Tag: grill

Caprese Sandwich on the Grill

It was a fabulous weekend at the beach, with plenty of fun in the sun.  Everyone in my family loves Caprese salad with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and home-grown basil.  With a little inspiration, we turned the salad into delicious grilled sandwiches.

I didn’t include amounts in the recipe below, but use your intuition and you won’t go wrong.  You do want to be sure to keep the grill on fairly low heat; the bottom of the bread burned in a few places which made for some crispy sandwiches.  Just enjoy them on the deck, and no one will have to clean up the crumbs!

These fancy grilled cheese sandwiches are perfect for either lunch or happy hour.  They were a great way to celebrate the true arrival of summer.




Caprese Sandwiches on the Grill

Olive oil
Minced garlic
Italian bread, sliced
Tomatoes, sliced
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Basil Leaves
Balsamic Vinegar

Mix olive oil and minced garlic.  Brush one side of bread slices, and place facedown on grill.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, until just lightly browned.  Turn bread over, and place tomatoes and mozzarella on bread. Close grill cover, and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Place basil leaves on mozzarella.  Remove sandwiches from grill, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Grilled Butternut Squash

While I was in Rhode Island this weekend, I went to a local farm to pick up some vegetables to go with dinner.  They had the usual corn, zucchini, and tomatoes which you’d expect at the end of summer.  But I also spotted a wagon full of butternut squash and it hit me like a ton of bricks that fall is truly right around the corner.



Luckily, this recipe for Garlic-Balsamic Grilled Butternut Squash helped to ease the transition between seasons.  The butternut squash is peeled and sliced, and then marinated in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and thyme.  The slices are thrown on the grill just like any other vegetable, although they do take a bit more time to get tender.



Although butternut squash is a symbol of fall, the grill marks make this a summer time recipe, or at least one you can enjoy while you sit outside and try to forget that the days are getting shorter.



Kayem Lean Franks

I am not going to lie, one of the best parts about being a food blogger is getting free samples of new products.  The generous folks at Kayem sent me two packages of the their new ‘Lean Franks’.  My family planned a BBQ, complete with the hot dogs, homemade baked beans, and salad.  All I had to do was bring the hot dogs, and they did the rest!

The hot dogs are made from skinless chicken and compared to most other hot dogs on the shelf, they are low in both calories (80 per dog) and saturated fat (1.5g).  But they still grilled up quite nicely, and had the distinctive smoked flavor you expect in a hot dog.  We all enjoyed them, and would have them again.  Of course, there are lots of great things you can grill, but if you’re craving a hot dog I would give these a try.


Weber Grill Beer Can Chicken

Last weekend was gorgeous, and perfect for grilling.  My Dad made two chickens on the grill using the Weber Grill Beer Can Chicken recipe.  Beer is not a stock item at their house and was a special purchase, but otherwise this is a fairly simple recipe.  Each chicken is rubbed with oil and spices, and then placed upright on a tall beer can.


Just one small problem – the chickens were a little too tall and the grill didn’t quite close.  Although some heat escaped from the grill, the chickens cooked anyway.  With food safety in mind (at least, in my mind) we used a thermometer to ensure that the chicken reached 165F.


Taking the chickens off the grill might have been the most difficult part.  You need to be very careful because the beer that is still inside the can is very hot.

Once the chickens were off the grill and carved, the meat was juicy and flavorful.  This was a great dinner served with potatoes, butternut squash, and green beans.  Plus, there was quite a bit of chicken leftover and I got a dish to take home!


Grass-Fed Local Beef Sausage

While shopping at a Rhode Island farmer’s market this weekend, my family and I met the Browning’s of Browning Homestead in Matunuck.  Farmer’s markets are a great place for local produce, and also a convenient place to buy local meat.  This farm has a mascot that travels to the market.

I don’t feature a lot of meat-based recipes on the blog, and occasional readers sometimes think that I am vegetarian.  I do eat all kinds of meat, but I am against factory farming, and I believe in eating locally.  I try to make conscious choices that support local, sustainable farming.  So I was excited to hear that the animals on this farm are grass-fed.  No steroids, antibiotics, or hormones are used.  The animals are slaughtered in a USDA facility also located in Rhode Island.  Most importantly, the farmers seem to be very committed to producing quality food.  

Last year we tried grass-fed hamburger from a different farm, and learned the hard way that it cooks much more quickly.  This time, we tried the all-beef mild Italian sausage, and paid closer attention when it was on the grill. (Thanks, Dad!) The meat was finely ground and tightly packed, with almost no visible fat.  The flavor was mild as promised, and almost reminded me of keilbasa – with a lot less grease of course.

I don’t eat sausage all that often, and this was a nice change of pace.  Grass fed meat does taste different, but once you learn how to cook it properly, it’s a good kind of different.  This meat is raised in a way that’s kinder to the environment, and contains essential fatty acids that are healthier for your heart.  I am hoping to try another cut of grass-fed meat from a local farm soon!

Mexican Grilled Salad

I hope everyone had a great long weekend!  Did you try any of the recipes I suggested for an End of Summer BBQ?  My classes start today, and I am actually really excited about the new semester.  There’s a lot left to learn, and I want to keep moving towards the goal of being a Registered Dietitian.  But if you’re not ready for fall, don’t worry.  There’s at least a week of summer left on Recipes that Fit, and it will be full of tomatoes, eggplant, and corn.

This salad was at least partially made with ingredients from a Rhode Island farmer’s market, and  is a variation of the Mediterranean Chopped Salad from earlier this summer.  The corn, tomatoes, and onion can all be grilled in advance.


I got the idea for grilled croutons from Emeril, and added a Mexican flair by dipping the bread in a mixture of olive oil and chili powder.


