Savory BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

It’s officially summer! Well, not yet but it sure feels like it so I’m declaring it. What better way to kick it off with some awesome BBQ. This is a fast and simple marinade you can make for chicken or steak. I preferred to make chicken this time because I’ve been eating a lot of it lately. Doesn’t that picture above just make you want to scream? Here’s how to get started.

2 cloves of garlic
Black pepper
Worcestershire sauce
Soy sauce
1 lime (sorry not pictured)

Chicken goes into the pool. Normally I like to marinate inside zip lock bags overnight but this was okay for 4 hours. Meat is always best the longer it gets to marinate. Probably the only other thing I’d change about the recipe.

So once you have the chicken off the marinade, go ahead and pop them on the grill. Reserve the marinade. High heat to start then once they are on, lower the heat to low. I primarily work with a gas grill but charcoal is always best. The reason you want to work with low heat is because drumsticks take awhile. You want to make sure juices run clear and your chicken is cooked all the way through before serving to guests.

When the chicken is done and off the grill, go ahead and let the drumsticks rest as the juices redistribute back throughout the meat so that when you take that first bite you get nothing but packed flavor and moistness! You’re ready to begin your sauce. With the marinade you had, go ahead and put it in a pot to begin boil.

Once you get the boil go ahead and reduce the heat to a nice simmer and add pancake syrup. What wait?! Pancake syrup you say?

Most definitely! This will not only make your sauce taste that much more better, but it will also slightly thicken it!

Off to the side I just blanched some green beans then put them in an ice bath to “shock” and slow down the cooking process as well as setting the color. We now have a vegetable and a way to make the dish look appetizing.

Set your chicken on top of the green beans and drizzle some of that wonderful sauce on top of the drumsticks and around the plate. Ready, set, ENJOY!

Savory BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
Printer-friendly PDF version


  • 9-10 drumsticks
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1/2 c worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 T pancake syrup


Begin your marinade with chopped garlic, sugar, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, lime and pepper. You may add cayenne pepper if you like heat but not necessarily needed. Stir all ingredients and add to chicken in a 1 gallon plastic bag from 4 hours to overnight (recommended).

Remove chicken from marinade and reserve marinade to cook in a pot for sauce. Grill your chicken on a gas or charcoal grill on high heat to begin and then to low heat throughout. You will want to make sure chicken is thoroughly cooked and that juice run clear. Remove from grill and allow to rest to have juice redistribute back and throughout chicken.

With the reserved marinade, boil then reduce to a simmer and add 2 T of pancake syrup and mix as it slightly thickens. Spoon sauce over chicken and enjoy!


Shrimp and Grits

I had some shrimp in the freezer and I wanted to make use of it. I’ve always heard about grits and the closest thing I’ve ever made to them is Malt-O-Meal. I can say right now they are not exactly the same. The thought of butter and cheese was a hands down winner for me so why not try making grits? Then I thought shrimp is just boring boiled or sauteed. Let’s add BACON! Because we all know bacon is best! When you fuse everything together, this is how it turns out.

So here are your ingredients. Quick cooking grits, shrimp (use fresh if you can), bacon, parsley, green onion or scallions, a couple cloves of garlic, 1/2 stick of butter, half a lemon, shredded cheese and salt and pepper.

Level out a cup of grits and add to 4 cups of boiling water. You want to cook the grits until it soaks up all the water and don’t forget to stir occasionally. Box recipe calls for at least 20 minutes but they were done in about 12 minutes.

Add salt & pepper, the 1/2 stick of butter and a cup of shredded cheese and it’s done. It should be the consistency of oatmeal.

Grits will have a tendency to tighten up once you’re ready to set up your dish so to loosen it just add a little water and stir.

Now the best part. BACON! I have about 5 slices here and you will just need to cook and chop them up. Reserve the bacon fat because that’s what you’ll use to cook your shrimp. Go ahead and cut up the rest of your prep and set aside.

Now on to the shrimp. You really could do this tedious task first because the other stuff is faster. If you have frozen shrimp you’ll need to defrost them in water. It won’t take too long but as for peeling and deveining shrimp, be prepared to take some time. For this dish I left the tails on so you’ll need to peel the rest of the shrimp.

