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Summertime Grillin'

Cindy here. I'm hijacking the blog from Doc this month to bring you some healthy, easy summertime recipes.

I love summer foods. Fresh salads full of homegrown fruits and vegetables, that smoky grilled flavor on a nice piece of salmon, and who could forget homemade ice cream?

The great thing about summertime meals is that they require minimal effort; and if you use your outdoor grill, your oven won't heat up the house. Win-win! I utilize my grill several times a week during the summer months. Depending on the day, I might grill part or all of my dinner outside.

Here are a few ideas:

Grilled Drumsticks: I like to pick up the family-size packs of drumsticks at the grocery store. They're easy to prepare and always a crowd pleaser. Pre-heat the grill to 400 degrees. Brush the drumsticks lightly with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt (Morton's is my favorite). Place chicken on the grill, lower heat to medium, and close the lid. You may need to play with the heat settings depending on your grill. After 15-20 minutes, check your drumsticks and give them a turn. With my 3-burner gas grill, they are usually cooked through after 35-40 minutes.

Grilled Salmon: This is a family favorite at my house. Layer together a couple of lengths of tin foil and brush with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. Place the salmon on top. Season it with salt, lemon pepper, and garlic powder. Then comes the secret ingredient: honey! I recently discovered neem honey. It has a more robust flavor than other honeys and is P E R F E C T for cooking - especially fish! Drizzle some on top of the salmon fillet and then grill the entire thing (foil and all) over medium heat to your desired level of doneness. It's usually cooked through within 8-10 minutes.

Grilled Vegetables: If you've got picky eaters who turn their noses up at the sight of anything remotely green, try serving them grilled vegetables! They take on a unique, caramelized flavor - plus grilling vegetables helps them to retain more of their nutrients, making them a healthy favorite. I recommend investing in a grill basket. For about $10 it will save your veggies from falling between the grates. Recently, I found a tub of pre-cut vegetables at Costco, perfect for the grill. The tub included zucchini, summer squash, red onions, mushrooms, and peppers. I simply dumped them into a bowl, stirred them around with a bit of extra virgin olive oil (to keep them from drying out) and seasoned with a bit of sea salt and course black pepper. After that, I put it all in my grill basket and then set it on the grill next to the chicken. The drumsticks had about 15 minutes left at this point. I closed the lid and let the grill do its thing. I did stir up the veggies every few minutes to assure that they cooked evenly.

If you don't have a grill basket, here are some other ideas:

Zucchini: slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips. Rub your hands with extra virgin olive oil (can you tell I love this stuff?) and then massage into each zucchini slice. Season lightly with salt and pepper and grill directly on the grates over medium-low heat,

Asparagus: When it comes to grilling asparagus, there's one rule: the fatter the better. By this time, you know the drill. Olive oil, a little salt, medium-low heat. Stay close because asparagus tends to burn fast - especially the fluffy little tops!

Corn: This seasonal favorite takes a little extra effort, but is so worth it in the end! Pull back the ears without removing them but then remove the silks (those hairy little fibers). Close the corn back up and soak in a sink or pot of cold water for at least 30 minutes. Grill directly on the grates over medium heat for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove the ears and enjoy!

There you have it. Some quick and easy grilling ideas. Do you have any favorites? Share them in the comments below!

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