Of course, any of the salad ingredients can be optional, and you could add sliced jalapenos if you’d like your salad to have more kick.  I used queso fresco, which is a soft and mild cheese, but shredded cheddar would also be good.  This might be the last time I eat fresh corn this season, and this salad was the perfect way to enjoy it!


Mexican Grilled Salad

Ears of Corn, husks removed
Onion, sliced thickly
Tomatoes, cut in half and seeds removed
Baguette slices
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder, and Cumin
Romaine lettuce, cleaned and torn
Black Beans, rinsed and drained
Avocado, diced
Queso Fresco, crumbled
Olives sliced

1. Place corn and onion slices directly on a hot grill.  Cook until nicely browned.  Cool slightly, and remove corn niblets with a knife.  Chop grilled onion.
2. Drizzle tomato halves with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill until browned and softened, using a grill basket if available.  Cool slightly, remove tomato skins, and chop.
3. Dip baguette slices in a mixture of olive oil and chili powder.  Place directly on a hot grill, and cook until browned.  Cool slightly, and chop into croutons.
4. Mix 3 T olive oil, 2-3 T lime juice, 1/2 t cumin, 1/2 t chili powder, 1/8 t salt, and 1/8 t cayenne pepper in a small bowl. (Makes enough dressing for 3-4 salads.)
5. Assemble salads using all ingredients, drizzle with dressing, and serve.


al fresco Buffalo Chicken Sausage

At a gathering I attended last week, we talked about how you decide what food to bring to a party.  One woman brings food she loves like kettlecorn, so she can enjoy a small amount and not be faced with the whole bag at home.  Others go for a favorite family recipe, or perhaps a dish that meets certain dietary restrictions.

I guess people take a risk when they invite me over because unless a host is super specific, I am likely to bring a brand new recipe or product.  Luckily, most times this works out OK.

I brought a package of  al fresco Buffalo Chicken Sausages to a party last week, and they went over well.  Not only did they taste good (and spicy!) but they also have a decent ingredient list with chicken and spices in a natural pork casing.  They are pre-cooked, so no one needs to slave over the grill for very long.  If you want something new for your grill this weekend, look for these in the meat case at your grocery store.



Disclaimer: I purchased this product at retail price with my own funds.  I was not compensated in any way for this product review.

Grilled Balsamic Eggplant

While I was at the Brookline Farmer’s Market, I also picked up 2 enormous eggplants for just $1 each.  Now that’s a deal!  Last year I made Grilled Pesto Eggplant, but this time I wanted to let the eggplant marinate before bringing it to the BBQ to grill.  Later that night, the eggplant slices went on the grill with many other delicious items including chicken, sausages, and steak.


The eggplant got nicely charred on the outside and soft on the inside, and picked up the balsamic flavor.  But something was missing.  Cheese!  The next day, I created another sandwich using two pieces of eggplant and a slice of provolone cheese on a whole wheat bun.  With very little effort, you can have a great vegetarian double cheeseburger.


Grilled Balsamic Eggplant

1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1″ slices
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 t minced garlic
Salt & Pepper

Mix oil, vinegar, and garlic in a shallow dish.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place eggplant slices in the dish one at at time, making sure to dip both sides in the marinade.  Cover the dish and place in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.

Cook on a grill until the eggplant slices are fork tender.


Charred Corn Tacos with Zucchini Radish Slaw

The main dish of our Mexican feast were these corn tacos, based on a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  You start by making a slaw with zucchini, radish, and lime.  (A total of six limes were used in the preparation of this meal, and none of those were in an alcoholic beverage!) 


2 ears of corn are grilled, to produce nicely charred kernels.  The kernels of the remaining ears are sauteed with chopped onion.  This mixture of corn was so good, you could have just eaten it right out of the bowl.


I warmed the tortillas by placing them between damp paper towels and cooking for 20 seconds in the microwave.  So if you don’t eat all the corn first and actually assemble a taco, here’s what you get.  It was very messy to eat – you had to either hold the taco and keep eating until it was gone, or drop it in your plate and attack it with a fork. 

But regardless of how you ate them, the tacos were delicious.

Do you feel like something is missing?  Oh yes, in the hustle and bustle of dinnertime, I completely forgot to take out the queso fresco.  I can only assume that crumbled cheese would make these tacos that much better.  Next time…..

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Manchego Cheese



You didn’t think I would just make Bacon Cheese Inside Out Turkey Burgers for a BBQ meal, right?  Of course not.  Every good BBQ needs a vegetarian option, and portobello mushrooms are one of my favorites.  This Bobby Flay recipe is fairly simple, yet so elegant.

You start by drizzling portobello mushrooms with olive oil, and grilling them for 4-5 minutes on each side.  Right at the end, you place thinly sliced manchego cheese on the mushrooms, allowing the cheese to melt.  Each mushroom is then plated, and topped with chopped fresh spinach leaves and a balsamic viniagrette.  The mushrooms can be served as an appetizer or side dish, or you can make a stack of 2 or 3 mushrooms to serve as an entree.  Either way, these portobello mushrooms will be the highlight of the meal.

A quick word about cost.  Portobello mushrooms can be expensive – one grocery store in my area charges $3.99 for a package of 2 caps.  I found the best deal at a local produce market which sells portobello mushrooms for $3.98/lb., and I ended up paying just about $1.00 per mushroom.  That still adds up quickly if you’re cooking for a crowd, but is more reasonable.  If you’re going to splurge on food, fruits and vegetables are the best choice!  I happen to believe that good cheese is also worth every penny and really enjoyed the Manchego, but you could easily substitute a less expensive sharp cheddar.