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Calorie Count Blog

Get Ready to Grill

By clairelaine on May 22, 2009 12:00 PM in Recipes

Memorial Day weekend is here, and many of us mark the beginning of the summer season by dusting off the grill and cooking outdoors. Even here, in my modern apartment building, we have a charcoal grill for tenants to use.  I love the taste of grilled food, and I'm constantly surprised by the ingenious recipes of Calorie Count members.  We can rise out of the ho-hum of burgers and chicken wings with their high fat and sodium, and take our grilling to a new, healthy level.

Everyone has their favorite marinades and cooking methods, whether the grill is gas or charcoal, or an open camp fire. We're going to step away from the ordinary and explore the variety of all the foods available to us.  Are you ready to take the heat out of the kitchen and out onto the grill?

The basics of grilling are simple, but important.  First, begin with an immaculately clean grill.  You don't want the flavors of past things to haunt your food.  No matter what kind of grill or fuel you are using, the grill must be preheated before you begin.  Allow charcoal to burn down so that it is covered with fine white ash with no black spots showing.  This step is what imparts the distinctive grill marks and sears the food to seal in the juices.

Here are great grilling tips from Barbecue & Grilling FAQ.

You can grill just about any food, as long as it's in large enough pieces.  You can even grill strips of vegetables or asparagus if you use this tip:  Place a stainless steel cake cooling rack crosswise on the grill and preheat it.

We think you'll have fun cooking and eating our featured recipes, all contributed by Calorie Count members:

  • Lime Grilled Fish with Salsa - Such a simple recipe with only 3 ingredients, but lively with Southwestern flavor.  The lime juice is just enough to bring out the sweetness of the firm flavored fish.

  • Grilled Ginger Pork with Grilled Tomatoes - Marinated overnight, The pork is tender and succulent, and won't dry out on the grill.  Richly flavored with rosemary and sherry, the addition of fresh ginger and hot red pepper give this pork something special.  The grilled tomato halves are simple and the perfect accompaniment.
  • Honey Grilled Chicken Breast - Quick marination is the secret to success with this recipe.  Chicken breast is notoriously hard to keep moist on the grill, but the marinade does the job.  Flavors of citrus, ginger and garlic add spark.


I love grilling- we do asparagus on the grill all the time- soaking it in fat free italian dressing for a few hours before grilling it brings out a great flavor Laughing

Here are more recipes, featured in today's newsletter

Pretty Chicken Marinade

This is a great chicken marinade! Allow chicken to marinate for no longer than 4 hours, because the lemon juice will begin to cook the chicken. When grilled, the chicken turns a beautiful caramel color, which makes great presentation... continue reading


Tuscan Grilled Mushrooms

Meaty large mushrooms, flavored with Italian dressing and stuffed with feta cheese... continue reading


Grilled Pineapple Salsa

The perfect side dish with any grilled meat. Grilling the pineapple before combining with peppers, onions and cilantro, adds a wonderful smoky undertone... continue reading

For those of you on sodium restriction, a friend gave me a great tip.  She said beware of "fat free" or "low fat" items and sodium.  So, compare your regular item to the fat free one (this can be done at the store) the "fat free" will have more sodium than the regular one, in just about every case, even my fat free yogurt has more sodium than the regular.  Just an FYI for the sodium sensitive folks out there!  I think it is done for flavor, they had to do something because they had taken some flavor out by getting rid of the fat.   Also check the sugar levels, is some cases those are elevated too.  Just a tip!  But a good one to know!  Happy grilling :)

Excellent tip, perlyyy!

I don't have a link to a recipe for this, but I grill chicken breasts once a week in bulk, and keep them in a tightly closed container in the fridge. Before grilling, I poke them with a fork, and squeeze a lemon over them. Lightly salt, and as much pepper as you like, I like a lot! ...and sometimes a little garlic powder, or Old Bay seasoning.

Here are some of the variations I use them for.

The night I grill it, I serve up a couple of them with steamed broccoli, and parmesan cheese lightly (about 2 Tablespoons) sprinkled over the whole plate.

Asparagus Stirfry - takes all of 10 minutes. One LB of fresh asparagus, cut into one inch lengths. Sautee a fresh garlic bulb (press or slice) in 1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil, and throw in the asparagus, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Cube two of the chicken pieces and toss in long enough to warm it through. Serves two.

