We may be freezing and bracing for another winter pummeling but it feels like summer in Mariano’s! Their produce racks are bursting with the flavors of summer with loads of fresh citrus of any variety you can imagine.
In our house I am lucky if I can grab a bite of a clementine or an orange before my kids get their hands on it and devour it. My son is currently in love with blood and Cara Cara oranges, we actually have to hide them so he doesn’t eat them all in one sitting!
Since it has been the most wintery of winters we have been craving some lighter more summery meals to make us at least feel like the days are getting longer! You might be surprised but there are actually lots of ways to use citrus in your savory recipes to make your meals feel a bit brighter.
My most favorite meal, ever, is fajitas. We marinade our steak in a lime marinade and we serve it with a cilantro lime rice, and yes even my kids eat it!
My husband is the cook in the family and he has this amazing talent to just take what we have or what he picks up and making great recipes from it. His theory in marinades s that you just kind of wing it, toss it all in a bag and let it sit for about an hour, so the meat gets to room temperature.
Basic Lime Marinade:
This is for about 1.5 lbs of skirt steak
3-4 cloves of garlic minced
1-2 chiles, Serrano or jalapeno depending on heat and your desire for heat
Salt and Pepper – about 1/4 tsp each (or however you normally do your meat)
1 tsp. Oregano (we use Mexican oregano)
Juice the two limes into a large plastic bag, add the rest of the ingredients and steak. Close securely and make sure to cover the meat totally by massaging it and flipping it from side to side. Let sit for at leas one hour.
We love to serve fajitas, really any spicy dish with cilantro lime rice. Using citrus and some seasoning is a great way to spice up and make plain white rice more interesting. To make cilantro lime rice just make your white rice as you would per the package instructions adding ½ – 1 lime’s worth of lime juice to the water before cooking as well as a handful of chopped fresh cilantro. We then serve it with a wedge of lime and more cilantro so that the parents/adults at the table can make it more flavorful.
One of our go to ways to use citrus in our savory dishes is to make Lemon Oregano Chicken. There are so many ways to make this, sometimes called Greek chicken, everyone has some variation of it. You can even just fill your roasted chicken with lemon wedges can add flavor and moisture to your chicken. Last night we made another marinade, citrus is great for marinades!
Lemon Oregano Marinade
recipe from Everyday Food
1/2 cup olive oil1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (I used a little more and did a whole lemon)
3 tablespoons of fresh oregano (we used dried)
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Pour over meat in a large bag and allow to sit for one hour.
We again used citrus to flavor our plain ordinary white rice and made it Greek. We added the juice of a lemon and dried oregano to the water before it cooked. After it was made we mixed it with spinach (sauteed with garlic and olive oil) and feta cheese.
This is how my husband cooks, he just takes what we have and he throws things in here and there and makes these great meals. I however need a recipe and instructions, it’s just the only way I feel comfortable. So our last savory recipe is one of those. It’s from Everyday Food Magazine (favorite!) and every time I make it it blows my mind:
This salsa is always so surprising and is a huge hit at any party we serve it at. There is pretty much nothing spicy in it but it has a very savory flavor. The first time we made it I was worried that it would taste like a dessert with orange and mint but it’s not at all. In the summer we serve it over grilled tuna, we substitute some pork chops and it was a great substitute, so tasty! If you want to bring something different to your big game party that still fits in with the traditional game day food I urge you to give this one a try.
What are your favorite ways to use citrus? You can find recipes and inspiration in the Mariano’s Community. Right now Mariano’s has a great selection and heads up Lake County – two new lcoatins opening soon! Gurnee (in the former Dominick;s location) and Lake Zurich (Route 12) opens on February 4!
Mariano’s is located at:
1720 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Vernon Hills 60061
Visit their event page to see upcoming classes and special events. You can find the weekly specials online and be sure to sign up for their rewards card to save even more. Connect with Mariano’s online and share your experience with #myMarianos
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Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.