Make a Quick Marinade to Add Wonderful Flavor!

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Marinating adds flavor and moisture to food and is an easy technique to incorporate into your cooking skill set. It is the process of soaking meats or vegetables in a seasoned liquid before cooking. Marinades often use an acid (like vinegar or citrus) to enhance flavors. You can buy store-bought marinades, but making your own marinades lets you control the ingredients. The basic ingredients in a marinade are fat, salt, acid, seasonings, herbs, and sweeteners.

Essentials for Marinating:

Food Safety: Make sure to marinate food in the refrigerator. If the marinade is to be used as a sauce, save fresh marinade that has not touched raw meat in a separate container. If you forget to keep some marinade separate, you can also boil the sauce used to marinate raw meat, which will kill harmful bacteria that could cause illness.

Time: Read the recipe and follow the recommendations for marinade times. Marinating some food too long can result in tough, dry or poor texture. Meat can be marinated for anything from 15 minutes to 24 hours. For example, don’t prepare marinated shrimp or chicken and wait several days to cook it. Vegetables should only be marinated for up to 30 minutes.

Acid: It is important to find the right balance of marinade ingredients. Adding too much acid to a marinade can dry out and toughen meats and seafood.

Sugar: Marinades that contain sweeteners like sugar or honey will burn quicker, so keep an eye on the food while cooking.

Shaking Portobello Mushrooms

Serves: 2



Shaking beef is a very famous Vietnamese dish that gets its American name from the constant shaking of the pan to cook the beef and onions without burning. It is traditionally served on a bed of watercress and with a dipping sauce of lime juice and pepper. This dish borrows from the famous original but uses portobello
mushrooms in place of the beef. Since watercress can be very hard to find, you can use arugula or spring mix instead. It is also good served with a bit of brown rice to soak up the juice.

  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Black Pepper


  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Pinch salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Serve with:

  • 4 cups Watercress, arugula, or spring mix
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lime, cut in wedges
  • Brown rice, cooked (ptional)Directions

1. Remove the dark gills from the underside of portobello mushroom caps using a spoon. Scrape lightly as not to remove any of the flesh.
2. Cut the mushroom caps into 1/2-inch cubes.
3. Place the mushrooms in a glass or metal bowl. Add the shallot, oil, soy sauce, sugar, and black pepper. Toss to combine.
4. Marinate for 10-30 minutes.
5. Make the vinaigrette by combining all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well.
6. Drain the mushrooms and shallots and sauté in a non-stick pan until brown.
7. Mix the salad greens and cherry tomatoes with the vinaigrette.
8. Arrange salad on 2 plates.
9. Top with mushrooms.
10. Serve with lime wedges.
11. Serve with brown rice (optional)

Honey Citrus Chicken Drumsticks

Serves 6

Remove the skin from the drumsticks for a healthy and delicious finger food – for kids and adults.



  • Zest from one orange
  • Juice from one orange (approximately 1/3 cup)
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch Pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 6 skinless chicken drumsticks with bone-in

1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
2. Combine all ingredients (except chicken) to make marinade. Separate into two bowls.
3. Marinate the chicken in one of the bowls of marinade for 15‐20 minutes.
4. Spread marinated chicken onto foil‐lined baking pan and dispose of bowl of marinade used to marinate chicken.
5. Bake for 20‐25 minutes at 375º F.
6. Once cooked, brush chicken with remaining marinade.

Honey Balsamic Glazed Salmon

Serves 6

Honey Balsamic Glazed Salmon

Honey Balsamic Glazed Salmon

This salmon is simple and delicious. No capers? No problem. Use chopped green olives instead. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You can replace fresh rosemary with oregano, savory, tarragon, or thyme. Add more of the herbs you love to create a dish that is all your own. You can also sear the salmon and put the sauce on top as opposed to baking. Just heat the sauce to combine the ingredients and spoon onto the fish.

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon capers or coarsely chopped green olives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • 6 (5-ounce) salmon filets

1. Mix all ingredients (except salmon) in a bowl.
2. Place salmon in a baking dish, pour marinade on top, and marinate in the fridge for 30 – 60 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400º F.
4. Cook salmon for about 15 minutes (until the internal temperature reaches 145ºF).

Sources for this article:

NC State Extension Food and Nutrition, Meds instead of Meds educational program. For more information about the Foods and Nutrition please contact Louise L. Hinsley, Extension Agent, Family Consumer Science at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Beaufort County Center, 155 Airport Road, Washington, 252-946-0111.