Healthy Italian Cooking at Home

Tag Archives: Grilling


The key to making a delicious burger is to keep things simple. Many failed burgers are the result of overcomplicating the process. If you start with good-quality ingredients and apply basic grilling techniques, then you really don’t need to do much to turn out a delicious burger. Use high-quality ground meat (go for grass-fed beef, if you can; it has more flavor) that has some fat content (80 to 20 ratio of lean-to fat), which is needed to keep the burger moist and to enhance its flavor. Handle and cook the burgers with care. Other types of ground meat, particularly lean meats, like chicken or turkey, may need a few extra ingredients to achieve the same results.

When you’re forming burger patties, be gentle with your ground meat mixture. If you pack the meat too tightly, the density will make the patty seem tough. Form the burger into a round that is the same size as your bun (it will shrink as it cooks) and then very gently press the middle of the patty to form a small dent — this helps the patty retain an even thickness during the cooking process.

Salt can draw moisture out of the meat mixture, so don’t add it to the ground meat. Instead, season both sides of a burger just before cooking.

Medium heat is best when it comes to burgers; if you cook your burger at too high a temperature, it can cook unevenly.

Don’t be tempted to press on the burgers as they cook (since they won’t puff up as much in the center) and turn the burgers gently as they cook, so you don’t lose meat juices and flavor.

Here are some burger recipes to suit all tastes.burger1

The Perfect Burger

4 burgers


  • Oil for the grill
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground grass-fed beef (80-85 percent lean)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 slices sharp white cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
  • 4 sandwich rolls or buns
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 slices
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, cut into 1/4-inch rings
  • 4 lettuce leaves, such as green-leaf, Boston or romaine
  • Ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard


Preheat grill to medium-high; brush grates with oil.

Gently form beef into four 1-inch-thick patties, about 4 inches in diameter. Make an indentation in the top of each patty. Generously season both sides with salt and pepper.

Grill burgers 3 minutes. Turn, top with cheese, and grill 3 minutes for medium-rare.

Toast rolls face-down on the grill until just lightly browned, about 30 seconds.

Sandwich burgers in rolls with tomato, onion, lettuce and condiments.


Chicken Burgers

4 burgers


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 4 toasted hamburger buns
  • Lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise, for serving


In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Add onion, bell pepper and celery; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; cool to room temperature.

Add chicken to vegetable mixture in the bowl. Mix to combine. Shape mixture into four 4-inch-wide patties. Brush burgers with remaining oil and sprinkle the burgers with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Heat a grill to medium-high. Clean and lightly oil the grill.

Grill burgers until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Place chicken burgers on buns and top with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise or sauce of choice.


Pork Burgers

4 burgers


  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella
  • 4 toasted buns


Heat a grill to medium-high. Clean and lightly oil the grill. In a bowl, mix pork with fennel seeds. Form into 4 patties.

On a large piece of foil, combine oil, peppers and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Fold foil around the vegetables and crimp ends. Grill the foil packet until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.

Season patties with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through, about 6 minutes per side.

In a medium bowl, mix the vegetables with vinegar. Top each patty with vegetables and a slice of mozzarella. Cover grill and cook until cheese is bubbling, about 1 minutes.

Serve burgers on toasted buns.


Tuna Burgers

6 burgers


  • 2 pounds fresh center-cut tuna
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 anchovy fillet, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled to remove strings and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 6 buns
  • Condiments of choice: cheese, horseradish sauce, etc.


Cut tuna into 1/4-inch chunks with a very sharp knife, trimming away any dark parts. Coarsely chop tuna by hand until it begins to hold together. Transfer to a bowl over a bowl of ice.

Add garlic, olive oil, sesame oil, anchovy, basil, celery, ginger, salt and pepper; combine well. Chill for up to 6 hours until ready to cook.

Heat grill to medium high and oil the grill grates. Form tuna into 6 patties and place on the grill,  4 minutes per side for rare to 7 or 8 for well done.

Serve with arugula on toasted buns brushed with mayonnaise or other condiments.


Mediterranean Lamb Burgers

4 burgers


  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground lamb
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Olive oil
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Kalamata olives, chopped


Heat a grill to medium-high and lightly oil the grill grates. In a medium bowl, mix lamb, cumin and coriander. Form into 4 patties.

Coat the burgers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Serve burgers on buns with crumbled feta cheese and chopped olives.


Black Bean Veggie Burgers

These burgers are great if you are cooking for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The meat burgers can go on one side of the grill and the bean burgers on foil can go on the other side of the grill. In order to keep veggie burgers from falling apart on the grill, make sure all the ingredients in the burger are thoroughly dry before combining them.

4 burgers


  • 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • Olive oil


Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil.

Dry black beans well on paper towels. In a medium bowl, mash the black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.

In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion and garlic. Place on paper towels to dry well.

Then stir into the mashed beans.

.In a small bowl, stir together the egg, chili powder, cumin and hot sauce.

Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in the bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.
Place patties on oiled foil and grill about 8 minutes on each side.

'Mom slipped a healthy one in so it's kind of like playing hot dog roulette.'


Take a trip to your local farmers’ market and check out all the fresh fruits and vegetables it has to offer. You will quickly see all the possibilities that you can make for dinner. In fact, I have to stop myself from buying more than I can cook in a week – it all looks so good. Here are some easy dinner suggestions to use up what you bring home from the market.

Dinner 1


Grilled Chicken With Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce


  • 25-30 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 4 boneless chicken cutlets
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 5 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar


Preheat the grill to high and oil the grates

Chop basil (will yield about 6 tablespoons) and tomatoes coarsely.

Place tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the basil in food processor (or blender); process and set aside.

Season both sides of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.

Combine in a shallow bowl: 1 tablespoon of the oil, 2 teaspoons of the garlic and remaining 4 tablespoons of basil. Add chicken and turn to coat evenly. Marinate 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

Place chicken on the grill and discard any remaining marinade. Close the lid and grill for about 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness.

To the processed tomato-basil mixture add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, vinegar and remaining garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; pulse 2-3 times or until just blended.

Serve sauce with the chicken.

Couscous with Peas, Lemon and Herbs

Serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup plain couscous
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup cooked fresh peas 
  • Salt and ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.

