Surviving Summer Cookouts
by Leanne Ely, CNC
Let’s face it, aside from the mosquitoes and humidity (depending on where you live of course), summer is a treat in our seasonal cycle. After the sun begins to set and a faint breeze christens the air, you may hear something close growling – begging to be released from it’s extended hibernation–the grill.
Once you unleash your grill from its wintered captivity, it’s time to get grilling! And while the meat, poultry, chicken or fish may be lean and flavorful cooked in such a manner, it’s the side dishes that can ignite a fast and perilous decline in nutritional balance. Burgers, steaks, and hot dogs accompanied with a myriad of mayonnaise laden salads, potato chips and sugary drinks. It may sound good now, but if any of us plan to wear a swimsuit in public, we’re going to want to make better decisions.
That said, let’s get some ground rules for grilling established–
1–Got Protein? Then go lean — filets are leaner than rib eyes, lean down your burger using a leaner ground round or choose fish for change. I will admit that my man makes a killer grilled salmon. Those omega-3s have never tasted more delicious!
2–It’s Great to Marinate — Marinades infuse amazing flavor to whatever you’re grilling, plus protect your food from charring which is carcinogenic, by the way. I move my food off direct heat when grilling, once its been seared. Great tip, saves your food!
3–On the Sides — Reseal that bag of potato chips. Even better, don’t bother taking it off the shelf at the grocery store! Eat your veggies! Grilled summer veggies have so much more flavor and variety than all the chips lining that isle in the store. Talk about an abundance of antioxidants and scrumptious diversity–try grilling zucchini, summer squash, onions and grape tomatoes on a skewer, yum!
4–Drink up — By now you should know how I feel about any soda; diet or otherwise. Water is never a bad thing. If it’s the carbonation you like in soda, get yourself some sparkling water–I’m a big Pellegrino fan myself. We need a lot of water during the summer–keep your glass full and drink up.
Here’s a recipe to start your grilling off right–
Garlicky Ginger Lime Marinade
1 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ginger root, grated
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup olive oil (don’t use extra virgin; too low a smoke point, will burn easily)
Throw all ingredients in a large, zipper-topped plastic bag, mush it around to mix, then toss in your meat, chicken or fish (a steak-like swordfish or mahi mahi would work, but a delicate fish would fall apart). Place in the refrigerator and turn whenever you remember. Not necessary, but will give you a more even distribution of the flavors.
When the meat is marinated to your liking (you’ll marinate fish the least amount of time, then chicken and meat the longest; from about 1 hour all the way to 8 hours), pull it out, throw it on a medium high barbecue (that has been preheated for at least 10 minutes) and cook it to desired doneness. YUM!
This wonderful marinade will also work with veggies. So have fun!
Remember, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen (and barbecue instead!).
Want more great grilling recipes to help you survive the summer? Check out our Summer Grillerama Menu and stay tuned for an exciting announcement next week!