Sweet & Tasty BBQ Rub

It’s BBQ season and with the Fourth of July just days away I’ve been playing a little with flavors trying to create a dry rub that will satisfy this barbeque loving girl who is still keeping it healthy.

If you have followed me for a while, you know that anything I prepare these days is going to be healthy, but remember, just because it is healthy doesn’t mean it has to be bland!

It’s taken several attempts, but I have finally come up with the perfect combination of seasonings for a fabulous BBQ rub!  I do know that it is a success as I have shared it with several of my clients, as well as my boss (former Mr. USA, John Defendis) and it has passed all the tests!

So, here is my perfect BBQ rub for chicken and yes, even ribs that has become a local hit.

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar blend

2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder (I use the California blend w/ parsley)

2 Tablespoons Chili Powder

3/4 Teaspoons Ground Mustard

 1 Tablespoon onion powder

1 Tablespoon Paprika

**optional, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper for a spicy kick

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Place all ingredients in a bowl with a lid.  Shake well to combine, then coat the meat you are wanting to grill. 

We chose chicken and baby back ribs.

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Preheat your grill to 350 or 400 degrees, then place your meat over the flames, dropping the flame to low.

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Cook until the chicken is 155 degrees and the ribs are 150-155 degrees when a thermometer is inserted.  If you like your ribs falling off of the bone, you may want to boil them first or cook them a bit longer on the grill.

The rub will carmelize on the meat creating a savory flavor that will have you licking your fingers when your finished!

Scrumptious Ribs ready for the table

Scrumptious Ribs ready for the table

I saved the ribs for the fam and I enjoyed a super juicy piece of chicken breast!

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Juicy chicken breast for those needing lighter fare

This will reheat well, so go ahead and cook extra for your lunch tomorrow also!

Perfect for a hostess gift if you are attending a BBQ this weekend

Perfect for a hostess gift if you are attending a BBQ this weekend

Store your leftover rub in a mason jar or a decorative jar for future use.

This would also make a spectacular and thoughtful hostess gift if you plan to attend any barbeques this weekend!

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Enjoy!!

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Seasoned Finishing Salts

Grocery stores and malls are packed with last minute shoppers, and in just a few hours and Santa will be making his rounds.
My three teenagers are thrilled and thankfully not too old to indulge in a little holiday fun!
As promised yesterday, I have one more quick and easy last minute gift to share with you.  This little item makes a great hostess gift for any holiday gathering or just a neat touch to add to a gift for the cook in the family.
And it’ll keep you from having to run out in the Christmas Eve mobs last minute to grab one last gift!
I was inspired to create this after seeing finishing salts (in Weck jars) for sale at $10.00 each in a culinary store.
I knew I could make them much cheaper!
Audley said mine were probably better as well.
The simplicity of this project is what makes it so great!  If you enjoy cooking, you probably have all of the ingredients right on hand.
All you need is 24 ounces of coarse sea salt, 4-5 tablespoons dried rosemary, 3-4  tablespoons dried garlic, and peppercorns.
 
Four ingredients and a jar for presentation.
That’s it.

 

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients.
For the peppercorns, I used a pepper grinder and added about 2-3 tablespoons.

 

I used Weck jars that I already had on hand

 

 Once everything has been combined in your bowl, pour into little jars and seal.

 

Add a little holiday flourish and you have a five minute gift (or treat for yourself) that looks great and is a wonderful addition to any beef, chicken, or lamb dinner this Christmas season!
Just sprinkle over the top of the cooked meat to finish it off before serving!
Wishing you all a blessed Christmas Eve!

Herb-Infused Vinegars

Here we are just a couple of days from Christmas.  The trees are trimmed, the snacks are baked, and presents are wrapped.

Are you ready?

I thought so…. You forgot your sister-in-law, aunt, 5th cousin twice removed, or, gulp, your mother-in-law.
Totally feeling you here!