Stir in the broth and lemon zest. Bring to a boil.

Stir in the couscous and peas and remove the pot from the heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fold the parsley and lemon juice into the couscous. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve alongside the chicken.

Dinner 2


Garden Soup

6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 cup small onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup carrots, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 3 cups homemade vegetable broth or two 14.5-ounce cans vegetable or chicken broth
  • One 14 1/2 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup shelled peas 
  • Salt and ground black pepper


In a Dutch Oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add fennel and onions; cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until fragrant and translucent.

Add green beans and carrots; cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth, undrained tomatoes, wine and Italian seasoning.

Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes. Add peas and simmer about 5 minutes more or until the vegetables are tender.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve in individual soup bowls.


Corn and Ricotta Cakes


  • 2 ears fresh corn-on-the-cob, kernels removed from the cob
  • 1/2 bunch fresh basil, chopped fine
  • 4 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup self-rising unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt


In a medium-sized bowl, combine corn, basil, ricotta, eggs, flour and a pinch of black pepper.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.

Carefully add spoonfuls of the corn mixture to the hot pan.

Cook on both sides until golden brown. Remove cakes to a serving platter when they finish cooking.

Season with Kosher salt.

Serve with low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt on the side, if desired.

Dinner 3


Grilled Lamb Chops with Vegetable Bulgur

4 servings


  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup Bulgar wheat
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 lamb loin chops, cut 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 2 teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning, divided
  • Olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups small spinach leaves 
  • One 7 ounce jar roasted red sweet peppers, drained and coarsely chopped


In a medium saucepan combine broth, bulgur and onion. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

Stir 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning, the spinach and roasted peppers into the bulgur mixture. Cover and keep warm.

Preheat an outdoor grill to high and oil the grill grates. Turn off one side of the grill for indirect cooking.

Trim fat from the meat. Brush the chops with olive oil and sprinkle the meat with 1 teaspoon of the lemon-pepper seasoning.

Start the lamb on the indirect side of the grill. When the meat reaches 110°F for medium-rare on an instant read meat thermometer, moved the chops to the hot side of the grill.

They’ll quickly sear and come up to the desired temperature of 120°—130°F. Let them rest for 10 minutes off the grill on a platter before serving.

To serve: Divide bulgur mixture among 4 dinner plates. Top each with a grilled lamb chop.


Cucumber Salad

Serves 4


  • 2 large or 3 medium cucumbers, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt  
  • 1/3 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper


Halve cucumbers lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Slice crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick pieces.

Place the cucumber slices in a colander set over a bowl and toss with the salt; let stand 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, dill, vinegar and pepper.

Remove cucumbers from the colander and pat dry with paper towels.

Add to the bowl with the yogurt dressing; toss to combine and serve with the grilled lamb chops.

Dinner 4


Pasta with Shrimp and Seasonal Vegetables

Bread sticks would be great with this dinner.

4 servings


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen medium wild caught shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil,  divided
  • 8 ounces fresh, small, thin green beans, trimmed
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 4 oz linguine pasta


Cook the pasta according to directions for al dente. Drain.

For the sauce:

In a small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon peel, lemon juice and capers. Set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the green beans and Italian seasoning to the skillet; cook and stir for 3 minutes.

Add shrimp; cook and stir about 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Add tomatoes; cook for 1 minute more. Add the cooked pasta and the sauce. Toss gently and serve.

Dinner 5


Grilled Sweet Potato Packets


  • 1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 (24 x 12-inch) sheet nonstick aluminum foil
  • Half of a 10 oz bag of frozen sweet potato fries (such as Alexia brand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese


Preheat the grill to high and oil the grates. Turn off one of the burners for indirect cooking.

Place peppers and onions in the center of the foil sheet. Top with the sweet potatoes, seasoned salt, pepper and cheese.

Bring up foil sides; double-fold the top and the ends to seal the package.

Place on the grill (seam side up) over indirect heat; grill 30 minutes or until the fries are hot and the cheese is melted.

Grilled Steak with Artichoke Topping


  • 1 (7.5-oz) jar marinated artichokes, undrained and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 lbs sirloin steak, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


Combine artichokes, onions and garlic in a small skillet. Heat on low and, then, keep warm until the steaks are cooked.

About 10 minutes before the potatoes are cooked, plan on cooking the steaks on the direct side of the grill.

Season the steaks with salt and pepper.

Place the steaks on the direct side of the grill and cook 5 minutes; turn and cook 3-4 minutes more minutes or until the temperature of the meat reaches 125°F on an instant read meat thermometer for medium rare.

Remove steaks from the grill and place them on a serving platter. Let stand 5 minutes; slice and top with the warm artichoke mixture.


Are you bored from eating the same things for dinner week after week? One of the best ways to add variety and interest to your meals is to experiment with ingredients you haven’t used before or use your favorites in a new way. Add different seasonings and herbs to change your old recipes. Try new combinations of ingredients. Hopefully, the recipes below will inspire you.


Mediterranean-Style Snapper

Serve this entrée with cooked orzo pasta or couscous and sautéed green beans.

4 servings


  • 8 small cloves garlic
  • Half of a 6 1/2 ounce jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup pitted mixed green olives
  • Four 5 ounce red snapper fillets with skin or other firm-flesh white fish
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Fresh oregano leaves
  • 8 whole Pepperoncini (Italian pickled peppers)


Peel the garlic cloves and with the side of a wide knife smash garlic.

Drain 2 tablespoons of oil from the sun dried tomatoes and heat the oil in extra-large skillet.

Add sun dried tomatoes, olives and garlic to the hot oil. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until garlic is golden. Use a slotted spoon to the remove the tomato-olive mixture. Leave the oil in the skillet to cook the fish. Set aside the tomato-olive mixture.

Rinse and pat fish dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Cook fish, skin side down, in the hot oil 5 minutes for each 1/2 inch thickness of fish or until the skin is golden and crisp and the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, turning once halfway through cooking. Remove skin, if desired.

To serve, top fish with tomato-olive mixture, cheese, chopped fresh oregano and pepperoncini.


