So, I've been a little busy. OK, a lot of busy. I still cook...sometimes. I'm doing a good bit of chasing the kids around outside and reading for school.
We've been doing a lot of grilling on our new Char-Griller combination charcoal grill/smoker. I can honestly say that I don't think our propane gas grill will get any (or much) use this season (or ever again). Like many people, we shied away from charcoal thinking it was a pain, too dirty or too time-consuming. We're finding that none of that is really true. Now, my mom says it's carcinogenic, but after all the food hysteria (and packaging hysteria) that we've been inundated by, I just can't even bring myself to look. It appears that breathing air each day is carcinogenic, too. So, anyway, sidetracked... Jon has been begging for a charcoal grill and I found this great model on sale at Home Depot (if we ever go bankrupt, I hold them solely responsible). It was supposed to be his Father's Day gift, but I guess Father's Day came early this year.
Something to consider (it's worth the $10-15 or so) is a Charcoal Chimney Starter. This takes all the work out of getting your charcoal ready for grilling. We've been buying natural charcoal, too, instead of the briquettes with all of the chemical starters, etc. in them.
The taste difference in grilling over charcoal as opposed to on the gas grill is just unbelievable. We haven't used the smoker yet, but I'm sure we'll get to that (probably a pork loin with a cider-vinegar-based BBQ marinade so we can chop the meat and make Pulled Pork Sandwiches). today I have a flank steak marinating in a mixture of Pampered Chef's Southwest Seasoning, Olive Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar (yes, I love me some vinegar...what of it?!!?).
Now, last night I made a quick "fake it don't make it" kind of dinner. Last weekend I went to fish market and got some Old Bay-seasoned steamed shrimp. We had some left over, so we peeled them and popped them in the freezer. I had an idea to make some kind of Cajun Shrimp Alfredo, but had no desire to make alfredo sauce from scratch (my only true cooking disaster was homemade alfredo sauce...the cats wouldn't even eat the shrimp from it). So, here's what I did.
Cheater's Cajun Shrimp Alfredo
1 lb. cooked shrimp (frozen or thawed, doesn't matter) peeled and deveined
powdered cajun seasoning (I use something called Cajun Dust...found it at TJMaxx)
3 small containers refrigerated alfredo sauce (I used Buitoni)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 portabello mushroom, chopped
1 box whole wheat linguini
Place first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan and allow to heat through. DO NOT ALLOW CREAM SAUCES TO BOIL. Prepare pasta and serve. It tastes so good that no one could ever guess how lazy you are ;-)