Reserve the shells and add them to a medium pot of boiling water. You’ll be using this shrimp stock as a sauce for the finished product.

Now take the pan you cooked the bacon in and start cooking the shrimp as well as adding the rest of the ingredients

At the end, go ahead and add a ladle or 2 of that delicious shrimp stock and simmer a bit and take the pan off the heat. You don’t want to cook the shrimp for too long because it’ll get rubbery and the dish will just be ruined.

You can now go ahead and spoon a little of those wonderful, buttery, cheesy grits onto a plate and the incredible shrimp with bacon directly on top. Spoon the sauce on top and around the plate to make it pretty and you’re ready to eat! Enjoy!

Shrimp and Grits
Printer-friendly PDF version


  • 1 lb shrimp fresh or frozen w/ tails on
  • ½ c fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 c green onions or scallions
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 c quick cooking grits
  • 8 c water (4 c for grits / 4 c for shrimp stock)
  • 1 c shredded cheese
  • 5-6 slices bacon
  • ½ lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Start with the shrimp first as this is the most tedious to work with. Defrost your frozen shrimp in water. You’ll want to peel and devein both sides of the shrimp. Reserve the shrimp shells and add to 4 cups of boiling water. You will use the stock at the end to make a sauce.

Once you finish prepping the shrimp, start the grits. In a medium pot boil 4 cups of water. Add 1 cup of grits and stir occasionally until water has soaked up. The box calls for 20 minutes but mine were done in 12 minutes. Be sure you taste the grits to make sure it’s cooked. Add some salt and pepper, ½ stick of butter and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Stir and taste again. It should be delicious!!

In a 10-12 inch pan, cook 5-6 slices of bacon. Chop up the bacon and set aside with the other ingredients of chopped garlic, chopped parsley, chopped green onions and ½ a lemon. In the same pan you cooked the bacon in, dump some of the bacon fat out leaving just enough to coat the pan. Add the shrimp, garlic, lemon juice, parsley and green onions. The shrimp will begin to cook quickly and turn pink. Add about 1-2 ladles of shrimp stock and reduce to a simmer. Add the chopped bacon at the end.

To being plating, scoop a big spoonful of grits onto a plate. If it’s too thick you can loosen it up with a bit of water and stir. You should have the consistency of oatmeal but not thick. Add the shrimp and bacon on top of the grits and spoon some sauce on top as well as around the plate.

The Quest for the Best Salsa!

So I decided to experiment a little with salsa. It’s the perfect compliment to Mexican food and one of the easiest sides to make. When I learned to make my own salsa, I never purchase store bought again. There’s something about the freshness of making your own salsa that goes a long way and something you should be proud of. Growing up in San Diego there was this hole in the wall Mexican spot called Albertos, which later became, Alejandros, which later became what it is now, Cotixan.

8110 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92126

No disrespect to the current establishment but to anyone who has lived in San Diego and sinked your tastebuds into the Albertos/Alejandros liquid salsa it’s AMAZING! So amazing that instead of ordering drinks I straight shot salsa. Thus earning the nickname from one of my close friends Nimitz…Hot Shot! Since the building has been under new management it hasn’t been the same. I’m still trying to recreate it so stay tuned to when I do.

So here we go. Here’s a salsa I’ve experimented with over the weekend so I welcome you all to try it as well.

So while you’re out shopping, you’ll need some essentials. I decided to go with this type of chile. Depending on your heat tolerance, I have a pretty high one. I used about a handful. You may want to go less than that but if you’re a daredevil like me, be my guest.

They don’t call me the Blazing Wings Champion for nothing…

Anyways haha let’s get started. These are all the ingredients you will need.

You’ll need to roast the chiles, tomatillos and garlic. I didn’t want “direct heat” on the ingredients so I masked the heat with foil. What I’m trying to achieve here is to char the ingredients. You can also achieve this by putting this on the grill. You will still need to use foil though.

The chiles will go fast so you’ll need to stand by the stove so they don’t burn. If you completely burn your chiles, the salsa will suck. Put the chiles into a pot of boiling water to soften them.

Once you get a good char on all sides of the tomatillos, go ahead and put those in the pot of boiling water. If the chiles are soft, you can go ahead and put them into the blender. The garlic is done when you can peel the skin easily. Be sure not to burn these also.