Spicy Grilled Steak & Sweet Potatoes

Cook the sweet potatoes and onions in a foil packet alongside the steak on the grill. Serve with steamed fresh spinach.

2 servings


  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 ounces sirloin, rib-eye or strip steak, trimmed and cut into 2 portions
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • Cooking spray


Preheat grill to high and oil the grates.

Combine allspice, cumin, ginger, salt, cinnamon, coriander and cayenne in a medium bowl. Remove 2 1/4 teaspoons for the steak.

Sprinkle the steaks with 2 1/4 teaspoons of the spice mixture.

Add the sliced sweet potato and onion to the bowl with the remaining spice mixture along with the oil and orange zest; toss to coat.

Place two 24-inch sheets of foil on top of each other (the double layers will help protect the ingredients from burning). Generously coat the top piece with cooking spray.

Spread the sweet potato mixture in the center of the foil in a thin layer. Bring the short ends of foil together, fold over and pinch to seal. Pinch the seams together along the sides to seal the packet.

Place the packet on one side of the grill and cook, turning once, about 6 minutes per side.

Cook the steaks on the other side of the grill, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to serving plates and let rest while the foil packets finish cooking.

Open the packets (be careful of steam) and serve alongside the steaks with steamed spinach.


Linguine with Tomatoes, Zucchini and Herbs

Serve this dish with a mixed green salad and crusty Italian bread.

Serves 4


  • 1 pound fresh ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 small red chili pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 3 young, thin zucchini, sliced
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving


In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes with the basil, parsley, garlic, salt, chili and olive oil.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the linguine until al dente; drain well.

Add the linguine to the bowl with the tomato mixture along with the sliced zucchini and toss.

Add the 1/4 cup of grated cheese, toss again and serve in pasta bowls, passing more cheese at the table.


Lemony Chicken with Cucumber Salad

Serve this dish with warm pita bread

2 servings


For the salad:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • 2 medium tomatoes; chopped
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken:

  • 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for cooking
  • 3 garlic cloves; minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the salad

Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, honey and dill in a medium bowl. Add tomatoes, cucumber and feta cheese. Toss gently, season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes or up to a day.

For the chicken:

Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Use the back of a small spoon to press garlic and dill into the other ingredients.

Pour the marinade into a resealable plastic bag or small rimmed dish and add the chicken. Marinate 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium frying pan (with lid) over medium-high heat. As soon as the oil is hot, add the chicken. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until golden. Turn, reduce heat to low, then cover the pan with the lid. Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees F (74C) when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.

Transfer chicken to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Rest 5 minutes. Serve alongside the salad.


Grilled Pork Kabobs

Serve this dish with your favorite coleslaw or use the recipe below.

4 servings


  • 2/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces


Heat a gas or charcoal grill and oil the grill grates.

In a 1-quart saucepan, heat marmalade, rosemary and salt to boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; set aside.

In a 1-quart microwavable bowl, place sweet potato pieces and water. Cover loosely with a microwavable paper towel. Microwave on High 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once, just until potatoes are tender (do not overcook). Drain sweet potatoes and pat dry with a paper towel.

On each of eight 12 inch long metal skewers, carefully thread pork, sweet potatoes and zucchini, leaving 1/4-inch space between each piece.

Grill kabobs over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until the until pork is cooked., turning once and brushing with the marmalade glaze during the last 3 minutes.


Easy Healthy Coleslaw

This coleslaw is very refreshing with BBQ foods. It keeps well, covered in the refrigerator and should be made several hours in advance to allow the flavors to develop and the cabbage to soften.


  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 16 ounce bag (about 6¼ cups) of supermarket shredded cabbage and carrot slaw


In a glass measuring cup, combine Greek yogurt, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper and whisk until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Place slaw in a large bowl and pour the dressing mixture over the top. Stir to coat cabbage thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


Crostini is just another name for slices of bread that have been brushed with oil and baked until golden brown. Crostini make for an endless variety of near-instant hors d’oeuvres. Just spoon on your pick of toppings and watch the crostini disappear!

Crostini is the Italian word for “little toasts”. Crostini are believed to be a kind of Italian peasant food that originated in medieval times. The Italians, too poor to possess ceramic plates, preferred to eat their food by keeping it on the surface of slices of bread. The Italians, not a group to waste anything, often ate stale bread which had to be soaked in juices or wine in order to chew it properly.

Bruschetta and crostini are both bread preparations used in antipasti – but what is the difference?

The difference between bruschettas and crostini is the type of bread used. Bruschetta, from the Italian word “bruscare” meaning “to roast over coals”, is made by toasting whole, wide slices of a rustic Italian or sourdough type bread. Crostini are sliced from a smaller, round, finer-textured bread, more like a white bread baguette. In Italy you might find yourself offered an antipasto of four or five different crostini, no more than a couple of mouthfuls each, accompanied by some olives, but only one or two of the larger bruschetta would be plenty.


Some do’s and don’t I picked up from the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen to ensure successful crostini.

Not starting with good bread

The bread you use should be high quality; look for fresh baguettes, boules and hearty country bread, preferably from a local bakery (as opposed to supermarket brands). Texture is very important–it shouldn’t be too dense.

Slicing the bread too thick or thin

The bread needs to be thin enough to bite, but thick enough to support toppings -1/2-inch thick is just right.

Skipping the oil

Brush olive oil on each piece before toasting it. Why? It makes the surface of the bread less dry. And it just tastes better.

Over-toasting the bread

If the crostini are too hard, they will hurt your guests’ mouths and flake all over their clothes. The ideal texture: crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. To achieve it, bake, grill or broil bread over high heat, making sure to toast both sides. (If you cook on too low a heat, the bread will dehydrate and crumble upon first bite.) You’ll know it’s finished when the edges are browned but the center is lighter in color and still has a little spring to it.

Forgetting the flavor

Flavor your crostini right after toasting. Things you can rub on the bread: a raw garlic clove, a tomato half – cut side-down or a whole lemon or orange–rind. The crispy bread will pick up the fruit’s essential oils.

Going overboard with your topping

If you pile on the topping, it’s going to fall off when you bite into the crostini. You should be able to take bites without worrying about staining your shirt or dress.

