Plum Green Tea Slushies

Plum Green Tea Slushies

When Brian and I honeymooned in Disney World, we ate some of the most delicious food. Now, Disney is known for having some incredibly high class restaurants but we really stayed true to ourselves and kept things pretty low-brow. Fries, chicken fingers, funnel cakes, mostly. But there was also an amazing buffalo wing dip with shredded celery and kettle chips for dipping. And I stuffed myself with kielbasa and pierogies. A breaded pork chop with red onion jam stands, to this day, as one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. And yet out of all the things we tried, the plum green tea slushies were the most memorable.

We went during the Food and Wine Festival, this amazing two month long food bash with different bites from countries all around the globe. You get a little passport and they’ll stamp it for you with each new dish you try. We noshed on bites from Canada (because Moosehead must be part of this culinary tour, of course), Mexico, Poland (because Polish food is the best and I am incredibly loyal to my heritage) and Belgium. It can get crowded during the festival, no doubt. Brian and I were occupying a little high bar table while we ate some tamales. And right across from us, a man stood leaning against a trash can, balancing his plate and drink over top.

Plum Green Tea Slushies

We invited him to use our table – I mean, a trash can. He was using a trash can. So he joined us and eventually, his wife, brother and mom came over. They’d just run a half marathon and were celebrating. They told us which stands had the best drinks, where to snag the best spot for fireworks and how to avoid major bus traffic on the way home. And then the mother grabbed my arm and said “You absolutely MUST try this plum drink over there,” and pointed to a little stand sandwiched between Mexico and China. We figured why the heck not and grabbed two.

We should have grabbed four. They were perfect. Sweet, cold, refreshing. These are the kind of drinks that make it very, very easy to end up hammered by. The alcohol – by ways of plum sake – is so subtle in flavor. It just adds this nice boost, a little kick. Not enough that you are even aware how much you are drinking. Therein lies the problem. Moderation, my friends. It took almost five years for me to make these at home and I’m not even sure why. But on a recent trip to the store, I spotted plum sake and snatched it off the shelf. It was about time.

I’m really, really happy with how these turned out. They were almost exactly as I remembered them. Sweet, refreshing, sassy. Plum green tea slushies, for the win!

Plum Green Tea Slushies

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups green tea
  • 2 cups ice
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 4 cups plum sake
  • 1 cup coconut rum

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
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BBQ Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Onions

BBQ turkey burgers with caramelized onions are THE burgers for this summer: saucy, sassy and tasty.

BBQ Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Onions

I am a big believer in the idea of every burger being topped with loads and loads of caramelized onions and cheese. The cheese seems obvious. People who eat hamburgers (read: my husband) are weird. But the onions, they are an acquired taste not everyone will love. They take time, an adjustment period. If you force them, your diners will rebel and likely throw the onions in your face. 

Maybe they won’t do that exactly, but people will gripe. 

It’s an important lesson I’ve learned over the years. You really can’t force foods on people. If they suddenly have a “Come to Jesus” moment with onions, then you’re golden. But the second you try and stuff caramelized onions in someone’s mouth – no matter how delicious and perfectly browned and slightly salty they are – they will hate them forever. It’s about coming to things on your own, of discovering their beauty and flavors at your own speed.


BBQ Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Onions

Still, I wish some people would just hurry up and have this enlightening food experience. I am really tired of serving up my caramelized onions on the side. For real.

I made these burgers a few weeks ago and have tried since then to come up with a clever Bob’s Burgers style name that would convey exactly how fantastic they tasted. The sweet and sassy BBQ sauce on a turkey burger, topped with not one but two slices of cheese and covered in a mountain of golden, caramel onions. It needed a cool name. Here’s what I came up with:

Nothing. I got nothing. Sorry. If you’re into cool named burgers, please shout out your suggestions or head over to this amazing Tumblr dedicated to all things Bob’s Burgers. In the meantime, I highly suggest you heat up your grill pan and get to cooking this burger. Please, share it with someone who is super into caramelized onions. They’ll thank you.

