Homemade marinades make grilling foods taste yummy

Posted Tuesday, Jun. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Looks like we all are wishing for more rain but we were pleased to receive our lowest water bill for June since we moved here in 2006.

We did get a little rain but I think we are more careful now about using the sprinkler system less frequently, and not all the stations on any one given day. I like to hand water in the early morning or late evenings and that gives me a chance to view our plants up close to see how they are growing and surviving through summer heat. I have also collected several metal sprinklers that do various tasks from light sprinkling to a heavier stream; all can be adjusted and set right at the very source of the garden that really needs attention. Yesterday, I set out a sprinkler in only the Begonia bed; though it is heavily mulched, I don't want to lose any.

We have been grilling out and eating some of the nice produce that we can find, especially when it is grown locally.

Marinades are easy to use and help any beef, pork or chicken become more tender and flavorful. We have started making our very own barbecue sauces because we avoid many of the additives so commonly found in store-bought ones, such as high fructose corn syrup. There is REALLY a difference when you find a recipe you like and make it yourself.

Thompson's Lemon Pepper Marinade

This one takes so little prep time and works for beef, lamb, chicken or pork.

2/3 cup dry white wine (one you would drink)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Grated zest of 2 lemons (just the outside peel)

Juice of two lemons

2 large garlic cloves

1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns, crushed

Process all ingredients in either a food processor or blender until thoroughly combined. We store this in a glass jar with lid for up to 3 days. Just pour over the meat and marinate for about an hour or two before grilling.

Mike's Marinade

This takes only about 10 minutes to make and really is good.

1 1/2 cups real beer (not light)

3 garlic cloves

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Process all ingredients in food processor or blender until thoroughly combined. We store this one also in a jar with lid up to 3 days before grilling.

Dee Dee's Garlic Oil

This is what we brush on mushrooms, shrimp, chicken or veggies while they are grilling instead of plain olive oil.

10-12 large garlic cloves

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Crush garlic cloves with the side of a cleaver or heavy knife and remove papery skin. Place garlic in a clean glass jar and pour in olive oil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid.

Let stand at room temperature for two hours, then refrigerate. Use this within 2 weeks. I always use a marker and write the date on top of the lid when I make this.

Thompson's Hot and Sweet Barbecue Sauce

This is a perfect blend of both the hot and sweet for basting poultry or pork.

1 (10-1/2) ounce jar apricot jam

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon minced FRESH ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a medium saucepan (non-reactive-don't use aluminum), warm jam over medium heat, stirring until melted, about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Let sauce cool before basting. We can store this in a lidded jar in the frig for up to one week.

Our Very Nice Coleslaw

I like this recipe because this is such a good summer side dish AND it stays crisp in the fridge for days, making it a wonderful dish for large gatherings or a make-ahead salad.

This takes about 30 minutes to prepare and serves 50 people, excellent for picnics (be sure and keep cold!) or a church lunch or dinner. We have halved this and it's still the same great side.

5 large green cabbages, shredded (can use 4 green and one red cabbage for color)

3 green peppers, chopped

3 red bell peppers, chopped

5 large onions, minced

2 1/2 cups vegetable oil

3 3/4 cup white wine vinegar

3 3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 Tablespoons salt

2 1/2 teaspoons celery seed

Combine cabbage, peppers and onions in one or more large bowls. In a large sauce pan, combine oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and celery seed. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture boils, 5-7 minutes. Pour over cabbage and let stand WITHOUT stirring for one hour. Toss cabbage with dressing and refrigerate for up to 1 week before serving. This is so good to make ahead of a large company event, picnic or "pot luck" dinner!

As we all hope for no constant summer drought, let's do everything we can to observe the water restrictions, if any, in our areas.

Keep the grills full of propane, and always have a back-up, so you don't run out in the middle of making dinner! And sometimes, for those very special treats, we build a charcoal fire- I can taste the steak now, especially with garlic and cilantro butter melted on top!

Next week, let's get in on a fantastic "sweet" recipe, more sides and grilling ideas.

Have a wonderful week in Parker County - a great place to live, raise kids and plant gardens.

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