Overdressing your topping

Wet topping = soggy bread. Use a slotted spoon when working with a wet topping (tomatoes, etc.) so that extra liquid is left behind. If using greens, dress them lightly.

How To Make Crostini Toasts

Using a serrated knife, cut one 8 ounce baguette diagonally into ½ inch slices. Makes about 20 slices.

Baked Crostini

Baked Crostini


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the bread on 2 large baking sheets and brush each slice on both sides with olive oil. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the bread are golden brown. Turn the slices over half way through the baking time. Let cool completely. Store at room temperature.


Grilled Crostini

Broiled Crostini

Broiled Crostini

Grill or Broil

Brush bread slices lightly on both sides with olive oil.

Grill for 15 to 20 seconds on each side, until lightly brown, then remove with tongs and set aside.

For broiling, position the rack so the slices are 2 inches from the flame and turn them over when the crostini start to brown at the edges.

Here are some of my favorite combinations. They are easy to prepare and are always a big hit when I entertain. The recipes are based on 20 slices of crostini.

Shrimp and Pesto

Cut 10 medium peeled and deveined shrimp in half lengthwise.

In a skillet saute 1 minced garlic clove and the shrimp in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until the shrimp turn pink.

Spread each crostini with homemade or store bought basil pesto. Place one shrimp half on each crostini and sprinkle each with shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Mediterranean Spread

Drain two 6 ounce jars of marinated artichoke hearts, reserving 2 tablespoons of the marinade.

Finely chop the artichokes and place in a mixing bowl with the reserved marinade.

Stir in ½ cup finely chopped sun dried tomatoes packed in oil and drained, 2 tablespoons pitted and chopped Kalamata olives and 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley.

Mix well and spread mixture on the crostini slices and sprinkle the top with feta cheese.


Rub crostini with a garlic clove or two as soon as they come out of the oven. Sprinkle each with a little balsamic vinegar.

Top each with the following

  • 1 slice of plum (Roma) tomato
  • 1 thin slice of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 fresh basil leaf

Grind fresh black pepper over each crostini.

Olive Orange Spread

In a food processor combine:

  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Pulse until coarsely chopped.

Spread on the crostini, top each with an orange segment and a small piece of arugula.

Roasted Red Pepper and Prosciutto

In a food processor combine one 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained, with a large pinch of cayenne pepper. Process until almost smooth.

Spread pepper mixture on the crostini.

Top with a piece of prosciutto and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake crostini until the cheese melts. Serve warm.

Cannellini Bean Spread

In a food processor coarsely process one drained 15 oz. can cannellini beans. Remove to a mixing bowl.

Stir in ¼ cup shredded zucchini, 2 tablespoons chopped green onions, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and ½ teaspoon coarse grained mustard.

Spread on crostini slices. Top each with a half of a grape tomato and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.

Cremini Mushroom Spread

Thinly slice 12 oz cremini mushrooms. In a skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook 3 minced garlic cloves for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook for 8-10 minutes until the mushrooms are tender.

Stir in 1/3 cup white wine. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or until wine evaporates. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread crostini with a thin layer of mascarpone cheese. Top with mushrooms and sprinkle with chopped fresh chives.

Caramelized Sweet Onions and Gorgonzola

Halve and thinly slice 3 sweet onions. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter. Add onions and cook, covered, on medium low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the onions turn golden. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon onions on the crostini and sprinkle with crumbled gorgonzola cheese.

Lemon Ricotta with Fruit and Honey

Stir together 1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese, 1 teaspoon shredded lemon peel and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Spread mixture on crostini.

Top each with thinly sliced fresh strawberries or figs.

Drizzle with honey and top each with a mint leaf.

What Are Your Favorite Toppings For Crostini?

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Summer may be nearing its end, school might be back in session (in the south, they are), but some of the best great weather is yet to come. These can, also, be the best grilling days of all. So, keep cooking outside. In fact, keep it outside start to finish. In other words, grill your entire meal outside next time you fire up your grill and especially for this weekend’s Labor Day get together. Some ideas to get you started are listed below:


Slice prepared polenta (available in most grocery stores). Brush with olive oil and grill on both sides. Top with chopped fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and shredded Parmesan cheese. Move to an indirect heat spot on the grill, lower the lid and heat until the cheese melts. Cool slightly and serve as a first course appetizer with an arugula salad.

Side dishes

Grilling vegetables brings out all the natural sweetness of the vegetables. Just about anything works.

Grilled corn: If you haven’t tried this yet, you must. Pick up freshly picked corn from the closest farmer’s stand. Pull husks back about half way and remove corn silk. Pull husks back up and soak ears of corn in cold, salted water for at least 30 minutes. Heat grill to high and place corn on the grill, turning every few minutes. The husks will get well charred. Cook 15 to 20 minutes. To serve, pull husks down, but don’t remove them – the husks form a handle for the corn.

Grilled potatoes: Slice long russet potatoes or sweet potatoes lengthwise to about 1/4-inch thick. Oil very lightly and season with salt and pepper (or seasoned salt). Grill over slightly indirect heat until softened.

Grilled green beans: Lightly toss green beans with olive oil, salt and pepper and place them on the grill ACROSS THE GRILL GRATES or use a grill basket. If you place them lined up with the grill grates, the beans will roll right through the grill. Let them char slightly, rolling them along to turn them and cook all over.


Garlic Bread: Slice good, hearty Italian bread into 1/2-inch thick slices. Grill both sides until toasted. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and rub with a garlic clove. Add a grating of Parmesan. (This is the classic base for a good bruschetta, too! Just top garlic rubbed toasts with chopped tomato tossed with fresh basil.)


Grill slices of angel food cake or pound cake, homemade or store-bought. Top the grilled cake with a scoop of frozen low-fat yogurt or ice cream. Add toppings, if you like, (caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, fresh summer fruits).

Grill slices of fresh pineapple. Sprinkle with a little brown sugar, lower the grill lid and let the sugar melt lightly. This is also great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Labor Day Menu On The Grill For 8

Appetizer Course

Grilled Arugula Bruschetta

Makes: 8 servings


  • 1 loaf crusty Italian bread, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices (16 slices)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese 
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped arugula
  • 8 tablespoons basil pesto
  • Cucumber rounds and slices of lime to serve on the side


For a charcoal grill, grill bread over medium coals for 2 to 3 minutes per side or or until lightly toasted. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place bread on grill rack; grill as above.) Remove bread slices from the grill.