BBQ Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Onions

Ingredients

  • 2 small yellow onions
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • salt
  • pepper
  • burger seasoning
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce of your choice
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • Optional: pretzel rolls, ketchup, tomatoes, lettuce

Instructions

  1. Begin with the caramelized onions. Slice your onions into thin slices. Melt butter and olive oil together in a pan over medium high heat. Once melted, add in the onions and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Allow to cook for approximately five minutes, then add ¼ cup of beef stock. Cover and cook approximately 7 minutes until the onions have absorbed the stock.
  3. Add another ¼ cup of stock and repeat until all of the stock has been absorbed and the onions have cooked down and are caramelized. Remove to a plate until ready to use.
  4. Divide your ground turkey into fourths. Take each fourth and form it into a patty. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and burger seasoning.
  5. On a grill pan or griddle (you can use your grill if it is warm outside) over medium high heat, cook the burgers for approximately five minutes per side.
  6. With only an additional minute left, place the cheese on top and allow it to melt. Remove the burgers from the grill. Place them on top of your roll, top each with 2 Tbsp. BBQ sauce, a generous serving of caramelized onions and the other half of the roll.
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Lemon Sugar Grilled Chicken for #WeekdaySupper

Kick grilling season off right with this lemon sugar grilled chicken.

Lemon Sugar Grilled Chicken

You know in that Pat Benetar song, how she says “Love is a battlefield”? And you might pump your fist in the air and sing along because, well, Pat Benetar? Tell her to come sit at my dinner table one night and then we’ll see if she changes her mind. Because the dinner table? That is the ultimate battle field. It’s a fight against good and evil. Every epic movie you’ve ever seen with a big battle at the end. I so often feel like Frodo and Sam Wise, trying to make it up that dang hill while my friends battle ugly Orcs at the bottom. The only difference is in the end, Frodo makes it out alive.

I guess this isn’t a totally fair comparison. There are some slam dunk dishes that I put out that just please everyone. This lemon chicken scallopini elicits tears of joy every time I plunk it down on the table. And popcorn chicken is always welcomed with open arms, like a long-lost cousin or friend (hmm… a chicken theme here, perhaps). But then there was the chicken fajita pasta that tasted amazing to me and was met with resounding groans and an evening of sitting at the table until plates were cleared. How am I, a person completely biased and in love with all things Mexican-inspired, meant to get a clean read on how the recipe turned out if everyone is going to poop on it the second it hits the table?

Poop in the strictly metaphorical sense, of course. 

Lemon Sugar Grilled Chicken

So that’s how I know this recipe for lemon sugar grilled chicken is a winner. It was met with cheers and hoots of joy, even a little welcome parade with streamers and balloons as I ushered it to the dinner table.

Maybe not really that, but it was eaten without one single complaint. People even asked for seconds so, you know, victory. Now, if you don’t have a grill or it’s still freezing where you live or you just don’t feel like turning on the propane and heating the grill, you can always bake this chicken. Toss it into a glass baking dish and just throw it in a 375 degree oven until cooked through. But the grilling here lends flavor. So do it. Don’t be lazy, folks. You won’t get that nice, crispy char without the grill. The char is important. Serve it with some grilled potatoes and some grilled eggplant because heck, you might as well use the grill while you’ve got it all preheated.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Weekday Supper posts for more grilling ideas.

Monday – Strawberry and Avocado Salad by Take A Bite Out of Boca
Tuesday – Bratwurst Tacos by Palatable Pastime
Wednesday – Lemon Sugar Grilled Chicken by Feed Me, Seymour
Thursday – Mayo-Free Curried Chicken Salad by eating in instead
Friday – Italian Chicken Avocado Burgers by Momma’s Meals

Recipe slightly adapted from Can You Stay For Dinner?

Lemon Sugar Grilled Chicken for #WeekdaySupper

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
  2. In a bag, place chicken, lemon juice and zest, garlic cloves, olive oil, salt, sugar and black pepper. Allow it to marinate together until the grill is heated.
  3. Once hot, place the chicken on the grill. Cook for 15 minutes, turning a few times, until cooked through.
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Triple Berry Lemonade

There’s something to be said for taking a very classic, time-honored recipe and flipping it completely on its head. This triple berry lemonade does just that, turning standard lemonade into something magical.

