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Get more from summer grilling with fruits and vegetables

July 5, 2011

With Summer comes grilling. Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food.
Because fat is rendered out of meat it is considered a healthier method of cooking instead of frying. However, meats are not the only foods you can cook on the grill.
Spring/Summer produce is a way to add bold colors and flavors to your meal. The dry heat from the grill caramelizes the sugars in fruits and vegetables, giving them a delectable smoky, sweet flavor.
Vegetables made up of a lot of water, such as peppers, mushrooms, okra, summer squash, and corn, are better choices for grilling than denser, starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots that may require some pre-cooking before grilling.
Larger produce can be cooked directly on the grill but if you are grilling smaller vegetables you might want to invest in a vegetable basket or try steaming your veggies on the grill in an aluminum foil pouch. To do this you will need to spray a large sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and then spread veggies on top and cover with another sheet of aluminum foil. Next, roll the two pieces of aluminum foil into each other to make a pouch and grill for about 10-15 minutes. When preparing vegetables and fruits of grilling this is a great way to get children involved in the preparation. This makes grilling a fun food family activity.
You can also, add additional flavors to summer produce and various meats by using a rub or marinade. A marinade is a blend of herbs, spices in an acidic liquid such as wine vinegar or lemon juice. So enjoy the weather and the grilling.

Marinated Grilled Apples with Mint

4 Servings
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 Granny Smith apples, cored and each cut crosswise into 4 (1/2-inch) slices
Cooking spray
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add apple slices; seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 to 2 hours, turning bag occasionally. Prepare grill. Remove apple from bag, reserving marinade. Place apple slices on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side, turning and basting frequently with reserved marinade. Arrange apple slices on a platter; drizzle with any remaining marinade.

Nutritional Analysis for 1 serving (about 3 apple slices): Calories 116;Total Fat 5g Saturated Fat 0.1g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 1mg; Total Carbohydrates 29.3g; Fiber 3g; Protein 0.6g

Recipe of the Week
By: Pamela Redwine

Asian Barbecue Chicken

4 Servings
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 (6-ounce) chicken thighs, skinned
Cooking spray
Lime wedges (optional)
Green onion tops (optional)

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add chicken. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 4 hours, turning occasionally. Prepare grill. Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Place marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 20 minutes or until done, turning and basting frequently with the marinade. Garnish with lime wedges and green onion tops, if desired.
Nutritional Analysis for 1 serving (approximately 2 thighs) Calories 297; Total Fat 7.7g; Saturated Fat 2g; Cholesterol 161mg; Sodium 706mg;Total Carbohydrates 16.1g; Fiber 0.4g; Protein 39.2g
All recipes are from Cooking Light- www.cookinglight.com

Pamela Redwine is the Nutrition and Food Safety Area Agent for Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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