Hy-Vee at Midday: Mixing it Up With Marinades

By Jen Herinhausen, RD, LD

One of the simplest ways to flavor food is to marinate it. That is, treat it like a sponge. It is as simple as pouring a sauce on the food, letting it soak for a while and cooking it. A good marinade contains spices, herbs, oil, wine or yogurt and an acidic ingredient like vinegar or citrus juice. The acidic ingredient softens the foods, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the sauce. Marinating works on all kinds of meat, as well as fish, tofu and vegetables.

So, how long should you marinate? It depends on what you’re cooking. In general, two hours is long enough for poultry, but it can marinate for up to two days in the refrigerator. Marinating is best suited for tough cuts of beef like flank, skirt and sirloin steak. These usually marinate for 24 hours. Fish and shellfish can also be marinated, but only for 30 minutes to an hour; otherwise the acid in the marinade will start to “cook” the flesh and leave the fish mushy.

While marinating is great for meat, why not try marinating and grilling fruits and vegetables? With the wide variety of produce available this time of year, try thinking outside the box and impress your friends and family with these recipes that highlight marinated fruits and vegetables.

Recipe 1

Marinating radicchio takes away its slight bitterness and grilling it provides a perfect smoky flavor. The salty gorgonzola cheese and sweet candied walnuts on top leave you craving more!

Grilled Radicchio with Gorgonzola and Candied Walnuts

Serves 4

All you need:

¼ cup Hy-Vee Select extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons Hy-Vee stone ground Dijon mustard

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 heads radicchio, quartered lengthwise

2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese

¼ cup candied walnuts

All you do:

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.

2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper to make the marinade.

3. Place quartered radicchio in a gallon-sized re-sealable bag and pour marinade over. Seal and let marinate for 20 minutes.

4. Remove radicchio from the bag and place on the hot grill, reserving any extra marinade in the bag. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side, or until grill-marked but still crunchy in the middle. Transfer to a platter.

5. Drizzle the extra marinade over the radicchio and finish with the cheese and walnuts. Serve immediately.

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 129, Total fat 9.5g, Saturated fat 3g, Cholesterol 13mg, Sodium 470mg, Carbohydrate 8g, Fiber 1.5g, Protein 5g

Source: Jen Heringhausen, RD, LD

Recipe 2

Grilled pineapple is a common dessert, but in this dish we soak it in a honey-soy marinade and pair it with grilled chicken, salty ham and spicy pepper jack cheese for the ultimate flavor experience!

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Cordon Bleu with Grilled Pineapple

Serves 4

All you need:


3 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons Hy-Vee reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons honey

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 (5 oz. each) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

¼ pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 4 rounds

Non-stick cooking spray

¼ pound thinly sliced deli ham

4 slices pepper jack cheese

All you do:

1. Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Place the chicken breasts in a gallon-sized re-sealable bag and pour half the marinade over. Place bag in the refrigerator and marinate for 2 hours.

3. Place the pineapple rings in the remaining marinade and cover with plastic. Refrigerate.

4. Preheat grill to medium-high and coat with cooking spray.

5. Place marinated chicken on the grill (discard any extra marinade) and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, or until juices run clear. Top each breast with ham and 1 slice pepper jack cheese and grill for 2 minutes longer, or until cheese melts. Carefully transfer to a plate and lightly cover with foil.

6. Place pineapple on the grill and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, or until grill-marked. Transfer to a plate.

7. To serve, top each chicken breast with grilled pineapple (and any reserved juices from the chicken).

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 215, Total fat 12g, Saturated fat 5g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 387mg, Carbohydrate 11g, Fiber 1g, Protein 17g

Source: Jen Heringhausen, RD, LD

Recipe 3

Zucchini often gets overlooked in the produce aisle. Grilling it provides a whole new flavor dimension and with the simple addition of fresh lemon and Parmesan cheese, it’s brought to life.

Citrus-Marinated Zucchini with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Serves 4

All you need:


Juice and zest of 1 lemon

¼ cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 medium zucchini, sliced on a bias, ends discarded

Non-stick cooking spray

¼ cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish

All you do:

1. Combine marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add zucchini, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high and coat with cooking spray.

3. Grill zucchini for 3-4 minutes on one side (or until grill-marked); flip and cook for 1 minute longer. Transfer to a platter and finish with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 150, Total fat 9g, Saturated fat 1.5g, Cholesterol 4mg, Sodium 32mg, Carbohydrate 3g, Fiber 1g, Protein 2g

Source: Jen Heringhausen, RD, LD

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