Grilled Potato Fries.

 Satisfy a craving for french fries with grilled potato fries instead! 

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So here’s the deal. French fries = deliciousness, but also a whole lot of extra oil that doesn’t do you, your heart, or your waistline any favors. Would you believe me if I told you that grilling slices of potatoes results in a crispy-on-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside-just-like-a-french-fry texture? Well, you should. Because it’s true. And it’s a game-changer for all you fry loving readers looking to eat healthier.

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I promise x 1000 that these will satisfy your cravings for a deep fried french fry. The only difference you’ll notice is in the shape (although you could cut them like matchsticks if you wanted to!), and a lack of excess oil on your fingers. They taste indulgent, but won’t leave you feeling super full. My husband loves a good french fry, and he couldn’t get over how good these are! Make sure to add enough salt, to taste, otherwise they won’t have that salty french fry flavor everyone loves. You could also use your favorite seasoning blend if you’d prefer!

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Maybe your grilling some chicken and trying to keep it healthy. Don’t ruin it with fries; grill your potatoes instead!

Grilled Potato Fries

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • Freshly cracked sea salt and black pepper

1). Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Carefully slice the potatoes in about 1/4″ slices. Toss in a medium bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

2). Place the potato slices on the grill and close the lid for about 6-9 minutes. Flip the potatoes and cook again until they’re golden brown and can easily be pierced with a fork.

3). Sprinkle with additional sea salt after grilling and enjoy!

Servings: 4. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 172 Fat: 4.8g Protein: 3.5g Fiber: 3.1g Points+: 4
Recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

 

Grilled Asparagus and Zucchini Salad with a Lemon and Basil Vinaigrette.

Fresh asparagus and zucchini are grilled to perfection, then tossed in a lemon and basil sauce with tangy garlic, scallions, and red pepper flakes. 

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I love this salad because it is a great way to use extra zucchini and basil, which are both in season right now and growing like crazy in my garden. If you follow me on Instagram (audreysapron) or Twitter (@AudreysApron), you’ve seen my excitement over the success of my first-ever veggie garden. Whether you’re growing zucchini or not, it’s a great time to cook with it because, as I said before, it’s in season, which makes it more affordable to purchase in store.

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This side dish comes together fast, making it perfect for a weeknight meal. In fact, I made this while we were on vacation. As much as I love cooking, I didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen on our trip, so I paired this with some grilled chicken. Gotta love summer eats!

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Have you ever grilled asparagus? I love asparagus roasted, but (sadly) I had never thought to grill it until now. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out! This is definitely my new favorite way to prepare it. Just as easy as roasting, and just as flavorful (if not more so!).

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On to the recipe! Fire up the grill and toss the zucchini and asparagus in a little oil, salt, and pepper. The zucchini takes longer to cook, so put it on first, followed by the asparagus a few minutes later. While the veggies are cooking, whisk together some lemon juice & zest, olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, scallions, and red pepper flakes. Don’t worry–this dish is not spicy. The red pepper flakes add a tiiiiiny bit of heat, but it’s only 1/4 tsp for the entire bowl, and it’s not very noticeable. In fact, next time I may double that amount. I recommend you taste it and add more if you want it.

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Basil is one of my favorite herbs, and I think it pairs nicely with the veggies and lemon. If you prefer to use parsley, oregano, mint, whatever… you can do it. You might even want to get adventurous and try a combination. The important thing to remember is to use fresh herbs. Everything about this salad is fresh and light, and I just don’t think dried herbs would have the same effect. If you’re in a bind, you can actually leave the herbs out completely–it’s still very flavorful on its own!

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I hope you make it and enjoy!

Grilled Asparagus and Zucchini Salad with a Lemon and Basil Vinaigrette. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • Freshly cracked sea salt and pepper

For the vinaigrette:

  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or minced
  • 1/4 cup  chopped fresh basil (or herb of choice)
  • 3 minced scallions
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Freshly cracked sea salt and pepper

1). Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Prepare the asparagus by trimming the ends. Cut the ends off the zucchini and slice in half. Toss in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the zucchini to the grill, flipping after about 6-7 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for about 5 minutes per side. The zucchini and asparagus are ready when they are easily pierced with a fork.

2). Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette. In a bowl, whisk together the lemon zest/juice, olive oil, basil, garlic, scallions, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.

3). When the zucchini and asparagus are fork-tender, remove them from the grill and chop into about 1 inch pieces. Add the chopped veggies to the bowl with the vinaigrette and lightly toss to combine. Taste and re-season, if necessary.

