how to grill

Cooking Tips for an Easy Breezy Summer

Summer is a time for relaxing, making backyard memories, and experiencing plenty of outdoor activities with those you love.

The last thing you want is to be stuck inside, sweating over dinner in a hot house. Get outside, get cookin' the healthy way, and make dinnertime in your family easy as pie this summer with these quick tips from Coach Bess! 

I'm bringing you several tips to free yourself from your kitchen and lighten up your summertime meals!

Use your backyard grill, Instant Pot and Slow Cookers as you prepare free you from your kitchen this summer. There's also simple ways to cook 2 or so times a week for the whole week's meals...without the effort of making multiple mini-meals in neatly-lined up containers. You just choose a common "center" like grilled chicken or salmon, and then grill/prep plenty for more than one meal (using it different ways, of course!)

What are your favorite grilled dinners?

What about no-cook dishes, like ceviche and  chopped salads?

Here are some of my FRESH ideas for an easy entree tonight:

  • Kabobs - Whoever invented the pairing of small pieces of meat with delicious bits of veggies and/or fruit is a genius!  You can mix it up any way you like it with these: chicken, fresh pineapple chunks and red onion with a drizzle of honey is one of our family faves!  Use your imagination as you combine juicy meats with veggies or fruit flavors, and you've got dinner on a stick in this easy idea!
  • Fish on a plank - This one is much easier than it sounds - just soak cedar planks (you can find them at your grocer's) in cold water for about an hour, then place a seasoned fish section on the plank.  Grill it over medium heat for about 12 minutes, or until fish flakes easily.  Serve the smoky-flavored fish with fresh fruit salsa or a citrus-y pico de gallo and brown rice for a delicious and easy meal.
  • Cook slow, low and steady - The key to keeping foods healthy on the grill (as well as juicy and delicious!) is to cook them slow and on low heat.  This cuts down on the danger of carcinogenic (cancer-promoting) elements forming from the cooking process.  Not to mention, cooking fish and chicken slow on low heat is the best way to insure a juicy entree, versus the dry variety!

Be sure to share your best summer cooking tips with us in our free FRESH Start community - I'd love to hear from you there! 

I'm always curious how our videos and articles help you in your family quest to eatFRESH and be healthier!  Feel free to ask any questions you might have for me, as I want to be sure to bring the tips and topics you want to hear more about!

Grilling Tips for Your Healthy Summer

It’s summer, and do you find yourself stepping outside to do some outdoor activity and a stomach-grumbling, appetite stimulating, scent wafts your way from somewhere in the neighborhood? 

Yep, that’s probably me, taking full advantage of the weather and getting my grill on!

Are you ready to get grilling this summer and you just need a few great grilling tips?Grilling is my ultimate favorite summertime dinner activity.  Around here, it’s a way to get the whole family outside more often, as they run and play while I lovingly turn chicken, or arrange veggie-loaded kabobs, or place fresh-soaked cedar planks loaded with delicious fish over the hot burners.

I’m not sure what I love more, the scent of charring deliciousness, or the fact that I’m not standing, sweating over a hot stove during the hottest time of the year

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There’s virtually no clean-up, and with the amount of cooking I do around this house with four kids, a hungry man and my own grown-up appetite, that’s important too!

I’ve discovered that just about everything edible known to man can be grilled, or roasted on a grill, or steamed in a foil packet, or slipped lovingly onto a skewer, or in SOME way, grilled!  Fruit, veggies, chicken, fish, seafood, lean meats, breads, and even lemons and spice bunches! It’s all game for the grill, it just takes imagination and inventiveness with those cast iron plates!

While I am by no means the top grill-expert (but alas, that title still belongs to the great Bobby Flay!) I have tried my hand at many a dish involving the trusty old grill, and I’ve gathered some great ideas over the years. 

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So here are some of my top tips for making this summer a grillin’ success in your own backyard!

  1. Use a gas grill – It’s mess-free, and much easier to manage the temperature as you cook your food.  If you prefer the scent of a charcoal grill, just add the cedar chip tray to give your food the desired smoky flavor.
  2. Start small, start easy – If you are new at it, start with easy dishes, like chicken tenders or hamburgers to learn temperatures and timing.  As your confidence grows, add new dishes, like grilled veggies and steaks.  It’s smarter to learn how to grill with something lower cost and easy than the hard way with a $15 steak!
  3. Mind the grill – While you are gaining your grilling medals, be sure to stay close to the grill, and check your food often (though you only need to touch or turn it once!) It’s not fun to get caught up doing something else and forget about the salmon, creating petrified dinner!
  4. Think outside the grill – You’d be surprised what you can grill, or how you can combine different food groups, and still achieve deliciousness!  Fruit with veggies, veggies with fish, citrus with fish, chicken with fruit, the list goes on!  I’ve even seen grilled salad in some new recipes!

Keep it fun, make it inventive, and your family will stay full – and in such a healthy way – with your grilling skills this summer!  

Let’s get grillin’ together!  Share your pics, recipes, ideas and experiences with me on my Facebook page, Coach Bess, or in our free community, as I bring you grilling info all summer long!