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Moroccan Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Moroccan Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Up next in my summer grilling spree is some tasty chicken that is marinated in a Moroccan style spice blend. This Moroccan grilled chicken is as easy to make as marinating the chicken in lemon juice, olive oil and a blend of spices and then grilling it to perfection. The spice blend is made with a number of ingredients including a base of paprika with a touch of heat being provided by some cayenne and an hint of the exotic by the cinnamon, ginger and turmeric. Grilling the chicken only takes a few minutes so once you have it marinated you are only a few minutes always from tasty sticks of meat, almost like savoury lollipops really! This grilled chicken makes for great finger food at get-togethers and it also works well dinner.

Jalapeno Popper Corn Fritters

Jalapeno Popper Corn Fritters

I have been dreaming of making these jalapeno popper inspired corn fritters for a while now and with the fresh local corn finally here it was time to make them! The basic idea is to take a corn fritter and add all of the flavours of jalapeno poppers including plenty of jalapenos, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and bacon. The recipe for these corn fritters could not be easier, you simply mix everything, form patties and fry in oil until golden brown and crispy. Even though these fritters are tasty enough to eat inhale all by themselves I wanted to serve them with a sauce for pouring over them or for dipping them into. For a long time I was not sure exactly what kind of sauce I wanted but when I had the idea for the jalapeno popper dressing I knew that it would be perfect! Two times the jalapeno popper goodness in one meal!

Zucchini Pizza Crust (with Chipotle BBQ Bacon and Grilled Corn Pizza)

Chipotle BBQ Bacon and Grilled Corn Zucchini Crust Pizza

One of my favourite discoveries in the last little while has been the cauliflower pizza crust which is a really nice light and healthier alternative to a regular pizza crust. Ever since then I have been wondering what other things could be used to make pizza crusts and the first thing that came to mind was zucchini! Now that zucchini season is here one of the first things that I used it in was a zucchini crust pizza and over the last few days I have been experimenting with them! All of my zucchini pizza crust tests have been successful and it is easier to work with than cauliflower. More importantly than simply being able to use zucchini in a pizza crust, the zucchini pizza crust is amazingly if not addictively good! I will be using all of that zucchini to make many zucchini pizza crust pizzas this summer!

Southwestern Grilled Chicken Jalapeno Popper Salad

Southwestern Grilled Chicken Jalapeno Popper Salad

Now that I had my brand new jalapeno popper dressing I needed a salad to test it on and it could not just be any salad, it needed to be one that was strong enough to stand up the the total amazingness of the dressing. One of the first salads that came to mind was a southwestern style chopped salad filled with plenty of hearty and tasty ingredients including grilled corn, black beans, tomatoes and avocado. Continuing with the dressings jalapeno popper theme I added pickled jalapenos to the salad along with cheddar cheese that the poppers are sometimes filled with, bacon that they are sometimes wrapped in and crumbled tortilla chips for the crunchy popper coating. I wanted this salad to eat more like a meal so I topped it off with some seasoned grilled chicken. All of the flavours and textures in this salad work wonderfully together from the creamy beans and avocado which temper the jalapenos heat to the juicy tomatoes, the salty bacon, the crunchy tortilla chips and of course the super tasty jalapeno popper dressing! What a salad!

Jalapeno Popper Dressing

Jalapeno Popper Dressing

As many of you know I am completely obsessed with jalapeno poppers and I enjoy experimenting using their flavours in others dishes. With summer here I have been thinking about salads a lot and the other day I had a crazy idea, how about a jalapeno popper salad dressing? The thought of a dressing that can give any salad all of the flavours of jalapeno poppers was so wonderfully amazing that I just had to make it! Jalapeno poppers are made by stuffing jalapeno peppers with cheese, commonly cream cheese, and then either breading them and frying until crispy or wrapping them in bacon and grilling them. With these flavours in mind I started the dressing out with a base of creamy and tangy cream cheese along with plenty of jalapeno peppers. Too make the dressing pour-able I added Greek yogurt and butter milk and I seasoned it with garlic, green onions and cilantro. I couldn't give the dressing a crispy coating so I opted for the bacon; I mean you can never go wrong with adding bacon! The resulting jalapeno dressing is super smooth and creamy with just the right amount of heat and all of the flavor of jalapeno poppers! Using a low fat cream cheese works perfectly well in this dressing meaning that it is also pretty light! Salads better beware this summer as this jalapeno popper dressing is coming!

Carnitas Eggs Benedict

Carnitas Eggs Benedict

On the weekend when I have more time on breakfast I often like to do something special and given my passion for them, it often involves runny egg yolks. I kicked this weekend off with some eggs benedict with a Mexican twist using moist, tender and crispy carnitas that I had made earlier in the week. Eggs Benedict is made with ham and a poached egg on an English muffin covered in hollandaise sauce but you can easily change things up by swapping the meat, sauce or even the muffin. Although I am totally into hollandaise sauce I felt that a nice salsa verde would be a better option to go along with the carnitas and I mixed a mashed avocado into it to thicken it up and because avocados are simply amazing! I finished the carnitas egg benedict off with some pickled red onions and some crumbled cotija.