Servings: about 6. Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 82 Carbs: 9g Fat: 5g Fiber: 3g Protein: 4g Points+: 2
Recipe adapted from: http://cookblog.org/grilled-veggies-lemon-herb-vinaigrette/ 

Servings:

Southwestern Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

Last week we went on vacation, and it was glorious! After spending all day in the pool, I wanted to make something light, healthy, nutritious, and colorful. This southwestern grilled sweet potato salad was just the ticket. There are a LOT of textures and flavors going on in this one, folks. It’s a definite winner!

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Let’s deconstruct this giant rainbow bowl, shall we?

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The focal point of this salad is the grilled sweet potatoes. Yum. I cut them in big rounds to make them easy to grill, and then quartered them after grilling. Do you have to grill them? Absolutely not. It’s hot here in the south, so grilling means the heat stays outside the kitchen, which is important when it’s in the 90’s! I actually think roasting the potatoes would be equally good (if not better), so if you don’t have a grill I would recommend trying that option. If you do that, you can go ahead and quarter the sweet potatoes before baking. IMG_0945
Bright yellow corn, tasty black beans, and a crisp red bell pepper provide a nice contrast in texture to the grilled sweet potatoes. Top all that off with vibrantly green onions, creamy avocado, and fresh cilantro, and you have a bowl full of color. The last step is to toss it all together with fresh lime juice, salt, and pepper, and you’re ready to eat!

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Simply put, this is an awesome side dish (or main dish for the non-meat eaters!) that will definitely make another appearance in our home. My husband, who does not like avocados, loved this dish. When it all comes together, it’s just that good!! Take this to your next cookout or picnic!

Southwestern Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 avocados, pit and skin removed, chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1). Pre-heat the grill. Toss the cut sweet potatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill them over medium-high heat until they can easily be pierced with a fork (about 8 minutes each side).

2). In a large bowl, combine the corn, black beans, red pepper, green onions, cilantro, and avocados. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked through, quarter the rounds and add them to the bowl. Add the lime juice, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Taste and re-season, if necessary.

Servings: 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side. Approximate nutritional information for 8 servings: Calories: 234 Carbs: 34g Fat: 9g Protein: 8g Fiber: 10g Points+: 6 

Recipe adapted from: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/southwestern-grilled-sweet-potato-salad/ 

Penne with Strip Steak and Spinach

My husband and I recently celebrated our anniversary, so in honor of him I am posting one of his all-time favorite recipes! I first made this for him back in college because I wanted a meal we could enjoy on a picnic, and this pasta dish tastes great hot or at room temperature. This meal is definitely hearty–there’s pasta, strip steak, and even some greens! I used baby spinach this time but the original recipe calls for arugula, which is also very delicious. I reserve this recipe for special occasions and probably make it once or twice a year.

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There are a few steps to prepare this meal, but many things can be done at the same time to speed up the process.

1) Cook the pasta. No big deal here–just boil water and toss in your favorite pasta. I used whole wheat penne this time, but you could use regular pasta or even brown rice pasta to make it gluten free!

2) Cook your steak. My husband loves strip steak, and it’s a great cut for this meal. To add flavor, the original recipe calls to add salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs de provence to the steak before cooking. I’ve also had success just adding Montreal Steak Seasoning. Either way, do not skip that step–it really brings great flavor to each bite! I used my indoor “grill” for this, but you can grill it outside or even cook it in the oven. If you do that, sear the steak first in an oven-proof pan over medium-heat for 2 minutes per side, then finish cooking it in the oven at 450F for about 5-6 minutes. I hope to do a post on this method soon!

3) Make the dressing. This dish is a fresh take on a pasta salad because the penne, beef, and spinach are tossed together with a homemade vinaigrette. The vinaigrette is what makes this recipe fabulous. Fresh herbs are best, but use dried if you must. The tangy balsamic and creamy dijon come together perfectly with the olive oil to make the dressing.  I actually reduced the amount of olive oil from the original recipe and I believe you could reduce it even further if you’d like.

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Toss it all together and you are ready to eat!

The weather is getting warmer and picnic recipes are hard to find–pack this pasta “salad” and take it with you!

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Penne with Strip Steak and Spinach

  • 1 (1-pound) New York strip steak
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound penne pasta (whole wheat or rice pasta for gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for steak and pasta water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for steak
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach or arugula

1). Season the steak with salt, garlic, herbs de Provence and garlic. Grill or cook indoors until cooked to preferred temperature (we like medium-well). Allow the steak to rest 5 minutes before thinly slicing.

2). Meanwhile, boil a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water before draining. 

3). In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, fresh herbs, and olive oil. Toss the pasta with the 1/4 cup reserved pasta water and half of the dressing before adding the steak and spinach/arugula. Add more dressing or reserve to add later. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Servings: 7. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 362 Carbs: 37g Fat: 16g Protein: 23g Sugar: 3g Fiber: 5g WW Points+: 10 

Recipe adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/penne-with-beef-and-arugula-recipe.html 

Grilled Asian Flank Steak with Spicy Sweet Slaw

This recipe was passed on to me by a friend at work and I am so glad I decided to try it!