Rub one side of each toast with garlic; brush with olive oil. On each slice of toast layer 1/2 tablespoon pesto, 1 tablespoon arugula and 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese.

Return bruschetta to grill; grill for 5 minutes more or until cheese starts to melts and remove to a serving platter containing cucumber rounds and slices of lime.


Main Course


Grilled Chicken with Apricot-Balsamic Glaze

This simple glazed chicken is perfect for a small cookout. The glaze has just the right amount of sweetness and can be made ahead. To get the mix of thighs, drumsticks and breasts, you’ll need to buy two whole chickens and cut them into parts yourself or you can look in your store’s display case for bone-in parts that are about the same size—legs about 5 oz. each, thighs about 6 oz. and breast halves about a pound each.

Serves 8


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves (preferably without corn syrup)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil for the grill
  • Two 4-lb chickens, each cut into 8 pieces, or 5 to 6 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, drumsticks and breasts, each breast half cut into two pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper


In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the preserves, vinegar, red pepper flakes, rosemary and a large pinch of salt; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. (If making ahead, store covered in the refrigerator. Before using, warm over low heat or microwave to loosen the consistency.)

Prepare a medium gas or charcoal grill fire. Using a stiff wire brush, scrub the cooking grate thoroughly. Dip a folded paper towel into vegetable oil and, using tongs, rub it over the grill grate.

Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Set the parts skin side down on the grill. Cook, covered, until the skin is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stay near the grill, especially during the first 10 minutes, to manage any flare-ups, by moving pieces out of the way. If the chicken is browning too quickly, turn the heat down slightly or close the vents partially. Flip the chicken and cook until an instant-read thermometer reads 165°F in the thickest part of each piece, 5 to 10 minutes more. The thighs, legs and thinner breast pieces will cook a little faster than the thicker breast pieces. Transfer each piece to a platter when done and tent with foil.

When all the chicken is done, brush it with the glaze on all sides. Return the chicken to the grill and cook for another minute or so on each side to caramelize the glaze. Brush the chicken with any remaining glaze and serve.

Grilled Herbed Fingerling Potatoes

Serves 8


  • 2 lbs fingerling potatoes, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste


Light the gas or charcoal grill. Combine potatoes and herbs in a large bowl.

Combine oil and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle over the potatoes and toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Arrange the potatoes on a large piece of heavy duty foil and fold the edges to make a packet. (You can also make two separate packets, if that fits better on your grill.)

Place the foil packet on a hot grill over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, turning and shaking every 5 minutes.

Grilled Zucchini Salad with Mozzarella and Dill

Makes: 8servings


  • 6 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch planks
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, pulled into large pieces
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely snipped fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


On a baking sheet arrange zucchini in a single layer. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

For a charcoal grill, grill zucchini directly over medium coals about 8 minutes or until tender, turning once. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat. Place zucchini on grill grate over direct heat. Cover and grill as directed.)

On a serving platter arrange grilled zucchini and mozzarella. Sprinkle with dill and crushed red pepper. Drizzle with lemon juice and the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Dessert Course

Chocolate-Sauced Kabobs

Makes: 8 servings


  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1/3 cup butter or butter alternative, such as Smart Balance
  • 3/4 cups sugar or sugar alternative, such as Truvia
  • 3/4 cups canned evaporated milk 
  • 3 medium ripe nectarines or peaches
  • 1/4 of a pineapple
  • 3 ripe bananas, peeled
  • 8 whole strawberries, stemmed


For sauce, melt chocolate pieces and butter in a small saucepan over low heat or on the side of your gas grill, if you have a side burner. Add the sugar. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cook and stir over low heat for 8 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.

Remove pits from nectarines or peaches; cut fruit into wedges. Cut the pineapple and bananas into 1-inch chunks. Alternately thread the peaches or nectarines, pineapple and bananas on eight 12-inch-long skewers. Add one strawberry to each skewer.

Grill kabobs about 5 minutes, turning once. To serve, push fruit from skewers onto dessert plates. Drizzle with the warm chocolate sauce. 


The aroma fills the neighborhood and that distinctive sizzling sound can mean only one thing – it’s grilling season. But while you’re enjoying those burgers, be mindful to keep your meals healthy for your heart. A burger doesn’t always have to be fattening or even made of beef.

Here are seven heart-smart choices along with tips for better-tasting burgers.

Grass-Fed Beef: Less fatty than corn-fed beef and the meat of pasture-raised cattle produces a lean hamburger with a clean, mineral flavor. You can add a bit of fat, such as olive oil, to your blend for more flavor. Choose ground round or sirloin–they’re lower in fat.

Bison is one of the leanest meats and very high in protein. But it is the amount of protein you get in bison meat, without the saturated fat, that makes this a great alternative to regular beef. Bison is a great source of nutrients: zinc, niacin, iron, vitamin B6 and selenium. Because bison meat is leaner than beef, it can easily become tough, if you overcook it. Adding a marinade can help keep the meat moist. Try marinades with ingredients such as balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh rosemary or soy sauce, garlic and ginger. 

Chicken and Turkey: More supermarket space is now devoted to ground turkey and chicken. The trick is finding the lower-fat versions to make burgers. Some ground turkey breast can be 99% fat free. In addition, ground poultry breast can have fewer calories than a typical ground-beef burger. When buying chicken or turkey for patties, ask the butcher to grind boneless, skinless breast meat. Some prepackaged ground turkey and chicken may contain dark meat or skin, which can increase the amount of fat.

Soy: Made with soy protein, these patties are great-tasting meat substitutes. Although no meat is in soy burgers, they can still have a beefy flavor. Soy burgers are lower in saturated fat, calories and cholesterol than beef patties–plus they often provide fiber. Because the texture isn’t the same as regular burgers, try dressing them up with flavorful condiments.

