Category Archives: Grilling

Donya Marie’s Kitchen Tips Now Available!

Donya Marie's Kitchen Tips

Donya Marie’s Kitchen Tips

Whether you cook a little or a lot, plain or fancy, healthy or hearty, for your family, just for fun or for a business, this is the one book you’ll use often. Organized in an easy-to-find format, Donya Marie’s Cooking Tips includes aclickable table of contents organized by category for quick reference to allow you to quickly jump to the help you need.Find out how to follow the example of this professional chef as you discover:

• How to get more juice from a lime or lemon
• How to soften butter quickly
• How to keep produce and other foods safe from spoilage
• How to blend spices for the optimal taste treat
• How to enhance beaten egg whites or pie crust with the addition of vinegar
• How to consistently make cakes more moist
• How to make your own cake flour or Bisquick® substitutes
• How to store and use stale breads
• How to prevent soggy or hard waffles
• How to substitute ingredients instead of running to the store
• How to use chocolate in ways you’ve never dreamed of
• How to save time using Donya Marie’s shortcuts and restaurant tricks
And so much more!

With this book, you can cook with skill, confidence, and pleasure knowing your cooking solutions are by your side whenever you cook. It’s the book you’ll reach for when you have a question or run across a new challenge in your kitchen.

Or just sit and read through it at your leisure to see what useful tips you can discover and try. Donya Marie’s Cooking Tips is a book you can simply pick up for fun when relaxing on the sofa. You can open it to any page in the book and just start reading. It will become your go-to kitchen tool.

Whether you’re just browsing or desperately trying to solve a vexing cooking emergency, every cook will appreciate this book.



carne platedCarne Asada is a roasted beef dish, simply meaning “roasted meat”.  The dish mainly consists of pieces or thin cuts of beef, usually flank steak or skirt steak.  Sometimes marinated, sometimes lightly salted or rubbed  with pepper and/or spices, and then grilled. It can be eaten alone, with side dishes, chopped and eaten as tacos, or chopped and used as a filler for tortas, burritos, etc. It is usually accompanied with guacamole, salsa, beans, cilantro, onions, salsa and tortillas (corn or flour).

 The dish is commonly prepared in the northern parts of Mexico (in the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Coahuila, Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas and Texas.  It is sold at Mexican meat markets called “carnicerias” in the American Southwest; especially those states with Mexican/Mexican-American enclaves.

When purchasing Carne Asada from meat markets you can purchase meat that has already been marinated and seasoned or you purchase it un-prepared.  Buying the prepared meat takes all the fun out it, but does save you some time.  I like to have my own fun with it and put my own mark on it!

In Mexico and the American Southwest you will find that Carne Asada is the Mexican equivalent of Barbecue.  Traditionally a large fire pit is used to prepare this dish but you can use whatever you have.  Since everything is prepared over direct heat you don’t need a lid or a fancy grill.  If you are planning on a big party and want to have plenty of meat for everyone plan on about 1 pound of meat per person.  If you plan a lot of side dishes then you can cut back on the amount of meat you prepare.

A popular and good marinade for Carne Asada will have a lot of lime juice, garlic, onion and black pepper. Of course other fruit juices work great as well, like papaya, which makes the meat tender because papaya is a natural tenderizer.  You can add hot peppers to the marinade if you want but be careful you don’t over power the meat and make it too hot to appreciate.  Don’t add salt to your marinade.  Save this for the cooking stage.

Ideally the meat should be cooked over a charcoal fire.  Traditionally mesquite is used.  If all you have is a gas grill, not to worry – this will work fine.  When you get ready to grill you will want to have a course salt on hand (I use celtic sea salt).  You want to grill over a good, hot fire.  This dish cooks pretty quickly so have everything else to be served with your meal prepared before you start the meat on the grill.

