Spicy, Crispy Chicken Tenders

I was having friends over for dinner the other night and the usual quandary reared its ugly head. What to fix…? I asked around for suggestions but the only answer I received was “chicken.” Not a specific kind of chicken, … Continue reading

Summer Superfoods BBQ

Seeing as how summer is TRYING to die here, (and by that I mean it has been under 105 for 2 days in a row) I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to throw one more summer bar-b-que outside.  I was committed, though to a final run on the superfoods list.  This posed a challenge since, to me, summer bar-b-que is chicken in a sweet, smoky sauce, mayo-laden cole slaw and creamy potato salad.  Not sure that any of those things made the superfoods list!  So I decided to start improvising…  Here is the menu I came up with.  Boneless Beef ribs, jalapeno cole slaw and twice baked potato skins.  The menu now has: beef, jalapenos, kale, and olive oil. There.  That’s better!

I love beef ribs.  Especially when they are fall apart tender and well seasoned.  I don’t care for BBQ sauce so that isn’t a temptation for me, but it means that seasoning and cooking the meat well becomes even more important because it’s not going to get covered up.  As for the slaw, most people seem to hate cole slaw.  I don’t blame them.  The sweet, mayo filled dressing glopped onto bland cabbage is utterly unappealing.  It really has very little nutritional value, either.  I created a version using kale, sweet corn, grilled onion and jalapeno.  It has little resemblance to traditional slaw and the nutritional and “superfood” value is really upped.

For the ribs, I seasoned them well with my own steak seasoning blend.  Feel free to use whatever seasoning you prefer.  I put them in a roasting pan.  To the pan, I added 4 cloves of fresh garlic, 1 T beef base (or 2 T beef bouillon), 1 T liquid smoke, and poured a beer into the pan.  I used a dark shiner.  The darker the beer the better the flavor.  You want the liquid in the roasting pan to come about 1/3 of the way up the side of the ribs.  Cover the pan tightly and put it in a 225 degree oven for 8-10 hours.  They will be tender and delicious.  You can do these the day before and refrigerate them.  You can re-heat them on the gril the day of the BBQ and people will think you spent all day smoking them!  Before serving, lay them on a hot grill, turning once, to lend some texture and flavor to the outside of the meat.

As for the slaw…  I started with a bag of angel hair cole slaw mix from the grocery store and added a small bag of pre-shredded carrots for color and sweetness.  Here’s the kicker.  Cut a red onion in half and then half again.  Peel it and place ¼ of the onion into a bowl.  Shuck and clean an ear of fresh corn.  Place it in the bowl (on the cob) also.  Wash a bunch of fresh kale and add it to the bowl.  Drizzle all of the veggies with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Throw all of the veggies onto a medium hot grill.  Keep turning them as they cook.  You want them to get slightly charred and crispy.

Remove them as they are ready and put them back into the bowl.  Once the veggies have cooled enough to handle, finely dice the onion, slice the corn off of the cob, and chop the kale.  Add them to the slaw mix.  These smoky veggies will add a deeper flavor to and boost the nutrition value of that cabbage mix.  The dressing for the slaw salad will follow.   This slaw is a delicious side dish, a topping for tacos, or a great substitute for lettuce and tomato on a guacamole burger.  The dressing can be poured over grilled chicken or roast pork tenderloin, too.

Jalapeno Cole Slaw Dressing


4 Tomatillos, peeled and washed

1-2 large jalapenos (depending on how hot you like it)

2-3 T mayo

1T chili powder

½ T granulated garlic

Juice of 1 lime

1 T of white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

  1.  In a small saucepan, boil the tomatillos and jalapenos until the skin on the tomatillos starts to loosen.
  2. Put them into ice water once finished to cool them down and stop the cooking
  3. In a food processor, process the tomatillos and jalapenos.  (start with 1 jalapeno.  You can add more after the first tasting if you want more) While the processor is running, add 2 T of mayo.  Continue to add the spices, lime juice and vinegar until it is all pretty smooth.  (A few small chunks may remain – that’s ok)
  4. Taste the dressing and add salt and pepper to taste.  Add more mayo if you like it creamier.

Use this dressing over cole slaw mix or other roasted vegetables.  It is also great as a salad dressing with mixed greens, tomatoes, corn, black beans and cheese.  It is a yummy sauce for grilled chicken and roast pork tenderloin too.  Or offer it with fajitas instead of salsa or guacamole.

I hope this inspires you to make the most of the last, lazy days of summer.  Enjoy!!