Tag Archives: Grilling

Spicy Chicken on a Stick

Spicy Chicken on a Stick

Today is bittersweet for me.  We were off work all last week, and this is our last staycation day.  Mostly, we did a lot of work around the house.  But we did venture out to Pittsburgh’s Strip District for some shopping one morning!  I love going down to the Strip.  I never know what goodies I am going to find!

Farmer @ the Firehouse

This is a seasonal farmer’s market, called Farmers @ the Firehouse (that building on the left is an old firehouse).  We were there pretty early in the morning, so there weren’t a lot of people there yet, and some of the vendors hadn’t set up.  Lot of fresh produce though, and local meats, bread, and cheese!


Here in Pittsburgh, we’re all black and gold!

Stamoolis Brothers

Stamoolis Brothers is a little Greek shop and deli.  Go there.  Really.  Here is the inside:

Stamoolis Inside

In the back of the shop you can buy spices in bulk.  And they’re priced well!  I bought a pound of granulated garlic for under $6!  In the deli part, they were selling olives in large buckets.  I love olives!  And I was tempted.  I might have to go back for them!


What trip to the Strip would be complete without a stop in Wholey’s?!


There’s a catfish under that ice!

Heads and Bones

Anyone up for making homemade fish stock?  Hmmm, maybe that will make an appearance at All Spice and Yum one day!

Fresh Fish

Look at all the fresh fish Wholey’s has!

Live Fish

It’s so fresh, they’ll even let you pick it out of a tank and fillet it right there for you!  It doesn’t get any fresher than that!

Public Market

And this is the reason I go to the Strip.  Pittsburgh Public Market!  It’s a farmer’s market, sure, but also a market of all things Pittsburgh.  Local vendors selling everything from produce, olive oils, vinegars, pastries, homemade marshmallows, soaps, wine, beer, meats, and ready to eat food.  You get to meet all kinds of people, and many are giving samples of their products!  The market is currently in the process of moving to a new location in the Strip, so there were fewer vendors than usual, but still worth the trip.

Pgh Public Market Inside

Love this place!

Strip Dist Haul

Here’s my haul!  For less than $60 I got all this stuff; 1 lb granulated garlic, 1/4 lb turmeric, Magnolia scented bar of soap, 3 liters of olive oil (for only $20!!!), Coconut Mango Balsamic Vinegar, and a loaf of fresh baked Ciabatta bread!

If you’re ever in Pittsburgh for a weekend, don’t leave without experiencing the Strip District!  There are a ton of vendors selling amazing looking food on the sidewalks, and awesome little shops specializing in things like kitchen items, chocolate, jewelry, coffee, and food.  So.  Much.  Food.  Seafood, Asian food, Polish food, Italian food, Greek food, Mexican food.  FOOD!

With that, I will leave you with this recipe.  Because what’s not better on a stick?  This recipe is a little higher in sodium than what I typically like to make, but it’s delicious!  And, hey, it’s ok to go a little overboard sometimes.  This chicken is marinated in a spicy soy-ginger sauce before being threaded onto the skewers and grilled to juicy perfection.  Since the marinade is a little higher in sodium, it helps protect the juices in the chicken, so it’s a little more forgiving when you grill it.  Mine turned out moist and delicious.  The spice level was just enough for us without being overpowering, and the ginger was the perfect compliment.  I served mine with roasted blue potatoes, because that’s what I had that needed used up, but brown rice would probably be the most authentic choice.  Whatever you pair with it will be great!

If you are sensitive to sodium, look for the lowest sodium soy sauce you can find, and try decreasing the amount you use in the recipe by 1/3 or so.  It should still turn out amazing!  Also be careful with what chicken you get – frozen chicken is usually injected with a sodium broth, meaning the chicken may have 200 mg or more sodium per serving.  Look at those labels!  And, if you’re sensitive to gluten, make sure to look for gluten-free soy sauce.

Also by special request: nutrition information!  I’ll be working to get the information up on past recipes also, so stay tuned!


Spicy Chicken on a Stick

Serves 4 (2 sticks per person)


16 oz Chicken Breast, cut into thin strips

½ cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce

½ cup Water

2 Tbsp fresh, grated Ginger

1 tsp crushed Red Pepper (or more if you want it spicier)

8 wooden skewers, soaked for 1 hr in water to avoid burning


1.  To make marinade, combine soy sauce, water, ginger, and red pepper, and whisk well.  Pour into large zipper seal bag, and add chicken.

2.  Marinate for at least 1 hour.

3.  Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade.

4.  Grill on preheated grill, on medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes per side, until completed cooked through.

Nutrition Information (per serving – 2 skewers)

Calories:  238

Fat:  9 grams

Saturated Fat:  2.5 grams

Trans Fat:  0 grams

MUFA:  3.5 grams

PUFA:  1.9 grams

Cholesterol:  95 mg

Sodium:  1512 mg

Carbohydrate:  4 grams

Dietary Fiber:  0 grams

Sugar:  0 grams

Protein:  35 grams

Vitamin A:  4%

Vitamin C:  0%

Calcium:  2%

Iron:  10%

Happy, healthy eating!



