Category Archives: Grill

Blue Cheese Burgers with Bacon-Onion Jam

I’ve been the beneficiary of multiple rounds of sweet onions in my CSA during the past few weeks. While in the winter I use onions left and right for soups and warm comfort foods, I never realized that they weren’t a big part of my summer repertoire. Sure, I use them here or there but I tend to sway toward herbally green onions instead.

With a desire to throw as much on the grill as possible in the summer I decided to use my onion bounty to create a gourmet burger. I wanted to caramelize them somehow – I don’t care for them raw – and was lured in by a savory Bacon-Onion Jam recipe on Pinterest. The smoky-sweet jam is chock full of some of my favorite big flavors so it needs a burger that can stand up to it. Enter blue cheese – which does double duty as a fatty/creamy binder if you happen to be using an ultra lean game meat like the elk that I used. Beef will work just fine of course but if you happen to have access to game meat it cuts the richness (and calories) down a little.

Serve with a simple salad to let the burger itself take center stage.
Blue Cheese Elk Burgers
1 lb ground elk (or beef, venison, buffalo, etc)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp Worcestershire
1/2 tsp black pepper
kosher salt
2 oz crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola
arugula, to serve
fresh hamburger buns

In a large bowl, combine ground meat with garlic, liquid smoke, Worcestershire, black pepper and salt. Mix well using your hands. Add in crumbled cheese and mix gently to incorporate. Portion out meat mixture into 3-4 balls, depending on the size of hamburger patty that you prefer. Gently pat the balls into round patties and use your thumb to indent the middle for more even cooking.

Place on a the upper grill rack of a medium-hot gas grill and cook for six minutes. Flip burgers and cook for another 3-4 min for a “medium” preparation. Burger thickness, your exact grill and your preference in preparation (ie, medium rare versus well done) will cause variance in cooking times to adjust according to your preferences.

Bacon Sweet Onion Jam
Adapted from Smells Like Home
5 pieces thick cut bacon, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 large sweet onion, halved and very thinly sliced
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 C balsamic
1/3 C water
1/2 Tbsp stone ground mustard
kosher salt
black pepper

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until browned but not crispy, about 6-7 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the onions – I like mine sliced paper thin for better caramelization. Remove the bacon from the pan and let it drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Stir in the onions, and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan to cook the onions for 2 minutes. Uncover the pan and scrape any browned bits off of the bottom of the pan with a spatula or wooden spoon. Recover the pan and cook the onions for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and beginning to caramelize.

After the onions have cooked, stir in the balsamic vinegar, mustard, and water then return the bacon to the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens and is almost completely absorbed, about 5-7 minutes. If using immediately, set it aside in a bowl until ready to use.

To serve: Place burger on the bun and top with jam and arugula.



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Filed under Garden, Grill

Teriyaki Chicken with Pineapple Rice

I absolutely love chicken cooked on the grill.  We have been eating it so often that I am starting to try new sides to keep it fun and new.  I came across this recipe for pineapple rice on Our Best Bites.  The pineapple give the rice the perfect amount of sweetness and the cilantro adds a wonderful flavor.  The best part is my kids love it as well.
grilled chicken

Teriyaki Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Rice

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, pounded thin
2 cups store bought Teriyaki Marinade

2 1/2 cups cooked white rice
2 Tbsps butter
Juice of 1 lime
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained.
½  Cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chicken in a plastic bag and cover with the marinade.  Marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

In a large bowl, mix the warm, cooked rice with the butter, lime juice, pineapple and cilantro.  Add salt and pepper if necessary.

Heat your grill to medium high.  Remove chicken from the marinade and discard any leftover marinade.  Cook chicken until no longer pink, about 5 – 7 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the breast.  Let rest for a few minutes, then slice and serve over rice.

grilled chicken2


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Filed under Grill, Main Dish

Grilled Pound Cake with Balsamic Strawberries

We recently took our annual trip to Polzin Farms in Cedarburg, WI for some good old-fashioned strawberry picking. We came home with 14 pounds of juicy, red deliciousness. So what does one do with 14 pounds of strawberries ? Get creative. I’m like the Forrest Gump of strawberries: strawberry rhubarb crisp, strawberry french toast, strawberry banana smoothies and my latest, grilled pound cake with balsamic strawberries.

