Simple ways to great flavor - marinades made easy

This July 29, 2013 photo shows, from left, marinades of lemon herb, garlic balsamic, maple soy, raspberry ginger, white wine mustard and orange cumin in Concord, N.H. On the meat, from top, are chipolte lime, red wine and rosemary and spicy hoisin. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Marinades are one of the simplest ways to add fast and easy flavor to your meals. Combine a few ingredients in a zip-close plastic bag, add your meat, seafood or veggies, then walk away for a while.

We've outlined some basic marinades here to help get you started. But marinades are so versatile and easy to use, you can substitute whatever your favorite ingredients are or anything you happen to have on hand.

These marinades are enough to cover 1 1/2 pounds of food.

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Citrus marinades

For seafood, marinate for up to 30 minutes; chicken and steak can handle up to 2 hours.

Orange-cumin: Juice and zest of 1 orange, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, a hefty pinch of salt. Try with haddock or chicken breasts.

Lemon-herb: Juice and zest of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon Italian herb blend, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, hefty pinch of salt. Good on salmon or chicken thighs.

Vinaigrette marinades

For fish, seafood and vegetables, marinate for 30 minutes and to up to 2 hours. For chicken, steak and pork, you can go for up to 8 hours.

Garlic-balsamic: 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 4 cloves minced garlic, hefty pinch salt. Try with pork loin or steak tips.

Maple-soy: 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Try with pork tenderloin medallions or cod.

Wine marinades

Marinate from 30 minutes to overnight.

White wine-mustard: 1/4 cup dry white wine, 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, hefty pinch each salt and black pepper. Great with chicken thighs or eggplant.

Raspberry-ginger: 1/4 cup sweet red wine, 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, hefty pinch each salt and black pepper. Try on pork chops or chicken breasts.

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