Archive for Cooking Tips

Learn How to Cook the Perfect Chicken Legs on the Grill

is not only a delicious summer meal, but it is also quite economical as legs are one of the cheapest parts of the chicken. Just because they are cheap, does not mean they have to lack in flavor. Actually, the dark meat of poultry has more flavor as it contains more fat.

One of the biggest problems grilling enthusiasts face however is knowing how long they should cook chicken legs on the grill.

It really isn’t possible to give an exact answer to this question as it really depends on the type of grill you are using, the grilling method and how big the chicken legs are.

It really is an excellent idea to invest in a good quality cooking thermometer. I personally own a voice alert electronic thermometer. It really is a fantastic little cooking gadget and I would be lost without it. It is extremely accurate and eliminates all guessing, and guessing is not an option when cooking meat, especially chicken.

CHICKEN GRILLING METHODS

Boil the Chicken Legs First

The goal with this method is to cook the meat all the way through before it goes on the grill. This greatly reduces the risk of any food born illnesses and also cuts down the grilling time significantly. The downside to this method is a serious lack of flavor. Since you will be cooking the meat on the grill for a much shorter period of time, the meat will not have a chance to pick up that delicious grilled flavor.

MARINATE THEN GRILL

Marinating your chicken legs first is always a good idea. Not only does it give your food a fantastic flavor, but it also keeps the meat moist during the cooking process. For the best results, marinate the chicken over night. Below is an excellent marinade that I use often and it is quite versatile. It works well with seafood like shrimp and scallops as well.

Citrus Herb Marinade

Ingredients:

4 Chicken Legs

1/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 1/2 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice

1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice

1/3 Cup of Freshly Chopped Parsley

1/3 Cup Freshly Chopped Cilantro

2 Cloves of Garlic Minced

1 Teaspoon of Salt

1/4 Teaspoon of Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except the chicken legs. Add chicken to the bowl with the marinade and toss to coat. Refrigerate for several hours, over night if possible….

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How to Cook the Perfect Meatloaf

So you are planning to make meatloaf for dinner tonight?

There is a question that I have received several times from ambitious home cooks:

What is the Cooking Time for Meatloaf? or How long do you cook meatloaf in the oven?

So I decided to dedicate an entire post that includes instructions along with delicious recipe that will answer the above question.  I have also included a few videos that covers a few other methods for cooking meatloaf.

This is a very common question, but it really does depend on how many pounds your meatloaf is and the temperature at which you are cooking it.

Meatloaf, when prepared the right way, is a delicious dish. It should be firm, but juicy and should not break apart when you slice it.

In this post, I will provide you with a wonderful recipe and instructions for cooking the best meatloaf you will ever sink your teeth into.

Meatloaf is usually cooked two different ways: either in a bread pan or on a cookie sheet.

The bread will give you a juicer meatloaf and is much easier to prepare as the meat takes the shape of the bread pan.

The cookie sheet method will not be as juicy and you will have to put a little more effort into shaping the meatloaf and get your hands dirty.

I like to cook my meatloaf Italian Style. This is the way my Grandmother made it and she passed her recipe on to my Mother, and my Mother passed it on to me. It is by far the best meatloaf recipe in my opinion. It is much more flavorful then your basic meatloaf recipe.

SIMPLE ITALIAN STYLE MEATLOAF RECIPE

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 eggs
1 7 ounce jar roasted red peppers chopped
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 cup of bread crumbs
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 cups of prepared tomato sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Heat a medium sized saute pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add your onion and garlic and saute until soft. Remove and set it aside on a plate to cool.

3. Grab yourself a large mixing bowl.

4. Add the cooled onions and garlic along with the the rest of your ingredients, except the tomato sauce, and combine. Mix together well with your hands and form into a loaf and add it to an oiled oven safe tray. Top the loaf with 1 cup of the prepared tomato sauce. Make certain that you spread the tomato sauce evenly over the top of the loaf.

5. Bake for about 1 hour or when the internal temperature of the meatloaf reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Slice it up and serve.

Heat the remaining tomato sauce if desired and use for dipping….

