Grilling season!

It’s getting closer to grilling season. In some parts of the country, it’s already here. Or hell, some of you will grill when snow is on the ground, and there isn’t a whole lot wrong with that. Anyway, here is a set of recipes I posted on Grub for Guys a couple years ago. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa
There is nothing like barbecue chicken in the summer, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend time waiting for bone-in, skin-on chicken to take forever to grill while the fat drips into the fire and burns your chicken. Me, I will take my chances with a boneless chicken breast, but dressed up for maximum flavor. Here is a simply marinated chicken with a bright, flavorful and spicy salsa to top it with.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
¼ cup olive oil
2 limes, divided
Kosher salt & black pepper
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into very small chunks
½ cup peeled, seeded cucumber, also cut into small chunks
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, stem removed, seeded and chopped very fine

Combine olive oil, juice of one lime, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Add chicken and marinate for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. In a small bowl, combine pineapple, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno, juice of one lime and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high. Remove chicken from bag and grill for about four minutes per side, or until no longer pink and slightly charred on the outside. Serve chicken topped with salsa. Serves 4.

Tequila Lime Pork Tacos
4 boneless pork loin chops
¼ cup tequila
2 limes, divided
2 Tbsp. packaged taco-seasoning mix
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup cilantro, divided
Kosher salt & pepper
12 small corn tortillas
1 mango
½ cup shredded manchego cheese
½ cup shredded cabbage or cole slaw mix
Guacamole (store bought, or mash one peeled avocado with some salt, chopped cilantro, and lime juice to taste)

In a large re-sealable plastic bag, combine tequila, juice of one lime, seasoning mix, olive oil, ¼ cup cilantro and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add pork, and marinate for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Peel and chop the mango and put the chunks in a small bowl. Put cheese in a small bowl, followed by cabbage in another bowl and guacamole after that. Also have some chopped cilantro and small lime wedges at the table. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium high and grill a few corn tortillas at a time for about 30 seconds per side or until a couple of small char marks are made and tortillas are warm but still pliable. Set aside and then add pork to grill. Cook for about 3-4 minutes per side and then let rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes. Cut pork into small chunks and put in a bowl. For serving, place some pork on a corn tortilla, top with mango, cheese, cabbage, guacamole, and some cilantro and a squeeze of lime if you like. Makes 12 tacos, which you can divide according to how many hungry people you’re serving. This recipe goes great with a Corona or two (ore more).

Wasabi Cole Slaw
This is a kickass side dish that will open your sinuses. It goes well with any grilled meat, or on top of burgers, hot dogs or sandwiches.

½ head green cabbage, finely shredded (or 1 bag cole slaw mix)
½ cup regular or light mayo
½ cup wasabi mayo
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
½ Tbsp. fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
½ Tbsp. honey
Kosher salt & ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except cabbage in a large bowl until well blended. Add cabbage and toss to coat. Serve immediately or let blend flavors in fridge for an hour or two. Serves 6-8.


Product review: Ruffles molten hot wings

Chef JimIt’s amazing how many products there are now with Buffalo wing flavor. Not only have we become a nation transfixed on Buffalo chicken wings, but we just love that addictive spicy red pepper flavor. Many of us, myself included, could survive on a diet of beer and wings, or anything and Buffalo wing sauce.

The latest such product is Ruffles potato chips–Molten Hot Wings flavor. I love Ruffles and I’m not saying that so that they will ship me free product (though I wouldn’t turn it away). But this new flavor is just amazing. It’s not wimpy on the Buffalo wing flavor–in fact, it’s called “molten” because they are about a 7 out of 10 on the heat scale–at least the heat scale for the average person who likes spicy food. And the good thing is they are not too spicy so that they will overpower your sandwich, but maybe spicy enough so that you don’t have to share with your significant other who may not like spicy fare.

Anyway, if you’re a fan of either chips or wings, you HAVE to check these chips out…and be sure to let me know what you think!


Pasta salads dudes can appreciate

Think of pasta salad, and it tends to be something women bring to book club. At least that’s what many guys think when they hear those two words. But I posted something on Grub for Guys last year that is intended to let guys open their minds a bit–pasta salad for dudes. Give these a shot at your next cookout, guys, and let me know how they go over…..

Summer is here and that means we typically shy away from hot soup, stew, or anything heavy. We tend to favor grilled meats, salads, and well, beer. But if you had a fear of pasta salad because it was too girly, I’m here to tell you not to fear—because I’ve created three dude-friendly cold pasta dishes that will put hair on your chest and pleasure in your belly. I give to you, antipasto pasta, Buffalo chicken pasta, and cold sesame noodles. Each recipe is good for 2-3 servings, but you can multiply that out if you need to.

Antipasto Pasta
Good Italian restaurants serve antipasto as a salad and that usually means salami and other meats, cheeses like provolone, olives, tomatoes and artichokes — or some variation on that. Here I took that concept to the pasta salad level, including a generous amount of heart-healthy olive oil.

