Meal Planning Monday ~ Let’s Get Fired Up!



This week’s blog post is by Christine Luken. 

Finally, it’s starting to warm up enough outside here in the Cincinnati area to fire up the grill on a regular basis!  It’s especially nice for me, because my husband is the grill master, so I get some assistance with dinner.  A few weekends ago, Nick and I went grill shopping at Lowe’s.  We’d had our previous grill for almost ten years and it was literally falling apart.  (Of course that didn’t stop the pickers from snatching it at the curb on garbage night eve!)  I really wanted a grill with a side burner, so we bought a medium sized grill with one side burner.

The first attempt to use our new grill was a disaster.  Apparently, because of the construction of today’s grills, it’s virtually impossible to use them if you’ve got high winds going on outside.  No, we weren’t trying to grill during a tornado or anything, but a storm was starting to blow in.  We live on top of high hill, so if it’s windy, we really feel it.  The grill wouldn’t heat up past 250 degrees and the wind kept blowing out the burner flames, so we ended up bringing our meat inside and finishing up on the stovetop.  Nick wanted to load it up in the truck and take it back to the store.

Fortunately, we decided to give the new grill another shot before returning it.  Our second attempt was much more successful.  The grill heated up nicely and cooked our food to perfection.  So far, we’ve made grilled chicken with various marinades, turkey burgers, and Italian sausages on it.  I thought now would be a great time to share some awesome grilling recipes – some old, some new – with you.  And if you have a favorite grilling recipe to share with me, leave the link in the comments below. 

·        Hawaiian Chicken – I didn’t have any fresh ginger, so I used ½ tsp. of powdered ginger from my spice rack.  We used the reserved marinade for dipping the chicken instead of basting.  It was fantastic!

·        Bacon-Wrapped Beef Fillets – These are my hubby’s favorite way to eat steak.  I’ll marinade the fillets in beer for 30 minutes prior to putting them on the grill.

·        Three-Cheese Italian Chicken Sausages – I love these Johnsonville chicken sausages.  They are quick and easy, but much more grown-up than hot dogs.  Sautee some peppers and onions and serve on a whole wheat bun.

·        Favorite Grilling Sides – If we can do our side dishes on the grill, then there’s no need to turn on the stove.  That’s definitely a good thing in the dead heat of summer!  We love mushrooms and they are so easy to make on the grill.  I’ll also buy canned whole potatoes, skewer them, and drizzle a bit of Italian dressing on them before adding them to the grill.  I also love corn on the cob made on the grill.  We soak the corn in the husk for 30 minutes, and then put it on the grill.  The water trapped inside the husks steams the corn and it tastes delicious!

·        Warm Italiano Spread – One of my favorite appetizer dips is made on the grill.  It’s got cream cheese, tomatoes, and pesto – yum!  Serve with hearty crackers, like Triscuit’s Black Pepper and Olive Oil. 

·        Chicken Bruschetta – In July, when our homemade tomatoes start to ripen, it’s time to make my favorite chicken recipe on the grill.  Marinade chicken breasts in balsamic vinaigrette dressing for at least 30 minutes.  In a small bowl, mix chopped tomatoes, fresh basil leaves sliced into thin ribbons and just enough balsamic vinaigrette dressing to coat.  Grill chicken on one side then flip and add the tomato topping.  Sprinkle cheese on top (feta, goat cheese, and shredded mozzarella all are great) during the last minute of cooking.

·        Southwestern Turkey Burgers – These were delicious!  Here’s my version of the recipe, below.


Southwestern Turkey Burgers


·        1 pound of ground turkey

·        3 Tablespoons of Low Fat Olive Oil Mayo

·        1/3 cup of bread crumbs

·        2 Tablespoons of chopped jalapeños (Use fresh and include the seeds if you want them really hot.  I used canned jalapeños.)

·        Thin slices of cheddar cheese, optional.

·        Buns



Combine turkey with mayo, bread crumbs, and jalapenos.  Make into 4 hamburger patties.  Grill over medium heat 5 to 8 minutes per side.  Add cheddar cheese during the last few minutes of cooking.