Monday, May 23, 2011

A marinade made in heaven…

Despite all this recent unpleasant weather we’ve been having here in NY, with Memorial Day this weekend comes the start of summer! I could not be more excited for weekend getaways, swimming, and most of all grilling and barbequing! While you are picking out that Memorial Day outfit, remember to dress your meats up well for the BBQ…

Why have you done a good thing?

Along with roasting, baking, and broiling, grilling is an extremely lean way to cook meats, poultry, and fish, as you are not adding much additional fat if any and much of the fat cooks away during the process. Not to mention, grilling up your dinner is a very fast, convenient, and fun cooking method for during the week or weekend get together. The important thing to remember is how you marinade. Many store-bought marinades can be high in sodium, sugar and calories. Making your own marinades is not only lower in sodium and calories but is a great way to add fresh herbs into your diet and experiment with new flavors. Marinating is important to bring flavor to your meat, make it juicy, and to make it tender. Although it is appealing to just dredge your meat in some sauce from a jar, making your own marinade is just as convenient and fast.

Tricks to a good marinade include:

1) Include an acid. This will help to tenderize your meat or poultry as well as bring a nice contrasting flavor. Plus adding an acid has been shown to drastically reduce cancer-causing agents called HCA’s from being created during the grilling process. Acids include vinegars, citrus, or alcohol.

2) Add an oil. Oil not only helps foods from sticking to the grill, but also to keep the meat juicy by holding in moisture.

3) Bring out the flavor. In addition to oil and an acid, adding spices, herbs, and seasonings truly bring out the flavor of your meat, poultry, or fish. Don’t just rely on salt and pepper! Fresh herbs do a great job of bringing out natural flavors. Experiment with fresh herbs like basil, mint, parsley, etc!

4) Give chicken and steak some time to get to know the marinade. The longer meat or chicken sits in a marinade, the better the flavor and more tender and more juicy the meat or chicken. Let it is sit overnight in the marinade or at least 30 minutes before you cook it. Fish does not need the same amount of time as it is already very delicate. Put marinades on fish right before cooking.

Here are some great marinade recipes for your Memorial Day cookout (click here for a printable version of the recipes plus a grocery list!):

Lemon Herb Rub

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced

1 tbsp fresh parsely, minced

1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced

1 tbsp fresh basil, minced

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients together and rub on chicken or fish!

Red Wine Citrus Marinade

2 cups good quality red wine (like chianti or pinot noir)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 tbsp lemon zest

1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients together and marinade a steak overnight in the mixture!

South of the Border Marinade

1 can of Corona Light

½ cup lime juice

1 small onion, diced

¼ cup fresh mint, minced

1 tbsp lime zest

3 tbsp honey

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp canola oil

Mix all ingredients together and grilled chicken or steak.

Balsamic BBQ Sauce

1 cup balsamic vinegar

¾ cup ketchup

3 tbsp honey

1 tbsp Worchester Sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp canola oil

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

Place all ingredients together in a small saucepan and reduce on low heat until thickened, about 20 minutes. Great marinade for chicken or steak.

Asian Dijon

3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

6 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp minced garlic

½ tsp minced ginger

1 tsp sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients together and marinade chicken, steak, or fish.

Happy Start to Summer Everyone!!

--Amy Santo, MS RD CDN

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