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Add flavor and vegetables to your grilling

Published: Monday, July 21, 2014 11:09 a.m. CST

Besides being fun, grilling is a great low fat way to cook. Everything from the entrée to dessert can be cooked on the grill. 

In the mood for a steak? Try lean cuts of beef such as sirloin, sirloin tip, or eye of round steak. If pork is what you’re hungry for, reach for the tenderloin, center cut or butterfly chops. Poultry may be the most popular grilled meat, but even fish can be cooked on the grill. Remember to remove excess fat from meat and to keep a spray bottle of water nearby so you can subdue flare-ups. 

Most meats will benefit from a marinade before hitting the grill. Marinades will help keep fish and poultry moist during cooking, and will tenderize the lean, less tender cuts of beef and pork. Using an acidic liquid such as wine, vinegar, citrus juice, or tomato juice, will tenderize the meat and add flavor. This tangy marinade works well with all kinds of meat and poultry. Mix 1 cup pineapple juice, 1⁄3 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 small clove garlic, and 1⁄4 cup olive oil together, stirring well. Marinate for at least one hour for the best flavor. Use the marinade as a basting sauce while cooking the meat, but don’t reuse any uncooked marinade. 

Another way to add delicious flavor to your barbecue is to rub the meat with a mixture of spices before grilling. These spice mixtures are called “rubs.” A mixture of 2 tsp grated lemon rind, 1⁄8 tsp crushed fennel seeds and 1⁄8 tsp pepper works great on firm fish. For a rub that works well with chicken, try combining 2 tsp ground ginger, 1⁄2 tsp pepper, 1⁄4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1⁄4 tsp allspice. Simply rub the meat with the spice mixture, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cooking. You’ll have great flavor without the need for extra fat.

Kabobs make it easy to cut back on meat portions and eat more vegetables. Be creative, you can put almost anything on a kabob. Traditional kabobs are made of marinated meat and vegetables. Pearl onions, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, chunks of zucchini and yellow squash are all popular vegetables for kabobs. Leave about 1⁄4-inch of “breathing space” between the pieces of food to allow for even cooking. Meat and large vegetables should be cut in 1-inch chunks. Alternate the meat and vegetables on a skewer and you have a kabob. When using bamboo skewers soak them in water for 10 minutes before using. This will reduce charring and flammability. 

Don’t save the grill for just the entree. There’s no reason that vegetables and even fruits can’t soak up the same smoky flavor that meat and poultry does. Onions, yellow squash, and even sweet potatoes are wonderful complements to any meal. And with sweet treats like Fruit Kabobs with Almond Sauce, even the dessert can come from the grill! Fruits and soft vegetables don’t need precooking, but sweet potatoes and other firm vegetables benefit from steaming before cooking on the grill. Fat free salad dressings are great marinades for grilled vegetables so they won’t dry out while cooking. 

Fruit Kabobs

with Almond Sauce

An easy grilled fruit dessert sure to please!

1 cup (1-inch) cubed fresh pineapple

1 medium peach, cut into 4 wedges

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1⁄2 tsp almond extract

Combine all ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Let stand 15 minutes. Remove fruit from bowl; reserving syrup.

Thread pineapple cubes and peach wedges alternately onto 2 skewers. Place kebabs on grill and grill 4 minutes on each side or until thoroughly heated. Drizzle with remaining syrup.

Yield: 2 servings

113 calories, 1 gram fat, 7 mg sodium, 25 grams Carbohydrates

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