Traditionally Carne Asada is grilled to well done.  In my opinion you get the best flavor when it’s grilled to well done (this is the only read meat dish I like well done).  Once you have the meat grilled to perfection you will want to take it straight to a carving board.  Cut the meat across the grain with a good sharp knife.  The pieces should be thin strips. Keep the meat warm in a heavy pot with a lid.  You don’t need to add heat but you want to hold in the heat you have.

Carne tortillaServe with warm tortillas and whatever fixings you prefer. A good Carne Asada taco would be in a homemade flour tortilla with homemade salsa, topped with guacamole.  If you have leftovers, make enchiladas the next day (I’ll save that for another blog!).

Now, I have tasted a lot of Carne Asada – being raised in Southern New Mexico/Arizona, so it’s not like I don’t have a corner on what it should taste like.  I have to say, hands down, the best Carne Asada I’ve ever tasted was using the recipe below.  The chocolate seriously added depth to the taste factor in the Carne Asada!  OH MY GAWD!  I’mHARDTRIGGER hooked!  All of that being said, let us not forget the important role that the meat played in this particular recipe.  I used Carne Asada (un-prepared) from Hardtrigger Canyon, a local 900 acre ranch.  Hardtrigger cattle are grain fed; the meat is dry aged for 15 to 21 days; the owners raise all of the corn, hay, and barley that is fed to their cattle (using ‘no till’ farming), with the end result being, beef that is leaner, has increased tenderness, and is more flavorful.  Certainly a plus for this delectable dish.


This recipe is for 1 lb of Carne Asada


2 cups Lime juice

3 cloves of fresh Garlic (Mashed with the flat of your knife – do not chop, as you don’t want the garlice to get stuck to your meat and remain there while you are grilling – it will impart a bitter taste to your meat)


3 Tblsp Donya Marie’s Dark Chocolate Meat Rub (your choice of flavor)

1/4 tsp cayenne

2.5 Tblsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 Tblsp Pepper

1 Tblsp Cocoa

1 Tblsp Onion powder

(note do not add salt to this mixture)

(For the Double Meat Rub – leave out the cayenne; use only 1 Tblsp of chili powder)

Mix together the cayenne, cumin and chili powder with the meat rub.  Mix the seasoning in with the marinade.  Place your meat in a zip lock back.  Pour the combination of marinade/seasoning into the bag.  Removing as much air as possible, seal and place the bag in the freezer for 8 hours or overnight (overnight is best).

Place the meat on the grill and when the juices start to rise on the surface, sprinkle with salt. When the salt liquefies on the surface flip the meat over and repeat. This seasons the meat as it cooks. Carne Asada is supposed to be on the salty side but this doesn’t mean that you need to drown the meat in salt.

Grilling Vegetables

Many of you know there is still room on that grill for vegetables! And they are good for you. Now with summer approaching we are all anticipating good meals off the grill. I’ve already started! Anything to take a break from the humdrum of the kitchen! Several vegetables grill well, but some aren’t for grilling, especially those high in water content, i.e., cucumbers, celery, lettuce or most leafy greens. But even a slightly skilled backyard chef can do wonders with asparagus, eggplant, onions and even cabbage. Peppers are a natural grilling choice too, whether you choose bell peppers or the hot variety.

Grilling vegetables isn’t complicated. You’ll want to start with a clean grill. Be sure you wash the vegetables well. You might want to cut the vegetables into smaller pieces (this will of course depend on the vegetables you are grilling.

Marinades usually work well and most vegetables cook better and are less likely to stick if brushed with high-quality oil. For added flavor, sprinkle grilled vegetables with fresh herbs.

You can cook most vegetables directly on the grill. Sliced vegetables may do better (not fall through the grate) when speared on kabobs or wrapped in heavy duty foil. But remember that cooking in foil will take away from the smoky flavor that you would get if cooked without the foil, and this to me is one of the reasons for grilling vegetables. On the other hand there is that little thing called convenience! I like to grill the vegetables because then I don’t have to use the stove in the kitchen and dirty more pans!

As always I go in for the unusual and below I have some yummy ideas for you to try.