Veggie: Often a mix of brown rice and other grains, vegetable patties won’t necessarily taste the same as grilled meat. However, a veggie burger on a whole wheat bun with a slice of tomato and cheese is a nutritional powerhouse. Some veggie patties can be a mere 90 calories, meaning they’ll satisfy appetites without expanding waistlines. Unlike some other on-the-bun options, veggie burgers can also supply fiber. Opt for mustard, which adds additional flavor without many calories.

Portobello Mushroom: This thick, hearty mushroom is about 4 to 6 inches in diameter, conveniently sized for a bun. It has a firm texture that feels similar to a beef burger. However, portobello mushrooms won’t have the same char-grilled flavor as meat. Zero fat and incredibly few calories–only seven calories per ounce–make this mushroom a great choice. Marinate mushrooms in a low-fat Caesar or Italian salad dressing for a few hours to add flavor. Grill for about five minutes on each side.

Venison: Deer meat can be a lean option for grilling season as well. Because the meat is low in fat, it may taste drier than a beef patty. Some people also experience a “gamey” flavor from this meat. With about half the fat of a beef burger, venison offers about the same amount of protein. Because venison may seem a bit drier than ground beef, mix in some tomato or barbecue sauce to moisten the patties.

Additional tips for making just about any burger more heart healthy.

1. Use caution with toppers. If you’re trying to reduce fat and calories, stick with veggie additions like tomato, lettuce, mushrooms and peppers on your burger. Use low-fat cheeses and spreads such as mustard, ketchup and barbecue sauce. If you want bacon on your burger opt for turkey bacon.

2. Choose whole grains. By using a bun made with whole grain, you can easily fulfill one of your three daily servings of whole grains.

3. Trim patty size. Think thin and small to keep calories down.

4. Mix meats. If you crave the taste of ground beef in your burgers but want a healthier option, mix half ground sirloin beef and half turkey breast.

Forming A Burger

Don’t pack the meat too much: overworking it can cause the burger to become overly dense and tough. Gather the meat into a loose ball and set it on a work surface. Curl the palms of your hands around the sides of the patty and work it back and forth in a rotating motion so that the sides of the patty flatten slightly. Then gently press down on the top of the patty with the flat of your hand.

An ice cream scoop is a great tool for perfectly sizing the burgers into healthy portions.

Thick burger patties tend to puff up in the middle while they cook. Making a depression in the top of the patty using the back of a measuring spoon or your thumb, helps a burger hold its shape.

Keep the meat cold (it helps to wet your hands with cold water) and handle it as little as possible when shaping patties. Over-handling “bruises” the meat and compressing the meat too much will lead to dense, dry burgers. Make the burgers a few hours ahead of time and chill them on a plate covered with plastic wrap. This firms up the burger and helps it hold together during grilling. Leave them in the refrigerator until the last minute or place them on a sheet pan over another sheet pan filled with ice.


Grilling A Burger

1. Build a medium-hot charcoal fire (the coals are ready when they’re fully ashed over but are still hot enough that you can’t hold your hand an inch above them for more than 2 seconds).

2. For Gas Grill: Heat your grill to high heat, about 450°F or until you can hold your hand an inch over the grate for only two seconds.

3. Lightly brush the burgers on both sides with oil just before grilling. This helps prevent sticking and adds an extra layer of flavor. You’ll also need to practice good grill hygiene by heating, scraping and oiling the grill’s grate prior to grilling.

4. Do not press on a burger with a spatula while it’s grilling, All this does is squeeze out the juices onto the fire.

5. After about two minutes on the grill, give the patty a quarter-turn to get grill marks. After that, aim to flip the burger only one time. When the edges begin to brown or you see a few little pearls of blood bleeding through the top, the meat’s ready to turn over.

6. Do not overcrowd the grill. Follow the Steve Raichlen’s “30 percent” rule—leave 30 percent of your grill free of food. That way, if you get flare-ups, you have a place to move the burgers if they start to burn.

7. Make sure your burger’s cooked. While rare burgers may be tasty to some, you don’t want your burger to make you sick. 

8. Let the burgers rest, off the grill grate, for a couple of minutes before serving. This allows the meat to “relax,” giving you a juicier burger.

The Basic Burger

Yield: 8 burgers

  • 3 pounds ground beef of choice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 8 hamburger rolls, split, toasted
  • Cheese and condiments
  • Classic Burger Sauce or Spicy Ketchup or Blue Cheese Onion Topping , recipes below


1. Combine beef, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gently blend with a fork. Use moistened hands to form 8 3/4-inch-thick patties (about 6 ounces each). Brush the burgers well on both sides with olive oil.

2. Heat grill and grease the grilling grates. Grill burgers over moderate heat (about 5 inches from heat source) on one side for 4 minutes. Carefully turn and cook on other side for about 4 minutes for medium-rare burgers. Serve on warm buns, topped as desired.

Classic Burger Sauce

Makes About 1/4 Cup


  • 2 tablespoons lowfat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Mix all ingredients and chill.

Spicy Ketchup


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce


Mix ketchup with prepared horseradish and 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste. Serve chilled.

Burger Blue Cheese Onion Topping


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled


To make the onions: Heat butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion until soft, about 8 minutes. Add vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until onions are slightly caramelized, about 7 minutes more. Remove from the pan and reserve.

Top each burger with 1 oz. of blue cheese and continue to cook until just melted, about 2 minutes. Divide cheese-topped burgers between toasted buns, top with onions and serve.

The Caprese Burger

  • 1 recipe Basic Burger, above
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups packed basil leaves (about 4 oz.), plus 8 large leaves for serving
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 8 slices
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 hamburger rolls, split, toasted
  • Pesto Mayo, optional, recipe below


Prepare burgers as recipe directs and refrigerate patties until ready to cook.

Place pine nuts and garlic in a food processor. Add oil; pulse to chop. Add 4 cups basil leaves, Parmesan and salt. Process until finely chopped, stopping and scraping sides of bowl once or twice. (Makes 3/4 cup pesto.)

Grill or broil burgers as recipe directs. Top with mozzarella during the last minute of cooking time.

Spread buns with pesto. Place burgers on buns and serve topped with a slice of tomato and a large basil leaf, assorted toppings and Pesto Mayo, if desired.

Pesto Mayo


  • 1 cup lowfat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon prepared pesto
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


Mix mayonnaise with prepared pesto and lemon zest. Chill before serving.