You’ll want to go ahead and chop of the cilantro and onions. I saved a little to the side to garnish the top of the salsa. Everyone eats with their eyes first. Just remember!

Everyone goes into the blender!

I added a few ladles of water that the chiles and tomatillos were boiling in. Reason for this is so that when you eventually refrigerate your salsa, you won’t have coagulation from the tomatillos. I’ve had some throughout experimentation so I’d probably recommend you use less tomatillos the next time you make salsa.

Finish with lime, salt and pepper to taste and you’re done!

So is it the best salsa I’ve ever had? No, but it’s delicious and the quest continues…

Roasted Tomatillo Chile Japones Entero Salsa
Printer-friendly PDF version


  • 8 tomatillos
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 red onion
  • 1-2 limes
  • Handful of whole Japones Entero chiles
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt
  • pepper


Roast the tomatillos, garlic, chiles in a large pan. Line the pan with foil. Start a pot of boiling water and when tomatillos and chiles are nicely charred, put them in boiling water to soften.

Chop cilantro and dice red onions. Reserve a ¼ cup each of the red onions and cilantro for garnish. All ingredients will be blended so everyone goes in. I used about 1 ½ juiced limes in this salsa and depending on your tastebuds you can always add more. Salt and pepper to taste. Put your salsa in a bowl and garnish with the red onions and cilantro.


Long overdue entry and I have to apologize. Got caught up with another visit to San Diego with my youngest daughter Mia. Then I got caught up with a new diet of the three S’s (soup, salad sandwich). I was committed to that diet for about 3 weeks straight then decided to just incorporate another element to it then the diet just went out the window. Why can’t losing weight be easier? Ah well, the benefit was that I did lose about 10 pounds and did not drink anything other than water. Yup! No soda, juice, coffee or tea. Just straight up water!

So in today’s blog I bring to you one of my favorite dishes. Bibimbap! It is a Korean dish consisting of rice, sauteed vegetables and meat blended together with a hot pepper paste sauce and a fried egg on top. The element to the dish that brings it to life is a hot stone pot. I do not own one of these but as the rice is mixed in well with the other ingredients, the rice is further cooked and crisped up. So without further ado, here’s how you make this sensational creation!

What you want to do first is julienne the carrots and zucchini. I would suggest using shiitake mushrooms for this recipe but I had baby bellas on hand. When you’re all done with the veggie prep, go ahead and set that aside and start cooking the ground beef. You want to start by adding minced garlic to a hot pan of oil then add the ground beef, soy sauce, sugar, pepper and sesame oil at the end.

Once the meat has been cooked you’ll start your veggies. Everything gets sauteed in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil with the exception of the bean sprouts (boiled), carrots and zucchini.

To create the hot pepper paste sauce you’ll need 4 ingredients. Hot pepper paste, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil.

After the sauce is made you can go ahead and fry your eggs and you’re set to complete the meal. Enjoy!

Printer-friendly PDF version


● 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
● 2 garlic cloves
● 7-8 baby bella mushrooms sliced
● 2 zucchinis julienned
● 4 carrots julienned
● 1 package bean sprouts
● 1 package kosari
● 1 bunch spinach
● Korean hot pepper paste
● Soy sauce
● Sugar
● Sesame oil
● Salt & Pepper
● Rice


Cut all your vegetables first and set them aside. You’re going to be cooking them 1 at a time instead of throwing all the ingredients together in one pan. Smash and mince 2 garlic cloves and put in a pan of oil to slightly brown. Next add the ground beef along with 2 T of soy sauce and 1 T of sugar. Once the meat has been cooked, finish with a slight drizzle of sesame oil.

In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the bean sprouts for approximately 3 minutes and remove and drain from water. Add a drizzle of sesame oil and set aside.

Saute your vegetables that need a mixture of soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil first. That would be mushrooms, kosari and spinach. Use 2 T of soy sauce and 1 T of sugar for the mushrooms. The kosari and spinach use the ratio of 1 T of soy sauce and ½ T of sugar. Set those aside.

