Great Grilling Alternatives

Welcome  Okay, this is totally a #reallife post today!  I had planned on doing a special on grilling recipes.  I stocked up on some great grilling meats at the supermarket last week during their Labor Day sale.  And then life happens!  We’ve had rain, and I mean RAIN, which we need, both for our drought issues and to help cool the temperatures.  We have also had some high winds and since we are charcoal grillers on our deck, we don’t grill when the winds are so strong.  No cookout is worth risking our home and trees!  And when it hasn’t been raining or crazy windy, we’ve had heat indexes in the triple digits.  August in the Midewest…gotta love it!

So what do I do with all this meat and other ingredients that I had planned on grilling through the week?  Yes, I can freeze some of the meat, but my family still has to eat and this is what I bought, so I’m taking the meats and other grocery items purchased and turning them into “indoor grilling alternatives.”  I’m going to share them with you because at some point and time, this is likely to happen to just about everyone that grills outdoors.  We have a couple chicken recipes, some steaks, and some burgers…a little something for everyone.

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Today’s Helpful Products  If you’re going to do some of my alternative indoor “grilling” recipes, you may be interested in some of the kitchen products I used, available from Amazon.

Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

Presto Electric Skillet

Presto Electric Griddle

Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker

Food For Thought  I used to totally freak out when my plans fell apart.  Even something as simple as not preparing the meal I had planned might cause all sorts of overreaction from me.  Talk about not worth it!  I haven’t totally “recovered” from my hypersensitivity to collapsed plans, but it’s certainly getting better.  My family will still be fed, I haven’t wasted any money, and I still have recipes and a story to share on the blog.  It’s just not what I planned for, but I have been shown over and over again in my life, I am not in control of everything!  Wow, newsflash, right?

Many things in life our outside of our control, and weather is one of the primary examples we see almost on a daily basis.  Lessons learned: be more flexible with my plans, have a back-up plan, have a good laugh about it!

Today’s Scripture  This has become one of my very favorite verses in recent months, as I am trying to learn to be humble in my planning and goals.  I think it’s worth sharing again.


Today’s Recipes  Today’s recipes are all about the marinades and sauces.  Sometimes I already have meat marinating when it starts to pour down rain and keep me from the grill.  Other days I will have my meat thawed and ready, only to know (or at least it’s highly probable) it’s going to be raining by dinner time.  Or the wind gusts pick up strongly during our hot August afternoons and a fire ban is given.  Whatever the case may be, I’ve got some meat that needs to get cooked for dinner and the grill got nixed for the day.  Consider these the “back up plan” recipes for all those packages of meat you were planning on grilling!


Recipe 1 Honey-Chipotle-Lime Sirloin

Combine 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, 1/2 cup honey, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, and a 7 ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in a large zip-top bag.  Add one teaspoon each of cumin and allspice.  Add 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Place 1.5 to 2 pounds sirloin steaks in bag, removing as much air as possible and turning meat in the bag to coat well.  Refrigerate for two to four hours.

Place a cast iron grill pan in oven and turn to 450 degrees.  (Alternatively, you can prepare your outdoor grill and cook sirloin on the grill when hot.)  When oven is hot, carefully remove pan from oven and place on a heat-resistant surface.  Remove sirloin from marinade, allowing excess to drain off, and place on hot pan.  Return to the oven and cook for 6-8 minutes; flip sirloin and cook an additional 5-7 minutes for medium-well doneness.  Remove steak from pan to cutting board and allow to rest about five more minutes before cutting and serving.


Recipe 2  Margarita Fajitas

In 9×13 baking dish, place 2 pounds of Carne Asada beef or skirt steak.  Roughly chop about 1 cup of cilantro and layer on top of the meat.  In medium bowl, mix together 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed juices are best for the marinade), 1/2 cup tequila, 1 cup beef broth, 2 tablespoons minced garlic, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Pour this liquid over the meat and cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.  You can turn the meat over partway through marinating time, if desired.  Note: if you have issue with using tequila in your fajita marinade, you can replace it with some 7-up or Sprite, or can add additional citrus juice to the marinade.

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in large electric skillet at 350 degrees.  (Alternatively, prepare grill to cook meat and vegetables outdoors.)  Slice one large red onion, 2 bell peppers, and 2 seeded jalapenos into strips. (Be sure to wear gloves when seeding hot peppers and wash hands immediately after.)  Add vegetables to hot skillet, cooking about four minutes per side, or until vegetables are tender.  Remove cooked vegetables to tray.