This is a fresh take on strawberry shortcake. I went all Sandra Lee and semi-homemade this one with store-bought pound cake. If you want to bake a fresh pound cake, I’m sure it would taste even better. This is a great dessert when entertaining. Just a quick toss on the grill and you are ready to go.

grilled poundcake and strawberries

Grilled Pound Cake with Balsamic Strawberries
Serves 4-6

2 C fresh, halved strawberries
1 TBSP white balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP sugar
1 loaf pound cake, sliced (store-bought or homemade)
Coconut cooking oil or spray (or olive oil spray)
1 C heavy whipping cream
1 TBSP powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Clean and oil grill. Pre-heat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.

In a small saucepan, heat strawberries, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir occasionally until warmed through. Keep warm until served.

With an electric mixer, beat whipping cream, powdered sugar and cinnamon on high speed until thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes

Brush pound cake with olive or coconut oil. Place on heated grill. Sear for about 1-2 minutes on each side, making sure it doesn’t burn.

Place pound cake slice on plate, top with strawberries, strawberry sauce from the pan and whipped cream.

Grilled Poundcake with Balsamic Strawberries and Cream


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Filed under Cook, Grill, Treats

Grilled Asparagus & Hakurei Turnip Panzanella

As the mercury creeps up, our CSA box and farmer’s market finds are starting to expand beyond greenery into heartier and more adventurous veg. Enter, hakurei turnips. While asparagus and I are well acquainted, these little white turnips were new to my table. Originally I had thought about just shaving them raw but had been craving a hearty panzanella lately so I detoured from my plan.

Panzanella makes for a fun, experimental salad (like most salads) where you can toss in whatever you’ve got handy. For this one, I ended up grilling everything but the spinach. The grilled hakurei turnips add an earthy-sweet element to the flavor mix.

Since this was dinner, I served the panzanella alongside my Bacon and Grilled Scape Risotto, also replete with grilled CSA treasure.

asparagus panzanella salad

Grilled Asparagus Panzanella
Serves 4
1 bunch stalks asparagus
1 bunch hakurei turnips
1/2 C shaved parmesan
2 medium tomatoes, thickly sliced
2 C fresh spinach
1 medium baguette, sliced in half laterally
olive oil
red wine vinegar (approx 1 Tbsp)
cracked black pepper
kosher salt

Trim asparagus ends and set aside. Trim off turnip greens and ends, then slice turnips into disks. Slice tomatoes and set aside.

I used a grill pan to do my grilling but you could certainly use a real grill. I would, however, recommend a grill basket for the smaller vegetables. Using a grill pan, add about 1 Tbsp olive oil to the pan and shift pan around to coat lightly. Add asparagus and turnips. Grill on medium heat for about 4 minutes or until grill marks begin to appear, then flip vegetables and repeat. Once both sides are nicely marked, remove and set aside on a cutting board.

Transfer baguette halves onto grill pan and grill for about 5 minutes, until bread developed a golden crust or grill marks. Set aside. Transfer tomatoes to grill pan and grill for about 2-3 minutes per side.

Roughly chop asparagus and tomato into large bite sized pieces. Slice baguette into large, crouton-like chunks. Add vegetables and bread to a large bowl. Toss with spinach and shaved parmesan. Drizzle lightly with red wine vinegar, cracked black pepper and salt. Toss to combine. If desired, toss with an additional drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm.

grilled panzanellakatie


Filed under Grill, Healthy, Quick & Easy

Grilled Fish with Toasted Coconut Couscous and Spicy Melon Salsa

Last week the hubs came home from a fishing trip to Florida with a stack of fresh saltwater fish including grouper, snapper and mackeral. Living in the Midwest, these fish don’t make it to my table very often and I was too excited about the dish I created to wait to post it.

Back in May, we had taken a trip to Florida together and eaten plenty of fresh catch with bold tropical flavors. Taking a cue from the trip, I made a slightly sweet coconut couscous and a spicy cucumber melon salsa to serve with our lightly seasoned grilled fish. Big and bold yet light and fresh while still playing up the fish…made me wish I had saltwater fish to eat every day!

