Monday, May 28, 2012

What'cha Grillin'?

It's Memorial Day. And so many of us celebrate with cookouts and barbecues. Normal fare around here is ribs, brats, burgers, and steaks. But I have a lot of healthier recipes in my arsenal and thought I'd share a few. When I started bringing healthier alternatives to cookouts I really thought it would just be for me and everyone else would stick to the more traditional stuff. But, it turns out, lots of folks really like the healthy stuff if someone takes the time to prepare it. So I thought I'd share....

Grilled Shrimp
This is one of my all time favorites. I've been making it for years and everyone loves it. Leftovers are great the next day tossed in pasta or just cold in a wrap. Although, if I want leftovers I have to double this recipe.
2 pounds of peeled and deveined shrimp
1 cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1-1/2 TBS hot pepper sauce
2 TBS tomato paste
1/4 chopped fresh parsley
5 cloves of garlic - pressed or minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Make sure your shrimp are all nice and clean. If you are using wooden skewers, make sure you soak them for at least 20 minutes so they don't burn on the grill. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together. Toss the shrimp in with it and let it marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours. Then cook them on the grill - about 3 to 5 minutes per side depending on how hot your grill is. Tip: When I'm preparing for a party I will skewer the shrimp before putting them in the marinade so all I have to do is throw them on the grill when people get there.

Fish in Packets
I don't really have recipes for this. It totally depends on what kind of fish I have and what kind of mood I'm in. Here are some examples:
Traditional: Tilapia fillets with thinly sliced or julienned veggies.I like zucchini, red pepper, carrots, and mushrooms. Place everything in a packet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Add some sort of liquid like chicken broth, white wine, or melted butter. Seal up the packet and grill for about 15 minutes. There is no need to flip the packets.
Asian: Salmon fillets with honey, soy sauce, grated fresh ginger, mined onion, and pressed (or minced) fresh garlic. I usually add a little rice vinegar and fish sauce for the liquid, but you could use chicken broth too.
Southwest: Tilapia or other white fish. Top with black beans, corn, and salsa. So easy! And you don't need to add any other liquid.
Italian: Grouper or any other fish. Season with Italian seasonings, add petite diced tomatoes, diced onion, diced bell pepper, and a little Italian dressing.
The possibilities are endless. But you get the idea. Just fish, veggies, seasonings, and some sort of liquid. Use good, heavy foil. Don't flip the packets. And use a spatula, rather than tongs, to move things around so you don't let all those yummy juices escape.

Grilled Peaches
Super simple. Just cut peaches in half, remove the pit, and grill for about 5 minutes. I really don't think they need anything else. But I have made them sweeter for the kids by putting the peach in foil (cut side up), filling the center with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter, and then grilling that way.

Grilled Pineapple
1/4 cup maple syrup (Use the good stuff here. Real, actual, maple syrup - not that nasty pretend stuff.)
3 TBS of melted butter
Fresh pineapple cut into rings
Mix the syrup and butter together. Put the pineapple and syrup mixture in a freezer bag and marinate overnight. You can get away with just marinating them for 30 minutes, but I just like to do as much ahead of time as possible. Grill them for 3-5 minutes per side until they are caramelized. So yummy!

This is my kids' all-time favorite grilled veggie. They ask for it ALL the time! And its super easy.
Just toss fresh, trimmed asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill it for 5-8 minutes turning until the asparagus has grill marks and is tender.

Grilled Sweet Corn with Roasted Red Pepper Butter
Okay, this one isn't as healthy. But my rationalization is that the roasted red pepper means I'm eating my corn with less butter. Right? It makes sense to me. And it is SO good.
1-1/2 sticks of butter, softened
One jar of roasted red peppers, drained
Combine butter and roasted peppers in food processor until well blended. Put butter mixture onto plastic wrap and roll into a log shape. Put into fridge so it can set up.
Soak corn, in husks, for about 30 mins to an hour in a sink full of water. Then place on the grill directly. The corn steams in the husks. It takes about 20 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is. Just keep turning them. Some of the husks may burn a little - that is normal. The corn inside will be perfect. I've made sweet corn a bazillion different ways. This is the best - and the easiest. After the corn is cooked the silk will come out easily in one swoop. Peel back the husks and you're good to go. Slice up the butter you made and enjoy!

I don't have pictures for you. This was just an impromptu little post and I'm actually not grilling today. But these are recipes I make pretty frequently so I will snap some pics next time and add them to this post over the coming weeks.


  1. Oh my gosh, these recipes look so yummy!! We love grilled corn on the cob and grilled asparagus. I can't wait to try the pineapple and shrimp!! Thanks for sharing. And by the way, it's SO GREAT to see you back in blogland!!

  2. This is so fancy!!

    I was lazy - I made pasta salad from a box and heated up a fake hot dog. I live on the edge!