Monday, April 6, 2015

Grilling Indoors - Lowfat Meals with Cuisinart's Griddler Deluxe

Easy, delicious meals grilled indoors!
It may be April but it's still too chilly for grilling outdoors in the great northeast! All the same, you'd be missing out on some very tasty menu ideas which are: lower in fat, yet full of flavor and nutrients.
I featured my favorite Panini Grilled Meals here on XTreme XTraining before but I've since upgraded to a restaurant quality Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe which has removable plates and better temperature control. The removable plates were a deal breaker for me as my previous Panini Press did not have this. Also the plates on the Griddler Deluxe can be flipped, giving you a smooth griddle surface for: pancakes, turkey bacon, eggs and so much more. So here are a few low-fat, high protein training table meals you can try with an indoor grill like this:

Keep some portioned sized meals in the freezer, ready to grill.
Ready to Grill Meals 
I like to keep ready to grill 3-4 oz portions of burgers, steaks, salmon and chicken breasts or the new boneless chicken thighs in the freezer ready to cook. This means I rely much less on fast food options because I'm stumped on what to fix for lunch and dinner. When making a burger, (Skinny Burgers have replaced the name Cluck & Moo), you can lightly defrost them as cooking them partially frozen on the grill is no problem. The Griddler Deluxe has TWO separate temperature settings: One for the Lid and One for the Base. I preheat both plates at 450 degrees and when the green lights appear, I'm ready to cook! Use the following recipe to prep your meats, fish and poultry for the grill:

Basic Grill Seasoning & Marinade

1 tsp EVO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 tsp Grill Masters Chipolte & Garlic Seasoning or other variety
1/8 tsp Ground Cumin
Dash of Black Pepper

Drizzle oil on cutlet, covering both sides of the meat. Add seasonings to both sides as well. Cover and place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Bring meat to room temperature before grilling. Preheat grill and cook. Tip: You can also get a lovely sear with a grill coating like this.

Grilling a turkey burger.

Low Fat Grilling
Grilling is ideal because all the excess oil drains off but the flavors are concentrated. Most panini press grills like this have a reservoir cup to catch the pan drippings. Even so, the burgers come out moist and flavorful. There is even a "sear" feature which can be activated at any time or temperature on the Cuisinart grill. 
If I want to melt some cheese on top, I can adjust the height of the lid to just hover over my burger. It will continue to cook from the bottom and melt the cheese topside.

Salmon Steaks
Salmon requires a more gentle cooking technique. I've made my Blackened Salmon with a Chipolte Garlic Seasoned Salmon fillet all on the same grill. You can create meals "made to order" all at once. Once I preheat the grill, I back off of the temperature lowering it to about 400 degrees.

Seasoned Salmon Steaks on the Grill
As fish cooks a bit more quickly than chicken, turkey or beef, I watch them closely being careful not to over-cook the fillets. Keep in mind too that you can cook on one surface as shown above or close the lid and cook with the two independently heated surfaces. In that case your cooking time will be reduced. The Griddler Deluxe cooking plates are non-stick but I find cooking with a few drops of oil (as described in my marinade recipe) on the fillets to be helpful.

Grilled Blackened Salmon

Panini Press Sandwiches
Having TWO separate temperature settings and multiple height adjustments for the lid means you can make a variety of delicious panini sandwiches. 
I like to grill my vegetables along with my meat. Then you can stuff everything between two tortillas and make the most insane Quesadillas imaginable. You can do the same and make grilled cheese and panini sandwiches. We've even done a Grilled Pizza!  The Griddler Deluxe comes with an easy to use instruction and recipe book with cooking techniques for a variety of foods. This grill even opens up so you can use BOTH sides as a flat grill or griddle for maximum space. I would say this is more closer to a restaurant/professional quality grill as it is very sturdy and well made. Check it out at 
Find The Griddler Deluxe at: Macy's, Crate and Barrel, Williams Sonoma and other fine retail stores.

Green Lights mean it's ready to GRILL!

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