Friday, August 21, 2009

Stock Up on Limes & Charcoal

That's right - limes and charcoal, plus chicken, tortillas, and black beans equals one yummy meal! (Actually two, maybe three, yummy meals.) Here's what we grilled this week:

I don't know which side of the Gas vs. Charcoal debate you're on, but as the picture shows, I'm a charcoal girl. (Use a chimney starter and you'll have hot coals in 20 minutes, every time - no smelly lighter fluid or weird, coated charcoal needed!) If you're a fan of Hank Hill's 'Lady Propane', just use your gas grill . . .

Here's our favorite Tex-Mex Chicken Marinade:

1/2 cup lime juice
1/3 cup EVOO
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon HOT paprika
2 teaspoons Kosher salt

Mix all in a (as they say on tv) zip-top bag. Marinate boneless, skinless chicken pieces for 1 hour or overnight (if using the large, pre-packaged breasts, cut into two or three smaller pieces for more marinated flavor and faster grilling). Grill on medium heat 10-15 minutes total. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing/serving. Use this time to grill your tortillas:

We made a tostada-ish dish with the grilled tortillas, fresh salsa, black beans, and sour cream. Served with grilled corn on the cob - it was a truly fabulous meal. The following night, we tossed the leftover, cold chicken onto salads (dressed with lime juice, EVOO, honey, dash of cumin, and salt/pepper) with a side of black bean quesadillas. As our remaining tomatoes have rotted on the vine, we did not have fresh salsa. Here's a trick though, to make bottled salsa taste almost like fresh - just add some chopped cilantro (it's what lots of Mexican restaurants do).

This post is getting a bit long, but I have to include our favorite refried bean recipe - it's so good (and healthy!) that we never eat refried beans in restaurants now. Try it once and you'll be hooked:

Queen Street Refried Black Beans

In a medium saucepan, saute these on med-high for 30 seconds:

1 teaspoon EVOO (not a typo, only a teaspoon)
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Add to garlic mixture:

2 (16 oz.) cans black beans, drained & rinsed
14 oz. chicken broth or stock

Bring to a boil, mash some of the beans with fork or potato masher. Reduce heat to low simmer and cook until thickened - stir and/or mash occasionally. It will take 20-30 minutes to cook to typicaly refried consistency. Beans will thicken a bit more as they cool. Once beans are in serving dish, squeeze lime juice over and stir.

Whew! Now you know what's for dinner here when we crave fresh, spicy Tex-Mex. Hope you'll fire up those grills this weekend and give it a try.

Leah's Grill Notes: If in doubt, use a meat thermometer to check grilled meats. Always oil the grill before using - put the grate over the heated coals for a few minutes, give it a quick swipe with your cleaning brush, then wipe with a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel (obviously, use tongs to hold the towel). When you're finished cooking, use your grill brush to give it a quick clean - you'll never have to do a heavy-duty cleaning if you do these steps. Also, don't forget to close the top & bottom vents to cool off the grill much faster and, more importantly, save the remaining charcoal. Finally, if using hardwood charcoal, remember it burns much faster and hotter!


  1. Yummy! That looks great! Can't wait to try it out on my family. One question though ... what is EVOO? Thanks!

  2. Keep up the blog, I have a ton of etiquette questions since I am the last of the working class living in downtown Hillsborough. But I'll wait till you bring up the questions (and answers) in this blog.
    Your neighbor


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