Chicken Salad - Dice up a celery stalk and one or two pieces of chicken depending on how many you're serving, and add 1/2 Tablespoon of lowfat mayo, and 1/2 tablespoon of Horseradish, and a squirt of lemon juice. (Can you tell I like lemon? I am just as crazy about red wine vinegar when it comes to garden salads! Just something about TANGY... as opposed to salty, I guess... LOL!) This version makes a nice quick lunch.

If there are any pieces left over, I may slice them up and add them to my garden salad. Or even to a chicken broth and wild rice soup.

I just finished my last one today, and already I am ready to grill some more!

On another note, I am about to venture to a Grilled Veggie Salad. It has Eggplant, Portabellas, Red Sweet Peppers, Onion, and Zuccini. You grill them all fresh, no salt, no nothing, and refrigerate them. THEN, when ready to serve, you dice them up, and cover with red wine vinegar, a shot of olive oil, and salt and pepper. Sounds so yummy!

Happy Grilling!!


I do suppose I should tell you that I purchase the frozen breast cutlet type of chicken. I thaw them in a bowl of water, and leave them wet (helps keep the meat juicy). Then place onto a plate before poking the fork through them and sprinkling with lemon juice and spices. (Lime juice is good too!)

Wow!  Thank you so much for the GREAT ideas nannygabber!  Sounds delicious and I love lemon too.  I will be keeping more lemon on hand now that I am forced into a low sodium diet due to high blood pressure.  Fresh garlic too! 

Question for anyone going through menopause..It seems that for the most part my hot flashes left very recently, but almost as soon as they left I developed high blood pressure and I just wonder if that is real common, with menopause?  Because they say that when you stop producing estrogen altogether your risk for heart attack and stroke go up.  Well, I cannot figure out why all my life I could have salt and it never bothered me like it does now.  I am on meds for HBP now.  I would appreciate if anyone has had a similar experience as mine, thanks!  Happy Grilling!

Don't be too quick to diss the chicken wings and burgers!  There are low fat ways to do both.  I have found that to maintain a weight loss, you need to find a true lifestyle you can live.  Indulgences are a part of it.  I have recipes, if anyone is interested.

I love wings!  Do  you have a good wing recipe that might be able to be done low sodium too? :)

Yes, I do, just remove the salt.  I got the recipe from a Chatelaine magazine and it is called something akin to spicy wings, but here it is.

Preheat oven to 450.

In a small bowl mix

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp salt (take that out for you)

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

1-3 tsp cayenne (depending on how hot you like it, I use 2 heaping as I like hot)

Mix all together

Put wings in a large bowl.  Mix in 1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tbsp tabasco.  Then sprinkle in 1/4 of the dry ingredients, mix and continue until it is all in there.  Spray a large cookie sheet lined with foil with pam, put on.  Bake for 50-60 minutes (I do 50 or I do 400 for 60 minutes).

Everyone loves them.  I get asked to make them all the time, they are baked and better for you, but you get to indulge.  Take out the salt in your case and you are good to go.  Hope you enjoy!


I love to BBQ pinapple.  It's so yummy!

MMMMMM sounds great thank you!  I can definitely indulge in those wings :)

I have a borderline blood pressure issue so I try to be a little more conscious about sodium. I also like to grill, but many rubs, marinades, sauces and spice mixtures are pretty high in sodium, so beware. Mrs. Dash has a whole line of sodium free spices and marinades that are quite tasty. I am sure there are other manufacturers that do also. They are a good way to add flavor while grilling, especially with chicken, without adding extra fat and sodium.

Thanks jjakester!  Yep I plan on getting Mrs. Dash next shopping trip, as well as some fresh lemons and fresh garlic.  I love both lemon and garlic and read a few posts about how nice they are to use when the salt needs to be low, so going to give those a try too.  I have read at times that Mrs. Dash isn't recommended but I cannot figure out why they say that.  Maybee a doctor can give some input.  If there is no sodium or potassium chloride in it, then what is the big problem LOL

so true I live on a constant diet but to me diet means eating sencibly good healthy food out of my kitchen and staying active. I am not afraind of fat or sugar I am afraid of mcdonalds

I luv grilled zuccini   slice it into sticks roll them is a salt pepper peprika garlic powder mix grill em till they are awsome  also this time of year zuccini are in season and cheap

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