Add variety and health to your grill

Published 3:47 pm Sunday, July 3, 2016

We are a couple of months into grilling season — a great time to add variety to your grilling adventures beyond traditional hamburger or hot dog options! While we all love those summer favorites, it can be nice to add some variety, as well as some healthier choices, to our gatherings. If you are ready to expand your grilling repertoire, keep reading for some tips to get you going!

Fish is a fantastic option for the grill — flavorful, fast and loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fats! But even people who love fish sometimes shy away from grilling it, for fear of over-cooking it, or having it fall apart. The trick is to use the right grilling method for the right fish. Tuna steaks, salmon, halibut and swordfish are densely-textured and can be grilled directly on the grill grate, without having to worry about them falling through! More delicate fish such as tilapia and sole can be grilled inside of a foil packet or grill basket. Another key: marinate fish after — rather than before — grilling. Post-grill marinating ensures that the fish does not fall apart, and still comes away with excellent flavor. Grilling fish is a great way to provide your family with a delicious meal, as well as all of the heart- and brain-health benefits that fish provide. Check for a variety of recipes for grilled fish!

Grilled turkey burgers are another tasty and healthy option. This month, the Hy-Vee Dietitian Pick of the Month is Jennie-O Lean Ground Turkey — a great choice to meet your family’s taste and nutrition needs and to position yourself as the ultimate burger grill master. Compared to a traditional ground beef burger of the same size (four ounce), a burger made with Jennie-O Lean Ground Turkey has less than half the calories and about one-fifth as much saturated fat!

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Think turkey burgers are too dry? Think again! Following a few simple steps will ensure that your burgers are juicy and delicious. Start by forming your patties from lean ground turkey, with a couple of tablespoons of finely diced onions or scallions mixed in. Patties should be an even thickness right up to the edges – about half inch. Make sure not to work the patties too much – over-mixing can result in dry, tough burgers. After your patties are formed, keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready for grilling. Finally, flip the burgers only once during the cooking process and resist the temptation to press down on burgers with a spatula! This will help the burgers retain all of their tasty juices inside, right where you want them! After cooking to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees, let the burgers rest for a couple of minutes. This will allow the burgers’ juices to settle and redistribute, resulting in juicy, flavorful turkey burgers!

Ready to give it a try? Prepare this crowd-pleasing recipe for Hawaiian Turkey Sliders to offer your guests health and variety at your next gathering.

Hawaiian Turkey Sliders

Serves 6 (1 slider each)

All you need

•1 pound 93 percent — lean ground turkey

•2 tbsp reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce

•2 scallions, sliced

•1 large clove garlic, minced

•6 Hy-Vee (1/4-inch-thick) pre-cut fresh pineapple rings

•1 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings

•6 toasted slider buns, preferably whole-wheat

•2 tbsp Hy-Vee mayonnaise, divided

•6 small leaves Boston lettuce, divided

All you do

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.

2. Combine turkey, teriyaki sauce, scallions and garlic in a medium bowl; gently knead together. Do not overmix. Form into six burgers, about 3 inches wide. Oil the grill rack (see tip). Grill the burgers until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Grill pineapple rings until lightly charred, about 2 minutes per side. Grill onions until lightly charred and starting to soften, about 2 minutes per side.

3. Assemble the burgers on toasted buns with 1 teaspoon mayonnaise, 1 lettuce leaf, 1 pineapple ring and about 3 onion rings each.

Tips: To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.

Source: adapted from EatingWell Inc.

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