Saute the zucchini and carrots until tender. Add dashes of salt and pepper and finish with sesame oil. Once everything is cooked and set aside go ahead and fry some sunny side up eggs. This will top the bibimbap once it has been all assembled.

To make the hot pepper paste sauce combine 1 T of hot pepper paste to 1 ½ T of soy sauce, 1 T of sugar and a drizzle of sesame oil. To thin out the sauce add some water.

Fish Tacos with a Greek Yogurt White Sauce

There are days when I just crave Mexican food. Growing up in San Diego it’s just the easiest go to meals. My favorite fish tacos are from Rubio’s but sometimes homemade are just so much more appetizing. Let’s start with a pico de gallo salsa. Here’s what you’ll need:

Salt, pepper, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, tomato & lime. Dice that all together and you get a nice salsa to compliment the meal.

Next you’ll need some cabbage. I like to julienne my cabbage thin so that any light dressing I use in it gets the bite you need to accent the meal. After you julienne the cabbage, set it aside and make a light dressing consisting of vinegar, salt & sugar. Toss in your cabbage to coat.

Let’s start the white sauce. Most fish tacos use a sort of tartar sauce. We won’t do that here. I use equal parts greek style yogurt and mayo. Other seasoning consist of cumin, cayenne pepper, dill, oregano and juice of 1 lime. I like putting my sauces in squirt bottles so when you dress the taco it looks delicious!

Now onto the fish. I grab Tilapia from Costco’s refrigerated section, not the frozen section.

Prepare 3 side dishes. One all purpose flour, 2 beaten eggs and some panko (Japanese) bread crumbs.

To season your fish as you dredge them in flour, egg and bread crumbs, first season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Slice the tilapia in half so you have manageable pieces to use per taco.

Once they are all breaded, heat some vegetable oil. You can test to see whether the oil is hot enough to start by tossing in a piece of bread crumb into the oil. If it starts to fizzle, you’re ready to begin.

Now that you have all your components in front of you, you can begin the assembly line. Fish on top of a tortilla. Add the cabbage and pico de gallo salsa and squirt the greek yogurt white sauce over. If you have any other salsa to add you can very well do so. I plan to do a blog on this particular salsa below in a future entry.

Fish Tacos with a Greek Yogurt White Sauce
Printer-friendly PDF version

Fish Tacos with a Greek Yogurt White Sauce

by mjbarias


Greek Yogurt White Sauce

  • ½ c greek yogurt
  • ½ c mayo
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp dill weed
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 lime juiced

Pico de Gallo Salsa

  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • ½ onion diced
  • ¼ c cilantro chopped
  • 1 jalapeno minced (or ½ depending on your tolerance)
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • salt
  • pepper


  • ¼ c vinegar
  • 2 T sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cabbage julienned
  • Corn tortillas
  • Tilapia
  • ½ c flour
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 c panko bread crumbs
  • Granulated garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Prepare the greek yogurt white sauce first. Combine all ingredients and place in a squirt bottle. Same goes with your pico de gallo salsa. Dice all ingredients and place in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. To prepare the dressing for the cabbage to slightly marinate, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Add julienned cabbage to mixture and toss.

Slice a tilapia filet in half. Season each side with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Dredge each side with flour, then egg, then bread crumbs and set aside to fry. In a pan add vegetable oil and check to see if oil is ready by throwing a piece of bread crumb in the oil. If it starts to sizzle the oil is ready. Brown each side of the fish and set aside to rest.

Start to assemble your tacos and you’re done! Enjoy!

Marinated Beef Steak with an Avocado and Tomato Salad

Want something savory? This is it! Marinated goodness in tangy lemon and soy sauce topped with sweet onions and a refreshing avocado & tomato salad. That’s basically it in a nutshell. Here’s how it’s made.

Gather an onion, lemon, tomato, garlic, avocado, soy sauce and black pepper. You might be wondering where the salt is. Well, with the sodium content in the soy sauce, no salt is needed in this dish.

When it comes to what cut of beef to use, tenderloin is my choice. Thinly slice it and marinating with it is a breeze.

From here, juice 1 lemon and about a cup of soy sauce with minced garlic and pepper. My choice of marinating items are in bags. I just feel that the liquid permeates the meat better than in a dish. Marinate for a minimum of 4 hours to up to a day.