Add another tablespoon of oil to skillet and heat.  Add Carne Asada to hot skillet, cooking about 6 minutes per side (for medium doneness).  When desired doneness is achieved, remove to cutting board.  Once meat has had a chance to rest for five to ten minutes, cut steak into strips and add to tray with vegetables.  Serve meat and vegetables with warm tortillas and your favorite fajita toppings.


Recipe 3 Orange Mustard Chicken Quarters in the Slow Cooker

Spray a 4-6 quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.  Rinse and pat dry 4 whole chicken leg quarters and place in slow cooker.  Salt and pepper the chicken pieces.  In medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup orange marmalade, 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, 1/4 cup yellow mustard, and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  Pour this over chicken, being sure to spread around all sides of the chicken pieces.  Place the lid on and turn to low, cooking for 8-10 hours.

Please note, the chicken will be extremely tender, but the bones will also be soft and easy to get into your bites of chicken.  Watch carefully, especially if you have little ones eating the chicken.  The bone thing can be annoying to some, but cooking with bone-in chicken adds a lot of flavor and prevents the chicken from drying out during long, slow cooking.

Recipe 4 Strip Steaks with Spicy Peach Salsa

For the salsa, in a medium bowl, combine 1 cup diced red onion, 2 diced, seeded jalapenos, 1/4 cup peach preserves, and 2 cups diced fresh peaches. (Remember to wear gloves when handling hot peppers and wash hands when finished.)  Stir together, cover, and refrigerate.

For the steaks, heat cast iron grill pan in oven at 450 degrees for 5 or 6 minutes (or prepare regular grill, if desired).  Place pan on heat resistant surface.  Drizzle tops of steaks with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place oil-side down on grill pan and drizzle tops with more olive oil and sprinkle a little more salt and pepper.  Place in oven for 6-8 minutes; remove and flip steaks, cooking another 5-6 minutes for medium doneness.  When steaks have reached desired doneness, remove from pan and allow to rest for another five to six minutes.  Serve with a little peach salsa on top or on the side–the salty, meatiness of the steaks goes really well with the sweet heat of the peach salsa.  This salsa goes equally well with tortilla chips.


Recipe 5 Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken

Spray a 4-6 quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.  Rinse and pat dry 4 whole chicken leg quarters and place in the pot.  Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.

In medium bowl combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 envelope of Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, allspice, and dried thyme, and 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes.  Using a rubber spatula spread the mixture over the chicken pieces in the slow cooker, being sure to get under the pieces that are on top.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

Please note, the chicken will be extremely tender, but the bones will also be soft and easy to get into your bites of chicken.  Watch carefully, especially if you have little ones eating the chicken.  The bone thing can be annoying to some, but cooking with bone-in chicken adds a lot of flavor and prevents the chicken from drying out during long, slow cooking.


Recipe 6 Mahogany Mushroom Burgers with Grilled Onions, Mushrooms, and Feta

Just a little side note for you: usually when a flavor is considered “mahogany” it has notes of coffee and maple flavor.  This isn’t universal, but a typical description.  These burgers have a hint of coffee liqueur and maple syrup, which pairs nicely with the salty tang of the feta!

Preheat an electric griddle to 350 degrees.  (Alternatively, you can prepare your outdoor grill to make these burgers.)  Place two pounds of ground beef in a large bowl, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (about a teaspoon each, except I use less salt).  In a one cup liquid measure add 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1/4 cup Kahlua coffee liqueur and whisk together.  Pour the soy mixture in with your ground beef and work the meat with your hands until the liquid is fully incorporated and absorbed into the meat.  Form the burgers into eight patties and place on the griddle.  Cook six to eight minutes per side then remove to a plate or tray.  Note: if you have issue with using the coffee liqueur, you can substitute 1/4 cup of cold, strong coffee.

Slice one large red onion into rings and slice 8 ounces of fresh button mushrooms.  Add these to the hot griddle when the burgers have been removed.  Season wit a little salt and pepper and turn occasionally.  When vegetables are tender and browned, add a half cup of feta cheese over the vegetables.  Toss to soften the feta slightly.

Serve the burgers on buns and top with the vegetable-feta mixture.