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Help, I am a marinade addict!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
: My name is Quagmire, and I substitute prepackaged marinades for good cooking.

I am looking for alternatives to store bought marinades and dressings. I am not a creative cook, so I end up doing a lot of throw-meat-in-pan-dump-sauce-on-top-and-bake kind of meals. It's getting old, not to mention expensive. And those marinades don't have the healthiest ingredients.

Any suggestions? Recipes for healthier marinades?

post #2 of 3
homemade marinades can be fun!

there are only few basic things you need in a marinade -

you need something to tenderize - which can be something acidic like a vinegar or citrus juice or worcestershire sauce or the like, or something like milk or yogurt for pork and lamb.

something salty or sweet or both - honey, brown sugar, marmalade or preserves, maple syrup, etc even ketchup.

spices - simple like salt and pepper, or garlic, chives, basil, ginger, cardamom, cumin etc

you can put oil in marinades as well.

in fact you can JUST marinate in oil and spices.

what choose will depend alot on the meat, and what kind of cuisine you're looking for.

Pork can be marinated in just milk and salt for a few hours prior to cooking.

Salmon is great with olive oil, crushed garlic and balsamic vinegar - and because it's fish, you don't really need to marinate for long.

BEst thing for it is to scan some cuisines you like and look at the spices they use - if you are fond of italian cuisine, a great marinade for chicken is olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, balsamic.

If you like sweeter marinades, i use this one for baked chicken:
honey, olive oil, orange juice, orange zest, salt, pepper, rosemary.

hope that helps a little! happy marinating!
post #3 of 3
I think if you make yourself up a few batches of your own, you'll end up with the same convenience.

Look up some spice-blends and put them together in your own container. Then label it with the liquid you need to add - like 2TBs and 1/3 cup oil; or use 1 T and juice of a lemon or 1 tsp and 2 T vinegar. It really amounts to the same thing as store bought and it will save you indecision and looking up a recipe. Maybe make one for beef and one blend for chicken, fish, veggies. Don't go all out and have like 5 different beef marinades. Just start with one simple recipe/mix and go from there.

The other thing I've done is looked at the ingredients in my favorite packet and labeled my spice jars directly. I have 3 spices labled "rice" because they were the ingredients in a powdered mix I liked a lot. I couldn't tell you what they are - DH and I just look for the 3 jars labled rice.

Here's a place to start for marinades:

You can also cook in just about any liquid you have around - wine, beer, grape juice, orange juice, leftover posticker sauce or fish sauce from take-out....
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