G is for Grilling Challenge
Let’s Grill Pizza
Once you start to get the hang of cooking on your grill, knowing the varying tendencies of your device (the hottest spots, time to warm up, etc.), start thinking outside of the box. Try cooking common items, like pizza, ordinary vegetables or fruit. Some veggies, like bell peppers and red onions open up fantastically with the sugars within caramelize under the heat. This adds a smoky, rich depth to some foods not appreciated by traditional cooking.
Ever buy peaches that look perfectly ripe and smell “oh so wonderful” only to find that first bite underwhelming with flavor? Try slicing and grilling with brushed layer of honey or agave and pinch of smoked salt! The sugars within caramelize and soften the fruit’s flesh into something wonderful without wasting the rest of the purchase.
Roasted Lemon Garlic Broccoli
When cooking vegetables, particularly fragile ones like asparagus or broccoli, placing directly over heat for a few minutes can make a crisp, cooked end result, although sometimes, placing in foil with a bit of olive oil and off to the side (indirect heating) can be perfect to lightly steam the side dish before opening the foil and placing it directly over heat to finish. Try adding a lemon slice and some garlic and pinch of salt for either one of these delicious veggies!
Make healthier side dishes. You may be smart about the meats or main protein choice you choose to grill, but too often it’s the side dishes that really make a dent in your calorie intake for the day. Barbecues often include creamy potato and macaroni salads and coleslaw. Be more selective with the sides you choose and focus on vegetables.
Carrots can be a versatile and very healthy side dish for almost any meal, and they get perfectly tender when roasted over the grill. A simple trick is to coat in olive oil, then placed in a roasting pan, baking sheet or aluminum tray over your grill. Season generously and rotate every 5 minutes or so for about 20 minutes on a grill heated to 400 F.
As for slicing… feel free to cut them up any way you like. Personally, I don’t care to do much prep for my carrots, so I usually slice the thicker ones lengthwise only to speed up the cook time.
Chili Lime Carrots
Slice up 10 large carrots lengthwise and toss in a large bowl with 1/2 cup olive oil with 1/2 cup agave. Roast on a baking sheet until tender, about 15-20 minutes at 400F, then remove and season lightly with dark chili powder, juice of one lime, and the zest of the lime’s rind (hint: do the zesting before you juice!).
If you’ve never tried pizza on the grill, then you’re missing out! Why? Grilling adds a unique depth of flavors, and it can be just as easy as the oven-baked version. It’s super simple… just heat your grill to the same temperature you would for the crust. We typically find a healthy premade crust, and these usually require baking at around 425F. Add your favorite toppings and place atop a baking stone or baking sheet.
A couple of ideas:
- Make your own heart healthy sauce with
- 1 8oz can of unsalted tomato sauce and
- 1/2 of a 4oz can of unsalted tomato paste (more, if you prefer a richer sauce)
- Add 2T of any pizza seasoning blend (again, salt-free, for the healthiest option) for your own pizza sauce!
- Instead of pie crust or dough, try using a firmer vegetable for low-carb delight! We often use portabella mushrooms, zucchini or eggplant sliced into wedges, or red bell peppers cut in half lengthwise and seeded.
Teriyaki Pineapple Chicken Kabobs
Need a simple go-to meal to win over any guest? Try veggie kabob! For a protein, anything from chicken to lean steak or even tofu! Because your protein is cubed into smaller sizes, cook time is less, and when paired with a good veggie and/or fruit blend, the taste is fantastic!
Start by cubing chicken breast into slightly larger than bite-sized cubes (they will shrink up a bit when cooking). Throw them in a bag with 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1 cup of your favorite teriyaki sauce, and 1/4 cup sesame oil. Marinate 1 to 12 hours. Next, place them onto skewers and set aside.
Cut one red and one orange bell pepper into four parts, lengthwise, then half each of those segments in cross section. Quarter one large red onion. Place the bell peppers and onion into a large bowl, toss with olive oil and set aside
Next, cut the rind off a ripe pineapple. Standing it upright, cut it into 4 pieces lengthwise. This will expose the core on each of the quartered segments. Cut the cord from the center, then divide each pineapple segment in half, lengthwise again. Finally, cube the segments. Skewer the bell peppers, onion, and pineapple equally.
With a grill heated to 425-450F, place your chicken skewers over direct heat. After about 5 minutes, rotate the chicken and place your veggie/pineapple skewers next to the kabobs, on indirect heat. Continue to rotate in their respective positions until done, which is about 10 minutes.
Grilled Bourbon Glazed Peaches
Here’s a little trick you might like. Have you ever bought a big bag of peaches that smell and look beautiful, only to find out the test is less than advertised? It’s the worst! Well, rather than tossing them away, try slicing and placing on the grill. The heat will help to caramelize those remaining sugars to sweeten them up. Try this:
- One peach, sliced.
- Toss in 1 cup bourbon and coat in a bit of agave (which is preferred over honey as it is less viscous).
- Heat over grill on medium heat, preferably on a higher rack in the grill as to not expose the peaches directly to the hottest grill plates.
- Flip once, and take off once you have a nice grill mark.
Grilled Watermelon Salad
Heres’s a super simple summer salad swimming with seasoning! It looks much more extravagant than is really is to prepare.
- Slice your watermelon into large wedges, about 1 inch thick.
- Remove the rind.
- Brush the watermelon with olive oil and grill on medium heat until char marks are noted… should only take about 2-3 minutes. Remove
- and when cooled, slice into chunks.
- In a large bowl, combine the watermelon with the rest of the ingredients
- 1 cup feta cheese
- 1 cup chopped FRESH mint
- 1-2 cups arugula (the peppery taste balances the sweetness)
- 1/2 cup olive oil to toss it all together
- Add a pinch of salt, to taste, if you like
If you need a bit more sweetness, a little balsamic glaze hits the spot!
Want a hearty side dish that perhaps you may not have considered? Sauerkraut heated on the grill for a kiss of smoke can make an excellent accompaniment to roasted chicken, wild game, or sockeye salmon. The nice thing is that you can season it many ways, like this:
We buy a high quality pre-made sauerkraut. A good purchase will be loaded in probiotics, which can help to regulate gut health. Place it in a strainer and rinse well to get the extra salt off. While the excess water is draining, slice a sweet red apple (gala, braeburn, or fujis do nicely). Put them in the bottom of a glass baking dish. Add the sauerkraut and coat with 1 cup red wine vinegar. Add a tablespoon of allspice, or cinnamon. Toss thoroughly and bake on indirect, medium-high heat, around 450F for 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally. The smell will be fantastic, and if you let it get a bit extra-done on the edges, you’ll have it perfectly good and slightly sweetened.
Now that you have the basics for grilling simple meats or non-vegetarian proteins, keep experimenting! There is no wrong way to try something new. Let us know your progress, and post pictures to share!