Parmesan Bison Burgers with Balsamic Ketchup

Serves 4 


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground bison
  • 1 ounce grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns, toasted
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 4 thin slices red onion
  • 4 tablespoons Balsamic Ketchup, see recipe below


1. Preheat grill to high heat.

2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Divide bison mixture into 4 equal portions, gently shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Press a nickel-sized indentation in the center of each patty.

3. Place patties on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

4. Place bottom bun halves on plates. Top each with 1/4 cup arugula, 1 onion slice and 1 patty. Spread 1 tablespoon balsamic ketchup on top half of each bun; place on top of burgers.

Balsamic Ketchup

Refrigerate extra ketchup in an airtight ­container for up to a week or freeze in small batches.


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pounds small tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)


1. Preheat oven to 325° F.

2. Combine oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and tomatoes in a large bowl; toss gently to coat. Arrange tomatoes, skin side down, on a wire rack set inside a jelly-roll pan. Bake for 3 hours. Cool slightly; peel. Discard peels.

3. Combine tomatoes, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, basil and remaining ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.

Chicken Caesar Burgers

Makes: 6 servings


  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut up
  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut up
  • 1 medium onion, cut up
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 2 anchovy fillets, drained and patted dry (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 3 medium roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 6 ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup homemade or bottled reduced fat Caesar salad dressing


In a food processor combine chicken breast halves, chicken thighs, onion, grated Parmesan cheese, parsley and, if desired, anchovies. Cover and process with several on/off turns until coarsely ground and slightly sticky. Shape into six 4-inch patties. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Brush both sides of each patty with oil; season to taste with salt and pepper. For a charcoal or gas grill, grease grill rack of a covered grill. Grill patties directly over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until 165 degrees F, turning once halfway through grilling.

To serve, place a lettuce leaf and tomato slices on the bottom of each roll. Top each with a chicken patty. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Spread roll tops with salad dressing. Place roll tops, dressing side down, on burgers.

Note: The internal color of a burger is not a reliable doneness indicator. A chicken or turkey patty cooked to 165 degrees F is safe, regardless of color. To measure the doneness of a patty, insert an instant-read thermometer through the side of the patty to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.

Grilled Portobello Burgers

4 Servings


  • 4 large portobello mushrooms (4 to 4-1/2 inches), stems removed
  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette, divided
  • 4 slices red onion
  • 1 cup roasted sweet red peppers, drained
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 4 kaiser rolls, split
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise


Brush mushrooms with 4 tablespoons vinaigrette. Grill mushrooms and onion, covered, over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until tender. Top mushrooms with red peppers, onion and cheese.

Grill, covered, 2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Grill rolls, uncovered, for 1-2 minutes or until toasted.

Spread roll bottoms with mayonnaise and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Top with mushrooms; replace roll tops.

Glazed Salmon Burgers

Makes: 6 servings


  • 2 pounds fresh or frozen skinless, boneless salmon fillets
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons chili sauce (hot or sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus extra for grilling
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage with carrot (coleslaw mix)
  • 6 sesame seed hamburger buns, split and toasted
  • 1 cup thinly sliced seedless cucumber


Pat salmon dry with paper towels. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Place salmon, half at a time, in a food processor. Cover and process until finely chopped.

In a large bowl combine egg, green onions, salt and black pepper. Add chopped salmon; mix gently until combined. Using damp hands, shape mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine mayonnaise and 3 tablespoons chili sauce. Cover and chill until needed.

For slaw: in a large bowl whisk together 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Add shredded cabbage toss to coat.

Lightly brush both sides of salmon patties with additional canola oil.

For a charcoal or gas grill, place patties on the greased rack of a covered grill directly over medium heat. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes or until done (160 degrees F).

To serve, spread cut sides of buns with mayonnaise mixture. Fill with salmon burgers, slaw and cucumber slices.

Bulgur Veggie Burgers


  • 1/2 cup chopped onion, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for brushing
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup walnuts (2 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed parsley sprigs
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 4 slices multi-grain bread, toasted


Cook 1/4 cup onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add bulgur and water and cook, covered, over low heat until water is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in beans and soy sauce.

Pulse bulgur mixture, walnuts, garlic, parsley, turmeric, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and remaining onion in a food processor until finely chopped.

Form rounded 1/2 cups of mixture into 4 (3 1/2-inch-diameter) patties. Chill at least 10 minutes. Uncooked patties can be chilled, covered, up to 4 hours.

While patties chill, stir together mayonnaise, zest and lime juice.

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas). Put a perforated grill sheet on grill and preheat 10 minutes.(Or use heavy duty foil and poke holes in it with a large fork at regular intervals.)

Brush patties all over with olive oil.

Oil grill sheet or spray foil with cooking spray, then grill burgers on grill sheet or foil, covered, carefully turning once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes total.

Serve burgers open-faced on toast with lime mayonnaise.

Heavy Duty Foil Sheet

Grill Pan


Grilling vegetables is not difficult. The general rule is to cut the vegetables into pieces that will cook quickly and evenly. All pieces should be of consistent thickness and no more than about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Brush lightly with oil to prevent sticking. Do not overcook and you’ll have vegetables better than you thought possible. If you like grilling vegetables and want to try smaller things use a grilling basket to keep them out of the fire.

Some Guidelines in Grilling Vegetables

Asparagus: Cut off ends. Soak in water for 30 minutes to an hour. Pat dry and brush with olive oil. Place on grill, turning every minute. Remove when tips start to turn brown. You can add some extra flavor to asparagus by mixing a little sesame oil in the olive oil before you brush them.

Bell Peppers: Cut through the middle of the pepper top to bottom. Remove stems, seeds and whitish ribs. Brush lightly with oil and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Chili Peppers: Brush with oil. Grill whole on each side, 2-3 minutes. To reduce the heat, cut off the stems and pull out the seeds.

Corn on the cob: Gently pull back the husks but don’t remove. Remove the silk and cut off the very end. Soak in cold water for about 30 minutes. Dry and brush with butter. Fold the husks back down and tie or twist the ends. Place on grill for about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn to avoid burning.