Blueberry Almond and Amaretto Quinoa Crisp

Blueberry Almond and Amaretto Quinoa Crisp

I don't tend to make desserts all that often but in the summer it's hard to resist using some of all of the fresh fruits and berries in a few sweet treats! One of my favourite things to make has to be crisps or crumbles and they also happen to be one of the easiest things to make! A crisp is as easy to make as throwing some fruit or berries into a pan, topping them with a simple mixture of flour, butter and sugar and baking until bubbling and golden brown!

Not too long ago I discovered that if you bake cooked quinoa that it gets all nice and crispy and that led me to wonder how it would work as the topping in a crisp or crumble and I just had to try it out! Blueberries are everywhere these days and thus a blueberry crisp was just the thing to try out the quinoa topping on. As you can see the recipe is pretty much a basic crisp recipe with quinoa in the crust and an almond theme including almond slices in the topping and a splash of amaretto in the filling. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at just how well the quinoa topping worked in the crisp! The topping crisped up nicely and the quinoa added an amazing texture to the crisp! This is not your regular crisp or crumble topping but it is definitely fabulous in it's own way!

Balsamic Roasted Cherry, Dark Chocolate and Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Balsamic Roasted Cherry, Dark Chocolate and Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I can't believe that it has been so long since I last made a grilled cheese sandwich! I guess I was all grill cheesed out after grilled cheese month!

With summer here I could not resist using some of the beautiful fresh fruit in a grilled cheese sandwich starting with cherries. I always enjoy the melted brie and fruit combo and it also just happens to be fantastic in a grilled cheese sandwich so it is my cheese of choice for this sandwich. Instead of throwing the fresh cherries into the sandwich I roast them a bit first to both concentrate their flavour and to remove some of their moisture, since nobody likes a soggy sandwich. Before roasting the cherries I like to toss them in balsamic vinegar which brightens them up a bit and helps bring out their flavour but brandy or port are also great options. The next component of this sandwich, a touch of dark chocolate, might be a bit of a surprise but it works so amazingly well! Chocolate and cherries were meant for each other and the duo is only made better by the addition of plenty of melted brie! Although this balsamic roasted cherry, dark chocolate and brie grilled cheese sandwich might sound a bit odd, it is a truly magical flavour combination that is pure magic in your mouth!

Is this dessert? Is it dinner? Does it matter? It's all sorts of good!

Black Bean, Corn and Quinoa Picadillo Tacos

Black Bean, Corn and Quinoa Picadillo Tacos

Ever since the fresh corn showed up in the markets I have been enjoying a lot of it, especially combined with black beans! The other day I came across some picadillo and that made me think that a black bean and corn picadillo would be awesome! Picadillo is a ground beef dish that is popular in many Latin American countries and it varies quite a bit from region to region. The version that has always piqued my interest is one that includes salty olives and sweet raisins which add a certain exoticness to the dish. Picadillo is often served with rice and beans or used in other dishes like tacos which is where I was heading with this one. The thought that picadillo is commonly served with rice put the idea of quinoa in my mind and I could not resist adding some right into the picadillo for the boost of protean along with it's amazing texture. This picadillo certainly is packed with flavour and the creamy black bean, juicy corn, salty olive and sweet raisin combo is fantastic! With everything in this picadillo you could easily eat it by itself as a complete meal but it is so good when stuffed into corn tortillas along with some cool and creamy avocado, diced onions and a sprinkling of crumbled cotija!

Chipotle Lime Grilled Shrimp and Corn Guacamole Mini Tostadas

Chipotle Lime Grilled Shrimp and Corn Guacamole Mini Tostadas

This weekend I was looking for some appetizers and since it's summer I wanted to use the grill! Grilled shrimp was on my mind and although it's always a pleasure to eat it right off of the stick I was thinking that it would be nice to serve it on little bite sized tostadas. (Tostadas are crispy fried tortillas that are topped with food that is often held in place with a base of guacamole or refried beans.) Of course with all of the fresh corn around I was not just going to make any plain old boring guacamole but a corn and cotija guacamole and since the grill was going to be fired up the corn would be grilled first. Not surprisingly these bite sized chipotle lime grilled shrimp and corn guacamole tostadas disappeared quickly this weekend and I know that I will be making them again soon!