Grilled Saltwater Fish
1 lb grouper, mingo snapper, mahi mahi or similar saltwater white fish
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
garlic powder
ginger powder
Old Bay seasoning
kosher salt

Form a “plate” with aluminum foil and place fish on foil “plate”. Rub with olive oil so that fish is lightly coated. Season very lightly with garlic, ginger, Old Bay and salt. No need to measure specific amounts here – just lightly dust each piece with the spices. Grill fish for 5-7 minutes. Fish should be flaky and opaque.

Toasted Coconut Rice
1 1/4 C Israeli couscous
1 can lite coconut milk
1/2 C water
1/4 C coconut flakes
1/4 tsp kosher salt

In a large sauce pan, combine couscous, water and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes until liquid is fully absorbed. Meanwhile, in a small saute pan, toast coconut over medium heat until golden brown, taking care not to burn – approximately 6-8 minutes. Add toasted coconut to couscous and season with salt. Fluff couscous with a fork and keep covered until other components are ready.

Spicy Melon Salsa
2/3 C diced cantaloupe
2/3 C diced pineapple
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 Tbsp mint, finely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
1/2 Tbsp lime juice
red pepper flakes, to taste
pinch kosher salt

In a small bowl, combine cantaloupe, pineapple and cucumber. Mix in mint. In a separate small bowl, combine oil, honey and lime juice, whisking until combined. Toss gently over fruit. Dust with salt and red pepper flakes to taste and mix to combine. Salsa should be the right mix of spicy, sweet and tangy for your taste.


Filed under Grill, Healthy, Main Dish

Campfire Cones

We were invited to Stef’s house for a BBQ last weekend and she asked that I bring a dessert.  It was roughly 105 degrees out, so turning on my oven was not an option.  I had come across the idea for campfire cones on pinterest, and decided to give it a try.  They were quick and easy to make and were a huge hit!  Adults and kids were drooling over these rich and gooey treats.

Campfire Cones
Ice Cream Cones
Mini Marshmallows
Mini Chocolate Chips
Chopped Nuts
Peanut Butter Chips

tin foil

Start with a cone and fill with marshmallows and other treats.  Cover with foil and place on inderect heat on a grill or campfire for about 5-10 minutes or until all of the contents are melted.

Unwrap and enjoy!


Filed under Cook, Grill, Treats

Grilled Salmon Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

With the Salmon-a-Rama fishing tournament (yep, you read that right) in full swing in Milwaukee my fridge is overflowing with fresh fish. Which is a good thing since the drought situation we’ve got going on has left me with a garden that’s struggling to survive.

I don’t usually make tacos with salmon but I figured, why not? Grilled with a simple, spicy dry rub and paired with a crunchy-creamy cool salsa they made for a light and healthy dinner to beat the summer heat.

Grilled Salmon Tacos
1 lb salmon fillets, skin removed and de-boned if needed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chipotle powder/chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 small tortillas

In a small bowl, stir together garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt. Form a “cookie sheet” of aluminum foil and place on a plate or cutting board. Place fish on the aluminum foil and gently and evenly apply olive oil, then dry rub to fish. Heat grill to 400. Transfer “cookie sheet” to the grill and grill for about 6 minutes. Salmon should be opaque and slightly flaky.

Watermelon Radish Salsa
1/2  C watermelon, diced
6-8 radishes, trimmed and diced
1/2 C cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced
pinch kosher salt
pinch cumin

Dice watermelon, radishes and cucumber into evenly sized pieces and transfer to a small bowl. Toss together. Chop cilantro and mix into salsa. Season with salt, cumin and lime juice and toss. Dice avocado and gently toss into salsa, taking care not to smush the avocado.

Place salmon in tortillas and top with salsa and hot sauce if desired.

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Filed under Grill, Healthy, Quick & Easy

Grilled Romaine BLT Salad

My trip to Dole in May has inspired many an inventive salad dish in my house. In the past, I had seen plenty of recipes to grill Romaine lettuce, but never tried it. It was no surprise that I loved it upon trying it out in Monterey. Just a little char and a little warmth on the crisp lettuce goes a long way. It makes a salad feel like more of a hearty dinner.

Try this out next time you are at the grill. It is easy, fast and delicious!

