A southern tourist vacationing in Alaska was once overhead talking to a local. The tourist, surprised to find the northern state warm in the summer asked, "So? What do you do in Alaska during the summer?"
"Well," the Alaskan replied, "if summer falls on a weekend, we like to have a barbecue!"
For most of us, the summer season provides opportunities aplenty for fun and sun on the deck or in the back yard with friends. Grilling is a wonderful excuse to keep the party outside. However, if your go-to barbecue recipes are getting a little boring, here are some fun (and healthy!) ways to liven up your summer season.
- Skewer it!
Skewers are a tried and true favourite. It's just like food at the fair – everything tastes better on a stick. Mainstay skew ingredients like chicken breast, button mushrooms, bell pepper and onion are easy to prep and quick to prepare.
Make it fun: Try adding wedges of apple or pineapple to your skewers. Seasonal fruit is not only healthy and delicious, it's a fantastically unique way to liven up your skewers.
- Green spears
Asparagus is a wonderful vegetable for the barbecue. Note that it will grill more easily if you drop the spears in boiling water for three minutes first, but that's not strictly necessary. You can also simply drizzle the stalks with a little olive oil, sprinkle each with a pinch of salt and spread them over the coals.
Make it fun: You know what's better than fresh asparagus off the grill? Fresh asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. Bundle three of four spears together and wrap them with a slice of prosciutto for a fun, healthy appetizer.
- Sweet 'n' salmon
Salmon is fantastic on the grill. It's an oily fish, so it doesn't get dry on the barbecue. It's flavourful so a sprig of dill and some lime wedges are all the prep you need. However, you probably won't have an entire Copper River King Salmon to feed an entire dinner party.
Make it fun: Here's an easy way to make a small salmon fillet go a long way. Cut the salmon into strips or chucks about an inch long and not more than two inches wide. Toss them into a bowl of Yoshida sauce and, voilà … that's it. Grill as a sweet and savory appetizer or a light entree with grilled veggies.
- BBQ desert
Interested in something sweet, seasonal, good for you and just a tiny bit unusual? Try sliced watermelon wedges on the grill. Grill lightly for just a couple minutes for a warm treat that's cool and refreshing on the inside. Not unique enough?
Make it fun: Watermelon will lose a little of it's fruity sweetness when cooked. Try adding sliced lemon for a bit of zing. Similarly, sprinkle with smoked sea salt for a savory treat. For the truly adventurous, grill a jalapeño pepper or two, slice into thin rings to serve on slices of grilled watermelon.
Any excuse to get outside and stay active is worth pursuing. When grilling this summer, try out some of these healthy options. But 'good for you' doesn't have to mean bland and boring. And remember ... make it fun!