½ lb. Bow tie pasta
1 large red bell pepper (or 1 large roasted red pepper, diced)
½ cup cubed provolone cheese
1/3 cup diced hard salami (5-6 thick slices)
1/4 cup diced deli ham (any Italian lunch meat works too)
¼ cup diced roasted turkey
¼ cup sliced black olives
¼ cup sliced green olives
1/3 cup chick peas
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano
¼ cup prepared pesto sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions, but on the lower end of the time (i.e. if it says 9-11 minutes, go with 9). Drain pasta and set aside. Trim end off red pepper, slice in half and grill for 5-6 minutes or until slightly charred. Cut into chunks (or use a jarred red pepper to save time). Combine cooked pasta, red pepper, cheese, salami, ham, turkey, olives and chick peas in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and whisk until combined. Toss with pasta and serve.

Buffalo Chicken Pasta
I love chicken wings, but I’ve come to realize that it’s not just the fried goodness that makes wings such a god-like food. It’s the sauce. Admit it, you could drink a few shots of the stuff, couldn’t you? Well, I’ve made Buffalo chicken pizza, and now I have come up with Buffalo chicken pasta. You can thank me later.

4-5 chicken tenders
½ cup prepared buffalo wing sauce (a good thick one), plus 2-4 Tbsp.
½. Lbs. Penne pasta (or any kind you have)
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
2 stalks celery, diced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and grill over medium heat in a grill pan or on a real grill, about 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Chop into pieces and toss with 1-2 tablespoons of wing sauce. Cook pasta according to package directions, but on the low end of the time, and drain. Add another 1-2 Tbsp. wing sauce to chicken. Combine chicken, pasta, and celery in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Toss with pasta and serve.

Cold Sesame Noodles
I fell in love with cold sesame noodles as a kid growing up on Long Island, where there are amazing Chinese restaurants. One restaurant made this dish to perfection, and I have done my best to re-create it. If you like peanut butter, you will love this recipe.

½ lb. buckwheat soba noodles or spaghetti
½ cup natural peanut butter
2 tbsp. Soy sauce
1 tsp. Sesame oil
1 tbsp. Hoisin sauce
2 tsp. Lime juice
1 tsp minced ginger
Water as needed
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
Red pepper flakes
Sesame seeds

In a large serving bowl, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, lime juice and ginger. Mix well, then gradually add water, 1 tbsp. at a time until sauce is smooth and creamy and losing some of its thickness. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and add to sauce along with cucumber and green pepper. Stir to combine, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and sesame seeds, and serve.


VOGA wine is awesome

Chef JimWhen sampling wine from italy, you wouldn’t exactly expect it to not be awesome. But VOGA wine has exceeded expectations. They sent us two bottles to try–the merlot and the moscato.

The Merlot is not too dry and not bitter like some merlots are, but had a pleasant, smooth taste, sort of like a Chianti but with more of a kick. And just like most bold reds like this, it goes great with Wisconsin cheddar cheese, something I’ve become a bit of a snob about.

The Moscato was not something I typically drink. It is white, but has some fizz. It’s not an obnoxious fizz like champagne, but more of a subtle carbonation, more akin to what might happen if you added seltzer to wine, like my parents used to do. Anyway, it also has a real mild flavor, almost like they just squeezed grapes right into the bottle. On ice, I could probably down the whole bottle on a hot day, it was that good.

One of the best parts about VOGA wine, though, is the bottle. There is a cork, yes, but on top of that is a screw top. So after you remove the screw top and cork, you then replace the screw top to keep it fresh. Freaking brilliant.

Anyway, I’m anxious to try the other flavors. Other VOGA varieties are Pinot Grigio and Quattro, as well as two other sparkling ones. Give it a try if you see it, even if you’re a wine snob.

For more information, visit


Pasta with creamy red pepper sauce

Chef JimThe weather can’t make up its mind this time of year–you have warm days that make you think of grilling and big salads. You then have days like today in Wisconsin, where it is snowing and raining, in which I had a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup for lunch. But if you, like me, still have about, oh, 20 or more holiday pounds to shed, here is a recipe I created a few years back for a healthy pasta with red pepper sauce. Give it a try and let me know what you think….


1 package Rossi Whole Wheat Linguini
1 tbsp. Olive oil
3 large red bell peppers, halved and seeded
3 tbsp chicken broth
½ tsp. Minced garlic
¼ cup fat free half & half
Salt and pepper to taste

On a preheated grill rack, grill pepper halves on high heat. Grill for 10-12 minutes or until peppers begin to char, turning occasionally. Set aside to let cool.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, drizzle with olive oil to keep from sticking and set aside.

Place grilled peppers in a food processor along with chicken broth, garlic, salt and pepper. Puree or pulse until just smooth and pour mixture into a large saucepan. Warm over medium heat, slowly adding half and half until smooth. Add pasta to sauce and heat through. Makes 8 servings.


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