(Family Features) There’s not much that tastes better during the summer than a meal hot off the grill. If you’re in the mood for a delicious backyard dish, try adding versatility to your grilling game with a few simple tips.
Try a new cooking method. If your usual preparation involves a basic flame, you may be surprised by all the different flavors you can evoke just by changing the method. Whether you’re using gas or charcoal, switch from standard grilling to smoking over indirect heat. You can also use seasoned wood chips with most grilling methods to build a completely different flavor profile.
Look for non-traditional ways to use your favorite proteins. Instead of the traditional steak or chicken on a kabob, you can create a whole new flavor experience using smoked sausage. For example, Eckrich offers a variety of smoked sausage flavors in traditional ropes and bun-length links, all with just the right blend of seasonings for a rich, savory taste.
Explore new condiments and toppings. Ketchup, mustard and relish may be staples at the condiment station, but there’s no reason you can’t add a little something extra. Grilled onions, mushrooms and peppers are all simple and delicious ways to add flavor. Or try something entirely new, like this sweet, tangy marmalade made with bacon and onions.
Find more summer grilling ideas at Eckrich.com.
Smoked Sausage Links with Bacon and Onion Marmalade
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- 2-3 strips bacon
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 6 onions) Vidalia onions, diced
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cane syrup
- 1 package Eckrich Smoked Sausage Links (bun-length)
- 6 hot dog buns
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper and lay strips of bacon flat. Cook until crispy, about 20-25 minutes. Chop bacon into small pieces and set aside.
- In dry pot over medium heat, toast mustard seeds until slightly browned.
- Add bacon, vinegar, onions, brown sugar and cane syrup to pot. Cover, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Cook about 20 minutes at medium-high heat. Remove pot cover and reduce to medium heat. Cook until liquid is reduced and onions are dark in color, about 50 minutes.
- Oil grill and bring to medium heat. Grill sausage 12 minutes, or until heated through.
- Place smoked sausage in hot dog bun and cover evenly with marmalade.
Note: Marmalade can be made in advance for easier dinner preparation and can be kept up to 2 weeks in a refrigerator or 3 months in a freezer.
Grilled Kabobs with Smoked Sausage and Veggies
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
- 6 wooden skewers
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 package Eckrich Original Smoked Sausage (rope)
- 1 medium zucchini
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 2 large yellow bell peppers
- 1 large red onion
- Soak skewers in water 1 hour. Spray grill and heat to medium.
- Cut smoked sausage diagonally into 1-inch pieces. Slice zucchini, bell peppers and onion into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Thread smoked sausage, peppers, zucchini and onion onto skewers.
- Grill kabobs until smoked sausage is hot and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill and serve immediately.
Add fresh produce to your diet and community
(Family Features) Dedicating more of your plate to fresh-from-the-garden produce as well as rice and grains can lead to a healthier lifestyle, according to Cheryl Forberg, registered dietitian and award-winning chef and nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser.”
“Most of my adult clients who are not veggie lovers usually had little exposure to them growing up, or they just weren’t cooked properly,” Forberg said. “It’s important for parents to get their children involved in cooking, shopping and even gardening so kids can understand the journey from seed to plate.”
Forberg furthers her personal dedication to the seed-to-plate journey through her involvement with Seeds of Change, which invests in healthier and greener communities by offering both organic seeds and foods, and delivers an annual grant program that benefits school and community gardening as well as farming programs. This year, the grant program will award $310,000 to participants who plan to help their communities and teach people about sustainability and where fresh food comes from.
To start living healthier and greener lives, Forberg offers four simple tips:
Start in the garden. This hands-on approach is a fun way to learn about nutrition and where food comes from. Following produce from seed to plate can compel you to eat more healthfully. Plant a garden at home or become involved in a local project nearby.
Opt for veggies with big impact. Richly colored veggies contain the richest supplies of nutrients. Opt for spinach or romaine instead of iceberg lettuce in your salads. Skip the celery or carrots and go for red bell pepper slices to deliver a healthy serving of antioxidants and vitamin C.
Make smart swaps. Replace the dense calories of pasta noodles with a flavorful cup of cooked spaghetti squash. The squash is a satisfying and tasty alternative with a mere 40 calories, 2 grams of fiber and loads of vitamins.
Pair with whole grains. Mashed potatoes may be a favorite dinner side, but there are more nutritious options to complement your garden produce, such as this grain bowl with wild salmon from Chef Seamus Mullen.
Learn more about starting a community garden and living a greener, healthier life at seedsofchangegrant.com.
Warm Grain Bowl with Wild Salmon, Almonds and Salsa Verde
Total time: 20-25 minutes
- 8 wild salmon fillets (3 ounces each)
- sea salt, to taste
- fresh pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup shitake mushroom caps, sliced
- 1 package Seeds of Change Quinoa, Brown & Red Rice with Flaxseeds
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
Salsa Verde (optional):
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In oven-proof pan, season salmon with salt and pepper, and drizzle each fillet with olive oil. Bake 12-15 minutes, until cooked through.
- In blender or food processor, combine all Salsa Verde ingredients and pulse until fully incorporated but still rustic and chunky. Set aside.
- In medium saute pan over medium-high heat, heat remaining olive oil. Add mushrooms and asparagus and saute vigorously 3-5 minutes. Add grains and slivered almonds, and continue to saute until heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Divide grains among eight plates, place a piece of salmon on each plate then finish with dollop of Salsa Verde, if desired, and serve.
Substitution: Shitake mushroom caps may be substituted with button mushrooms or other wild mushrooms.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Seeds of Change