 Triple Berry Lemonade

I have a very specific idea of what I want my classic, traditional summer experience to be. Days spent laying out by the pool or biking to the local candy store. Nights spent swimming in the dark or watching the electric glow of the bug zapper. Weekends filled with hamburgers and hot dogs, lots of ketchup and corn on the cob, dripping with melted butter. I want my corn to be absolutely drenched. And big pitchers filled with ice cold lemonade.

Maybe part of me is nostalgic and remembering when I used to bike with my friends to the candy store. Or maybe I like the Hallmark card idea of summer. Who knows? I can almost bet the only thing that will actually happen this summer is the pitchers of lemonade. I can’t eat corn on the cob. And we don’t own – nor will we own – a bug zapper. But the lemonade, it will flow free! 

Triple Berry Lemonade

You might think I’d share a really classic lemonade recipe, since we’re discussing classics and nostalgia and all things home-style here today. But I’m not. Because when it comes to my lemonades, I like them unique and different. Frankly, I’d like to have a giant table set up with 20 different types of lemonade. A lemonade tasting. I’d most certainly include this triple berry lemonade, which is my favorite thus far in life. You start out with a triple berry syrup. Blackberries, raspberries and blueberries combine with some water and a touch of sugar is all you need. Boil it up, strain it out and put it in a pitcher with lemon juice and water. Done.

It really is that simple. Now,  depending on your desired level of sweetness, you can and should adjust the amount of sugar you add into the syrup. I wanted to have nothing but pure, unadulterated berry flavors, so I went light on the sugar. But if you find berries to be just a little too tart, cut back a bit. I’d say keep your sugar content to at least ¼ cup. With the slightly tart flavor of the berries and the lemon juice, you need at least that much to cut the sour flavors down. Test it out for yourself and adjust the sweetness according to your particular tastes. For me, just a touch was enough. Perfect berry flavors, amazingly vibrant color and nothing but happy, summer thoughts here, friends!

Triple Berry Lemonade

Ingredients

  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • juice of 4 lemons
  • 2 quarts cold water

Instructions

  1. Place the berries, water and sugar in a sauce pan and heat over high heat. Once boiling, turn the temperature down to medium low. Allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the berries have begun to burst.
  2. Remove the mixture from the pan and pass it through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to discard the solids. Place the berry mixture into a pitcher. Add in lemon juice and water and mix well. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
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Blackened Chicken and Vegetable Skewers

Blackened chicken and vegetable skewers are a superb, opening of the summer dish that take no time at all. 

Blackened Chicken and Vegetable Skewers

For grilling enthusiasts everywhere, there is little as thrilling as the first inaugural meal of the season. Whether it’s a tiny charcoal grill with briquettes or a high-class monster of a grill, the smell of good getting a good char is truly an experience worth celebrating. And with the monster of a winter just passed – you still snowed-in, Boston? – we could all use a little heat, a little smoke.

It should come as no surprise this blackened seasoning would eventually make it onto a grilled dish. I have more of it in my veins now than blood, I use it that often. It gives everything it touches this amazing, deep, smokey flavor darned near impossible to resist. Sprinkling it on to some chicken and veggie kabobs seemed natural.

If you’re looking for a quick, weeknight dinner, this one fits the bill. Threading the kabobs is the most time-consuming part of the process, but make it a family effort and you’ll be finished in no time.

Blackened Chicken and Vegetable Skewers

Ingredients

  • 2 peppers (I used 1 red and 1 orange), cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 zucchini, cut into cubes
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp. blackened seasoning
  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into chunks

Instructions

  1. Begin by preheating the grill to medium low.
  2. While it heats, place all the veggies in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle on two tablespoons of blackened seasoning and toss to coat completely.
  3. Sprinkle the other two tablespoons of seasoning onto the chicken, coating each piece with seasoning.
  4. Thread the ingredients onto skewers (if using wooden skewers, be sure they have been soaked beforehand) in any order you choose.
  5. Place the skewers on the grill and cook for approximately 15 minutes, turning every so often to avoid burning.
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