Summer Grilling…on the Lighter Side

by Kathy Strahs on August 6, 2013 · 1 comment

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{Thank you to McCormick Grill Mates for sponsoring this post, the second in a three-part series showcasing this summer’s grilling trends.}

Our family recently turned an impromptu visit from my parents, who jetted out to San Diego for cool relief from 115-degree temps (!)  in the desert, into an opportunity for a good, old-fashioned Summer Grilling Party.

Well, maybe it was more like new-fashioned. I kept things pretty light – lots of vegetables, grilled chicken, a yogurt-based dessert – but I didn’t sacrifice one bit of flavor. Here’s what was on the menu (and links to the recipes, where available):

Fresh Lemonade with Grilled Lemons and Watermelon
Tomato Ombré on Grilled Rustic Bread
Grilled Zucchini Roll with Goat Cheese, Roasted Peppers and Capers
Corn, Avocado and Black Bean Salad
Spatchcocked Tennessee Smokehouse BBQ Chicken
Yogurt Mixed Berry Pie

Sound good? It was. 🙂


Prepping the bird

Before we headed out to spend some time at the park with the kids and my parents, I rubbed the McCormick Tennessee Smokehouse BBQ seasonings all over and under the skin of our bird. I had the butcher spatchcock the chicken (i.e., remove the backbone and open it out flat) so it wouldn’t take long to grill later on.

The kids showed grandma and grandpa their favorite playground

The kids wanted to show their Grandma and Grandpa one of our favorite parks, so once the chicken was all rubbed and chilling, we headed out to meet my parents.

My little boy and my dad, and a little light reading

They didn’t mind all the attention one bit. 🙂

Grilling zucchini

Back at home that afternoon, I donned the apron and got grilling. Fruit, vegetables, bread, chicken – almost everything had a turn on the grill.

The pouring of the lemonade

Even this lemons in this lemonade were grilled (it makes them a bit sweeter, as I found when I made Peach Bourbon Sweet Tea Lemonade earlier this summer). Charred fruit drinks is also one of the seven trends mentioned in McCormick’s Grilling Flavor Forecast.

The lemonade is Mom-approved

My mom approved. 🙂

Sharing a meal together - one of life's simple pleasures

I only get the chance to cook for my parents about once or twice a year, so it’s as much a treat for me as it is (hopefully!) for them.

Tomato Ombre on Grilled Rustic Bread

Tomato Ombre on Grilled Rustic Bread

The tomato bread was definitely a favorite. It isn’t depicted here, but I served it along with some burricotta cheese (like burrata, but with ricotta inside). The “ombré” effect was subtle here – I wasn’t able to track down colorful tomatoes to make the gorgeous rainbow effect like on the cover of last month’s Martha Stewart Living – but the sweet flavor was all there. Just like with the charred drinks I mentioned earlier, grilling bread is another trend that appears in McCormick’s Grilling Flavor Forecast. Rubbing the grilled bread with garlic only made it better.

Corn, Avocado and Black Bean Salad

Corn, Avocado and Black Bean Salad

No recipe for this one – I basically just threw it together by sight and taste. Char some fresh corn – mix in black beans, halved grape tomatoes, chopped avocado and cilantro and toss it all in a red wine vinaigrette. It’s one of my favorite summer salads!

Grilled Zucchini Rolls

Grilled Zucchini Rolls

I’ve made these Grilled Zucchini Rolls twice since my friend Dara posted them on her blog, Cookin’ Canuck, earlier this summer. They’re quick to make, and with goat cheese, red peppers and capers rolled up inside they’re incredibly flavorful bites.

Tennessee Smokehouse BBQ Chicken

Tennessee Smokehouse BBQ Chicken

Extra char notwithstanding, the chicken came out wonderfully. It was perfectly cooked inside and full of smoky flavor from the rub. There were no leftovers (that’s a good sign)!

Yogurt Mixed Berry Pie

And finally, dessert. This Yogurt Mixed Berry Pie has become my go-to light dessert since I first posted it last year. It’s got the feel of a softer cheesecake, but since it’s made with Greek yogurt (I used nonfat) it’s pretty guilt-free. Plus, I love the fresh look of all the colorful berries on top. 🙂

I hope you’ve been having a great time grilling this summer. I’d love to hear about what you’ve grilled!



See the Recipe Index for all the recipes on Cooking On the Side.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Michael S. August 7, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Everything looks so good!

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