Category Archives: Grilling

Foil-Baked Tilapia with Black Beans & Corn

Being on a diet is something that produces change for the whole family.  Sometimes they’re happy with the change, sometimes not so much.  For example, I’ve become more conscious of the fact that I do not eat a lot of fruit.  I love vegetables, just not fruit.  And as a parent, I cannot expect my child to eat the fruit I’m pushing at her if I do not eat it myself.  So I’m trying to eat more, and teach her by my example.  Also, my cooking diet meals means that my husband also eats diet meals.  He is really a rock star husband, he never complains and even compliments the diet food.

Sundays have always been our day of indulgence.  It is his only day off during the week and he likes to make the most of it.  When he woke up this past Sunday, he said that he wanted to grill, he went look in our deep freeze and said how about either pork chops or ribs.  Both sounded GREAT, but I knew they would not end up remotely healthy.  I found this recipe online and figured we could always grill it instead of bake it.

This was pretty easy to make, quick to cook (we did end up baking it, not grilling it) and packed a major punch of flavor.  The compound butter cooks on the fish and melts down to the corn and black beans, infusing them with that amazing chipotle flavor.  As a low-cal high-taste dinner, it will be on our menu more often!

Foil Baked Tilapia with Black Beans & Corn

Foil-Baked Tilapia with Black Beans & Corn
Recipe from:  Pink Parsley, originally from America’s Test Kitchen

4 tilapia fillets
salt and pepper
Cajun seasoning, if desired
4 tbsp softened butter
1 tsp orange zest
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tsp minced chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1  can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can low-sodium corn, drained
1/2 red onion, minced
2 green onions, minced
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro


  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, combine the softened butter with 1 tsp of the chipotle chili in adobo sauce, the orange zest, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Set aside.
  • Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with desired seasonings (salt and pepper, or I used the Cajun seasoning).  Spread the butter mixture over the fish.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the beans, corn, red onion, green onion, 2 tbsp cilantro, orange juice, 1 tsp minced chipotle pepper in adobo, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, mix until well incorporated.
  • Lay four sheets of foil on the counter and evenly divide the corn and bean mixture between them.  Lay a piece of fish on top of each and fold the foil, sealing the edges.
  • Arrange in a single layer in a baking dish and bake until cooked through, 20-30 minutes.  Fish is done when it flakes when a fork is stuck in it.  Open the packets and serve, sprinkled with extra cilantro if desired.

327 calories per serving



Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Quesadillas

The weather here has been really beautiful lately.  We’d love if it were a little cooler, but hey after temps over 100 for months, we’ll take it!  When its beautiful out, we like to grill, so we decided to do these quesadillas.

I apologize in advance, my picture doesn’t look great.  Looks like I can add quesadillas to the “Hard to Photograph” category.  I tried, I really did.  But don’t worry about the picture because these were really great!  We really liked the flavor combination and the extra zip of the bbq sauce.  We used our old standby for the bbq sauce, Stubbs.  Great stuff, you should try it.  Anyway, these were slightly involved, since you had to grill the chicken first.  But you could easily cheat and head over to a bbq joint and just pick up some bbq chicken!  😉

Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Quesadillas
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 flour tortillas
1 pineapple, cut into long strips (see Pioneer Woman’s website for pictures of how to cut it)
seasonings to taste (we used Tony’s)
3 cups Monterey Jack Cheese (shred your own, it melts better)
1 whole jalapeno, sliced (optional)
BBQ Sauce – we used Stubbs


  • Prepare grill, make sure coals are ready.
  • Season chicken with desired seasoning, grill until no longer pink in the middle.  When the chicken is almost done, baste with bbq sauce and allow to finish cooking.
  • Thread pineapple onto long skewers and grill just until warmed and grill marks appear.
  • Cut the chicken into slices, cut the pineapple into chunks.
  • Inside:  heat a skillet over medium heat, melt a little butter.  Add 1 tortilla and on one half of it, layer the chicken, pineapple, jalapeno, cheese and a little drizzle of bbq sauce if desired.  Fold the empty side over the filled side and cook until cheese melts.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  • Cut into wedges and serve with your favorite quesadilla condiments.

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Quesadilla


Pizza Crust Dough in the Bread Machine

The other day I was looking for a few recipes for my bread machine which I have neglected.  My friend Kelly and her husband Jay dropped off a little cookbook that came with their machine so I couldn’t wait to try a recipe from it.  We love pizzas on the grill, so when my husband said he wanted that for dinner last weekend, I decided to make the dough from this recipe.