I have a couple of quick and inexpensive gift ideas that will save the day for you!  I’ll share one today and one tomorrow and you’ll be all set for Christmas morning!

First up?
Herb Infused Vinegars that you can make yourself.

Easy peasy, versitile, perfectly lovely for all occasions, not just Christmas.

All you need is bottles with rubber seals for the mixture, assorted fresh herbs, garlic, dried peppers (if your fortunate enough to find them!), and vinegar.

I found these bottles at Ingles Market, but TJ Maxx had some really great ones as well!

Bring your vinegar to a boil over medium high heat.
While waiting for the vinegar to boil, pick which herbs you would like to combine for flavoring your vinegar and add to the jars.  I used rosemary & garlic; tarragon, oregano, chives & garlic; dill & chives for my flavors.

And just a quick note, your garlic may take one bluish hue.  It is a natural reaction to the vinegar  and doesn’t alter the flavor at all!

After adding the fresh herbs, using a funnel, slowly pour the hot vinegar into the bottle, completely covering the herbs.

Be careful when you pour the vinegar because it will pop & burn you!

 

After you have filled each bottle & seal.  These don’t have to be processed in a hot water bath, generally they will seal up because of the heat from vinegar.

You want to store these in a cool, dark space (a pantry or something)  for about 10 days to allow time for the flavors to infuse.  If you are making these last minute like me, just let the recipient know that they need to sit a few days.

Add ribbon, tags and voila …. it’s an easy gift to give!

These flavored vinegars are great for marinades, salad dressings or just drizzling over fresh steamed veggies.

They also make great hostess gifts for Christmas or New Year’s parties, or any other time of the year!

Tomorrow I will share another super easy (and quick to assemble) culinary gift; seasoned finishing salts.

I hope you will stop back by!

Fit Friday: Quick Homemade Salsa

Just a quick recipe for Fitness Friday this week!

I absolutely love salsa! I love it hot.
I love it with a zing.
I love it on tortilla chips.
I love it on rice.
And I love it on just plain chicken.When you adopt a lifestyle that consists of little to no salt and little to no sugar, sometimes you have to become a little creative on your own.  Such is the case with my salsa.  You can buy no-salt added salsa.It’s OK, but honestly, it’s not great.  I want flavor.  Fresh flavor and a lot of it. So I decided to whip up that flavor on my own.Now my tomatoes didn’t do well in the garden this year with all of the rain, so I settled for canned tomatoes, but rest assured, when those flavorful babies appear again next summer, I will be making it fresh all the way!

This recipe for homemade salsa is so simple and quick to make.

When I say this is quick and easy, I mean someone with no kitchen experience can whip this right up!
We ALL love that kind of convenience, now don’t we?!
So here is my winter version of a flavorful, low sodium salsa that was a complete smash at our dinner table earlier this week!
In a food processor or blender puree together: 

**3 cans of Organic Muir Glen no salt tomatoes seasoned with garlic, basil & oregano
**1/2 large vidalia onion, loosely chopped
**1/2 large red onion, loosely chopped
**4 large jalapeño peppers, seeded
** 1 large bell pepper, seeded and loosely chopped
**2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
** 2 cloves fresh garlic
**1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
** 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)
**1/4 cup lemon or lime juice

You can adjust any of the seasonings to suit your taste, but otherwise, That’s it …. easy peasy, and absolutely a hit at the table for a fajita salad dinner! Refrigerate what you don’t use.

While this recipe is good whether you are watching what you eat or not, it is ideal for someone who is on a low-sodium and low-sugar diet.   And to let you know how good my kids thought it was, they used an entire half-liter jar as well as the smaller juice jar of the salsa at one meal!

Easy fajita salad: London broil grilled medium & seasoned with Mrs. Dash Fajita seasoning, no-salt corn tortilla chips, shredded lettuce, red and green onion, cucumber, and fresh tomato, topped with salsa.
Healthy and on the table in 40 minutes.
Linking up with Foodie Friday this week.