Four Simple Ways to Recreate Your Favorite Stadium Foods at Home

July 07, 2016 Gameday Tips

Play Ball! We’re well into baseball season, and we’re all watching our favorite teams progress towards hitting .500 -- or for some of us, just waiting for the All-Star Break. Is your favorite team on TV, or you can’t make it to the stadium? You can recreate the ballpark experience right in your own backyard. It’s easy!

Ballpark Nachos: A slow cooker takes these chicken nachos to a new, easy level: combine cooked chicken, black beans, tomatoes, and other delicious ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, and you’ll have a great topping for tortilla chips. Add some cheese, if you like, or just enjoy it as is.

Hot Dogs: What’s a ball game without a hot dog? While mustard, relish and onions are classic, we have a fun twist: cheddar, bacon and chili beans make for a chili dog with a twist. This is great for the backyard: Grill the hot dogs, toast the buns, and allow your family to assemble their own.

Burgers: Burgers are another ballpark staple. While beef burgers are classic, black bean burgers are a great alternative that can please meat eaters and vegetarians alike. They don’t need to be the boring frozen ones, either -- you can make them fresh in minutes. Feel free to play around with the spices in the mix: cumin is great, but so is Montreal steak seasoning, chipotle powder, or Italian seasoning! You can really make these your own. Don’t forget your favorite toppings: lettuce, onion, tomato, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauce: so many options to make a delicious burger for baseball season.

Buffalo Wings: Wings are a classic game day dish, and for baseball season, grilling them is easier (and honestly, more delicious) than the deep fried version. Marinating and then grilling adds a ton of flavor, and we love fresh, easy-to-make blue cheese dressing to cool off the hot wings. Try this wing recipe here. I am sure it will become a favorite all year long!

You don’t have to go to the ballpark to get your favorite game foods. Just set up your grill, invite some friends over, and enjoy the ballpark in your backyard with these recipes.

Meet Julie Niesen

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Where's The Beef? It's on The Grill!

My approach to summer entertaining is simple – good food made with the best possible ingredients, inviting friends and family to share a meal, and keeping it casual, pretty much sums up how we roll.

Grilling weather is here, and if you’re anything like our family, burgers, ribs, steaks and chicken will be on the menu. While we love experimenting with new spins on classic side dishes, sometimes you just need the comfort of knowing that you can serve a bowl of baked beans that everyone loves.

For ultimate burgers that are overstuffed with goodness, this stuffed burger recipe is easy to prepare ahead of time, and takes very little time on the grill. Serve them with original baked beans, and your menu is set!

Planning the perfect steak dinner involves the right cut of meat and the right marinade. The best steaks for home grilling are nature's perfectly marbled beef ribeye steaks, or bone-in ribeye steaks. Buy a thicker cut and carve it for your family and friends.

Use a canola and olive oil blend to coat the steak before seasoning it, usually an 80/20 blend. Lightly coat the steak, which will allow the surface temperature to get seared fast, ensuring a juicier final product, as well as charring the meat’s surfaces. Remember, a little flame is your friend; a lot of flame will burn the outside of the meat.

For tender steak, once you have achieved the desired temperature, remove the steak and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing it. At this time, throw the veggies on the grill, while the meat is resting. Vegetables char and cook quickly, and are delicious served as a side dish with steak.

A good marinade makes a great steak. Marinate the meat overnight, and the next day, cook the steak to perfection and serve with a delicious potato salad, with fresh corn, blue cheese, and bacon.

Whether you're after a simple salad to accompany your meal, or a side dish of baked beans to wow your taste buds, don’t forget that beef is delicious and a real crowd-pleaser for a summer meal!

Meet Sandy Coughlin

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Ideas for an Entire Meal on the Grill

October 13, 2016 Grilling, Seasonal Tips

True confession: I love to grill. Everything from toast to turkey, I love to grill. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I love to grill. Even in wintry weather, when I can make tracks through the snow, I love to grill.

There’s just nothing better than the crispy char that comes from an open flame – except for maybe the entire season of summer when I can grill every day if I please. And I do. When the sun is shining, I plan week after week of menus cooked entirely on the grill, in fact.

For family suppers and weekend entertaining too, here are my favorite meals that are grilled from start to finish:

Classic Celebration In celebration of everything from stellar spelling tests to baby announcements, this is the grilled steak with vegetables dinner I share with the people I love the most.

I take care to select a juicy cut of beef, a market basket full of colorful peppers, onions, mushrooms, and squash, and a couple cans of my favorite baked beans, and bring the grill to a high heat. Generously seasoned the beef with salt and pepper, I sear the steaks and rotate as they cook for professional grill marks. All the while, the veggies roast right on the grates and a cast-iron crock warms the beans simmering inside. To complete the steakhouse celebration experience, I give the meat several minutes to rest, off the grill, before I slice and dress the plates.

Burger Night Burgers sound good to me and the rest of my crew nearly every night. During grilling season, especially, though, I really try to mix up Burger Night. I’ve always got the fixings for a spread of healthy burgers in the pantry. In minutes, I can pull together these protein-packed patties – and shhh! – sometimes I even sneak in some extra veggies too. They finish quickly on the grill and go deliciously with charred corn-on-the-cob.

