and vegetable oil in a resealable plastic bag. Add the shrimp, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

To prepare salsa, place the ingredients in a food processor; pulse 3 to 4 times. Remove and place in a non metallic bowl and set aside.

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate. Remove the shrimp from the marinade, and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade.

Cook the shrimp on the preheated grill until they are bright pink on the outside and the meat is no longer transparent in the center, about 2 minutes per side or until the shrimp are done.

Serve with peach salsa.


T-Bone Steaks with Grilled Corn Salsa



Grilling T-bone steaks alongside summery salsa ingredients will give you a great steakhouse experience at home. Be sure to have a cooler area of the grill prepared to shift the steaks to if they begin to cook too quickly.


Serves 4

3 Roma tomatoes
2 ears sweet corn
1 bunch green onions, trimmed
1 jalapeño pepper
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons canola oil
Four T-bone steaks, each about 1-inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, divided
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Sprigs of cilantro, for garnish

Prepare a grill for high-heat cooking.

Brush tomatoes, corn, green onions and jalapeño on all sides with oil. Place the vegetables on the grill and cook, turning them frequently and removing them as they become soft and charred, about 5 minutes for green onions and jalapeño and 7 to 8 minutes for corn and tomatoes. Transfer to a cutting board.


Meanwhile, sprinkle steaks on all sides with 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and black pepper. Place steaks on the grill and cook 3 minutes; rotate each steak about 90 degrees (this will give you nice grill marks) and cook 3 more minutes. Flip steaks and repeat grilling and rotating process, cooking until steaks reach desired doneness, about 5 minutes more for medium-rare (145°F internal temperature). Transfer steaks to plates and let rest  for 5 minutes.


To make the salsa: Remove skin from tomatoes and dice the flesh; place in a large bowl. Cut kernels from corn ears and add kernels to the bowl. Slice green onions and add to the bowl. Split jalapeño and remove seeds and stem; finely chop flesh and add half of it to the bowl. Toss salsa with lime juice and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Taste the salsa; if you would like it spicier, add the remaining jalapeño.

Serve salsa over the steaks and garnish with sprigs of cilantro,