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For me, the star of the show in this recipe was the slaw. The flank steak was very juicy and tender due to the marinade, but I loved the unique flavors in the secondary recipe.  While the flank steak was delicious and had the perfect amount of salt from the soy sauce, the slaw balanced everything out by being both sweet AND spicy. Very spicy, actually. Because it was the first time I made this recipe, I followed the original recipe and used both peppers. My husband and I both agreed it had too much heat. Next time, I will be using just one (and that is how the recipe is written below). Even with the extra kick, it was great!

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And, in case you’re reading this and thinking that you won’t be making this recipe because you do not care for slaw…well, neither do I! Or at least, not the traditional mayonnaise-based slaw. This was light and so flavorful. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this version.

It is peak grilling season, so why not fire up the grill for a delicious and healthy meal? A couple thin strips of flank steak paired with the slaw on the side made for a perfect, light dinner.

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Grilled Asian Flank Steak with Spicy Sweet Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 1 1/2-pound flank steak
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 red jalapeño, thinly sliced into rounds with seeds removed
  • 5 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage (about 9 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions

1) Combine the 1/4 cup soy sauce, oil, ginger, and garlic with the flank steak in a resealable bag. Marinade as long a possible (preferably 8 hours or overnight). Turn the bag occasionally.

2) In a medium sauce pan, heat the sugar with seasoned rice vinegar over medium heat until sugar dissolves; remove from heat. Add jalapeño and remaining 2 teaspoons ginger. Place cabbage and green onions in a bowl.

3) Pour vinegar mixture over cabbage and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand while grilling, tossing occasionally.

4) Grill steak until cooked to desired doneness, about 6 minutes for medium-rare or 8 minutes for medium. Transfer to a cutting board. Allow meat to rest about 10 minutes and then cut into slices against the grain. Serve with slaw and enjoy!

Serves: 6 

Nutritional Information for Flank Steak: Calories: 153 Carbs: 1g Fat: 10g Protein: 15g Sugar: 1 g Fiber: 0g

WW PointsPlus: 4 

Nutritional Information for Spicy Sweet Slaw: Calories: 69 Carbs: 12g Fat: 0g Protein: 1g Sugar: 9g Fiber: 0g

WW PointsPlus: 1

Recipe adapted from: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Asian-Flank-Steak-with-Sweet-Slaw-242464 

Pappasito’s Fajita Steak Marinade

If you live in the Atlanta area, there’s a chance you may have been to Pappasito’s. The restaurant is best known for their amazing fajitas on homemade tortillas. Having been to Mexico, I can tell you the food is not exactly authentic, but it is incredibly delicious. Their steak fajitas are to die for, and I always leave wondering, “how did they make that steak so good?” It is always tender and indescribably flavorful.

Well, the secret is out! I recently came across a “copy cat” recipe online and decided to give it a try. I was a bit skeptical but figured it was worth a shot, considering I can get a flank steak at Costco for a quarter of the price that Pappasito’s charges. Plus, the marinade itself is SO SIMPLE–but you will have to scroll down to see the ingredients. : ) Anyway, I was very pleased with the results!

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Hot off the grill, this really did remind me of the steak from Pappasito’s. It was tender, juicy, and flavorful. If you make this you should taste some of the meat by itself because it is uncanny how similar it is!

Make sure to marinade the steak for at least 5-6 hours. Everything I read online advised not to marinade overnight, so I didn’t try it. I suggest 6 hours so the flavor is infused. I only let mine marinade for about 4 hours, and it was not quite enough.  When eaten as a fajita (in a tortilla with pico de gallo, lettuce, guacamole, pinto beans, or whatever other toppings you enjoy), the flavor did get a little lost. This probably could have been prevented if I had allowed the steak to marinade for the full 6 hours!

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So, are you ready for the secret ingredients?

Pineapple and soy sauce! 

It makes perfect sense because both tenderize the meat. The soy sauce adds saltiness, and the pineapple juice adds a little bit of sweetness. So simple!

Pappasito’s Fajita Steak Marinade

Ingredients:

1.75-2 lb flank steak

Marinade:

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water

1). Combine marinade ingredients with flank steak in a ziplock bag and allow to marinade for at LEAST 5-6 hours, but not overnight.

2). Preheat a grill over medium-high heat. Cook steak for 8-10 minutes on each side for medium to medium-well. Slice into thin strips and serve.

Servings: 4-6 depending on size of steak Nutritional Information per 3 oz serving: Calroies: 180 Carbs: 0g Fat: 9g Protein: 23g Fiber: 0g