Marinades are a great way make your grilling flavorful and unique. There are plenty of fresh ways to spin your marinades, and perhaps “wake up” the flavor in your old stand-by recipe. Try these mix and match marinade options to before you grill then follow the basics to grill your way to the healthiest most delicious meals.
Tart and Tangy Balsamic
- Mix two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar + 1 tablespoon of olive oil with a teaspoon of two of more add-ins: chopped fresh rosemary, balsamic vinegar, chopped fresh cilantro/parsley, chopped garlic, chopped capers, Worcestershire sauce, or 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
- Mix two tablespoons of reduced-sodium soy sauce + 1 tablespoon of olive oil with with two teaspoons of two of more add-ins: fresh ginger, fresh chopped garlic, minced onions, peanut butter, miso paste, rice wine/apple cider vinegar, orange marmalade, minced cherry peppers, chopped jalapeno, chopped basil, Italian, Thai, or purple, or 1 tablespoon local honey.
- Mix one tablespoon of tomato paste + 1 tablespoon of olive oil with one tablespoon of water. Stir in two teaspoons of two of more add-ins: orange zest, garlic, fresh chopped basil, oregano, lemon juice, cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa powder, sesame seeds, cilantro
- Mix 1/4 cup yogurt + 1 tablespoon of olive oil with two teaspoons of two of more add-ins: ground cumin, ground mild or hot chili – lemon juice, chopped cilantro, parsley, basil, garlic, citrus zest, tomato paste, lime or lemon juice.
- Mix one tablespoon of mustard + 1 tablespoon of olive oil with two teaspoons of two of more add-ins: honey, minced garlic, minced thyme, minced rosemary, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, or 1 tablespoon local honey.
- And add two tablespoon of: balsamic or apple cider vinegar, or any citrus juice, chopped black or green olives
- rilled Goji Pineaple Chicken, is both easy to make and has the exoctic flavor twist of gojis berries.
- If you love jalapenos, this grilled flank steak will hit the spot.
- Don’t leave out the vegetarians at your next cook out. Serve Grilled Miso Eggplant.
- Grilled chicken caesar salad is a great way to use left-over chicken from your barbeque.
- Pack in a serving of fruit next time you grill and add grilled mango to the menu.
Tenderize, Go Greek Yogurt
The Basics of Marinating
Start with a plastic zipper lock bag for easy clean-up, or use any air-tight container. Use skinless, boneless chicken breasts, trimmed flank steak, trimmed pork loin, trimmed pork chops, peeled, deveined shrimp, or boneless firm white fish filets. Meats can be marinaded overnight, but shrimp and fish are more delicate and need only 2 to 3 hours to pick up the flavors from marinades. If you plan on using acids in your marinade (like vinegar and citrus), they tend to “cook” seafood so I don’t recommend leaving them overnight. You can always opt to add the citrus to your seafood right before popping it onto the grill if you want to preserve the texture and taste. Remember to always marinate in the refrigerator to avoid any health hazards, especially in the hot summer months. For veggies, slice zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices. Cut broccoli, cauliflower, and onions into 2-inch chunks and marinate over night. To grill green like kale, chard, and collards, simply brush with your marinade and grill on high heat 2 to 3 minutes per side, no marinading necessary.
Keeping your grill clean from burnt food residue, dirt, and rust can help keep harmful, potential cancer-causing particles out of your food. Having a clean grill can also improve your cooking by improving the taste. If you have a gas grill with a lid, you can turn up the heat to high – a great way to kill bacteria. Scrape it down with a wire brush and get ready to grill. Or remove the grill and use plain old soap. Be sure to heat up your grill after you rinse to keep rust away. Before you heat your grill, rub the grates with a high smoke point oil, like canola or safflower, this will help “season” them, to prevent rusting and also prevent food from sticking.
Tools of the Trade
Do you double dip with your grilled tools from raw to cooked food? Don’t you dare! Inside stock up on inexpensive tongs [http://skinnychef.com/healthy-eating/kitchen-essentials], so you can avoid contamination. Look for stainless steel tools that fit in the dishwasher proper cleanup. Most dishwashing tablets and liquid contain bleach, so running your tools through the dishwasher is easiest and most thorough way to kill harmful bacterial.