Some food for thought
With Memorial Day behind us, summer, and barbecue season, is in full swing. Of course that means a lot of people are hitting the gym to get swimsuit ready. But it also means we are firing up the grill for some awesome outdoor cooking. Need some healthy ideas to go along with the classic burger? Try some of my favorite dishes for your next cookout:
I find this to be the perfect topping to a great burger, but also pairs well with chicken or fish. For less kick, omit the habaneros or just substitute with red bell pepper. From allrecipes.com
- 1 avocado- peeled, pitted and diced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 mango- peeled, pitted and diced
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 habanero pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- salt to taste
Place the avocado in a serving bowl, and mix with the lime juice. Mix in the mango, onion, habanero pepper, cilantro and salt.
Makes a great side dish, if you’re a beet person (and I know a lot of people aren’t). From Bon Appetit, I’ve also made this with quinoa instead of the wheat berries and its just as good.
- 1 pound medium beets (4–5 beets)
- 1 1/2 cups wheat berries
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Preheat oven to 400°.
Wrap beets in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Unwrap beets and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Remove skins and cut beets into thin wedges.
Meanwhile, place wheat berries in a medium saucepan and add water to cover by 3". Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until wheat berries are tender but still chewy, about 45 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve and transfer wheat berries to a baking sheet. Spread out in a single layer and let cool.
Whisk oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and shallot in a small bowl. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.
Place beets, wheat berries, parsley, dill, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Drizzle vinaigrette over and toss to evenly coat. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.
Adapted from Smittenkitchen, I left out the cheese to make it kosher, and omitted the worchestershire sauce from the dressing. It is still delicious and whenever I make this there are no leftovers.
- 1 pound skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat if necessary, halved crosswise, at room temperature
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pint (2 cups) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
- 1/2 pound baby arugula
3 tablespoons minced chives, 2 thinly sliced scallions or 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion, for garnish
Pat steak dry and season on both sides 1/2 teaspoon salt and many grinds of black pepper.
In a cast-iron skillet: Heat skillet on medium-high to high and add olive oil. When oil begins to shimmer, place steak in skillet and do not move it for 5 minutes. Turn it once, and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare. You may need to cook your steak halves separately, depending on the size of your pan.
On a grill: Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over hot charcoal or high heat for gas. Oil grill rack, then grill steak, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, 4 to 6 minutes total for medium-rare.
Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest, loosely covered with foil, for five minutes. Arrange arugula on a large platter. Thinly slice steak on the diagonal, across the grain. Arrange over arugula, then toss halved cherry tomatoes and blue cheese over platter. Add vinaigrette to taste, then sprinkle with chives, scallions or red onion. Serve with additional vinaigrette on the side.
Steakhouse Mustard Vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon coarse Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/3 cup olive oil
Whisk ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and adjust ingredients to taste (usually more Dijon and vinegar for me).
Looking for a healthier alternative to traditional french fries? Look no further. Sweet potatoes are surprisingly rich in nutrients that serve as anti-inflammatory agents, blood sugar regulating agents, as well as antioxidants. So swap out your greasy white potato fries for these yummy orange tubers, courtesy of foodnetwork.com and Paula Deen.
- Olive Oil, for tossing
- 5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch long slices, then 1/4-wide inch strips, using a crinkle cut knife
- 1 tablespoon House Seasoning (recipe follows)
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup salt
- 1/4 cup black pepper
- 1/4 cup garlic powder
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Line a sheet tray with parchment. In a large bowl toss sweet potatoes with just enough oil to coat. Sprinkle with House Seasoning and paprika. Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Bonus Dessert: Berry Salad
This ones an easy one, and a serious crowd pleaser in my experience. I've been eating and making this one since I was a kid, and have brought it to countless cookouts, always returning home with an empty bowl.
2 pints strawberries, sliced
1 pint raspberries
1 pint blueberries
1 pint blackberries
1 bag frozen raspberries, thawed
Truvia sweetener, to taste
In a large bowl combine all the fresh berries. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the frozen raspberries until they reach a sauce-like consistency. Pour through a strainer to remove all seeds. Add Truvia (or another stevia-like sugar substitute) to sweeten to your taste. Toss berries with sauce and serve.