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DIY Marinade Recipes You Can’t Help But Love

I love my 2-year-old, but I dread taking her to the grocery store—especially for last-minute items. What started out as my own wish to not pack up my toddler and go to the store when I only forgot one thing turned into a great habit of using up what we have to make marinades. Not only has it ended up being so much more cost efficient to make my own marinades, but they are healthier, and taste even better (in my humble opinion). I just grab large Ziploc storage bags, whip up these marinades, and let the meat…well, marinate. I usually let each of these marinate for about 30 minutes, but the longer the better (and more flavorful)!

Go-To Grilled Chicken Marinade

First up, our favorite grilled chicken marinade. I first discovered this on Pinterest as “the best 4 ingredient chicken marinade.” Only four ingredients I already have in the pantry? Sold! While this marinade does have a little flair to it because of the soy sauce, it is balanced out by the sweetness of the brown sugar. We use this as our staple grilled chicken recipe for a fast weeknight dinner:

What You’ll Need:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup vinegar
3-4 chicken breast

Combine the listed ingredients in your Ziploc bag, and place the chicken breast inside. Zip up the bag, then let it marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes (or more). Then, toss it on the grill or bake it in the oven until cooked through!

Salmon Marinade With a Kick

My dad is truly the grill master, and I love that he has been able to share some tips with my husband because it’s a hobby they can enjoy together. This marinade recipe was first brought to us by him, and while he prefers it on beef, it’s our favorite on salmon.

What You’ll Need:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 tsp packed brown sugar
1 clove minced garlic
2 salmon filets 

Combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, brown sugar and garlic in your Ziploc bag and blend them together. Then, carefully place the salmon inside the bag, and stick in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. When you’re ready to eat, throw the salmon on the grill and enjoy!

Savory Pork Tenderloin Marinade

I am not one of those people that can just come up with ingredient combinations on my own and create masterpieces. But, like any good Southern girl, I do have a group of close friends who are all amazing cooks and share their favorites with me. This marinade was passed along from a friend who I’ve received the majority of my delicious recipes from. Someday I will devote a post entirely to my Taylor-inherited-recipes simply as tribute to her and her cooking skills. Sharing is caring, yall.

What You’ll Need:
1 pork tenderloin
16oz bottle Italian Dressing
2 tsp minced rosemary
1/4 cup brown sugar

Combine the dressing, rosemary and brown sugar in a Ziploc bag, and place the pork tenderloin inside. Marinate for about 30 minutes, then throw the pork on the grill! While the tenderloin is grilling, boil the remaining marinade on medium-low for at least 15 minutes. Serve as a sauce over the tenderloin. The sauce is a game changer!

Greek Marinade

A lot of marinades call for fresh herbs, but always know you can substitute the fresh for dried. Most bottles of spices include a ratio of fresh to dried, and while I think fresh is always better, I can’t tell you the last time I had fresh oregano or thyme on hand! Use up what you have at home and it will be just as tasty.

What You’ll Need:
½ cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp oregano
2 tsp thyme leaves
Meat of choice 

Put your ingredients in your Ziploc bag, including your meat. Make sure the meat is well-covered by the marinade, then stick it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Grill it up or bake it in the oven until cooked through, then enjoy!

Chicken Fajita Marinade

I truly believe that our family could eat Mexican food for every meal and we’d be perfectly content, and this fajita recipe is to die for. I have searched high and low for a great Mexican marinade to use at home, and this one has proven itself to be the best go-to! 

What You’ll Need:
2 tbsp Canola Oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp seasoned salt
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1.5 lbs chicken breast or tenderloins

Combine the oil, lemon juice, salt, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, and meat in your Ziploc bag and mix well. Marinate for 30 minutes or longer, then grill as usual! Add it with peppers and onion for traditional fajitas, use the chicken on top of a salad, or eat the chicken with rice and beans for at home Chipotle style rice bowls.

The best thing about these recipes is that they can be enjoyed year round (but I’ll admit they tend to make a more frequent appearance in the summertime!)