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Friday, March 29, 2013

The Hard Hearted Chef: Company's Coming!

Have I stuck to my low cholesterol diet?
 You bet your irregular heartbeat I have!
 And it hasn't even been a struggle.
Want to see why?
How about a whole menu for for company that will have my cardiologist smiling?
I'd like to strongly suggest a wild rice blend with this meal.
It goes well with both entrees, so prepare your favorite brand while you're at it.

 Big Sam's Beer Can Chicken

2  whole birds, giblet packet and neck removed
2 cans of any reasonably drinkable beer, like Budweiser
Roasted Garlic Seasoning
Canola Oil
4 cups of wood chips

Wash and pat the chickens dry. Rub them down with oil. Take the Roasted Garlic Seasoning
and rub them inside and out liberally.
Pour half of each can of beer over 4 cups of wood chips in a bowl.
Add enough water to cover the chips and let soak for 30 minutes.
Put a healthy pinch of the seasoning rub and put it in each beer can.
Pierce the top of each can a few times with a "church key" can opener.
Slide the can into the open cavity of the bird and set the chicken upright,
legs out in front, and bend the wings up so the tips are secured behind the shoulders,
like he's chillin' at the beach.
He's about to get one heck of a tan!
 Set your grill for indirect heat.
Insert a thermometer in thickest portion of the thigh.
You're going to cook the chicken until the temperature hits 165 F.
Drain the wood chips, putting the liquid in a disposable aluminum pan, under
where the chickens will be on the grill rack.
If you have a charcoal grill, put a handful of wood chips directly on the charcoal.
The birds will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours, so replenish 
with a handful of wood chips every 20 minutes.
If you have a gas grill, put the chips in a foil packet,
 poke a few holes, and place them on the grill.
Set the fowl on the grill in their leisurely stance and close the lid.
 *Obscenely smoky view of beer can*
When the temperature is correct, and the birds are this gorgeous mahogany
color, remove them, still upright, to a foil lined cookie sheet and let them "rest"
for 15 to 20 minutes.
Since they steamed on the inside, they're unbelievably moist,
and the upright cooking drains away most of the fat.
You can use small pineapple juice cans to do cornish hens, and we've used
those monster Foster's cans to cook our Thanksgiving turkey.

Now, next on our menu...
One of my favorite ways to prepare it is shrimp scampi,
and after a little research, I came up with a fat free recipe that bakes in the oven!
This was so good, no one guessed it was healthy.
In fact, I got a sidelong glance from my mother and a whispered,
"You shouldn't be eating this."

Sunny's Skinny Scampi

2 pounds of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup Chardonnay
1/2 cup cream sherry
2 tbsp powdered garlic
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1 medium onion
1 stalk of celery
Canola oil
Italian bread crumbs
Fresh parsley for garnish
Several dollops of this stuff to add a buttery flavor.
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
 Chop the onions and celery very small.
Slather a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
Put all of your ingredients EXCEPT the shrimp in the dish and mix.
 Pop that bad boy in the oven for 15 minutes.
 Coarsely chop the fresh parsley you just picked from 
the garden while you're killing time.
Those of you with snow on the ground, yes, I DO realize I'm a jerk.
 Once the onions are tender, pull the baking dish out.
 Dump the shrimp in unceremoniously.
 Stir to coat.
 They'll start to cook almost immediately.
 Sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of bread crumbs, just for a little crunch,
and put the whole thing back in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
 When the shrimp are tightly curled and pink,
and the bread crumbs are toasted, you're done!
 Sprinkle with parsley, tent with foil to keep it warm, and let's go wrestle a couple of chickens.
 The chickens should be cool enough now to simply pull the cans out.
 
 Lay them down at this point.
 Butcher as usual.
 So, we have 2 entree selections, a rice side dish...
something's missing...
how about a gorgeous fruit salad?
This one's so good, everyone assumed it was dessert!
Fruit Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing

 1/3 cup of honey
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1/2 cantaloupe, cubed
1 can of pineapple chunks in juice
 2 cans of Libby's Skinny Fruit Tropical Fruit Salad
 In a bowl, toss all of the fruit.
 In a small bowl, combine the honey and lemon juice until smooth.
 Pour the dressing over the fruit salad and toss.
(This is a good salad to add bananas too as well, since the lemon juice will
prevent them from turning!)
Now get this all on the table;
you're about to hook your guests on good behavior!


Pssssssst...
Guilt free dessert?

3 comments:

Heather Rodman said...

Oh, bravo! Nicely done!

Danni Baird @ Silo Hill Farm said...

As always...it all looks delicious and hard to believe it's so healthy! I'm intrigued by the idea of grilling a turkey with Fosters!

Susan said...

I totally pinned the scampi. Though heart issues aren't one of the numerous maladies plaguing our family, it doesn't hurt to go healthy-- especially when it looks like it cooks a treat!