Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Let the Healthy Grilling Begin

So summer is here and we are heading out to patios and back porches, deck, parks and all sorts of other places.  After months of snow and slowly braised foods, we are ready for the grill.  When you think about grilling, think outside of beef, hot dogs and ribs.  Grilling is actually very healthy since a lot of the fat falls through the grates.  When deciding what to grill, basically, if you can cook it, you can grill it. 
 Here are a few things to think about before heading out to the grill.

1.        Use smaller portions of meat.  Round out the meal with grilled vegetables.

2.       Choose leaner cuts of meat.  Check the beef ( and pork ( boards for examples of leaner cuts.  Leaner cuts also mean less flare-ups and smoke during grilling. 

3.       Marinate meat.  According to some studies, marinating meats helps reduce the formation of carcinogens. 

4.       Vegetables can be grilled.  Sliced vegetables such as summer squash, zucchini, asparagus, peppers and onions are great when cooked on a grill.  Simply toss vegetables with a little and place on a hot grill.  If desired a grill basket can be used.  When cooked, add a little acid like vinegar or lemon juice, salt, pepper and herbs. 

One of the most common mistakes most people make when grilling is not having the grill hot enough.  The colder the grill, the more likely the food is to stick.  Foods with less fat tend to stick to the grill more than fatty foods.  Coating the food with a little oil reduces the likelihood that it will stick to the grill.

To get you started on healthy grilling here is a salmon recipe.

Brown Sugar and Mustard Salmon

 Serves 4.

2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 center- cut salmon fillet,
about 1½ pound

1.       Prepare grill for indirect grilling.

2.       Combine brown sugar, mustard, black pepper, salt, ginger and garlic.  Stir until well blended.  Spread mixture over fish; let stand 15 minutes.

3.       Place fish, skin side down, on grill rack over unheated part of grill.  Close lid; grill 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.  Remove fish from grill.  Discard skin.

To expand your repertoire of healthy grilling ideas, check out these resources.

Cooking Light Magazine and Website -

Eating Well Magazine and Website -

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Warmer Temperatures Is No Reason to Forgo Desserts

Ok! The temperature is rising and summer is on the way. Just because the temperature is increasing does not mean you have to skip dessert. Also does not mean that you have to turn on the stove. Thank goodness for no cook desserts. We can have our cake and eat it too.

Summer is an ideal time to pull out a few recipes for no cook or minimally cooked desserts. This type of dessert may start with a cake mix or a purchased product, like pound cake. Ice cream, cakes, cookies, whipped topping, fresh fruit, ice cream, milk, gelatin, and instant pudding can all play a role in no cook desserts. Just let your imagination run wild.

If you are in need of recipes, try looking at websites for your selected ingredient. Companies are a great source of recipes using their ingredients.

Summer Lime Pie

Serves 8.

1 package (3 ounces) lime flavored gelatin
1 teaspoon lime zest
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 container (8 ounces) whipped topping
1 graham cracker crust

1. Dissolve gelatin in ⅔ cup boiling water. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add lime zest and juice.

2. Add 1¼ cup cold water.

3. Gently whisk in whipped topping. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until mixture will hold its shape. Pour into crust. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Garnish with additional whipped topping and lime slices.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Semester Leftovers

Late last week I was in a quandary over what to write about this week. Nothing sparked my interest. It’s that time of year – you are at the end of winter produce (or you are sick of it) and spring hasn’t quite sprung.

It is also almost the end of the semester and as usual, we have too much of some stuff and are scrounging around for other stuff. This year we had potatoes left over. They are about ready to sprout. So of course I had to save them. At least this way, I would have part of my lunch taken care of.

I decided to make mashed potatoes. Since we have other odds and ends around the food lab, I decided to throw in a couple of other things. I roasted some garlic. There is also ½ of a package of cream cheese dying a slow death. I have a colleague who puts cream cheese in her mashed potatoes. So I thought I would try that too. Afterall, I do have that ‘waste not, want not’ mentality. Off to the kitchen to make my ‘End of the Semester’ Mashed Potatoes.

‘End of the Semester’ Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4.


1 pound Russet potatoes
5 to 6 cloves of roasted garlic
4 ounces cream cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Peel and cube potatoes. Rinse potatoes. Drain. Add to a medium sized saucepan. Cover with water and place the lid on saucepan. Cook until potatoes can be pierced with a knife.

2. Drain and leave on burner until potatoes are dry.

3. In a large bowl, combine garlic and cream cheese. Add potatoes and mashed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you would like to tell us what you do with your 'end of the whatever' food, please do so.  We relish the ideas of other foodies.

To all you heading off someplace fun for the summer, enjoy! And please read the blog occasionally. We will be posting over the summer.