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Grilled Blue Potatoes

Grilled Blue Potatoes

I help people along their weight loss journey every day, and this is something I hear every day: “I’ll never lose weight because I love carbs.”  Oh!  The infamous carb!  Never mind the fact that weight loss is about total calories (not total carbohydrates).  Do you know what “carbs” are?  Do you know what they do for your body?  Carbohydrates are found in most of the foods we eat in varying amounts: fruits, vegetables, grain products, dairy products, and foods containing added sugar.  Your body uses carbohydrates to make glucose, which is what your body (and your brain!) uses for energy to keep everything going!  Your muscles can’t even contract without this fuel source.

Invariably, once my clients start eating a balanced diet that includes a healthy amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fat (yes fat! But that’s a topic for a different day), they find they start dropping those “stubborn” pounds, without feeling deprived…and that’s weight loss that lasts!

Now some carbohydrates are “better” than others.  I hope this doesn’t come as a surprise to any of you, but your body doesn’t need added sugar.  That’s sucrose, fructose, maltose, honey, corn syrup, molasses, agave…the list goes on.  These sweeteners may taste good, but don’t provide much nutrition.  That’s not to say they’re inherently “bad,” but overloading on these can run up your calorie tab for the day, without really satisfying your body’s need for nutrition.  Healthy carbohydrates (also called complex carbohydrates) include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.  These foods provide you with bountiful nutrition for the calories, and can actually help you manage your weight!  That’s because those foods also provide things like fiber and protein to help keep you feeling fuller longer.

Now, let’s put that information to use, and cook up some healthy carbs!  My inspiration here came from some blue potatoes left over from our CSA, and the fact that it’s officially grilling season.  Never grilled potatoes before?  It’s a must!  You can use regular potatoes for this as well if you don’t have blue.  Just make sure to leave the skin on for the biggest nutritional bang for your buck possible.  I paired it with some grilled chicken breasts and a few spears of asparagus I grilled (also from our CSA).  I know it’s hard to tell in the picture, but they really are blue!  See?

Blue potato

Grilled Blue Potatoes

Grilled Blue Potatoes

Serves: 4


12-14 Blue Potatoes, sliced

¼ cup olive oil


1.  Preheat grill, and turn heat to medium.

2.  Brush both sides of potato slices with olive oil and grill approximately 10-15 minutes on each side, until cooked through and slightly crispy.

Happy, healthy eating!

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Ramp Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast

Ramp Marinated Grilled Chicken

Grilled food is summer.  There’s nothing like absolutely anything on the grill.  I even have a cast iron grill pan.  And while I love cooking with it, it’s still not the same as a real grill.  And for grilling, marinades are where it’s at!  They help tenderize the meat, and lock in the flavor and juices while it’s cooking.  Not to mention they add a lot of their own flavor!  Commercially produced marinades typically are loaded with salt and sugar, so I try not to use them so much.  I’ve been playing around with my own marinades from scratch.  They do take more time than opening a bottle, but not much more.  Usually a little salt is needed, but I don’t use sugar.  Not necessary even a little bit, in my opinion!  This marinade was so delicious!

If you’re not familiar with ramps, they are a sure sign of spring here in the Eastern part of the country.  They are also called wild leeks, although they taste more like garlic.  Here’s what they look like:


Ramps are in the genus Allium, along with onions, garlic, and leeks, and have a similar nutrient profile.  This group is most known for its cancer-fighting properties, due to its varied antioxidant composition, including vitamin C and quercetin.  The entire plant is edible, and delicious.  Ramps lend themselves well to pesto, because of the bright green color of the leaves, and pronounced garlicky taste.  I’ve also seen many recipes for ramp pizzas and pastas.

In this recipe, the strong garlicky flavor is toned down a bit by slowly grilling the chicken over medium heat.  The lemon undertones provide a little tang to balance out the ramps, and help tenderize the chicken.  The reduced sodium soy sauce finishes out the marinade perfectly, with just enough salt to enhance the flavors without being overwhelming.  I’ll bet this would be fabulous on fish or other seafood as well!


Ramp Marinated Grilled Chicken


1/3 lbs Ramps, tops and bottoms separated

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

4 Boneless, skinless Chicken breasts, about 4 oz each


1.  Place tops of ramps (green part), olive oil, soy sauce and lemon juice in a food processor, and process until smooth.

2.  Put chicken breasts in a zipper bag, and pour in marinade.  Squish (that’s a very technical cooking term) the bag around until all the chicken is covered with the marinade.  Lay flat in the refrigerator, and allow to marinate at least 2 hours.

3.  Preheat grill, and grill chicken on medium heat, about 10-15 minutes on each side.  Discard remaining marinade.  Never baste meat with marinade it has been in – this can contaminate cooked meat with bacteria from raw meat!

4.  During the last 10 minutes of grilling, place ends of ramps on foil on the 2nd shelf of the grill.  Lightly grill and use as garnish.

Serve with a side salad and rice.

Have you ever had ramps before?  How did you prepare them?  Let me know in the comments!

Happy, healthy eating!

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