As we head into the spring season, it is time to come out of hibernation, and step into all the beauty that the outdoors have to offer. The outdoors offer a host of different benefits for a person’s health, and can even transform your way of cooking. Have you neglected your outdoor areas this past winter? Now is the time to start taking advantage of the warmer weather and its possibilities.
A sunny day calls for an outdoor gathering, and there is no better way to host a spring gathering than by whipping out your trusted grill. Some people are intimidated by the idea of cooking on an outdoor grill, but it really can transform your meals! Today, we are going to break down the benefits of outdoor cooking, and share with you some spring gathering must-haves, as well as a Mediterranean-inspired grilling dish.
The Benefits of Outdoor Cooking
1. Elevates your cooking
Outdoor cooking allows you the chance to take your meals to the next level, especially if you are cooking for a large number of people. Imagine this, it is the middle of summer, and you are hosting a gathering for around 20 of your closest friends and family members. The house is bustling with energy, and as the minutes start to pass, everyone is getting hungrier and hungrier. Outdoor cooking allows you the chance to not only clear up some space in the kitchen indoors, but it can also help speed the cooking process along. Grilling specifically, offers you the chance to create a wonderful main dish without the added stress of having to be by its side 24/7. This gives you the chance to focus on other aspects of the meal and gathering.
2. Reduces the impact on the indoor area of your house
Chances are, as the temperature starts to rise outdoors, it will also start to rise indoors. Cooking indoors will only further exacerbate the temperature inside. Cooking outside allows you the chance to keep all of the elements of cooking outside of your home, and reduce the chance of you having to use the air conditioning for longer. This is especially beneficial for those who are adverse to the smell that lingers after cooking.
3. Adds versatility to your meals
After a long winter, you might start feeling stagnant in the kitchen. When people are less excited about the foods they are eating, they are more likely to turn to fast food or takeout to properly satiate their hunger. Grilling offers you the chance to add some new flair to your meals, and help you to avoid reaching for that takeout pamphlet.
4. A healthier alternative
Last but definitely not least, grilling can be a healthier alternative to other indoor cooking methods. For example, when one grills meat, they are using less oil, and the fat from the meat is falling off during the grilling process. Due to the quick nature of grilling, you are more likely to maintain the flavor and nutrients of the food as well.
The Grilling Recipe That Your Guests Are Sure to Love
Chicken Kebabs with Tzatziki Sauce
Ingredients (serves 5)
For the kebabs:
20z of boneless skinless chicken breast
extra virgin olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
2 large zucchini
1 large red onion
1 box of portobello mushrooms
salt and pepper
dried basil, oregano, and parsley
red wine vinegar
For the tzatziki sauce:
1 large cucumber
3 cups of preferred greek yogurt
3 minced garlic cloves
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
2 tablespoons of minced dill
For the skewers:
stainless steel metal skewers
- First, we are going to create our marinade of extra virgin olive oil, the juice of one lemon, red wine vinegar, the minced garlic, salt, pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, and dried parsley. Make sure the marinade taste is to your liking.
- Next, you are going to cut up your chicken into bite sized pieces, along with your red onion, zucchini, and mushrooms. Depending on the type of mushroom you use, it might be better to leave it whole, in order for it to be able to go through the skewer.
- Once everything is cut up, add all of your main ingredients to the marinade and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Then, you are going to skewer the different foods onto your stainless steel metal skewers.
- Allow your grill to heat up on medium-to-high heat, and add olive oil to the grating.
- Once heated, add your skewers to your grill and allow it to cook. Turn your skewers every now and then, and check on it periodically to ensure they do not burn.
- While your skewers are cooking, you can mix together all the ingredients of the tzatziki sauce.
- To create your tzatziki sauce, you must first grate and drain any excess liquid from your cucumber. Press as much of the liquid out as you can.
- Once the cucumber is done, add it to the mixture of greek yogurt, minced garlic, salt, olive oil, and minced dill.
Once both your skewers and tzatziki sauce are completed, you can serve your dish right away. This dish is light yet filling, and is a crowd pleaser. The greek yogurt also contains beneficial bacteria known as probiotics, which are incredibly helpful in ensuring you have a healthy gut. Other habits such as taking a bloating supplement and increasing your intake of gut health enzymes can help with your gut health.
Spring is a time to elevate your cooking, and this meal does just that. Not only does this meal contain digestive benefits, but it requires little to no cleanup! What more can you ask for?
Other Outdoor Activities You Can Include In Your Outdoor Spring Gatherings
Grilling is not the only activity one can do outside, especially during large gatherings. Below are some wonderful outdoor activities that are sure to draw in all of your spring gathering guests.
- water sports
- make s’mores
- outdoor movie screening
- bocce ball
The outdoors offers us a chance to soak up that vitamin D, and gives us a whole new area to make our playground!