Dark Chocolate Grilled Potatoes and Onions

 Dark Chocolate Grilled Potatoes and Onions

4 potatoes, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
salt to taste
Donya Marie’s Dark Chocolate Meat Rub (double or spicy flavor)
4 tablespoons butter

Preheat grill for medium heat. For each packet, measure out 2 or 3 squares of aluminum foil large enough to easily wrap the vegetables, and layer one on top of the other. Place some of the potatoes and onion in the center, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and dot with butter. Wrap into a flattened square, and seal the edges. Repeat with remaining potatoes and onion. Place aluminum wrapped package over indirect heat, and cover. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, turning once. Serve hot off the grill.


Dark Chocolate Grilled Jalepeno Bacon Blankets

6 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
1/3 cup Donya Marie’s Dark Chocolate Ultimate Chocolate Sauce (original flavor)
1 Tblsp of Donya Marie’s Dark Chocolate Meat Rub (double or spicy flavor)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
12 slices bacon

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Boil the peppers after cleaning them for 4 minutes, then soak them in cold water another 3-4 minutes before making and grilling. Mix Donya Marie’s Dark Chocolate Ultimate Chocolate Sauce (original flavor) and Meat Rub with the cream cheese. Spread cream cheese mixture to fill jalapeno halves. Wrap the jalapeno peppers with the bacon. Secure with a toothpick.

Place on the grill, and cook until bacon is crispy. You can also bake these instead of grilling. Uuse a broiler pan to give the grease somewhere to go. 325° for about an hour.

Grilled Dark Chocolate Mango Quesadillas


16 (10 inch) flour tortillas
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (12 oz) jar Donya Marie’s Dark Chocolate Sultry Mango Salsa
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat grill for medium heat.
Spread half of the tortillas with about 2 tablespoons cream cheese each. Spread Donya Marie’s Dark Chocolate Sultry Mango Salsa (drain off juice first) over cheese, and press another tortilla on top. Brush butter over the outside of each quesadilla, top and bottom. Grill quesadillas 5 minutes each side, or until golden brown. Remove from grill, and slice into wedges. Serve warm.

How to Prepare Meats/Vegetables Safely

With the recent nice weather we’ve been having that means that the grilling season is here!  We need to be sure to prepare our meats and vegetables safely in order to avoid food borne illness.  Most of you probably already know how, but it’s always a good reminder for me and I thought it would be for you as well.


It’s a good idea to start by sanitizing your grill.  Preheat your grill on high heat for 20 minutes before cooking. The high heat will sanitize the grates and burn off anything you left on the grate. 


Choose your cutting boards with care.  You’ll want to use a separate cutting board for meat and another for vegetables to avoid cross-contamination. If you are using the same board for both vegetables and meat, prepare your vegetables 1st.  Then, very thoroughly wash and sanitize the board, before using it for meat.


All surfaces, sinks and tools should always be sanitized after use. Use a commercial sanitizer sheet or spray approved for “food contact”.  You can find food safe sanitizers at most grocery and warehouse stores. I personally use vinegar mixed with water in my home kitchen.


Store all meats in the refrigerator.  When storing meats in the refrigerator, place the longest cooking meat on the bottom and the shortest cooking meat on top.  For example, pork loin on the bottom, chicken above the loin, then fish on top.  This is done so that if juices from the fish drip into the chicken, the chicken cooks longer than fish, so the juices will be sure to cook thoroughly.


Also, store meats at the bottom of your refrigerator, not the top, to avoid dripping onto other foods that may or may not be cooked before consuming.


Use two sets of tongs: Use one set of tongs for raw meat and another clean set for cooked food. 


Throw out excess marinade that is left over if it has had contact with meat.  If you need extra sauce, reserve fresh sauce from the bottle to be brushed on during the end of cooking or for dipping during the meal.


Always wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling meat.  Food borne illness is an extremely serious matter and it can happen just as easily in your kitchen as in a manufactures kitchen.


Watch for my “Grilling VegetableS” tips in the next post.