From The Nutritionist

kate-williams, RD, LD
Guest Author:
Kate Williams, RD, LD

I have a grill, but I am afraid to use it!

It's that time of year; the sweet smell of spring is in the air, along with the allure of longer days. I want to be outside as much as possible (after an allergy pill of course)! What comes to my mind is it's time to open the back porch and head out on the deck. In my opinion, there is nothing that tastes better than grilled food. I have always felt comfortable in the kitchen, but grilling is a step outside of my culinary comfort zone. I am determined that this barbecue season will be different! Plus, I can keep an eye on the kids while cooking outside! It's simply a win-win.

I know when I start anything new, I feel a bit nervous and I expect many of you do too. I decided to take advantage of some resources at my disposal. I began to page through some of my husband's collection of grilling books, explore recipes on Campbell's Kitchen® and pose some of my most pressing questions to Campbell's own chef Bryan Cozzi. Chef Cozzi shared a presentation he did on grilling. And while I learned a lot, he provided me some additional, specific tips that were very helpful.

My Grill Choice

There are many things to consider when choosing a grill – cost, convenience, and taste, to name a few. I remember when I was little my dad used to comment about how a charcoal grill was the only "real" grill, however, now we both have gas grills, let's face it - sometimes we need to get meals on the table a bit faster. Charcoal grills are typically cheaper and deliver a more authentic smoky flavor, but take longer. For me, convenience was a top priority, so a propane/gas grill was the best choice. Once I get more experienced, maybe I will consider a charcoal grill that imparts a deeper smoky flavor.

My Menu

I put out some munchies for the kids – Bolthouse Farms® Organic Baby Carrots and Caesar Parmigiano Yogurt Dressing. What did I select as my first grill grub? Grilled Skewered Shrimp, made with Pace® Picante Sauce, caught my eye on the Campbell's Kitchen® website. In addition, I wanted to grill fruit. I picked a chilled side dish, Quinoa & Pepper Pilaf, made with Swanson® Vegetable Broth, so I could make it ahead and not have to worry about going in and out of the house. Once I was out, I wanted to stay out! I brushed the sliced peaches, mangoes and strawberries with olive oil to add flavor (and I read this helps prevent sticking to the grid).

Adding Flavor to Food

Since I am a novice, I asked the chef to advise me on just 3 ways to impart flavor:

  • Rubs – a mixture of herbs, spices, and seasonings, a rub is massaged into meat or poultry before grilling.
  • Marinades – to soak food in a seasoned liquid mixture which usually includes an acid.
  • Compound butters - butter combined with herbs or other seasonings.

Once I had all of my prep work done, I was ready to head out, then what?

Step one

I opened the lid before I lit the grill. According to Chef Bryan, gas grills generally need to preheat for 10- 15 minutes with the burners on high and the cover closed before cooking. Chef tip: Remember to oil the grid to get those great grill marks!

Direct vs. Indirect Heat

Lucky for me this is pretty much what it sounded like – direct heat (food is placed right above the fire) is best for cooking thin, tender foods like shrimp, boneless chicken breast, hamburgers and tenderloin. With indirect heat, food is placed on grill area not directly over fire. I placed the skewered fruit to the side of the grid (indirect heat). Chef Bryan explains, "By closing the lid & opening the vents, air is sucked into the grill forcing the hot air inside to circulate. This method works best for large, tough, fatty meats like whole chickens, pork shoulder or spare ribs."

Clean Up

Chef Bryan gave me some pointers for after my food is done. "When you're through grilling allow the grill to "Burn Off" any stuck on food by turning up the heat on high for 10 minutes or so. Then brush the grid thoroughly so you're ready for the next time you grill. (Note: not recommended with porcelain- coated grills)"

Grinning about grillin'

Grilling was fun, delicious and quite frankly - practical. Without a doubt the grill will be an exciting and delicious part of my warm weather cooking routine. I cannot wait to pick my next barbecue menu. Soon enough I will be confident enough to serve guests, not just my family!

Get Grilling,

Kate

Photo Diary –


Kate's Bio

Kate received her bachelor's degree in dietetics from the University of Delaware and completed her dietetic internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She has over ten years of experience in a variety of nutrition-related practice areas including clinical nutrition, weight management counseling, health and wellness and nutrition education. Kate has worked as a nutrition consultant to the Campbell Soup Company since 2005.

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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.