If your barbecue has been covered for winter months, take time to make sure your grill is clean and ready for safe use before throwing on your favorite food. After your grill is clean, hot and ready to go, now comes the most important question: What to cook? There are traditional favorites of hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken, but there are a number of other creative options. Try a few of these non-traditional ideas:
Cut the Fat
Grill turkey burgers instead of ones made of ground beef. Ground turkey breast can be as lean as 99 percent fat-free. Add cilantro, shallots or chili sauce into patties to spice things up. Or, mix in feta cheese, olives, oregano and pepper, and serve on a pita for a Greek-style burger.
Pile on the Vitamins and Nutrients
Add flavor and nutrients to your meal with vegetables cooked right on the grill. Baste veggies such as peppers, corn, eggplant or onions. Season them with herbs and place on a hot grill until they are tender. Or, sprinkle sliced zucchini, tomatoes and carrots with a little water and seasoning, wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil and grill until vegetables are tender.
Don't Forget Dessert
Grill fruit kebabs, pineapple slices or peach halves on low heat until the fruit is hot and slightly golden. Serve the fruit on top of a scoop on low-fat ice cream or angel food cake for a tasty and nutritious treat.
Finally, be sure to use one of the most important (and overlooked) grilling accessories - the food thermometer. In addition to taking the guesswork out of cooking, a food thermometer helps prevent food poisoning by ensuring your food is cooked to the proper temperatures. When buying a thermometer, read the package label to be sure you're buying a type designed to use with meat. Look for a thermometer made of stainless steel with an easy-to-ready dial and shatterproof lens.
Can Grilling Cause Cancer?
According to the USDA, recent studies suggest a link between cancer and charred meats and fish. Charring commonly occurs as a result of high-temperature cooking methods. Here are four ways to prevent your meals from charring: remove fatty areas before cooking; pre-cook meat in the microwave before placing it on the grill; make sure coals of the grill are not directly below the meat; avoid grilling meats until they are well-done or burnt.
Get outside and enjoy grilling with your friends and family!