Can’t beat the bread machine for getting the dough ready!  We were doing some bathroom renovation work and the machine did the hard work while we were otherwise occupied.  All I had to do was shape it into pizza and voila!  The flavor was awesome and the pizza….well the picture speaks for itself!  We topped ours with pizza sauce, boiled crawfish tails, bacon, mini pepperoni (as you can see from my daughter’s slice), goat cheese, mozzarella, onions and fresh lemon boy tomatoes from our garden!

Pizza Crust Dough
Recipe adapted from:  Toastmaster Bread Machine Cookbook

3/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp dry powdered milk
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 tsp Red Star active dry yeast
1 tsp Italian Seasonings (dry)
A few shakes of garlic and onion powders

Place all ingredients (in that order) in the bread machine and select your dough setting.  Do something else for a while.  Once it’s done, empty onto a lightly floured surface and press into a 12-inch pizza.  Either top with desired toppings and bake at 425 for 20 minutes, or do like we like to do and throw that bad boy on the BBQ pit!!

Pizza Dough - on the grill and heavily topped!

Cajun Boudin Blanc

It was recently my husband’s and my anniversary and rather than getting traditional gifts, we like to get stuff that the other actually would really want.  This year I got my husband a meat grinder and sausage stuffer attachment for our stand mixer (we call it Sir Mix A Lot) and my hubs was really excited about his gift.  I also got him a cookbook about making his own sausages. 

Since we were having a bbq for Easter, he decided to try out his new equipment and make homemade sausage for the get together.  After looking through the cookbook, he picked a recipe for boudin.  Boudin is a sausage casing filled with spicy rice and meat mixture, similar to a rice dressing.  It’s delicious!  Lots of people cook it in a crockpot but we like it on the grill so it gets crisp. 

It took a while to make and filling the casings is DEFINITELY a 2-person job, but it is worth it because the end result was delicious!  This recipe made just under five pounds.

Cajun Boudin Blanc
Recipe from:  Home Sausage Making by Susan Mahnke Peery & Charles G. Reavis

3 lbs. boneless pork butt, cut into 2-inch chunks (include some fat) – we had to use a bone-in pork butt
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp butter
1.5 cups long-grain white rice
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
9 feet small hog casing
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Cajun seasoning to taste

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil.  In a pot combine the pork, 1 tsp salt, black pepper, thyme and bay leaves.  Cover with the boiling water and simmer for two hours or until the pork is cooked but so tender its falling apart.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat and refrigerate.  Strain the broth and set it aside.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter then add the rice, onion and green onions and saute until the rice is translucent.  Add  2.5 cups of the reserved broth and cook covered over low heat until the rice is tender (any leftover broth should be refrigerated).

Prepare the casing:  Cut off about 4 feet of casing and rinse it under cool water to remove any salt.  Place in a bowl of cool water and let it soak about thirty minutes before rinsing again under cold running water.  Hold one end open under the faucet and let the water run through the insides of the casing to flush out any salt on the insides. 

Soak the casing again in cold water with 1 tbsp white vinegar to each cup of water.  When  you’re ready to stuff, rinse well and drain.

Using the coarse disk for the meat grinder, grind the meat into a large bowl.  Add the cooked rice mixture, the remaining salt and the parsley, cayenne and crushed red pepper.  If it seems dry, add some of the reserved broth and mix well.  Taste for seasonings – we added just a little Cajun seasoning (Tony’s) at this point. 

Stuff into the casings per the manufacturer’s instructions, and prick air pockets occasionally,  Twist off into 20-inch links as you are stuffing it.  Refrigerate, covered for up to three days.  Cook either on the grill or covered by simmering water for 15 minutes.

Cajun Boudin Blanc

Fig-Glazed Burgers with Red Onion Jam

Yes, it’s another fig recipe!  In case you haven’t noticed, we love figs.  I know you’re thinking “yeah Christen, but on a BURGER???”  You don’t actually put the figs on (you could, nothing is stopping you if you are so inclined) but you just use the syrup as a glaze, sort of like you would bbq sauce.  Soooo good!  We adapted the recipe some so it would have some salty/sweet components and it was phenomenal.  This is definitely one that we will be making again soon!

Fig-Glazed  Burgers with Red Onion Jam
Recipe adapted from Southern Living, July 2010 issue

Red Onion Jam:
4 cups thinly sliced red onion (2 onions)
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 tsp chopped fresh thyme
cooking spray
1.5 lbs ground round
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 egg
bacon strips, cooked
3 tbsp fig preserves syrup
Muenster cheese slices
buns, toasted
whatever toppings (lettuce, tomato, etc.)


