Grill Once, Eat All Week
Grab the tongs and prepare a week's worth of eats, all in one stint at the grill.
It’s summertime, and the living is supposed to be easy. Here’s a great way to make enough tasty dinners for the whole week during one grill session, while you have a light beer or two.
All you need is chicken, shrimp, veggies and some cathartic grill time. Put your grilling music on and work with the following:
A big package of boneless skinless chicken breasts can easily provide a week’s worth of 4- to 5-ounce servings. Here’s how to flavor them up:
- Whisk 1/4 cup kosher salt with 2 cups water in a large bowl until the salt dissolves, add the breasts and enough extra water to cover them completely. Place in the fridge for 1 hour while you fire up the grill.
- Take the chicken breasts out of the water and sprinkle each with a different favorite spice rub. Look for salt-free versions of any of these at the supermarket: lemon-pepper seasoning, jerk rub, Cajun blackened seasoning, dried herb blends (from Italian to French to Greek), chile powder, curry powder.
- Set the breasts over high heat and grill until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breasts registers 165°F, about 8 minutes, turning once.
Grilling For A Crowd
- If you’re having a bunch of buddies over for a weekend cookout, skip the shrimp, chicken breasts or individual pieces of meat and go for one giant hunk of meat like a whole turkey or a leg of lamb on the grill.
- To make them perfect, try the Char-Broil’s Big Easy. It looks like a turkey deep-fryer, but it doesn’t use any oil. Instead, it just connects to a propane tank. The inside walls heat up and grill a whole slab of meat or turkey all the way around with infrared heat.
- Look for this cool backyard gadget at your local hardware store or home improvement center.
Hot off the grill, they’re great with a summery salad of chopped lettuce, tomato, radish and cucumber.
Refrigerate the rest and eat them throughout the week like so...
- sliced, cold, over a bed of 4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce and 3 tablespoons bottled low-fat Caesar dressing
- sliced in a whole-wheat tortilla wrap with one large zucchini (shredded through the large holes of a box grater) and 2 tablespoons jarred salsa
- sliced and tossed with 1 cup cooked and drained pasta, 1 cup thawed frozen mixed vegetables and 2 tablespoons low-fat bottled Italian dressing
- cubed in a whole-wheat pita pocket with 1 cup bagged bean sprouts and 2 tablespoons bottled, low-fat Thai peanut sauce
Buy peeled and deveined large frozen shrimp. Shrimp don’t require a brine or a marinade. Just crank on some black pepper to taste and toss them directly over high heat on the grill. Cook until pink and firm, turning once, about 5 minutes.
Hot off the grill, they need little more than a dip in bottled, low-fat barbecue sauce.
Refrigerate the rest and try these meals all week:
- Mix 2 cups chopped cooked shrimp with 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1/4 cup mango chutney and 2 teaspoons bottled curry powder.
- Put a 1/4 cup bottled cocktail sauce into a martini glass and hang six shrimp off the edge. Carrot sticks and celery ribs make a good garnish.
- Throw a few shrimp in a fat-free whole-wheat tortilla, add 2 tablespoons green salsa, 2 tablespoons shredded low-fat cheese and 1/2 cup shredded lettuce.
- Put baby spinach leaves in a bowl, add a little chopped red onion, some sliced raw mushrooms if you want, a few shrimp and some bottled low-fat honey mustard dressing.
Here’s the produce you need for a week:
- Green, yellow and red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
- Zucchini or yellow crook-neck squash, cut into 1/2-inch rings
- Asparagus spears, any woody base ends removed
- Eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
- Red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
- Fennel, fronds removed, the bulb cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices through the root
Place all your veggies over high heat on the grill, then cook until tender and lightly browned, turning once. Asparagus, zucchini and yellow squash will take about 6 minutes; eggplant and onion, about 8 minutes; and fennel, about 10 minutes.
Hot off the grill or chilled from the fridge over the next few days, here are your meals:
- Set some veggies on a large platter alongside some thinly sliced prosciutto, cubed low-fat mozzarella and jarred artichoke hearts marinated in water. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the whole platter right before you serve it up.
- Spread 2 tablespoons of hummus on toasted whole-wheat bread, add about 3/4 cup mixed grilled vegetables and a leaf of crunchy Romaine lettuce.
- Warm 2 fat-free corn tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds, then fill each with 1/2 cup veggies and 2 tablespoons jarred salsa before folding closed.
- Mix 2 cups grilled vegetables and 1/3 cup low-fat ranch dressing and serve as a wrap, either on lettuce leaves or in a whole-wheat pita pocket.