As it is starting to warm up outside it’s time to enjoy outdoor activities! It is a wonderful time to think about cooking and grilling with friends and family. There are the traditional grilling favorites of hamburgers and hot dogs, but grilling can also be a wonderful way to add some flavor and can be one of the healthiest ways to cook!
- Choose Lean Proteins: Grill fish, skinless chicken breast and lean ground poultry (i.e. turkey burgers). Make sure to trim any meats with visible fat and make sure excess fat is able to drip away from the food you are cooking.
- Cut the salt and boost flavor: Marinating or rubbing spices on poultry, fish and meat can add amazing flavor with the bonus of being able to use less salt. Mix up as many herbs, spices and even citrus juices to create a marinate or rub; this will not only add amazing flavor but also provide added nutrients.
- Eat your Vegetables: Any of your favorite colorful veggies can be grilled, alone or in kebabs, giving them delicious flavor that might win over your pickiest eater. Brush them with olive oil to prevent sticking and to add some healthy fats to the meal. Having a side of vegetables with your BBQ will help you create a more balanced plate.
- Satisfy your Sweet Tooth: Grill your favorite fruits! The natural sugars caramelize in the high heat, giving them extra sweetness and flavor. Instead of topping off your meal with a baked dessert consider creating grilled fruit kabobs that would be great on top of frozen yogurt or low-fat ice cream or even better topped off with some Greek yogurt and nuts.
- Increase Fiber: Instead of using your traditional buns consider whole-grain buns and breads to compliment your healthy feast with extra fiber, flavor and texture. Also, consider having brown rice, quinoa or beans as a side.
Shishito and Shrimp Skewers with Chimichurri
From: Cooking Light
Serves 4 (serving size: 6 shrimp and 4 peppers)
- 1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp (about 24), peeled and deveined (tails on)
- 16 (2-in.) shishito peppers (about 3 oz.)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat grill to medium-high (about 450°F).
- Process parsley, cilantro, basil, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add lemon zest, juice, crushed red pepper, and 3 tablespoons oil; process until finely chopped and well combined.
- Toss together shrimp and 1/4 cup herb mixture. Thread 4 shrimp onto each of 6 (8- inch) skewers; thread 8 peppers onto each of 2 (8-inch) skewers. Drizzle skewers with remaining olive oil.
- Coat grill grates with cooking spray or olive oil. Place skewers on grill grates; grill just until shrimp are done and peppers are charred, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Brush skewers with remaining herb mixture before serving. Consider serving with a side salad, brown rice, or quinoa and Enjoy!
Chicken Pesto Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
From: Cooking Light
Serves 4 (serving size: 1 stuffed mushroom)
- 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-in.-thick slices (about 8 slices)
- 1/3 cup prepared or store-bought pesto
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
- 4 large Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
- 3 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
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- Preheat broiler to high.
- Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Arrange onion slices on pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly charred. Remove pan from heat; coarsely chop onions.
- Combine chopped onions, pesto, oil, pepper, and chicken in a medium bowl; toss well. Divide mixture evenly among mushrooms, pressing gently to fill each cap.
- Return pan to medium-high. Coat with cooking spray or olive oil. Gently transfer mushrooms to pan; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until mushrooms are heated through and tender. Sprinkle cheese evenly over chicken mixture. Transfer pan to oven; broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Consider serving with grilled sweet potatoes or a side salad and Enjoy!