Jam:  Saute’ onions in hot oil in a nonstick skillet.  Reduce heat and stir in the sugar, vinegar and thyme.  Cover and cook 10 minutes or until the onions are very tender.  Keep on low to keep warm (I uncovered so it wouldn’t be too liquidy). 

Burgers:  Mix beef with the ingredients through the breadcrumbs.  Shape into patties. 

Grill 5 minutes on each side.  Top with fig syrup and then cheese slices.  Grill 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.  Serve on buns with red onion jam and other toppings.

Fig-Glazed Burgers with Red Onion Jam

Shish-ka-BOWLS with Bulgur

One of my husband’s favorite foods is shish-ka-bobs.  Unfortunately, it’s something I despise making.  It’s good, it’s just WAY too much work.  We’ve recently decided to re-create it into shish-ka-bowls and we all end up happy!  You get the same great tastes with a LOT less work! 

We decided to pair our grilled yumminess with some bulgur.  We both love this stuff, it’s almost like a larger grain couscous.  So delicious! 

Shish-ka-bowls with Bulgur

Vegetables of your choice:  we used quartered mushrooms, onions, garlic and tomatoes
Protein of your choice:  we used shrimp
1 lime
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp brown sugar
Seasonings to taste:  garlic powder, onion powder, cajun seasoning
1 cup bulgur
1 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp lemon zest


Rinse shrimp and allow to dry a little.  Prepare a marinade for them by combining the juice of one lime with soy sauce, honey, brown sugar and seasonings to taste.  Toss the shrimp mixture in this, cover and refrigerate a few hours.

Wash your vegetables well, place in a large bowl together.  Spoon some pesto over them and toss, adding more pesto until all veggies are well coated.  Cover and refrigerate.

To grill, simply place into two grilling baskets (you COULD do one but the protein and the veggies sometimes require different cooking times).  Grill until done to your liking.  Empty into a clean bowl to serve alongside bulgur.

To cook bulgur:  Bring chicken broth and lemon zest to a boil, lightly salt.  Stir in the bulgur, cover and remove from heat.  Allow to sit, covered for thirty minutes.  Fluff and serve.

Shish-Ka-Bowls with Bulgur

Spinach Alfredo Pizza

It’s that time of the year again where we Catholics make Lenten sacrifices.  One of the traditions is that meat is given up on Ash Wednesday and each Friday of Lent, including Good Friday.  Instead of indulging on seafood like we often do on those days, my husband and I decided to make some nice vegetarian pizzas on the grill outside.  We used the flat-out bread (found in the bakery section at Wal-Mart) which I think we should have cooked a little longer before adding the toppings.  It got flimsy as we were eating it.  We may try again for lunch, who knows.  Overall, the pizza was delicious.  I personally thought it could have used a little less alfredo sauce, but the hubs thought it was great as-is (other than the flimsy crust). 

Spinach Alfredo Pizza
a Christen creation

1 pkg Flat-Out Light Italian Herb Wraps
1 jar Bertolli Mushroom Alfredo Sauce
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach
4-5 fresh mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
seasonings to taste:  salt, garlic and onion powders
parmesan cheese (or whatever cheese you like)
Grilling items you use (we used charcoal)


Heat grill outside (or the coals, whatever).  Go inside and get the rest ready.

In a nonstick skillet, heat butter and olive oil together over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until soft, set aside on a plate with the raw mushrooms (don’t cook these).  Add the spinach to the remaining butter/oil in the skillet and cook for a few minutes until warmed through.  Add the alfredo sauce and mix well, season to taste.  Allow to cook for about 5 minutes.  Remove to a bowl.

Fill a small dish with about 2 tbsp olive oil.  Bring your olive oil, flat out wraps, spinach combination, mushrooms, onions and cheese outside to the grill.  You’ll want to bring a large spatula for removing the pizzas from the grill, a silicone basting brush, and a pan to put the pizzas on when they’re done.

When the coals are ready, place however many pizzas you want down on the grill (each wrap equals one pizza – we made two and had toppings leftover).  Brush evenly with olive oil and turn over and brush the other side.  Allow to cook a few minutes, getting some good grill marks on the crust.  Turn over and begin to add your toppings.  We did the spinach mixture, then the onions, then mushrooms then cheese.  Close grill and allow the cheese to melt.  Parmesan takes a LOOOOONG time to melt, so you could use a better melting cheese if you like, perhaps an Italian blend.  If you notice your crust is getting close to burning (like ours was), remove and put inside under the broiler to melt the cheese.  Once done, remove, cut and serve.

FlatOut Light Italian Herb Wraps

Spinach Alfredo Pizza

Click here for more information on the history of Lent.