Monday, December 7, 2009

What's Grillin' in Your Kitchen?

If you have followed this blog since the beginning, you know illness made me change my lifestyle. I had gotten so-so-so used to eating out of boxes, bags, and cans. I had to learn to read labels, count up daily sodium intakes, be sure there's no soy or corn products listed, and be wary of ingredients that aren't listed, like monosodium glutamate (MSG) under such innocuous labels as "spices." Gone were the days of going out to eat to El Rialto's, Smiley's, or Kocina de Rapheal's  Northern New Mexican restaurants, grabbing that quick burger at the local fast-food joint, or doing potlucks. The days of cooking with abandon using my favorite margarine, evaporated milk, corn syrups, high fructose corn syrup laden juices, baking powder (can't do that either!) enriched flour like my standby favorite--Gold Medal--all vanished like mist. 

But I am adaptable--although adapting to this new way of eating and cooking was not always easy. The first three weeks after we discovered my allergy to MSG was spent eating homemade bread, hamburger patties, and white rice. I lost a bunch of weight then, because I was having reactions to vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, peas, and spinach. (They are extremely high in glutamate acid--I found out later!) But I am adaptable! I may not WANT to be adaptable, but in certain cases--I have no other choice. Adapt, overcome, and move on.  

The best gifts my husband and I received back in those days was the bread machine and the George Foreman grill. Those two machines probably saved me from being more ill than I already was and helped me get back on my feet. With the bread machine, I've learned to make breads with unenriched, organic flours like golden buffalo and wheat graham. With the grill, I'm going to show you one of my favorite meals to fix and eat.

First off, you need your grill.  You also need olive oil. I save the extra-extra virgin olive oil for salads and use the dark and heavy olive oil for the grill. You need your veggies. I like and have done the following:
Green Beans
Red and Green Bell Pepper
Regular and Sweet Potatoes (for my husband)
But for today, I show red and green bell pepper and zucchini. 

If you want to grill meat, I highly recommend tilapia or flounder or chicken breasts. Today, I have some tilapia.  

 You also need your spices: 
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Thyme
1/4 -1/2 tsp Kosher Salt (depends on how much salt you can handle and how many veggies you will be grilling)
1/2 to 3/4 tsp SMOKED Paprika (depends on how strong you want this flavor) 

That will make all the difference in the world. If you are feeling fiesty, add Garlic Powder into the mix . If you are feeling spunky and need a bite to your food, add Green Chile or Cayenne Powder. 

Clean and cut your vegetables into a comfortable size. I like to cut everything into spears because it makes things go quicker.  I rarely peel veggies since a lot of the good stuff for your body lives in the peels. Place veggie spears in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil until each piece is coated. Blend your spices in a small bowl.  

Turn on your grill and wait for it to get hot. Take your veggie spears and place them  on the hot grill. Sprinkle your mixture of spices on the spears--using a light touch. It doesn't take much. Grill one side about 3-6 minutes and then flip over for another 3-6 minutes. I found when I drop the lid of the grill onto the veggies, I get soggy--not grilled veggies. Soggy veggies are not tasty or appealing. *shudders* Who wants to eat mush?
 When you finish grilling your veggies, place them on a plate and set aside. DON'T COVER THEM. This will also lead to soggy, mushy veggies. Start grilling your meat if you have chosen meat. Drizzle with olive oil so both sides are covered and sprinkle the spice mixture. Generally speaking--you can lower the lid of the grill with meats.  

I meant to take a picture of the results when I finished but we had a herd of cats milling about--just waiting to catch their own piece of fish. A couple of them wouldn't mind helping themselves to the veggies either. And D was breathing down my neck asking when we could eat. 

This is a fairly simple yet delightful meal that's healthy. I like using the grilled veggies in other dishes too, such as stir-fry or pasta dishes. I use grilled veggies for my lunches. They also make a nice snack tray if you are having a party or a get-together at your house. 

Bon Appetite!  


  1. Being a vegetarian.....those veggies look oh so yummy to me!!!

  2. Grilled vegetables are one of my favorites. I love the idea of the spice mix and will definitely try it. Thanks for sharing this yummy idea!

  3. The veggies look so good! I'll have to try that on our grill. Thanks!

  4. Granny---I use that mix on popcorn too. It's great--gives it a different flavor to a healthy snack!