(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
No question about it, food hot off the outdoor grill is a spring treat. Although, sometimes it's more convenient to quickly prepare food ahead of time in order to serve it in a flash when the right moment strikes. In that case, chilling your grilling is a timesaving solution with tasty benefits.
That smoky grilled flavor doesn't dissipate once a dish is stowed in the refrigerator. Often, it intensifies. The grilled chutney potato salad idea that follows has all the allure of any chilled potato salad, plus the added bonus of that char-grilled taste.
Fun fare like this also proves cooking can be easy, nutritious, economical, fun – and fast. They take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for tasty home cooking and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since there are no right or wrong amounts. These are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations, so whatever you – or your kidlet helpers – choose to use can't help but draw “wows” from family members and guests.
Here is that peppy potato salad and some more ideas with which you can chill out:
Praiseworthy Potato Salad:
Microwave unpeeled red potatoes until tender and, when cool enough to handle, quarter them, coat lightly with olive oil, place in barbecue grill pan, and grill for a few minutes. Cool, place in a bowl and mix in well freshly ground black pepper, minced garlic, finely minced fresh basil and store-bought peach chutney. Chill.
Great Grilled Canned Salmon Sandwiches:
Grill marks on salmon patties made from inexpensive canned salmon add instant appeal, as does the way the little bits of olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper you’ve mixed into the patties sear flavorfully into the seafood on the hot grill. Chill the grilled salmon burgers and, just before serving, chop into chunks and mix in a bowl with small amounts of light mayonnaise, diced red onions and Chinese five-spice powder (found in most supermarket spice aisles, but if not, then use ground fennel, cloves and cinnamon). Stuff inside croissants that have been layered with arugula or another lettuce of your choice.
You can barbecue mixed vegetables of your choice – such as eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and onions – ahead of time. When cooled enough, brush the vegetables with olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. For intense flavor that only enhances with chilling, place the grilled produce in a glass bowl and, before covering and storing in the refrigerator, gently mix with small amounts (so vegetables don't get mushy) of convenient store-bought condiments like these:
--- Argentinian chimichurri (a mix of garlic, olive oil, parsley, oregano and hot pepper flakes)
--- French tapenade (ripe olive, caper, anchovy paste)
--- Chinese plum sauce
--- Indian mango chutney
--- All-American honey mustard
QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: Although matzo – crisp unleavened bread – is usually associated with the Jewish holiday of Passover, the cracker-like sheets are often sold year-round in the ethnic aisles of major supermarkets. Many shoppers are not only unaware of that, but of the fact that top matzo makers also often sell a whole-wheat or whole-grain version. Some have 4 grams of fiber in one large 100-calorie sheet, making it a hearty, saltine cracker-like treat for you to serve to kidlets – or adults – with toppings like peanut or almond butter, low-fat whipped cream cheese (which has less fat and calories than regular cream cheese), or all-fruit spread (available in most supermarket jam aisles). This fiber count is more than saltine crackers, which have almost no fiber, and higher than many wheat breads.
Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.