Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Grilling Me Softly

Well, the holiday weekend is nearly upon us and what better way to celebrate than with a BBQ? I love throwing summertime parties but unfortunately, this year time is working against us. With our honeymoon rapidly approaching, The Hubbs and I just don't have a ton of extra money to spend on a big, Independence Day party. Boo.

Instead, to quench my insatiable thirst for grilling and all its trappings, I've decided to include some of my favorite cookout recipes. If I can't use them, I might as well share. Enjoy!

Starters....or Appi-teasers if you like cutesy a play on words like I do!


You'll Need:

1/4c. chopped scallions (if the scallions in your area are questionable, you can substitute green onions)
2 tsp. sodium-free soy sauce (the hard stuff is fine, I just usually err on the side of health)
2 1/2 tsp. grated, peeled ginger (you can use the packaged ginger if you wish...)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 c teriyaki marinade (the thicker the better)
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil (feel free to omit this if you like, I really don't like the added oil)
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed through a press
1 1/2 pound ground pork, chicken or turkey (my favorite!)
toasted sesame seeds for garnish
one egg white

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine egg white, scallions, ginger, oil, garlic, and pepper. Whisk until properly blended. Add meat and mix with your hands until combined. Shape into approx 30 1 1/2" balls (I use a large melon baller to guarantee uniform size)

3. Spray a large skillet, wok or, meatball grill basket. Add half the meatballs and saute approx 5 minutes, or until evenly browned on all sides. Brown remaining meatballs.

4. Arrange meatballs evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with the teriyaki sauce. Bake 20 minutes or until cooked through and evenly glazed.

5. Insert toothpicks, garnish with sesame seeds and arrange artfully on the platter of your choice.

Spinach Artichoke Dip (perhaps my signature starter)
Disclaimer: I have enormous issues with food and calories, but mostly fats. Namely, saturated fats. If you know me, you know that. I like, nay LOVE being the hostess with a variety of diet conscious food options at her parties. I can't help it, I'm down with the sickness, so they say. That said, this recipe is printed the way I make it, substitutions and all. If you don't go in for this sort of thing, feel free to substitute my substitutions! "Viva la resistance!"

You'll need:
2 8oz blocks of fat free or 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
1 pint fat free sour cream
2 6 oz. jars artichoke hearts, drained and chopped ( or 1 14oz. can, but jars taste better to me)
1 cup reduced fat Mozzarella cheese
1 cup reduced fat Parmesan cheese
2 TBSP fat-free plain yogurt (most recipes call for mayo, but I cannot STAND it; feel free to omit this entirely)
1 box frozen spinach, chopped, thawed and drained (make sure you don't buy the kind with the stems in it-a disaster will surely ensue)
1 large onion, finely chopped and sauteed
3 TBSP minced, roasted garlic (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
pita wedges, crudites or crostini for serving
paprika for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and sour cream. Fold cheese mixture until smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and fold. Once mixed, fold in artichokes, spinach and onions until blended.

3. Add garlic, salt and pepper (to taste). Spread mixture into a lightly greased 9" glass pie plate. Spread mozzarella cheese on top and sprinkle with paprika for some color. Place into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until heated evenly. Serve with pita wedges or crudites.

Grilled Scallop Kabobs and Seasoned Potato Wedges
You'll Need
2 lbs large sea scallops
cayenne pepper
sweet potatoes, boiled (I usually figure 1 potato per person)
1 cup of your favorite glaze (my fave? Chile lime glaze, usually a crowd favorite. I make my own, but you can find it in any grocery store)
10" bamboo skewers
aluminum foil

1. Prepare your grill for direct grilling on high heat. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 10 minutes. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and slide onto skewers. Slice boiled sweet potatoes into 1 1/2" wedges.

2. Place potatoes on half of grill brush with oil. Place scallops on the other half and brush with glaze. Turn potatoes occasionally until grill marks form and knife pierces with a little resistance (about 8 minutes). Cook scallops until grill marks form (about 3-4 minutes per side). Remove potatoes from heat, season with salt and pepper (use cayenne sparingly for extra kick) and serve. Remove scallops from heat, brush again with glaze and serve.

That's a lot of information! Tune in tomorrow for part two: Sides, Desserts, and Drinks. Yum!
You're probably wondering, "What, What?! No meat recipes?". Well, maybe tomorrow. I wanted you all to have something a bit different.

Photo Credit: Williams Sonoma

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