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Summer Dogs

Marla Meridith is the founder & editor of the food and lifestyle blog, Family Fresh Cooking, which has garnered attention from loyal readers around the world. She aims to bring a fresh, unique, and stylish approach to every facet of life. Her mission is to be your preeminent source for fabulous food, drink, lifestyle and travel features sure to inspire a case of wanderlust. She is the photographer, stylist & recipe developer for her visually rich blog. Marla lives in the breathtaking mountains of Telluride, Colorado with her husband and two amazingly energetic kids.

Summer Dogs | Recipe on BHG.com by Marla Meridith @FamilyFreshCooking.com

As soon as I saw this recipe on BHG.com I knew I had to this grill up ASAP! Around here we love hot dogs. The toppings on these Summer Dogs had me at hello.

What makes these grilled hot dogs extra special & summery? Its the wonderful grilled corn salad on top. There is also avocado ~ which is always a win!

Summer Dogs | Recipe on BHG.com by Marla Meridith @FamilyFreshCooking.com

I kept the recipe pretty much as is on the BHG website, but added a few small tweaks of my own.

Instead of tomatoes in the corn salad I added diced red pepper. I also added some teeny tiny pickles & pickled onions to the topping. That was my sons request!

Summer Dogs | Recipe on BHG.com by Marla Meridith @FamilyFreshCooking.com

These hot dogs are amazing for entertaining. You can serve ‘em loaded as seen in the photos. Or, you can create a hot dog bar & have the toppings separate so guests can pick & choose their own toppings.

Serve with a side of sweet potato or regular fries & some fresh fruit too.

Summer Dogs | Recipe on BHG.com by Marla Meridith @FamilyFreshCooking.com

Click Summer Dogs for the recipe.

Enjoy!


Summer Garden Pizza

Up until a few years ago I had barely ventured beyond tossing tried and true foods like chicken, brats, burgers, and the occasional halved stone fruit on the grill. Since then I’m happy to report that I’ve broadened my grilling horizons and branched out to tossing goodies like avocados, fruit cobbler and, yes, even pizza on the sizzling surface.

That’s right - grilled pizza is not only possible but truly delicious! I followed BHG’s recipe for Summer Garden Pizza for my latest grilled pizza creation which starts with pizza crust lightly grilled then topped with a variety of summer veggies including sweet corn, tomatoes, basil, red onion, and torn baby spinach. Studded with melty chevre and parmesan cheese, this fresh and summery meal will wow your friends and family.

Plus it’s fun to get them involved in making ‘em, since everyone can pick out their own toppings!

Start with the pizza crust. You can follow BHG’s recipe or take some help from the store and use a tube of ready-made pizza crust. I won’t tell!

Unroll the tube and slice into 4 rectangles then liberally brush one side with extra virgin olive oil. This will ensure that the crust doesn’t stick to the grill.

Place the crusts oiled-side down over low-heat then grill until the bottom is golden brown, 3-4 minutes. If you have hot spots on your grill (the front of mine gets hotter than the back, for instance) use tongs to rotate the crusts so they brown evenly. Brush the tops of the crusts with more extra virgin olive oil then remove and place on an upside down baking sheet, grilled side up.

Next, pile high with fresh and yummy toppings. Brush the grilled side with a bit more extra virgin olive oil then sprinkle on chopped garlic and shaved or grated parmesan cheese.

Like I said – this recipe is very flexible in terms of toppings, so use whatever you’ve picked up at the farmers’ market or from your garden.

I used fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, red onion, baby spinach, and then dotted the top with tangy chevre. Fresh mozzarella would also be divine.

Place the pizzas back onto the grill over low heat then grill with the lid down until the second side is golden brown, 2-3 more minutes. Remove, slice, then enjoy!

Click here for the Summer Garden Pizza recipe > 

Note: I used store-bought pizza crust, omitted the tomato sauce, and used garden veggies I had on hand!


