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Clean Summer Grilling: Clean Eats & How To

By Sara Baker

I love the summertime.  It is light late into the evening so I can eat outside on my patio and there are so many outdoor activities and time after work to do them.  I also love the summer because of all the fresh produce available and grilling outside!   Though we have our own garden, we joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and will receive loads of fresh veggies and fruit every week for the next 15 weeks.  I do about 95% of the cooking in my house. However, when summer comes around, I get a little break as my husband is the master of the grill.  The grill is so easy to use, requires minimum prep and clean up!  What’s not to love, right?

I know there is some concern about carcinogen formation as a result of grilling.  To reduce your exposure choose lean cuts of meat, trim fat from meats and remove skin from poultry and remove charred areas from meat before eating.  Research is showing that marinating meats in marinade that contains antioxidants (vinegar, citrus, herbs, spices, olive oil) may help inhibit the formation of carcinogens on grilled meat.

My FAVORITE grilling tool is the grill basket. We received this for our wedding 2 years ago and it probably gets use at least once a week during the summer.  Below are a few clean grilling recipes.  Remember, BBQing does not necessarily mean hot dogs and chips.  The possibilities are endless, delicious and best of all clean and lean.

Below are a few different options to make your clean grilling meal:

Protein

Grass Fed Organic steak: Season steak with pepper, a little sea salt and brush lightly with olive oil.  Sear steak on both sides to lock in natural juices, and then place on lower heat.  Cook until desired doneness.   Let meat sit for 5 min before serving.
Grilled Chicken: Season with any desired combinations of herbs and spices.  The options are endless.  I like to use Mrs. Dash since it comes in so many flavors.  My current favorite is Fiesta Lime. *Remember to cook your chicken on lower heat as not to cook it too fast on the grill or it will dry out.
Cedar Plank Wild Salmon: Season salmon with pepper and fresh lemon juice.  Place on previously soaked cedar plank and place directly on grill on low to medium heat.  Fish is ready when salmon flakes easily with a fork.  The cedar plank gives it a great smokey taste.

Veggies
So many options here!

  • Mixed roasted veggies: Cut up all colors of peppers, red onion, white onion, eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini.  Toss with sea salt, pepper and olive oil.   Place in grill basket and cook on low to medium heat.  *These will take longer than if placing directly on the grill so make sure to start cooking these well before the meat.
  • Zucchini slices: Cut zucchini into 3 or 4 thick slices.  Season with sea salt, pepper and spray with cooking spray.  Place directly on grill until starting to brown or become tender.
  • Asparagus: Again so simple–season with a little sea salt and pepper, spray with a little olive oil and place right on grill. Cook until desired tenderness.

Clean Carbs

  • Grilled sweet potato fries: Soften potatoes in microwave.  Cut into thick wedges.  Toss in bowl with olive oil, pepper, sea salt and paprika.  Grill potatoes on direct heat turning often until crispy.
  • Rosemary and Garlic Red Potatoes: Soften red potatoes in microwave.  Cut into wedges.  Place wedges in foil pouch.  Top with generous amounts of garlic and rosemary.  Drizzle small amount of olive oil on top.  Close foil pouch and place on grill.  Check and stir often until starts to brown.

What do you love to grill?  I would love more ideas!  Here’s to eating clean this summer alfresco!

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