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All fired up! Grilling is a heart-healthy way to savor the season

Nothing says summer like the sight, smell and sound of dinner sizzling on the barbeque. Not only is the distinctive taste of grilled food delicious but grilling can be a great way to enjoy healthy fare that’s low in fat and calories. Choose leaner meats such as skinless chicken breasts and beef round, sirloin and loin cuts. Enjoy grilled fish steaks like tuna and salmon. Grill vegetables, too. You don’t need to add oil. Plus when you grill, fat drips away, leaving fresh, flavorful food. Marinate foods in salsa, fat-free salad dressing, wine and fruit juices. Lightly spray the cooking rack with a nonstick cooking spray and you’re good to grill.

Sirloin and vegetable skewers

  • 1/3 cup strong tea
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red hot-pepper sauce
  • 16 small cremini (brown) mushrooms, stems discarded
  • 1 lb sirloin steak, all visible fat discarded, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 16 medium brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 2 medium ears of fresh corn, husks and silk discarded, cut in half crosswise
  • Vegetable oil spray (if using metal skewers)

In a large bowl, stir together the tea, brown sugar, lemon juice, salt and hot-pepper sauce. Stir in remaining ingredients except the vegetable oil spray. Cover and let marinate for 1 to 3 hours in the refrigerator. If using bamboo skewers, soak six skewers in cold water for 10 minutes to keep them from charring. For metal skewers, lightly spray with vegetable oil spray. (Food will cook a little faster with metal skewers.)

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, or preheat the grill on medium-high. Alternating ingredients, thread the mushrooms, steak and bell pepper on four skewers. Thread the brussels sprouts on two skewers, leaving about 1/8 inch between the sprouts. Put the corn and the skewers in the pan or on the grill. Cook the corn and the brussels sprouts for about 3 minutes on each side, or until a few kernels of corn on each side turn golden and the sprouts give when squeezed and have some grill marks, turning occasionally. Cook the steak skewers for about 2 minutes on each side, turning after each side browns, for between medium-rare and medium. For medium, add an extra minute on each side, and an extra 1 1/2 minutes on each side for medium-well.

To serve, slide all the ingredients from one mixed skewer and half the brussels sprouts from a sprouts skewer onto each plate.

Serves 4. Per serving: 234 calories, 6 g total fat (2 g saturated, 0.5 g polyunsaturated, 2.5 g monounsaturated), 64 mg cholesterol, 224 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 28 g protein

Asian-grilled chicken


  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup low-salt soy sauce
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp finely snipped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp grated peeled gingerroot or 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 6 skinless chicken breast halves with bone (about 6 ounces each), all visible fat discarded
  • Vegetable oil spray

In a large bowl, stir together the marinade ingredients to mix well. Add the chicken to the marinade, turning to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Prepare the grill on high. Lightly spray the grill rack with vegetable oil spray. Grill the chicken for 30 to 45 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center, brushing the pieces with marinade and turning them frequently.

Serves 6. Per serving: 120 calories, 1.5 g total fat (0.5 g saturated, 0.5 g polyunsaturated, 0.5 g monounsaturated), 63 mg cholesterol, 331 mg sodium, 0 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 25 g protein

Grilled vegetable sandwiches with goat cheese

  • Vegetable oil spray or olive oil spray
  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms, trimmed
  • 4 small (4-inch) or 2 large Japanese eggplants (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 large red or yellow bell peppers
  • 1/3 cup fat-free or light Italian salad dressing
  • 8 slices Italian or sourdough bread, 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 ounces crumbled soft goat cheese
  • 1 cup packed arugula or mixed salad greens

Spray the grill rack with vegetable oil spray. Preheat the grill on medium-high.

If desired, scrape out and discard the gills on the undersides of the mushroom caps. If the eggplants are long, cut crosswise in half. Trim the ends and cut the eggplants lengthwise into 1/4- to 1/3-inch slices. Cut the bell peppers lengthwise in half; discard the stems and seeds. Lightly brush the dressing over both sides of the vegetables and bread.

Grill the vegetables, covered, for 5 minutes. Turn the vegetables over. Arrange the bread around the edges. Grill, covered, for 2 minutes. Turn the bread over. Grill, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until the vegetables are tender and the bread is golden brown.

To assemble the sandwiches, place vegetables, goat cheese and arugula on 4 slices of bread. Top with the remaining bread.

Serves 4. Per serving: 226 calories, 6.5 g total fat (3.5 g saturated, 1 g polyunsaturated, 1.5 g monounsaturated), 10 mg cholesterol, 559 mg sodium, 34 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 10 g protein

Mesquite-grilled red snapper with gingered black bean salsa

  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and ribs discarded, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped peeled gingerroot
  • 2 to 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 15-oz can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed if desired and drained, 3 Tbsp liquid reserved
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 medium tomato, seeds discarded, chopped
  • 1 lb red snapper fillets (about 1/2-inch thick)

At least one hour before cooking, soak four to six mesquite wood chunks in enough water to cover. Lightly spray the grill rack with vegetable oil spray and prepare the grill for heating.

For the salsa, heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and lightly spray with vegetable oil spray (being careful not to spray near a gas flame). Return the pan to the heat and cook the onion, carrot, jalapenos, gingerroot and garlic for 5 minutes or until the onion is tender. Stir the black beans, reserved bean liquid and salt into the onion mixture. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through. Remove from heat. Stir in the tomatoes. Drain the wood chunks and put them directly on the medium-hot coals. Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Put the fish on the prepared rack.

Grill the fish, uncovered, directly over medium-hot coals for 5 minutes. Turn and grill for 5 to 7 more minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve the fish with the salsa.

Serves 4. Per serving: 229 calories, 1.5 g total fat (0.5 g saturated, 0.5 g polyunsaturated, 0.5 g monounsaturated), 42 mg cholesterol, 225 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 30 g protein

Adapted with permission from One-Dish Meals Cookbook, copyright ©2003, and The American Heart Association Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook, copyright ©2004. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random, Inc. Available from booksellers everywhere.