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Healthy sizzle: A 600-calorie meal straight off the grill from Cooking Channel's Ellie Krieger

Go way beyond your usual grilling with an entire yummy meal from the host of Cooking Channel's Healthy Appetite

May 12, 2011   |  
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Grilled corn with lime and basil
Grilled corn with lime and basil / Ben Fink for USA WEEKEND
Ellie Krieger's Favorite Grilling Tools: Ellie Krieger's 3 favorite grilling tools.
Join us for a tweet chat with Ellie on May 18 at 2PM (EDT). You can follow us on Twitter, tweet with the hashtag #usawcooks or just follow along on tweetchat.com using the same hashtag. / Ben Fink for USA WEEKEND
Chili-rubbed grilled pork tenderloin / Ben Fink for USA WEEKEND
Grilled romaine hearts with Caesar vinaigrette / Ben Fink for USA WEEKEND
Grilled fruit skewers with honey yogurt sauce / Ben Fink for USA WEEKEND
Grilled peach salsa / Ben Fink for USA WEEKEND

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Whether I am developing recipes for my Cooking Channel show Healthy Appetite, for one of my cookbooks or simply cooking for my family, I'm always looking for that magical trifecta of delicious, healthy and easy. I naturally turn to grilling as one of the surest ways to find it. On the grill, food gets an enticing fired-up taste, appealing char-marks and depth of flavor without any extra calories. Plus, there's something special about cooking and eating al fresco.

So think beyond basic chicken breast. There's a world of fabulous lean protein and produce you've probably never considered tossing on the barbie. These five show-stoppers add up to a whole extraordinary meal, including dessert, for under 600 calories. Plus, they're practically effortless, so you can kick back and enjoy.

Grilled Corn with Lime and Basil

Fresh summer sweet corn gets a special treatment here, char-grilled then doused with a tangy lime dressing flecked with fragrant basil.

2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 Tb. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. finely grated lime zest
1 Tb. fresh lime juice
¼ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 ears corn, husked, silks removed

In a small bowl, combine the basil, oil, lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Oil the grill's surface. Grill the corn until it is slightly softened and charred in spots, about 10 minutes, turning several times.

Put the corn on a plate, drizzle the basil lime mixture over the corn and roll the corn around in the mixture to coat evenly.

YIELD: 4 servings

Per serving: 110 calories, 17g carbohydrates, 3g protein, 4.5g fat (0.5g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 150mg sodium.

Chili-rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is nearly as lean as skinless chicken breast, and it grills up beautifully. This simple spice rub gives it loads of flavor without the calories or wait time of a marinade.

1 tsp. ancho chili powder
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 pork tenderloin (about 1¼ pound)

In a small bowl, combine the ancho chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and cayenne. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork tenderloin. Allow the tenderloin to come to room temperature.

Preheat a grill over a medium-high heat. Oil the grill's cooking surface. Grill tenderloin, turning once or twice, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 155 degrees, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing into ½-inch thick slices. Serve with Grilled Peach Salsa (see below).

YIELD: 4 servings

Per serving: 160 calories, 1g carbohydrates, 30g protein, 3.5g fat (1g saturated), 90mg cholesterol, 0g fiber, 230mg sodium.

Excellent source of niacin, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, vitamin B6.

Good source of pantothenic acid, potassium, vitamin B12 and zinc.

Grilled Romaine Hearts with Caesar Vinaigrette

This may be your first time grilling lettuce, but I'll bet it won't be your last. Here the romaine hearts retain their crispness but soften and char just enough to become luxurious.

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tb. fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
⅛ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil spray
2 hearts of Romaine lettuce

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire and pepper. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Preheat the grill over medium-high heat. Oil the grill's surface. Remove any wilted outer leaves from the romaine hearts, then cut the hearts in half length-wise leaving the end intact so each half holds together. Spray them lightly all over with the oil spray.

Grill until grill marks form and the lettuce wilts slightly, about 6 minutes, turning once or twice. Serve drizzled with the vinaigrette.

YIELD: 4 servings

Per serving: 100 calories, 5g carbohydrates, 3g protein, 8g fat (1.5g saturated), 5mg cholesterol, 1g fiber, 85 mg sodium.

Excellent source of vitamins A and C.

Good source of calcium.

Grilled Fruit Skewers with Honey Yogurt Sauce

Grilling fruit caramelizes its natural sugars, making it sweeter and richer tasting. Feel free to mix it up with a variety of fruits — bananas, mangos, peaches and nectarines grill up beautifully as well.

1½ cups ripe pineapple
chunks (about ½ inch thick)
1⅓ cups green grapes
2 large ripe, firm plums, cut into ½ inch thick slices
8 wooden skewers
6 ounces non-fat plain yogurt
2 Tbs. honey
1 Tb. lemon juice

Skewer the fruit, alternating pineapple, grapes and plum on each skewer.

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, honey and lemon juice.

Preheat a grill to medium-high and oil the grill's surface. Place the fruit skewers onto the grill and cook until grill marks have formed and the fruit softens slightly, 3-5 minutes per side.

Serve each skewer with about 2 tablespoons of the honey-yogurt sauce.

YIELD: 4 servings

Per serving: 160 calories, 41g carbohydrates, 4g protein, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 35mg sodium.

Excellent source of manganese, vitamin C.

Good source of iodine, potassium, vitamin K.

Grilled Peach Salsa

Peach's sweet-tart juicy balance makes for a delightful salsa that pairs perfectly with the pork. Grill the peaches first to give them gorgeous grill marks and deepen their flavor.

2 firm, ripe yellow peaches or nectarines
½ small red onion, finely diced
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a grill over medium-high heat. Oil the grill's surface.

Cut each peach in half and remove the pits. Place the peaches cut side down on the grill and cook until the peaches soften slightly and grill marks are formed, about 3 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then chop.

In a medium bowl, toss to combine the peaches, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature.

YIELD: 4 servings

Per serving: 40 calories, 10g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 150mg sodium.

Good source of vitamin C.

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Ellie Krieger is host of the The Food Network’s hit show “Healthy Appetite,” which airs on The Cooking Channel. The author of three cookbooks, her latest is Comfort Food Fix: Feel Good Favorites Made Healthy. A registered dietitian, Ellie has helped out with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign and has teamed up with New York City SchoolFood initiative, where she created healthy, delicious menu items for students citywide.