Next you’ll want to cut a whole onion or 2 into slices. Take the liquid out of the bag and use it to cook your onions.

Set your onions aside and start cooking the meat. The best way to cook this is in vegetable oil in a sizzling hot pan. As the liquid from the meat cooks off, replenish with water. Add the onions at the end.

To start your avocado and tomato salad, dice up some tomatoes, avocados and some green onions. You may use a bit of salt and pepper for seasoning but not much.

To plate this dish a trick is to use a measuring cup. In this case, 1 cup. Pack your rice in the cup and turn it upside down onto the plate.

If you would like to have a gravy with this, it’s totally optional. Here’s how that’s done. With the bits of cooked meat now off the saute pan, deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of red wine and about 2 tablespoons of flour and a tablespoon of butter. Whisk this around with about 3/4 cup of chicken or beef stock and you have your pan gravy. Make the plate pretty and stack your components up. Enjoy!

Marinated Beef Steak with an Avocado and Tomato Salad
Printer-friendly PDF version


  • 1lb tenderloin
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 c soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Green onions
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1-2 large onions
  • Pepper

Pan gravy (optional)

  • ½ c red wine
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 c beef or chicken stock


Slice tenderloin thin and prepare your marinade. In a storage bag, add 1 cup of soy sauce, juice of 1 lemon, 2 minced garlic cloves and a teaspoon of pepper. Marinate your beef for a minimum of 4 hours to up to a day in advance. Slice onions into rings and use the juices of the marinade to saute the onions until tender. Set aside.

Cook the beef in a sizzling hot pan with vegetable oil. As the liquid disappears, add water as needed then reduce heat to medium. Add the onions at the end to finish.

With your drippings, deglaze the pan with red wine. Add butter and flour to create your roux and finish with beef or chicken stock. The pan gravy is totally optional.

With the avocado & tomato salad, basically dice tomatoes, avocado and green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Also optional.

Red Velvet Pancakes – A Valentine Delight

For about 2 weeks I was trying to come up with ways to treat my wife to a Valentine delight. Being a stay at home dad gives me options to work around the house. Cooking of course is one thing so I work with what I do best. I was in San Diego a few weeks ago and a segment on pancakes for your loved ones came on a news special. I thought, what a great idea! I’ve never seen red velvet pancakes before and before manipulating a few recipes to come up with my own I decided to give this one a whirl.

It’s not bisquick but here goes. The easiest way to do this is to have 2 separate bowls. One to mix dry ingredients and the other to mix wet ingredients. I used a sifter to add all the dry ingredients in. Once that’s in, shake, shake, shake just like you’re hitting a tambourine.

Next are your wet ingredients. Don’t worry about it being too thick. That’s because the buttermilk is doing its magic.

Go ahead and add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. I do it in this order because adding dry ingredients to wet causes lumps. Use a wire whisk to bring your ingredients together.

This is how it will look like once incorporated.

I borrowed some heart shaped cookie cutters from my mother in law. Usually you make circular pancakes but these go extra special! It’ll take you some time but it’s worth it for your loved one

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Red Velvet Pancakes
Printer-friendly PDF version



  • 1 ½ c all-purpose flour
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 T sugar
  • ¼ c powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon


  • 1 ½ c buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • 1 T red food coloring
  • ½ stick or 4 T of melted butter

Cream cheese frosting (optional)

  • 1 8oz. package of softened cream cheese
  • ½ t lemon juice
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • ¼ c water


Grab 2 mixing bowls. One bowl for dry ingredients and the other for wet ingredients. Start by preparing dry ingredients first. Use a sifter to add all the dry ingredients in and shake until sifted into bowl. Whisk dry ingredients around to make sure everything is incorporated.

Next, mix all your wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk. The best way to mix the 2 types of ingredients would be to add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix in both and make sure everything is fully incorporated.

For Valentine’s day, you make use heart shaped cookie cutters and be sure to lube the inside of the cookie cutters with butter so that the pancake can escape them without sticking. You also want to traditionally add butter to your pan while making your pancakes and keep the flame at a medium to medium low heat. Remove the cookie cutters once the batter starts to bubble and then flip your pancakes. Enjoy with a loved one!