Better-For-You BBQ Recipes

July 6, 2012 1:12:36 PM PDT
Ditch the hot dogs and the hamburgers. Backyard barbecues are an excellent opportunity to serve healthy, better for you dishes that include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, leaner meats and antioxidant-rich seafood. Chef Chris Koetke is the Vice President of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts. He is here to whip up some of those recipes. And... if you have a high school student at home with nothing to do, Chef Koetke has some summer camp options for you too.

Better for you BBQ Tips:

  • Visit your local farmer's market. One of the biggest trends in outdoor entertaining today is "farm to fork." Vegetables grown nearby are at their peak of flavor and nutrition because they're seasonal and have little time to lose freshness thanks to traveling only a few miles - instead of hundreds or even thousands - to grace your picnic table.
  • Go fish. Any seafood simply tastes better grilled! Oily finfish like cod and salmon fillets are high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Tilapia is not only a sustainable species, but naturally lean, and can accept virtually any flavor from a marinade or rub before grilling. Heartier fish fillets can go right onto an oiled grill, and more delicate fish can rest on aluminum foil or even sturdy lettuce or banana leaves. With any lean fish, watch grilling times, as less-fatty species cook quickly. And shellfish such as oysters and scallops can grill right in their shells.
  • Grill your veggies. From asparagus to zucchini, grilling coaxes out vegetables' natural sugars. Marinate for an hour in the refrigerator first or brush fresh veggies (including sliced onion, husked corn on the cob, eggplant slices, sliced bell pepper, sliced yellow squash and mushroom caps?and even sturdy long-leaf lettuces like romaine and endive) with olive oil on both sides. Experiment with grill times, turning once for those beautiful caramelized grill marks, until done.
  • Grill fruits, too. Stone fruits like apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines, halved and pitted, and seeded tree fruits like apples and pears are a hot commodity when grilled over medium heat. Fruit's natural sugar caramelizes nicely for a tantalizing smoky/sweet flavor. Pineapple rings, strawberries and even sliced mango and watermelon wedges can go on the grill. (See the recipe for fruit chutney created by Chef Renee Zonka, R.D., dean of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, which excites the palate with grilled pineapple chunks, golden raisins and a little heat from jalapeño.) When grilling any fruit, make sure to lightly spray a clean grill with vegetable-oil spray to prevent sticking. For softer fruits like stone fruits and mango, leave the peel on to help the fruit stay together on the grill.
  • Bake beans without the bacon. A hearty and satisfying side dish of baked beans need not rely on animal fat to taste delicious. Plus, beans are a naturally good source of meatless protein and dietary fiber.
Kendall College Summer Camps Info:
  • Download a registration form at by clicking "Summer Camps" or call 312-752-2206.
  • Culinary camps: July 9-13, 16-20, 23-27, 30?-August 3; and August 6-10.
  • Backpack to Boardroom camps: Sessions are offered July 9-13 and August 6-10.
  • Operation Exploration: This camp will be offered July 23 - July 27.
  • Students have the option to attend any of the five-day camp sessions during the daytime only from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or stay overnight with supervised, secure accommodations in a high-rise apartment building near Kendall's campus. Overnight campers enjoy additional chaperoned activities from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., such as fine dining and Chicago sightseeing boat tours.

Kendall College's summer camps:


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