Marinades For Tasty Meals

As a busy mom, I try to keep things simple - especially my cooking. I do a little bit here and there, so I don't have to spend all day in the kitchen. When I go to the grocery store, I normally buy meats based on what is on sale. (coupons.com), manager's specials. Typically, I plan ahead my menu for the week with help from cost-cutting measures.

When I get home from the store, I put the meat I plan on using in the next two days in the refrigerator. All other meat goes into portion-controlled zip-loc freezer bags with a quick marinade. Later in the week, I just pull my pre-marinated meat from the freezer, let it thaw and then only worry about the side dishes. This trick works very well for impromptu summer grill outs or BBQ parties -- what host doesn't mind you bringing over marinaded steaks or chicken? You can even try these with tofu or veggies, if you are a vegetarian.
Believe me. Once you start whipping up these marinades, your dinners will be even more delicious and carefree! Just throw together a nice salad or some rice or potatoes and your family will be asking for seconds.

My second cousin, Mary Ericksen gave me the following marinade recipes for a bridal shower. We've tried them with shrimp, lamb and various cuts of chicken to pump up the recipes from your own books!

Pineapple Chipotle:

In a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup frozen pineapple juice concentrate
2 Tbs. chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
Use 1/2 of the recipe to marinate protein (chicken, pork or shrimp) and reserve 1/2 for basting. Never baste with left-over marinade in which your meat has been sitting!

Makes 1 cup for 4-8 servings.

Coffee-Balsamic Marinade:

In a small bowl dissolve:

1 1/2 tsp. instant coffee in 1/2 cup of hot water

Stir in:

3 T balsamic vinegar
3 T dark brown sugar (try molasses!)
1 T olive oil
3 minced garlic cloves
2 T crushed black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt

This recipe is an excellent marinade for beef or lamb cuts. Be sure to reserve some for basting.

Lemon Pepper Marinade:

In a small bowl combine:
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and a bit of zest
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 T olive oil
1 T sugar
1 T crushed black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

We love this lighter marinade for shrimp, swordfish, tuna, chicken or veggies!

Rosemary-Red Wine Marinade:
In a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 dry red wine (plus one generous glass for the cook!)
1 T olive oil
4 minced garlic cloves
2 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 t. salt 1/2 t. black pepper

Especially delicious for chicken thighs, beef or lamb.
Too cold to grill? You can still cook up your meat in the oven (350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes each side to desired temperature). We also love our Foreman Grill! Dinner could not be easier... or tastier!

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