Celebrate National Barbecue Month

Published 11:01 am Sunday, May 15, 2016

May is National Barbecue Month and what better way to kick off the warmer weather than getting outside and grilling up your favorite foods?

Think outside the burger and hotdog box. According to the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association, the most common grilled foods are hamburgers (85 percent), steak (80 percent) and hotdogs (79 percent). However, grilling is no longer just for meat. What better way to get your serving of vegetables in than just throwing them on the grill with the rest of your meal?

One easy way to grill vegetables it to throw them on a kabob. All you need is a wooden skewer that’s been soaked in water for about 30 minutes and your favorite vegetables. When grilling vegetables, make sure to rub them with a small amount of oil to prevent sticking to the grill. It will also be important to time your vegetables to ensure equal finishing time.

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For example, grilled potatoes may take longer than a softer vegetable such as zucchini, so to prevent burning add the more firm vegetables to the grill first and make sure they are cut evenly.

Don’t have kabob skewers? No problem. Try a foil packet. This no-fuss way of grilling vegetables requires a 24 inch- long piece of aluminum foil and that’s it. Place your vegetables in the middle of the foil, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper or add any other seasoning you like, and fold foil over, pinching the edges together to make a packet. Simply put on the grill and check back in about 15 minutes.

Don’t forget about the fruit. Grilled fruit is equally as easy and delicious as grilled vegetables. Simply brush the fruit with cooking spray or light oil (something with little flavor such as canola or vegetable oil) to prevent sticking and set on the grill until soft. Drizzle your fruit with a little honey before grilling for an extra flavor punch.

Now that you are ready to grill some vegetables, pair them with a burger, because May is also National Burger Month. Burgers are the most commonly grilled food for a reason: They are quick, convenient and can be jazzed up to each guest’s preference.

Ground beef burgers can pack the protein punch, about 19 grams for a 4-ounce burger, but can also be high in saturated fat. If you are wanting to keep your burger more health friendly, choose a leaner source of meat such as 90 percent lean, 10 percent fat ground beef.

A great way to incorporate a little moisture and flavor into your meat is to add barbecue sauce. Or choose a different meat, such as ground turkey, which is leaner and lower in saturated fat than ground beef.

Grilling is much more than just a way to cook your food; it is an activity that gets us outside to enjoy the weather and start our summer out right.

There’s no better way to bring friends and family together, whether it’s a special occasion or a no-fuss impromptu get-together. Don’t worry about all the pots and pans, one of the nice things about grilling is little clean-up, so make it easy on yourself and get grilling for May.

Try this beef and bulgur burger with blue cheese for a different take on the traditional burger.

Beef and Bulgur Burgers with Blue Cheese

Beef and Bulgur Burgers with Blue Cheese

Beef and Bulgur Burgers with Blue Cheese

Serves 4

(1 burger and 1/4 cup onion each)

 All you need

•1/2 cup bulgur

•1 cup sliced red onion

•1/2 cup Hy-Vee Select red wine vinegar

•1/2 cup water

•1 tsp sugar

•1 pound 90 percent-lean ground beef

•1/2 cup Hy-Vee Select crumbled blue cheese

•1/2 tsp celery salt or 1/4 tsp salt

•1/2 tsp ground pepper

•1 tbsp Hy-Vee Select extra-virgin olive oil

•4 large green-leaf lettuce leaves

 All you do

1. Prepare bulgur according to package directions. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the bulgur to a large bowl. Let cool for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine onion, vinegar, water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, stirring occasionally.

3. Add beef, blue cheese, celery salt (or salt) and pepper to the bulgur; use your hands to gently combine. Form the mixture into four burgers, about 4 inches in diameter.

4. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the burgers until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165 degrees, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Drain the pickled onion. Serve each burger on a lettuce leaf, topped with onion.

Source: adapted from EatingWell Inc.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.