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Our new grill

Chef JimSo yesterday my wife and I bought a new grill–mainly because the one we had was on its last leg, had wasp nests growing inside of it, and was blown over by the Great Blizzard of 2011 a few months ago. I had assembled it again and got it to work, but only marginally…it would not even get hot enough so that my hand touching the lid wouldn’t make me jump five feet in the air.

So we went to Menard’s here in Madison and bought another Char-Broil grill, the same brand we had before that served us well, and because it was only 98 bucks! Only problem…I asked the nice lady in that department how easy it is to put together..she said it was only in 2-3 pieces. Um, no. It was in like a million pieces, complete with instructions most humans cannot comprehend. Now, it was around 2pm and I had no interest in doing this on Memorial Day, not this late when it might take 8 hours for me to complete. But my wife, bless her heart, decided to help me. She also calmed me down a few times when I wanted to throw said million pieces out the window. But hey, piece by piece it came together, and four hours later we were grilling!

It was a pain, but we accomplished it and the food tasted that much better because of it. But hey, if you buy a grill like this, be warned…..and give yourself plenty of time to put it together. Onward!

Memorial Day: let the barbecue season begin

I’m looking out of my office window right now and it’s a bright sunny day, and close to 70 degrees. I think we’re expecting some rain this weekend, but my mind is still on Memorial Day and the fact that it’s cookout season. That means you can officially bust out your grill. And with that in mind, here are some recipes I’ve posted before on Mikey’s Kitchen that you can try this weekend……

Fresh Summer Grilling

Quick and Easy Grilling

Peanut Butter & Banana Burger

Steak and Potatoes 1

Steak and Potatoes 2

There you go. You have no excuses….get out there and fire up the grill! And have a safe and awesome holiday weekend.

Linguine with red pepper sauce

You want something light for the spring or summer warm weather months? Here is a pasta that fits the bill, especially in the throes of summer when bell peppers are in season. If you want something even healthier, use whole wheat pasta and fat free half and half, but I’m a big proponent of portion control (well, I try to be!), so I prefer regular pasta and real half and half or cream. This is also a good recipe to make for a date night in, such as the one I wrote about on Bullz-Eye.com’s Get Real Guide for Men. Enjoy….

Ingredients
1 package Linguine
1 tbsp. Olive oil
3 large red bell peppers, halved and seeded
3 tbsp chicken broth
½ tsp. Minced garlic
¼ cup half & half
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
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.

Product review: Savi Seed

When the rep reached out to me about Savi Seed, it sounded too good to be true. Here was a nut product that is harvested in South America that have 13 times Omega 3 fatty acids as wild salmon. Say what? Well, that’s good news for me because I’m not a fish person. I am hesitant as well to take fish oil capsules, because I am afraid of having fish burps. But if you can have a product that has 3500 milligrams of Omega 3′s in a convenient little pouch, and if these nuts can be covered in sugar or chocolate to make them taste even better, why would you ever eat fish? Okay, I know that was a rhetorical question, because I’m in the minority about my distaste for seafood.

Anyway, Savi Seeds are all that. I tried the two they sent me–”karmalized,” which are coated with raw sugar cane; and cocoa kissed, which are coated in extra dark chocolate. The sugar ones were a bit too crunchy, and kind of grainy. But you could still taste the roasted seeds and they taste pretty good. The chocolate ones are way better, and incredibly addictive. The seeds themselves are something akin to a cross between a peanut and hazelnut, and about the size of a small peanut. Each packet (1 oz./28 g) also has 5-6 grams of protein. Can you say mega-food?

Anyway, it looks like these are distributed by Sequel Naturals in Vancouver, but if you can’t find them online or in health food or Whole Foods type stores, let me know–the information that was sent with the product was limited. But either way, Savi Seeds are well worth seeking out.

Breakfast

Here is a stray Grub for Guys recipe set that hasn’t published but that I thought you might like to check out heading into the weekend. Enjoy!

Two Healthy and Extremely Awesome Breakfast Recipes
Panko Banana Waffle French Toast & Sweet Potato Pancakes

Without trying to sound like Sandra Lee in her “Semi-Homemade” show (come on, I know you guys watch her), here are two easy breakfast recipes that begin with pre-made ingredients. Because after a night of drinking, you need carbs to soak up that alcohol. Or if you’re a dad like me, and want to impress your family, these two are can’t-miss.

Panko Banana Waffle French Toast
Ingredients:
8 Eggo frozen waffles (whole wheat if you want to go healthier)
2 large eggs
¾ cup panko-style bread crumbs
2 bananas, sliced to ¼ inch thickness
2 tbsp. milk (skim is fine)
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
Powdered sugar
Maple syrup

Directions:
Pre-heat non-stick skillet or a large non-stick frying pan. Let waffles thaw, which takes about 30 minutes. Beat eggs with milk and vanilla in a large, wide bowl. Put bread crumbs on a plate next to egg mixture. Take the waffles, one at a time and put a few banana slices on one half, then fold over. Dip in egg mixture, then bread crumbs, and then onto skillet. Repeat with remaining waffles, and cook until crispy on the outside. Top each waffle with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup on the side. Makes four (2-waffle) servings.

Sweet Potato Pancakes
Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat pancake mix (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
1 medium sweet potato
¼ cup chopped pecans, divided
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
Maple syrup

Directions:
Peel and cut the sweet potato into chunks. Place in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 12-15 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash into a puree and set aside. Pre-heat non-stick skillet or large non-stick frying pan. Prepare pancake mixture according to package directions (it’s really easy…you mix it with an egg, some oil and water until the proper consistency). Then fold in ¾ cup of the sweet potato puree and 2 tbsp. of the pecans. After pouring the batter onto the skillet, melt the butter with brown sugar in a small frying pan over medium heat, and then add the remaining 2 tbsp. pecans and toast for a few minutes until dark brown and caramelized. After cooking the pancakes to desired doneness, serve on a plate topped with some of the pecan mixture and serve with maple syrup on the side. Serves 4, or two really hungry people.

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