Eggplant: Cut lengthwise for smaller eggplants or in disks from top to bottom for larger eggplants. Soak in water for 30 minutes. Pat dry, brush with oil and grill 2-3 minutes.

Garlic: Take whole bulbs and cut off the root end. Brush with olive oil and place cut side down over a hit fire. Grill garlic bulbs for about 10 minutes or until the skin is brown.

Mushrooms: Rinse off dirt and pat dry. Brush with oil and grill. 4-5 minutes for small mushrooms, 6-8 minutes. Use a grill basket or skewers for small mushrooms.

Onions: Remove skin and cut horizontally about 1/2 inch thick. Brush with oil and grill 3-4 minutes.

Potatoes: There are many ways to grill potatoes. You can do them whole for a baked potato or cut into wedges Brush wedges with olive oil, and grill until browned. Rub whole potatoes with oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and grill 35-40 minutes, turning occasionally.

Tomatoes: Cut in half, top to bottom. Brush with a light coating of oil and grill cut side down 2-3 minutes.

Zucchini and Small Squash: Slice 1/2 inch thickness. Brush with oil and grill 2-3 minutes per side. Small squash can be cut down the middle and grilled.

Grilled Eggplant and Tomatoes with Parmesan-Basil Crumbs

Serve with Grilled Corn on the Cob and a Green Garden Salad.

Servings: 10


  • 2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs or Italian flavored panko crumbs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 pounds eggplant, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 tomatoes, sliced 1 inch thick


Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread the bread crumbs on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil; toss well. Bake for 8 minutes, until the bread crumbs are crisp and golden brown. Transfer the bread crumbs to a medium bowl and toss with the basil and cheese.

Light a grill. Brush the eggplant slices with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat until charred and tender, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the eggplant to a platter, fanning them out. Brush the tomatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat until charred and hot, about 1 minute per side.

Arrange the tomato slices over the eggplant and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top.

Grilled Vegetables With Ravioli

Tasty grilled vegetables and pasta – that’s ready in 25 minutes.

Makes 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic-pepper blend, such as Mrs. Dash
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 small zucchini, cut lengthwise in half
  • 2 medium bell peppers (any color), cut lengthwise in half and seeded
  • 1 small red onion, quartered
  • 1 package (9 oz) cheese refrigerated ravioli or 1 package (9 oz) refrigerated fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese


Heat gas or charcoal grill and oil grill rack with cooking spray or brush with vegetable oil. In small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of the oil, the garlic-pepper blend and salt. Brush on cut sides of zucchini, bell peppers and onion.

Place vegetables, cut side down, on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 10 to 12 minutes, turning once and brushing occasionally with oil mixture, or until each kind of vegetable is tender, removing from grill when done.

While vegetables are grilling, cook ravioli as directed on package. Drain and return to saucepan; keep warm.

Cut zucchini crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Cut bell peppers into slices. Separate onion into pieces. Add vegetables to ravioli in saucepan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the basil and thyme; toss and heat through. Sprinkle with cheese.

Grilled Vegetable Salad

This grilled vegetable salad is ready in 25 minutes – perfect for dinner. Serve with a light soup and a really good loaf of bread.

Makes 4 servings


  • 1/4 cup salad dressing, see recipe below
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 large Portabella mushrooms, cut into fourths
  • 4 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 medium bell peppers (any color), cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into fourths
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese


Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.

In small bowl, mix dressing and parsley; set aside. Brush mushrooms, summer squash and bell peppers with oil.

Place mushrooms, summer squash and bell peppers in grill basket or directly on grill rack.

Cover and grill over MEDIUM heat 5 to 7 minutes, shaking basket or stirring or turning vegetables occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender.

To serve, arrange mushrooms around edge of serving platter and remaining grilled vegetables in center; sprinkle with tomatoes.

Drizzle dressing over vegetables. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve at room temperature.

Salad Dressing

Makes about 1/2 cup. 


  • 1/2 small clove garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Place garlic and salt in a medium bowl and mash with the back of a spoon to form a paste. Add lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, anchovy paste, and pepper; whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Add cheese and whisk to combine.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Quick Grilled Vegetables Over Polenta

4 servings


  • 1/2 of a small eggplant (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 small zucchini (about 4 oz.)
  • 1 small fennel bulb (about 6 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • One 16 ounce tube plain refrigerated cooked polenta, cut into 12 slices
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • One 14 1/2 ounce can diced Italian tomatoes 


Peel the eggplant, if desired. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, and fennel crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. In a small bowl combine the oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Brush the vegetables with about half of the oil mixture, reserving remaining oil mixture for the polenta.

Preheat an outdoor grill on high setting. Arrange half the vegetables on a greased grill rack. Grill 6 to 8 minutes until vegetables are crisp-tender and grill marks appear, turning once. Remove vegetables from the grill rack or pan; set aside. Repeat with remaining vegetables.

Brush the polenta slices with the reserved oil mixture. Place the polenta slices on the grill rack. Grill 5 to 10 minutes or until heated through and lightly browned, turning once.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan heat the undrained tomatoes and the garlic until boiling. Add the grilled vegetables. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or to desired consistency, stirring occasionally.

To serve, place 3 polenta slices in each shallow bowl or on each dinner plate; spoon the vegetable mixture over the polenta.

Grilled Pizzas with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Serves 4


  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), thick ends removed
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (oil-packed), thinly sliced, plus 3 tablespoons oil from jar
  • 1 pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough, thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup ricotta


Heat grill to medium. In a large bowl, combine asparagus, scallions, and 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 6 to 9 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut asparagus and scallions into thirds.

Brush a large baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the sun-dried tomato oil. On a lightly floured work surface, divide dough in half. Roll or stretch to form two 9-inch ovals. Transfer to prepared sheet, and brush with remaining tablespoon sun-dried tomato oil.

Transfer dough pieces to grill. Cook until undersides are firm and beginning to char, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs or a large spatula, transfer crusts, grilled side up, back to baking sheet.

Dividing evenly, top crusts with ricotta, then asparagus, scallions, and sun-dried tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Slide back onto grill and cook, rotating occasionally, until crusts are cooked through and cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer pizzas to a cutting board, cut in half, and serve.

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