Not Near the One You Love, Love the One You’re Near!

No, this is not an X-rated post, but simply one about substitution!  One of my favorite places to dine out is Cheddars. They have a grilled tilapia with mango salsa topped with grilled shrimp – simply to die for!

We did grilled tilapia at home a few nights back and I found myself without mango salsa or the ingredients to prepare such.  So what to do?  I knew that tartar sauce or cocktail sauce or any other such sauce would be an insult to the grilled tilapia flavor. 

Well upon exploring the contents of the frig I found chunky salsa and a jar of peach-mango preserves.  You guessed it – take a couple of tablespoons of the chunky part of the salsa (getting only a little of the juice) and mix with a like or slightly larger amount of the preserves (balance the sweet and the tangy to suit your own taste) that has been heated just a few seconds so it will pour easily. Mix together and add a few bits of fresh cilantro!! 

Not what they serve at Cheddars, but it does add a tangy sweetness to the fish and I just bet it would go well with something like pork chops too! Many of you have probably already done something like this, but if you haven’t – try it – and feel free to substitute another flavor if peach-mango doesn’t appeal to you. Enjoy!!


Baby It’s Cold Outside – Time to Grill !!

Winter Grilling 

If you really love grilled or barbecued food then going the whole winter season without it is not the ideal situation.  Well, why not fire up your grill and treat yourself and your family to the wonderful flavor that only grilled food provides? Grilling in the winter is not all that different if you keep a few things in mind.

 The first thing to do is dress warmly.  Try layering your clothing. Layering will help you keep warm as well as letting you move freely to attend to the grill. Warm socks and shoes or better yet boots will keep the feet warm.  Add gloves, ones without fingers if possible, and you are ready to fire up your grill.

 Once your grill is hot you might want to check to make sure that there are no bits of food left over from your last grill session!  Brush with a stiff wire grill bush if necessary. I like the Grill-Daddy cleaning tool. It works great!

 Cold weather calls for slightly different approaches to grilling.  First, any grill will take longer to reach cooking temperature, and it will be harder to keep hot.  Your charcoal grill won’t heat as well, and it will probably require a longer cooking time for the food.  If you are using a gas grill make sure the fuel bottle is full since the cold will lower the pressure in the bottle.  Also remember that the gas grill will not provide the same flavor and aroma as the charcoal grill so you may want to add a pouch of your favorite wood chips that have been soaked in water. Which ever type grill you use try to keep the lid closed as much as possible in order to keep the grilling temperature at the right level.

 The primary thing is to be patient. Heat levels and cooking times are likely to be vary from what you are used to, so you can make sure that your food is cooked to the correct level by use of an instant read thermometer. Simple foods and recipes are your best bet for a great winter grilling experience.

 One warning: do not use or store your grill in your garage. This is extremely dangerous.

 So go fire up your grill and prepare you and yours a tasty winter feast!

More Grilling Tips at