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Different Ways To Cook Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

is the most popular cut of poultry in the United States and with good reason: they are low in fat, quick and easy to prepare and extremely versatile. This wonderful cut of poultry can be grilled, sauteed, broiled, poached, fried and baked. There is a downside however to this cut of meat: they are rather low in fat. You may be asking: “What is wrong with that? That makes them healthy right?” Yes, they are a healthier way to eat, but because they are low in fat, they are also low in moisture and that makes them very susceptible to over cooking. Nothing is less appetizing than a dry and overcooked piece of meat.

There are two ways to make certain your chicken is not overcooked. The first way, and the most accurate in my opinion, is to use an instant read thermometer. I own a handy little electronic thermometer with a voice alert feature. It is extremely accurate and has never let me down. The other method for checking doneness is by pricking the meat with a fork. If the juices run clear, then it is done. I think the first option is much safer, but you can be the judge.

There are literally hundreds of combined recipes and methods for cooking chicken breast, far too many to cover in this article, so I will talk about two very popular methods.

One of the easiest and tastiest ways is to marinate and grill them.

Below is a great marinade recipe.:

GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST WITH CITRUS HERB MARINADE

INGREDIENTS:

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

1/3 Cup of Freshly Chopped Parsley

1/3 Cup of Freshly Chopped Basil

1 Clove of Garlic Minced

1 Teaspoon of Salt

1/4 Teaspoon of Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Step 1: Mix together everything, accept the chicken breasts, in a large bowl.

Step 2: Add boneless skinless chicken breasts to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for several hours.

Step 3: Get you grill nice and hot and oil the grates to prevent the chicken from sticking.

Step 4: Grill chicken breasts about 4 minutes per side or until done.

Another fantastic way to cook chicken breasts is by baking them in foil in the oven. The foil helps keep the meat nice and moist while cooking. What you put inside the foil is only limited by your imagination, but to make things easier, I have included a great recipe below.

CHICKEN WITH SUN DRIED TOMATOES AND KALAMATA OLIVES

INGREDIENTS:

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

10 – 15 Kalamata Olives Pitted and Chopped

8 – 10 Sun Dried Tomatoes Cut Into Thin Strips

4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons of Freshly Chopped Basil

2 Tablespoons of Freshly Chopped Parsley

Salt and Pepper to Taste

DIRECTIONS:

Step 1: Preheat Oven to 450 Degrees F

Step 2: In a bowl, combine the olives, tomatoes, basil, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Step 3: Cut 8 Squares of Aluminum Foil (Cut them large, about 18 inches square)

Step 4: Grab 2 squares of foil and place one on top of the other.

Step 5: Grease the foil with some olive oil

Step 6: Place a chicken breast in the center of the foil and spoon some of the tomato and olive mixture on top

Step 7: Loosely fold the foil over the chicken forming a tent and seal tightly

Step 8: Repeat this process for the remaining chicken breasts

Step 9 : Place the wrapped chicken breasts on a baking sheet and place in the pre-heated oven

Step 10: Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until done. To check for doneness, cut a small slit in the foil to allow the steam to escape and then carefully unfold the foil. Check for doneness with an instant read thermometer. The internal temperature should read 160 degrees F.

Step 11: Let the chicken breasts stand for about five minutes before serving.

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How Long do you Cook Asparagus?

Today’s commonly asked question is about asparagus:

How Long Do You Cook Asparagus?

There is no correct answer to this question unfortunately. This really is a matter of personal preference. I personally like my vegetables with a little snap to them, so I do not really cook my asparagus that long.

I see many people cooking their asparagus until its soft and wilting. Personally, I think this is a crime, but if you prefer your veggies this way, then by all means, cook it to death. Remember though…. The longer you cook your vegetables, the less nutrients they will have.

The length of time you cook your asparugus also depends on the type of cooking method.

There are three ways that I personally like to cook fresh asparagus and by far the best in my opinion: parboiling, roasting and grilling.

First things First – Prepare the Asparagus

Before you cook your asparagus, there needs to be some simple preparation. You need to first wash your asparagus to remove any dirt or other particles. Then you need to cut your asparagus if it has not already been cut for you. Cutting your asparagus is a must. There is a very tough part that is not edible and needs to be removed….

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