Chipotle Lime Grilled Shrimp

Chipotle Lime Grilled Shrimp

I have really been into grilling this summer and one of my favourite things to grill has to be these chipotle lime grilled shrimp. They are so easy to make and so good that it is hard to resist grilling up a batch every week. The shrimp is marinated in a simple mixture of smoky and spicy chipotle chilies and sour lime juice along with a touch of garlic before quickly grilling it to perfection! Not only is this tasty chipotle lime grilled shrimp perfect for eating right off the stick but it is also fabulous to use in other dishes (see below). This recipe is my go-to version that I usually use but I also like to change things up every once in a while and some great options are adding a touch of honey, tequila or cilantro. No matter how you grill this chipotle lime shrimp up this summer it is sure to please, and disappear quickly, so make a double batch!

Pesto Grilled Shrimp Caprese Quesadillas

Pesto Grilled Shrimp Caprese Quesadillas

After making the absolutely addictive pesto grilled shrimp the other day I had to make some more and this time instead of just eating it from the stick I wanted to use it in something, quesadillas! I have been on a quesadilla kick lately and I could not help but think that the pesto grilled shrimp would be amazing in some caprese salad inspire quesadillas with plenty of melted fresh mozzarella and tomatoes along with some extra pesto and drizzle of balsamic reduction! In general these flavours work magically well together and it is especially true in quesadilla form! I will definitely be enjoying a few more of these quesadillas in the next few weeks!

Strawberry and Avocado Spinach Salad in Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Strawberry and Avocado Spinach Salad in Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Right now the markets are filled with fresh strawberries and raspberries and that made me think about one my favourite ways to enjoy them together, in this strawberry and avocado spinach salad with raspberry balsamic vinaigrette. You might think that it is a bit odd combining strawberries in the salad and raspberries in the dressing but they work beautifully well together especially in a baby spinach salad with cool and creamy avocado, salty bacon and tangy blue cheese! Individually all of the ingredients in this salad are pretty amazing but combined they take things to a whole new level! This strawberry and avocado spinach salad in raspberry balsamic vinaigrette is so easy to throw together and it makes for a tasty treat of a light meal on hot summer days!

Raspberry White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

I always enjoy making my own salad dressings, I mean they are so easy to make, taking no more than five minutes, and they are so much better than store bought! In the summer homemade dressings get particularly interesting both in the fact that I am eating a lot more salads and because there are so many fresh fruits and berries that can be using in the dressings. When I saw some raspberries at the market I could not help but think of one of my favourite dressings, a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette and I picked some up to make it. This dressing is super simple, consisting of mashed raspberries, white balsamic vinegar, oil, a bit of honey and mustard along with some garlic and it does literally only moments to make! It is hard to think of a salad that this raspberry balsamic vinaigrette would not go well on and it can elevate even the plainest of salads from ordinary to truly spectacular!

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

For summer picnics, get-togethers, bbqs, etc. the main course, often grilled meat, gets all of the focus but it is also important to have a few good tasty sides on hand! The potato salad is a classic summer side that is easy to make and always goes over well! One of my favourite winter side dishes is a loaded baked potato or a baked potato with all the fixins including cheese, bacon, sour cream and green onions but it is too hot to have the oven on in the summer so why not make a loaded baked potato, potato salad? This baked potato salad is as easy to make as boiling the potatoes, I like using new potatoes in the summer, until tender and then mixing them up with the sour cream, cheese, bacon and green onions. You really cannot go wrong with creamy potatoes, cheese and plenty of bacon and this loaded baked potato salad is sure to be the first dish to disappear from your summer get-together!

Teriyaki Shrimp Burgers with Grilled Pineapple Salsa, Bacon and Blue Cheese

Teriyaki Shrimp Burgers with Grilled Pineapple Salsa and Bacon

I have been completely enamored by homemade shrimp burgers ever since I first tried them a short while ago and since they have been on my mind a lot I had to make some more! One combo that I particularly enjoy is juicy shrimp and a sweet and salty teriyaki sauce which goes fantastically well when wrapped in bacon and grilled on skewers along with some sweet and tangy pineapple and I was thinking that a burger version would be amazing! I kept the shrimp patties pretty simple with large chunks of shrimp, a few seasoning including garlic, ginger, sesame oil and teriyaki sauce, in addition to some breadcrumbs to help hold things together. Although you could easily use a store bought teriyaki sauce it is so easy to make your own and doing so gives you the opportunity to customize it for the dish that you are using it in like in this case where you use pineapple juice. I filled the burgers out with some bacon and instead of using slices of grilled pineapple I kicked things up a bit and went with a grilled pineapple salsa. I often like to include a cheese in my burgers and after thinking about it for a while I came to the conclusion that a touch of creamy blue cheese would go perfectly well with all of the other flavours going on in these burgers! I might just have found my new all time favourite burgers in these teriyaki shrimp burgers with pineapple salsa, bacon and blue cheese and I have to admit that I made them two times last week!