Flat-Iron Love

 

Grilled Flat-Iron Steak with Chimichurri

Hi, this is Carlos Acevedo, one of the food editors at Better Homes and Gardens, and I need to get something off my chest. I recently flew to Ohio and fell in love. The subject of my affections: the glorious flat-iron steak.

This affordable cut was historically ground up to make  hamburger but is surging in popularity as a grilling steak as chefs and consumers alike get hip to its deep flavor and tender texture. It’s similar to flank steak, but some people say it tastes as good as a New York strip.

So what’s Ohio got to do with this, you ask? Well, I went there for an education in steaks at the Certified Angus Beef Brand headquarters in Wooster. You’re probably familiar with them—they’re the ones with the black steer and red sash logo.

Certified Angus Beef represents angus cattle ranchers but only certifies the highest quality angus beef—most cows don’t make the cut.

Now, I know my way around a steakhouse menu. But the good people at Certified Angus Beef demonstrated a bunch of up-and-coming sizzlers, most unfamiliar to me, that are now being sold at many meat counters. Ever heard of the Sierra, Denver, or Ranch?

These affordable steaks come from the chuck, or shoulder of the cow, which generally yields tough beef best suited for stews and chilis. But clever researchers have been working hard over the last decade to find several hidden tender cuts.

My new favorite, as I said, is the toothsome flat iron (also called a boneless beef top blade chuck or top blade steak), which is flavorful and juicy thanks to excellent marbling. Look for it next to you go shopping and cook as you would any steak. It’s best pan seared, broiled, stir fried, or grilled. Just be careful not to overcook—no more than medium doneness or the meat can become chewy.

For a South American twist, try this tasty flat-iron steak recipe from Better Homes and Garden’s latest grilling magazine, “Grill It!”, available on newsstands now.


Although the Midwest received enough snow last week to cancel schools and build a new army of snowmen, they’ve all but surrendered to the sun, and warmer weather is our forecast for the foreseeable future. Why, I think we’ve finally turned the corner into spring!

(By the way, that is the 50th and final time I will be making that proclamation this year, mmkay, Mother Nature?!)

Anyway, I got in one good grilling session before the weather turned on us last week, and tried out a perfect grilling recipe for spring – Chilean Style Hot Dogs with Avocado-Chili Relish. Translation, grilled hot dogs with spicy avocado salsa, y’all!

There’s nothing I like better than firing up the grill on a warm spring evening, getting something sizzling on the grill, and then serving it up with a chilled, homemade salsa. Something about that fresh burst of flavor goes so well with a charbroiled grill offering – especially hot dogs.

I don’t turn to hot dogs too often in the fall and winter months, but they always seem to call when the grill gets going. There are tons of healthier options out there these days made without preservatives and with grass-fed beef, too. I really like Applegate’s Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dogs. They get me all fired up! (Sorry, had to.)

Anyway, back to this dish – I loved the way the salty, smoky hot dog tasted with this cool and spicy Avocado-Chili Relish, made with fresh jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro, tomato, and one of my current obsessions – avocados.

Lately I’ve been finding any and every excuse to work tropical-tasting, creamy avocados into my day. From whipping up Lazy Girl’s Guacamole for a snack (mashed avocado with a squeeze of lime juice plus salt and pepper,) to topping sandwiches and toast with a few slices, and including a quarter or half in my morning smoothies, avocados add a rich and nutritious boost to many of my favorite foods, and are so versatile.

Tip: There are a number of ways you can get the flesh of an avocado out of its dark green jacket, but my favorite method is to cut around the pit and twist to separate, then simply peel the skin off.

See?

If hot dogs just aren’t your thing, this sassy salsa would pair really well with grilled chicken or a firm, grill-worthy-fish like salmon or mahi mahi. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Enjoy!

Click here for the Chilean Style Hot Dogs with Avocado-Chili Relish recipe >


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