Grill myths – debunked

By Dr. Linda Mitchell
A myth is defined as a popular belief that has grown up around something or someone but is often untrue. Now that it’s grilling time I thought about some of the myths associated with that famous fire.
1. Searing locks in the juices. You have most likely heard this tale before. High heat does cause food to brown quickly and can amplify the flavor but for best results reverse the process. Cook long and slow then finish with some serious heat, you’ll get great flavor and tender bites.
2. Only flip your burger once. Research shows that flipping meat often helps it to cook more evenly and more rapidly thus preserving the juices inside.
3. Grill buildup adds flavor. That blackened, crusty stuff stuck on your grate does not add flavor but it might just be a health hazard since those burnt bits are carcinogenic.
Now you’re smarter than the average grill master so enjoy your power and cook up some healthy and tasty treats like the ones below.
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Double Duty Dinner –Grill Once and Eat Twice

Healthy Citrus Grilled Chicken
7 (6-8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 Tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine juice, oil, garlic and chicken and place in a zip top plastic bag. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Place chicken on heated grill rack and grill for 6 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Garnish with orange or lemon slices and fresh herbs. Save two chicken breasts for Orange and Walnut Chicken Salad.

Orange and Walnut Chicken Salad
8 oz baby spinach and arugula mix
1/2 cup mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup cranberries
2 citrus-grilled chicken breasts, cut in strips

Toss together greens, fruit, and nuts. Top with chicken strips. Serve with Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Quick and Easy Raspberry Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons raspberry jam
1/2 cup white vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together all ingredients. Serve over salad. Will keep in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
12 fresh asparagus spears
Salt and pepper to taste
6 bacon strips, cut in half
Asparagus

Wrap a bacon piece around each asparagus spear. Spray lightly with cooking spray and toss with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat for 4-6 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup fat free milk
1/2 cup butter, cubed
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup flaked coconut
6 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar, milk, and butter. Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved and butter melted. Remove from heat and stir in oats, coconut, cocoa and extract. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow to set for about an hour.

Pineapple Delight Bars
(take a buttery shortbread crust, add a rich pineapple and cream cheese filling and top with coconut and pecans and you have an amazing dessert)

Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/2 cup sugar

Filling
12 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1, 20 oz, can crushed pineapple, well drained

Topping
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13X9 inch baking dish. In a separate bowl mix together flour and sugar. Cut in butter until it resembles peas. Spread evenly over the bottom of greased pan and press down with hands. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Drain pineapple and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Beat until smooth. Spread over the baked crust. Sprinkle the drained pineapple over the crust.

In a different bowl combine the nuts, coconut, and 4 tablespoons melted butter. Spread over the pineapple layer. Bake for 20 -25 minutes or until coconut is set. Chill completely before cutting.

Italian Cream Cheese Cake
(the shortcut way)
1 box white cake mix
1 1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 egg whites
1 cup coconut
1 cup pecans, chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting
12 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 (16) oz box powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Grease 3 (8 in) cake pans. Preheat oven to 350. Mix cake according to package directions then stir in coconut and pecans. Divide between pans. (Note: can make one layer chocolate by stirring in ½ cup chocolate chips into batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until done (when a toothpick will come out clean). Frost with cream cheese frosting when cake has cooled.

From Scratch Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat together cream cheese, butter. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Makes enough frosting to frost between the layers and top and sides. To with coconut and pecans if desired.