Health

Weeknight Dinner Winners: The Thrill of the Grill

Grilling is an easy weeknight dinner strategy and a perfect way for runners to load up on lean meats and delicious veggies.

There is almost no meal that isn’t made way better when prepared on the grill. What’s more, grilling can be an easy way to load up your plate with all the necessary nutritious foods like lean meats and grilled veggies that an active body craves. So why be cooped up in a steamy kitchen when these warmer days and nights offer you the perfect excuse to cook up a storm in the great outdoors? Fire up the outdoor oven and use these delicious recipes all summer long.

Monday

Mango Scallop Kebabs

Mango Scallop KabobsPHOTO: Cast Iron Culinary
Mango Scallop Kabobs

Not just shrimp, but buttery scallops can also shine when skewered—an simple luxury for a weeknight dinner. As a nutritional bonus, scallops are a stellar source of selenium, an antioxidant linked to improved mood. Cubes of flame-licked avocado add satiating healthy fat and fiber.  Makes 4 Servings

Preparation:

1. Alternating order, thread 1 1/4 lbs. large sea scallops, 1 cubed mango, 2 small cubed avocado, and 1 pint cherry tomatoes onto 8 metal skewers. Whisk together the juice of 1/2orange, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 grated garlic clove, 2 tsp fresh thyme, zest of 1 lime, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Brush kebabs with half of the orange mixture and let rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

2. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high and grease grill grates. Grill kebabs until scallops are opaque throughout, about 6 minutes, turning and basting with the remaining orange mixture halfway through.

3. Serve skewers garnished with sliced fresh basil.

Tuesday

Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Berry Sauce

Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Berry SaucePHOTO: Cast Iron Culinary Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Berry Sauce

Lean ground turkey gives these flavorful burgers plenty of protein without a deluge of fatty calo- ries, while raspberries and chia seeds team up for a smoky-fiery condiment that delivers healthy amounts of dietary fiber. Serve with a side salad.

Preparation:

1. Heat 2 tsp canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 chopped shallot and 1 minced garlic clove; heat 1 minute. Place 1 1/2 cups raspberries, 2 tsp fresh thyme, 1 chopped canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce, 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Simmer until raspberries break down, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 Tbsp chia seeds and heat 1 minute more. Set aside the thicken.

2. Preheat grill on high heat for 10 minutes and then lower to medium for cooking. In a large bowl, gently mix together 1 lb. lean ground turkey, 1 shredded carrot, 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 2 oz. crumbled soft goat cheese, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Form into 4 equal-sized patties.

3. Place burgers on the grill and cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until an internal temperature of 165°F is reached in each burger. Remove burgers from the grill and place whole grain bun halves on grill and heat just until toasted, about 20 seconds.

4. Serve burgers on buns topped with raspberry sauce and baby spinach.

Wednesday

Grilled Cheese Lentil Salad

Grilled Cheese Lentil SaladPHOTO: Cast Iron Culinary
Grilled Cheese Lentil Salad

Cheese? On the Grill? Yep, you bet. Hailing from Cyprus, halloumi miraculously does not melt on the grill, making it the perfect protein meat alternative for a weeknight dinner. Over the flames, the outside becomes crispy while the inside turns velvety. And the intense heat of the grill turns nutrient-dense peaches extra sweet. Makes 4 Servings.

Preparation:

1. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Upend 1 block of halloumi onto one of its long sides and sliceengthwise into 2 big slabs. Brush both sides of cheese with 1 tsp canola oil. Halve 2 peaches and remove pits. Brush cut sides with 1 tsp canola oil. Slice 1 large red bell pepper into 4 pieces and brush with 1 tsp canola oil.

2. Place halloumi, peach halves (cut side down), and bell pepper on grill. Heat halloumi until grill marks appear on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Heat peach halves until tender and grill marks appear, about 2 minutes. Heat pepper until tender and darkened in spots on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Slice halloumi in half to give you four pieces. Slice peaches and bell pepper into 1⁄2-inch strips.

3. Divide 8 cups tender salad greens, 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned lentils, 1/2 cup sliced mint or basil, and 2 Tbsp capers among serving plates. Top each plate with peaches, bell pepper, and halloumi. Whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 2 tsp honey, 1 grated garlic clove, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Drizzle dressing on salad. Scatter on some sliced roasted almonds.

Thursday

Curry Chicken with Sweet Potato Wedges

Curry chicken with sweet potato wedgesPHOTO: Cast Iron Culinary
Curry chicken with sweet potato wedges

Oft-overlooked chicken thighs are less prone than chicken breast to drying out on the grill and also provide a bit more energy-boosting iron. As a much, much healthier version of French fries, these tender sweet potato wedges give you a hefty dose of beta-carotene. In the body, beta-carotene can be converted to vitamin A, which is important for healthy skin, eyes, and immune system. Makes 4 servings

Preparation:

1. Stir together 1 Tbsp curry powder, 1/2 Tbsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp ginger powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Rub over 1 1/2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs and chill for 20 minutes.

2. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Cook chicken for 12 minutes, flipping once halfway, or until juices run clear and an internal temperature of 165°F is reached. Remove from grill and cover to keep warm.

3. Slice 2 large sweet potatoes into 3⁄4-inch wedges. Place wedges in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to boil. Cook for 3 minutes, or until slightly tender but not cooked all the way through. Drain well and then toss wedges with 1 Tbsp canola oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Place wedges on grill grate and grill, flipping once, until dark marks appear and potatoes are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Friday

Hawaiian Pita Pizzas

Hawaiian Pita PizzasPHOTO: Cast Iron Culinary
Hawaiian Pita Pizzas

Why tip the delivery guy when you can turn to the grill for a quick and tasty pizza night? Lean pork tenderloin lends these individual pizzas plenty of muscle-friendly protein, and the duo of pineapple and bell pepper give you some immune-boosting vitamin C. Makes 4 Servings.

Preparation:

1. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Brush 1 lb. pork tenderloin with 1 tsp canola oil and season with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Grill pork 18 minutes, turning a couple of times, or until an internal temperature of 160°F is reached when taken with an instant-read thermometer. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes and then slice thinly.

2. Brush both sides of 2 3⁄4 inch-thick pineapple slices with 1 tsp canola oil. Slice 1 large green bell pepper into 4 pieces and brush with 1 tsp canola oil. Place pineapple and pepper slices on grill grate and heat, flipping once, until both are tender and dark marks appear on both sides. Remove from grill and slice pineapple and pepper into 1⁄2-inch chunks.

3. Lightly brush 4 large whole grain pitas with 2 tsp canola oil. Place on grill and heat until toasted on one side. Remove from heat and spread 1 cup marinara sauce on toasted sides of pitas. Top with pork, pineapple, and green pepper. Scatter on 4 oz. torn fresh mozzarella. Place pitas back on the grill for two minutes, or until the cheese has melted and bottoms of pitas are toasted.

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