It was another weekend of firsts for this Sometimes Healthy country girl in the Hudson Valley: first time manning the grill!
I always leave the grilling to the BF, even when I prep the food. Grilling always seemed too complicated for me. Also, I like our house, and I don’t think the BF would be too please if I set it on fire while I tried to figure out how to work the grill.
However, the BF did a couple of nice things for me this weekend, so I decided I needed to repay him with a tasty meal. And the weather was beautiful on Saturday, so it just had to be on the grill.
Here’s a quick rundown of the menu for our Saturday Night Sometimes Healthy Grill Out
Drinks: Fresh Squeezed Strawberry Lemonade
- Appetizer: Grilled Guacamole
- Side Dish: Foil Packet Potatoes
- Entree: Chicken Kebabs
It may not sound like a lot of food, but we had enough to feed an army!
Maybe it’s because I went a little overboard at the grocery store…
Anyway, the chicken kebabs were predictably delicious, but I didn’t really add a Sometimes Healthy twist to this dish. Why mess with the tried and true?
Instead, I had some fun with the drinks, app and side dish. They all turned out great, and if you’re grilling out any time soon, you must give these dishes a try.
1. Fresh Squeezed Strawberry Lemonade
For some reason, I was really craving strawberry lemonade on Saturday, so I researched a couple of different recipes and came up with this fairly straightforward recipe:
First, squeeze 1 cup of lemon juice. This will probably take you about 8 lemons. I would definitely suggest that you use some sort of juicer – otherwise, it will take you forever.
Set this aside and create a simple syrup by bringing 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
While your syrup cools, puree about 1pint of strawberries with 1/2 cup of water in a blender.
Pour everything into a pitcher and add a few cups of water. Garnish with lemons and frozen strawberries.
Serve in mason jars using frozen strawberries as ice cubes.
Not only was this a tasty drink, but it was also very “thirst quenching.” Both of us had to dilute our drinks with water, because they were a bit thick. The BF also added some Malibu Rum to make it an adult beverage. He’s such a rebel!
2. Foil Packet Potatoes
Back in my Chicago days, we used to grill out on our apartment that overlooked Lake Michigan (Chicago is so different than NYC – you can actually live in a BIG apartment with a balcony and a grill ANDa view…and you can afford it!). One of my favorite dishes from those days was foil packet potatoes, which I’ve never made for the BF.
I was super excited to debut this dish for him for my first-ever Sometimes Healthy Grill Out.
To feed two people, you probably need about 1.5 lbs of poatoes…I had about three lbs. Whoops, I always go overboard.
I chopped up red potatoes, purple potatoes (so pretty!) and Yukon potatoes and placed them in a bowl with 1 large coarsely chopped white onion.
Next, I divided the potatoes into three extra large portions and placed in a large bowl, to which I added about 1/4 cup olive oil, fresh basil and rosemary from our herb garden and salt and pepper.
I tossed away and folded into some sloppy foil packets…this probably isn’t what they are supposed to look like, but as long as everything is enclosed, and there are no holes of air, you’ll be good to go.
I placed these on the grill first because they had the longest to cook. 45 minutes later, I removed them from the grill with my special grilling tongs and had some deliciously moist, yet crisp baked potatoes.
3. Grilled Corn Guacamole
I remembered reading somewhere that you can really grill anything, including avocados, so I did a bit of a quick research on how to do it and set out to make some grilled guac.
Once the potatoes were done, I removed them from the grill and left them in the foil packets to keep ’em warm and go to work on my guacamole. First, I grilled up 3 sliced avocados and two ears of corn. I think corn is much better grilled outside of the husk because you get that tasty char on the corn (such a “corn husker”).
For the avocado, I grilled for about 5 minutes, until I saw a nice char forming. The corn was about 10 minutes, and I rotated every few minutes to get a nice char all around.
Once finished, I used a knife to scrape the corn off into a bowl.
Next, I plopped the charred guacamole into the bowl.
After I mashed away, I added in some diced tomatoes, fresh cilantro (from the garden…this stuff is incredible), lime juice from 1 full lime and salt n’ pepper. I also added in some chili powder to kick it up and bring out the smoky flavor from the grill.
Oh, but wait, we’re not done yet! One of my BF’s favorite Sometimes Healthy “specialities” is my homemade tortilla chips. Naturally, there i not a lot of skill involved in these puppies, but the BF just loves them.
Simply use a pizza cutter to slice soft flour tortillas. You can make ’em as big or small as you would like.
Place in a cookie sheet and coat both sides with cooking spray, salt and pepper.
Bake at 425 for about 5-7 minutes and boom, you’ve got yourself some healthy, fresh tortilla chips! Be sure to keep an eye on these things, because they burn rather quickly.
That combination of the warm tortilla chips with the smoky guacamole was perfection.
So, there you have it: three things you must try during this year’s summer grilling season! Between the prep and the grilling, this took me just over two hours to cook, but it was worth it!
And, while I slaved away in the kitchen, the BF helped ensure that gender stereotypes were in tact, as he chopped up some wood for our tableside fire.
Look at my little Paul Bunyan go!!
We sat outside for a couple hours and enjoyed good food, conversation and a warm fire as the summer breeze rolled in.
Cole also sat with us. He has the BEST table manners. Look at those crossed paws!
Cole’s table manners were most certainly rewarded with scraps and plates to lick (doggy dishwasher).
Then, my BF showed me how grateful he was for this delicious home-cooked grilled meal: he watched the NOTEBOOK with me!
And he actually watched the whole thing! He said it was a bit slow in the beginning, but once the plot got going he really enjoyed it.
Now, if that’s not a perfect Saturday night, I don’t know what is!
Time to get to work…we’ve got a trip planned for the weekend, so it’s a short week for us! More on that on Wednesday.
I’ll leave you with a bit of inspiration, courtesy of my running buddy. It was hot today, but he kept on chuggin’!
What’s your summer grill “must make” dish? Feel free to share the links with me.
Do you know how to use a grill?