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Sep 3, 2007 11:20 AM

Help! Easy alternative to brats/sausages on the grill?

I don't mean to be a complainer, because most of the time I think I'm the luckiest person on the planet. My darling partner does most of the cooking in summer--outside on our gas grill-- when the weather's sweltering hot and we don't want to heat up the kitchen. (I'm usually doing something else, like making a dinner salad or getting the next day's lunches ready.) He usually does the shopping and clean-up, too.

So, what is my problem? At least once, and often twice, a week, he comes home with these enormously high in fat gourmet sausages or brats. He buys them at our neighborhood co-op which stocks almost exclusively organic or sustainable products, so, he thinks he's being "healthy". The truth is, I would never buy them if I were doing the cooking and shopping due to the high fat and sodium content. A couple of weeks ago I told him, "Okay, this is a bad habit we need to get away from. No more sausages." But, they are so convenient that he still falls back on them when he wants something easy (they also keep longer in the fridge than most things, so, they manage to wriggle their way into our menu on nights when we are too busy to shop.)

I don't want to be a nag, and he does enjoy to grill. And, like I said, I have little room to complain about the menu if he's doing the grilling, but, still, my metabolism can't handle sausages once a week, let alone twice. I'm trying to lose weight and have enough temptations to resist! So, what can I have on hand that's as easy and handy as a brat than I can ask him to grill for me when he's having brats? Preferably something in the freezer or pantry because it needs to be something I can have "on hand."

Thanks for your ideas.


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  1. Tuna steaks are super easy and so very healthy. They're fine just brushed with olive oil, s&p, and grilled just a couple minutes per side. If you want to jazz it up a little, they marinate beautifully in just 20-30 minutes or so.

    Sometimes if I'm thinking ahead, I'll buy a flank steak on the weekend and put it in a ziploc with some marinade and stick the whole thing in the fridge. My intention is always to cook it within the next day but I'm a terribly lazy and procrastinating cook, so several days sometimes pass before I get around to grilling it. The extended marinating probably breaks down the texture somewhat, but the taste (and ease of it) never disappoint me. Again, super easy and quick (I never grill it more than 4 min/side for a nice medium rare -- make sure you let it rest 10 min before slicing thinly). Happy eating!

    1 Reply
    1. re: jhuston

      We do the marinade in the bag trick with chicken parts as well - very handy. You can also do some great things on the grill with the huge portabello mushrooms. The skin (the top part of the cap) comes off relatively easily, and just cut away the gills. brush the whole deal with whatever marinande you like, but we find the simpler the better. Olive oil or butter, balsamic vinegar (the cheap stuff works fine), garlic, and some chopped herb(s) - basically a salad dressing, right? Grill these - let them sit on each side for a while - they'll throw off alot of water. Salt and pepper to taste afterwords and all you need is some nice bread and whatever else you folks normally have as sides.

      Beets are great as well. I think beets have been dealt a bad rap because the canned stuff is pretty hideous. Take fresh beets, peel and slice between 1/4"-1/2" thick (depending on how juicy you like them and how hot the grill is expected to be) and brush them with the same marinade for the mushrooms as they grill. Leave them on until you get nice brown spots on the surfaces - this is the sugars from the beets starting to carmelize. The sweetness of the beets will stand out from the grilling and it's pretty much guilt free like the mushrooms when compared to sausages.

      You can also nuke corn on the cob and finish them off on the grill if you're pushed for time. Brush with a little olive oil mixed with lime juice, chile powder, and any grated dry cheese or crumbly Mexican-style cheese after they've finished grilling. You can substitute butter in place of the olive oil and leave out the cheese to balance out the exchange of healthy fats for butter.

    2. Turkey Sausages are a good lower in fat alternative. They have them at Whole Foods and at most local grocery stores. They even have a turkey bratwurst. I have used them cut up or crumbled without the casings in a good pasta dish with broccoli, toasted pine nuts, garlic and olive oil.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jill Brazil

        Yes, turkey sausages on the grill are very good! I threw 2 partially frozen ones on the grill recently to use up some odds and ends in my freezer (I was grilling marinated chicken pieces for dinner) and they were delicious! They were the sweet Italian kind. My son asked me if we had anymore, but that was the last of the package.