The big Fourth of July barbecue is at your house this year, and you're looking for healthy ideas for the whole family. I know that is something we face every year, and I have come up with some things that I'd like to share that are quick, easy, and healthier than what is considered "traditional" for the holiday.
On the Grill
Over the last few years we have done away with red meat completely in our home and at our barbecues. We use turkey hot dogs and turkey burgers, and almost no one notices or complains, and even the dogs approve.
You can get very lean ground turkey, around 98 percent fat free. As I fashion the patties for burgers, I add minced onion, garlic, and a little parsley — that makes the burgers taste great.
Another thing I love to grill is chicken. I usually marinate the chicken (either pieces or cutlets) the night before in a mixture of low sodium soy sauce, ketchup, red wine vinegar, garlic, and onions. This chicken can be cooked right on the grill or cut up and used in kebabs with onions and peppers. The kebabs cook quickly on the grill and they come out great.
Some people like salmon or tuna steaks, and I also marinate these (in white wine, a teaspoon of sage, minced garlic, and onion) but for about three to four hours. They come out very nicely and always seem to please our guests.
I slice up red and white onions, mix them with cloves of garlic, and wrap the mixture in aluminum foil. These go right on the grill at the very beginning of my cooking session, and by the time I am done they are thoroughly cooked, look almost translucent, and taste great as a side dish or as a topping on anything else served.
Finally, I love to grill vegetable kebabs. You can be as creative as you like here. I usually mix up red and green peppers with chunks of onions and potatoes. They are done when slightly singed on all sides and have been a crowd pleaser.
The Cold Stuff
Keeping with kebab themes, I have noticed that a variation on the vegetable kebabs can be served uncooked as some people like these things that way. I usually put out generous bowls of dipping sauces: yogurt, sour cream, spinach dip, and Dijon mustard. Bowls of fresh broccoli, cauliflower, and sliced peppers always accompany these kebabs on the table.