Cooking Tips & Tricks

Here are some quick cheats for everyday cooking times and tricks to streamline the weeknight process.

Chicken thighs, boneless & skinless
375 degrees in a ceramic baking dish or on a baking tray with parchment paper. 30 minutes. Internal temp should be 160.

Slow cooker
3 hours low.


Heat grill to medium high. Grill marinated thighs over direct heat for 5-6 minutes per side.  Internal temp should be around 145-150 when pulled. Then let sit for a couple minutes to get them near 160 degrees.

Chicken thighs bone-in, skin on

Marinate the thighs at room temp for a good hour or two. Squeeze the juice of 2 lemons and add seasoning of choice, like zatar and garlic salt.

Line a tray with foil and place the wire rack. Spray rack with non-stick coating and place the chicken skin side up.

425 degrees. 30-35 minutes. Internal temp should be 160.

Chicken Breasts (boneless)


Season with oil, salt, pepper, paprika (or zatar or whatever)

Set oven to 425

Cook uncovered 30 minutes

Internal temp should be 160 degrees.

Let sit for 5-10 mins


If you cut thick breasts in half, then cook time should be 4 minutes per side over direct heat.

If you leave thick breasts as is (i.e. thick), then grill over direct heat for 8 minutes per side. A thermometer should register 150-155 degrees. Then let sit for five minutes (covered with foil or plates). Ultimate temp goal is 165 degrees.

BnE Smoked chicken

To heat, oven 250 degrees. Put chicken on a backing dish or parchment lined tray. Cook for 20 minutes.

Brining Chicken or Pork Chops

4-6 C water warmed in microwave

1/4 kosher salt

1 t brown sugar

Combine all elements in a tupper. Soak breasts or chops for at least 30 minutes. Do not rinse, but pat dry when done.

Here’s a fun summer marinade

Cuis the following until emulsified then pour over the breasts and let sit for as many hours as possible:

1 hatch or poblano chili (blistered in the broil until skin is dark. Then peel blistered skin and cut into smaller pieces. (Or use a can of diced green chilis)

1 handful cilantro.

1 garlic clove.

2 limes, juiced.

Couple glugs of olive oil.

A glug of tequila.

Dashes of cumin, chili powder or cayenne, pepper, garlic salt.

Pork Chops

Stovetop & Oven

Bring bone-in chops to room temp and season a good half hour before prep.

Brine chops for 30 minutes and pat dry (do not rinse). Optional

Preheat oven to 400. In an oven safe pan, melt oil and faux butter until pan is near smoking. Add bone-in chops and sear for three minutes. Flip chops and cook for three minutes more.

Flip chops back to original side up. Add a fair amount of capers to the pan. Place pan in the oven. Cook for 10 minutes.

Internal temp should be 135-140 degrees max. Let sit for a few minutes before serving with pan sauce poured over the top.


I suggest brining pork chops when grilling to assure maximum juiciness.

Heat grill and rub with oil soaked paper towels.

Cook chops 4 minutes per side over direct heat. Then move to indirect heat for another 4 minutes. Internal temp should be 140 degrees. Then let them rest off the grill for a good 5 minutes.

Boneless chops 1 1/2″ thick. 6-8 minutes/side. Internal temp should be 140 degrees when pulled. Let rest for a couple minutes.

Bone-in chops 1 1/2″ thick. 6-8 minutes/side. Internal temp should be 140 degrees when pulled. Let rest for a couple minutes.

Heat two areas of the grill. One to high heat, the other to lower medium. Sear the chops on high heat for 3 minutes per side. Then move to medium heat area of the grill and continue cooking 4-7 minutes more, flipping as needed until a thermometer reaches 140-145 degrees.

Pork Tenderloin

Marinate the loin in your favorite Asian, Cajun or BBQ-inspired sauce in a plastic bag for a good hour.

Heat a grill and place loin over direct heat for a total of about 15 minutes. Turning every 5 minutes to get three sides grilled. Internal temp should be 135-140 and let it rest for a couple minutes before chopping it up.

Salmon fillets (with or without skin)
Baked on foil lined tray (in toaster or regular over). 350 degrees for 13-16 minutes (rare-medium).

Swordfish Steaks


Drizzle a little olive oil on them and season accordingly (think Cajun).

Heat toaster oven to 375. Bake for 15 minutes and check (it will probably be closer to 20 minutes).

Internal temp should be 125-130.


Assuming this is a standard 1/2″ to 1-inch steak, first rub olive oil each side and season with favorite spice

Grill over direct heat 5 minutes on first side until the fish pulls easily off the grates.

Flip and direct grill for 4 more minutes on side B.

Cod Fish Tacos

Bake at 400 degrees uncovered for 15 minutes.  (No need to flip)


Turkey Meatloaf

If you want a juicer loaf cook in a ceramic loaf pan. 350 degrees, 45-50 minutes.

If you want a crispier loaf, form it into the loaf shape and place on a foil tray with no pan. 350 degrees, 30 minutes.

With either, internal temp should be 145ish when pulling it out. Let it sit and that temp will rise to the desired 160 degrees.

Korean Meatloaf

1 package ground turkey
1/2 C panko crumbs
Glug of soy sauce
Glug of fish sauce
Dash of togarashi
1 lime juiced
1/2 C kimchee, chopped

2 T Go Ju Chang

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add to a meatloaf dish sprayed with non stick avocado oil.

Mix Go Ju Chang with a couple tablespoons of boiling water. Mix until a thin paste emerges. Spread over top of loaf and spread evenly on top.

Heat oven to 350. Place loaf in for 45 minutes or until it seems firm but not too dry.

Good side serving is steamed baby bok choi.

Lamb Burgers

Form two perfect patties and press a slight indent with your thumb into the center of each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place a dry (no oil) cast iron skillet into an over and heat to 375. Now carefully drop the patties into the skillet. There’s no need to flip and it should take about 16-18 minutes for still slightly pink but moist patties. Careful of touching the scorching skillet. Let burgers rest for a minute or two and serve.

No smoke, no smells!


Caesar dressing (eggless)

1 lemon – juiced
Poupon mustard – healthy squeeze
1/4t garlic powder
orsteshire – Couple dashes
Pepper dash
1/4 olive oil or until consistency is balanced
Chopped anchovies can either be added directly to the dressing or chopped finely and added directly to top of salad

Put in container with a screw top and shake until blended. Serve over torn romaine, dusted with Parmesan cheese.

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thaw a frozen 12-pound turkey for three days in the fridge (in fridge one day for every 5 pounds). Open on the cooking day and see about frozen bits in the cavity. Pull out gibs, set aside and blot with paper napkins.

Put on rack and set back in fridge. Pull out a good 90 minutes before cooking. Stuff cavity with a couple celery and carrot ribs. A sliced onion as well. Rub fingers under the skin to loosen.

Mix oil with herbs like chopped rosemary or thyme. Use a brush to push this melted mash under the skin and then paint the exterior with the same shmear.

Preheat oven to 325. Give that a good 20 minutes to get to temp.

Place turkey in oven. Check after about an hour and then tent loosely with foil. Cook for about 2:45 hours (20 minutes per pound). Remove tent in the last hour to brown.

Let rest, tented for a good 20-30 mins. Then carve and serve.