Simple Eating – Marinades


by Chris Redding


This is adapted from a workshop I teach called Cooking on a Deadline.

Right now it could be called: Cooking During the Apocalypse or When Every Night is an Episode of Chopped.

This blog post will focus on marinades. They are an easy way to flavor your meat. When you’ve marinated something you can then grill it, broil it or sauté it. Your choice.

The marinades I use have several basic components. You will probably have these in your kitchen so you can keep social distancing or for introverts, Tuesday.

Start with an oil, but I don’t use too much and if you have to watch your fat this is the part you can skip. The next is an acid. Most of the time I use vinegar which was on my list of kitchen must haves. I like to keep a variety of vinegars in the house. They don’t go bad and can be used for many things. Lemons and limes work also. Lemon juice in that plastic lemon will work also. No need to be too proud during this crazy time.  Acids help break down the meat making it tender.

Next there are herbs and/or spices. You can do ANYTHING here. Choose whatever combination you like or whatever you have in the cupboard. Pull out that bottle of rubbed sage you only use at Thanksgiving. Someone sent you Hawaiian sea salt or Sel de Mar from France, put it in there. The sky, or your cabinet, is the limit.

For an extra kick, tabasco sauces which I think I need to add to my kitchen must haves. Or Dijon mustard works also. Hey, at this point, salad dressing works, too. There are no marinade police so do what you want.

Using this formula, you can make any kind of marinade. I usually make these a day ahead or that morning. Beef and pork can be marinated for a while. Chicken or fish don’t need as much time.

Let’s try one:

Oil, olive oil is best and extra virgin has the most flavor, but any will do.

Acid, we’ll use balsamic vinegar this time. White vinegar works if that is all you have.

Herbs/spices, this time of year I have fresh basil, so that gets cut up and put in along with salt and pepper and maybe even some fresh chives. Sadly right now unless you planned for it, you won’t have those. Stick whatever dried stuff you have in there, but rub it between your well-washed hands to bring out the esters.

If you want it a little spicy, but some chipotle tabasco sauce in it.

Easy, peasy. Now put your meat in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over it. Zip it, then rub the marinade into the meat. Put it in your fridge and it will be ready to go that evening or the next evening. Voila!

Note: You can marinate fresh vegetables too, for some extra flavor!

Chris Redding writes paranormal romance mostly involving gargoyles. There is often at least one of them who loves to cook. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. She is a ghostwriter, developmental editor and writing coach.  or email,

Copyright © Chris Redding 2020

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