The Belly Filler At the end of a crazy week of work, school, sports, and more sports, a hearty, healthy chicken dinner is just what the doctor (and my family) ordered. The glaze makes it full of flavor and super juicy when I go to grill it. Then, I throw something gorgeous and green, like asparagus, onto the grill, and a crock of beans, and we’ve got all we need to fill our bellies and recharge our batteries for the rest of the night.

Side Spread For entertaining especially, one of my favorite menus to serve hot off the grill is one of several side dishes. The expanse of a grill top makes the perfect perch for lots of different recipes and it’s a fun, unexpected way to eat – almost like summertime tapas. I always have some watermelon wedges and pineapple rings on the grates, alongside the elements of a great bean salad tossed in a simple Dijon mustard vinaigrette. I build the rest of the menu from there. Toasted bread or focaccia is always a treat, as are small sausages, or skewers of shrimp. The possibilities are endless, really.

I could be enticed to grill out any day of the year. But when the sun shines into the night and the sprinkler’s dancing around the backyard, you better believe I’ll be stationed at the grill. For full-fledged events and family suppers too, there are no better – easier, more delicious – meals than the ones that are served right off the grill.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Dessert Ideas: A Day Worth of Meatless Meals

October 13, 2016 Dietary Considerations

Sometimes, we just need to take a break from meat. Whether it’s for religious reasons, money-saving, or even just because we want something light and flavorful, it’s a lot easier to create vegetarian meals when you have beans as a backbone.  In fact, you can go through an entire day without a touch of meat—but with a lot of flavor.

Breakfast: There’s nothing easier than a breakfast burrito, and you can easily make a batch of these to put in the fridge for the week and reheat in the oven (or even in the microwave).  You can vary this by switching black beans for pinto, different types of salsa (a pineapple or mango salsa would be a delicious change of pace!) or even using tomato, spinach or another flavor of tortilla.  They’re versatile, filling, and nutritious.

Lunch: A salad that can be easily toted to work (and made ahead) is one of the easiest way to embrace a meat-free meal.  The cucumber with citrus tastes better the longer it sets.  The fresh flavors mingle in the citrus vinaigrette.  While the recipe calls for lemon, you could easily use lime, orange or grapefruit juice instead, and you could vary the fresh herbs as well: use fresh tarragon with grapefruit, cilantro with lime, or basil with orange.   

Dinner:  A substantial, hearty dinner is just what you need after a long day of work or school.  You don’t need meat to do that. Try these meat-free burgers using Portobello mushrooms which are easy to grill in just a few minutes.  Vary up the ingredients to please your family:  cheddar, American or mozzarella cheese are delicious, and look for herbed mustards to compliment the smoky portabellas.  And, of course, serve with vegetarian baked beans on the side.

Dessert: Sweets can involve beans, too! In these brownie bites, the beans provide a fudgy texture and protein without adding a ton of calories.  They’re sweet, chocolaty and satisfying and could be popped into a lunch box or just grabbed off the counter for dessert.

Meatless doesn’t mean complicated—it can be easy and delicious, with a few tweaks, some creativity, and of course, beans!

Meet Julie Niesen

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The Grilling Playbook: What You Need for a Successful Cookout

As the days get longer, and the temperatures get warmer, we are seized by the urge to light up the grill and host a cookout.

Grilling and eating outdoors - with a group of your favorite people, of course - just makes food taste better. The sweet-and-smoky flavors of this grilled chicken recipe are more intense, for example.

Whether you have a fully equipped outdoor kitchen, or a freestanding grill on the porch, cookouts are a great way to bring a little spring into your life. And this guide helps you make the most of grilling season.

" ... make the most of grilling season."

Do You Use Charcoal or Gas? Both charcoal and gas have their advantages. Charcoal grills burn hotter than gas grills and are easier to use for smoking. However, charcoal grills require more preparation time because you have to heat the coals before you begin the cooking. Gas grills light instantly and offer steady, adjustable heat. For a quick meal, gas is best. If you have the time, charcoal gives a little more "grilled" flavor to the food.

In general, gas grills take approximately 10 minutes to preheat, whereas charcoal grills take about 20 minutes. Build that into cooking time for dishes such as this grilled pork chop recipe, which takes 10 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook.

Do You Have the Right Tools? A grilling fork, basting brush, meat thermometer and spatula are essential. Don't forget the tongs to help flip the meat in this marinated steak recipe. An oven mitt and drip pan - for soaking wood chips or as a "tent" for food that should be covered when it's on the grill - are also useful.

Do You Cook Over Direct or Indirect Heat? To achieve grilling success, it's important to understand the difference between cooking with direct or indirect heat. When you use direct heat, you place the food on the grill right over the fire. It's an ideal way to cook burgers, steaks, hot dogs and skewered meats such as this chicken kebob recipe. This method is relatively quick and leaves its signature grill marks on the food.

When you use indirect heat, you place the food away from the fire. It's a slower method that's ideal for cooking large or tough pieces of meat. It takes approximately 30 minutes to cook the food. You must also leave the grill covered when using indirect heat.

Do You Know Basic Grilling Safety? Set the grill on level ground and position it at least 10 feet away from any structure. Always have a dry chemical fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it. Once you've fueled the flames, pay close attention to where children and pets are; keep them away and never leave the grill unattended.

Celebrate these warm, sunny months with family and friends! Whether at the park or a backyard barbecue, enjoy the deliciously unique taste of grilled food.

Meet Sandy Coughlin

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