Grilled Romaine BLT Salad
4 pieces thick-cut bacon
1 head Romaine lettuce
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 C cherry tomatoes, halved
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 C croutons
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Lite Blue Cheese dressing

Bake bacon in oven. Chop into pieces and set aside.

Preheat the grill. Brush whole Romaine head with 1 TBSP olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on hot grill. Grill 2 minutes on each side, enough to create char marks. Remove from grill.

Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in small skillet. Add tomatoes, oregano and salt and pepper. Saute tomatoes for about 8-10 minutes or until heated through.

Place tomatoes over Romaine. Sprinkle with bacon, green onions, tomatoes and croutons. Drizzle blue cheese dressing over the top.

To serve, cut into chunks and place on plates using a spatula.

If you want to use your grill only, you could skewer the tomatoes, drizzle them with olive oil oregano, salt and pepper and grill them next to the lettuce, until heated through.

If you want to lighten it up a bit, skip the blue cheese dressing. You could add just a small sprinkle of lite blue cheese or gorgonzola.


Filed under Grill

{Skinny BBQ Series} Tropical Grilled Chicken with Spicy Strawberry Salsa

Just like Anne, I am no stranger to strawberries. The fam and I went on our second annual strawberry picking excursion out in Cedarburg, WI last weekend. We outdid ourselves this year. With over 20 lbs of strawberries, I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate these delectable juicy berries into every meal possible. I’ve made some less healthy (but delicious) strawberry almond muffins and strawberry rhubarb crisp, but I’ve also incorporated strawberries into fresh salads and this skinny BBQ recipe: tropical grilled chicken with spicy strawberry salsa.

I’ve found pairing strawberries with different flavors (spicy, tangy, etc.) really balances out flavors and brings the strawberries to life in a different way. This strawberry salsa would also be great on grilled fish or fish tacos. Chicken breast is always an alternative for skinny BBQ but so often it comes out over cooked, dry and bland. This simple marinade brings sweet and tropical flavors and keeps the chicken nice and juicy.

Tropical Grilled Chicken with Spicy Strawberry Salsa

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 oz. pineapple juice
1/4 C low-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 C fresh strawberries, diced
1/2 large jalapeño pepper, diced
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
cracked black pepper

In a shallow dish, mix pineapple juice, soy sauce, garlic, cumin and onion powder. Place chicken breasts in the dish, coating in the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat grill to high.

In a small bowl, mix together strawberries, jalapeño and cilantro. Add a pinch of coarse black pepper and salt to taste. Set aside.

Reduce grill to medium high heat. Place chicken breasts on grill. Cook for 7-8 minutes on each side. Do NOT keep moving and turning the chicken. Remove chicken from grill.

Place chicken breast on plate and top with heaping spoonful of strawberry salsa.


Filed under Grill, Healthy

Pork Chops with Cherry Saison Relish

It’s hard for me to resist the bags of ruby red cherries that abound this time of year. Even though they can be a pain to eat, I’m a sucker for the sweet-tart flavor. To amp up our standard grilled pork chops over the weekend, I put together this easy but complex cherry saison relish using items I had on hand, including a home brewed Belgian saison ale. Sweet, tart, savory and a touch spicy thanks to a sprinkle of chipotle, it has everything you could want in a summer sauce.

Pork Chops with Cherry Saison Relish
serves 2
1/3 C chicken stock
1/3 C Belgian saison ale (or wheat beer)
2 Tbsp stone ground mustard
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp corn starch
small pinch chipotle powder (optional)
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper

Remove stems and pits from cherries. Roughly chop cherries and transfer to a saute pan. Begin to heat on medium heat. Add chicken stock and saison ale to cherries, whisking to combine. Whisk in corn starch, brown sugar and mustard so that there are no clumps and let simmer until mixture reduces and begins to thicken, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add chipotle powder. Whisk well and let mixture continue to reduce and stay warm while your chops are being grilled.

Season chops on both sides with kosher salt and black pepper. Grill chops on raised rack of grill at 400 degrees for about 5-6 minutes per side based on thickness. Top chops with cherry sauce.

Recipe for sauce can be increased to support more chops and could also be paired with chicken.


Filed under Grill, Healthy, Main Dish, Quick & Easy