Easy dinner recipes: Get grilling! (and 39 other fun ideas)

For dinner tonight, head outdoors and get grilling! Whether you're thinking fish, steaks or even vegetarian -- ever try grilled romaine lettuce? It's wonderful! -- we've got you covered. And all in an hour or less

Because lean halibut dries out so quickly and can be sticky on the grill, wrap meaty fillets in a sheet of prosciutto for moist richness and flavor, and to make them easy to manage over a hot grill. The fish cooks up in almost no time -- 4 to 5 minutes on each side, just until the prosciutto is lightly crisped. Throw some soaked mesquite wood chips over the fire before grilling for a little added aroma and sweet flavor. Served alongside a simple cherry tomato salad, it makes a perfect dinner.

 On days like this, every meal should be cooked outside. Consider flank steaks with fresh chimichurri sauce. The sauce -- a little garlic, red wine vinegar, oil, fresh herbs and a touch of lemon juice -- comes together in almost no time, and those steaks will grill up in minutes. It's a perfect way to celebrate the end of the week! You can find the recipe below.

RECIPES: Grilling favorites and more Test Kitchen recipes

It is a simple salad of fresh fava beans and cubed pecorino Romano cheese tossed with a little fruity olive oil, bright lemon juice and chopped parsley. Serve the salad over grilled romaine brushed with garlic olive oil and it makes a perfectly simple dinner in less than an hour. Oh, and your friends might never guess it's vegetarian.

For more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED HALIBUT WITH GRAPE TOMATO SALAD

  

Total time: 25 minutes

Servings: 6

Note: Use mesquite wood chips. 6 halibut fillets (2 pounds), about 2 inches thick

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 slices thinly sliced prosciutto (about 3 ounces)

1 1/2 pounds yellow and red grape tomatoes

6 basil leaves, thinly sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1. Cut the fillets into equal-sized pieces about as wide as a slice of prosciutto. Because of the size of a halibut fillet, you will probably end up cutting across the fillet, making pieces that are roughly square.

2. Lightly salt and pepper the fish. Lay a prosciutto slice on the work surface and put a piece of halibut in the middle of it. Fold the ends around the halibut. It will look a little messy on the side where the ends meet, but don't worry; you'll serve it with that side down. Refrigerate the halibut until ready to cook.

3. Cut the tomatoes in half and place them in a bowl. Add three-fourths teaspoon salt and toss to coat well. Set aside to let the salt draw out some of the tomato juice.

4. When you're ready to cook the fish, soak about 1 cup of wood chips in water to cover. Light the coals in a chimney and when the coals are glowing hot, empty them into the center of the grill. If there aren't enough coals, add more on top and wait until they are glowing as well. Drain the wood chips and place on top of the coals.

5. Toss the tomatoes with the basil, olive oil and vinegar.

6. Spray a grill basket with nonstick cooking spray or rub lightly with oil. Place the halibut packages in the basket and place over the fire. Cook, uncovered, on one side until the prosciutto has lightly crisped, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook until a knife inserts easily into an uncovered part of the halibut, another 4 to 5 minutes. Don't overcook the halibut; even with the prosciutto wrapping, it will dry out pretty quickly. Total cooking time should be about 10 minutes.

7. Carefully open the grill basket, making sure the prosciutto doesn't stick to it. Place the halibut packages on a large platter with the neatest side facing up. Spoon the tomato salad around the outside of the platter, sprinkle with black pepper and serve immediately.

Each serving: 253 calories; 37 grams protein; 6 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 9 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 60 mg. cholesterol; 760 mg. sodium.

GRILLED FLANK STEAKS WITH CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

Total time: 25 minutes

Servings: 6

Note: Set the steak out about an hour before grilling to allow it to come to room temperature.

Chimichurri sauce

2 cloves garlic

1 cup coarsely chopped parsley, firmly packed

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup olive oil

5 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

With the food processor running, drop the garlic through the food tube to chop. Add the parsley, oregano and fresh mint and pulse several times to mince. Add the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and salt and pulse a few times to achieve a coarse puree. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt as needed. (The recipe can be prepared to this point 2 hours in advance and held at room temperature.)

Grilled flank steak

1 (1 1/2 - to 2-pound) flank steak

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Chimichurri sauce

1. Pat the flank steak dry on both sides with paper towel. Season each side with a generous one-fourth teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper.

2. Just before cooking, brush each side with about 1 tablespoon chimichurri sauce. Grill over a hot fire, cooking about 1 minute on each side, then turning the steak 90 degrees and cooking the same side an additional minute before flipping the steak over to give each side nice grill marks. Repeat with the other side, cooking the steak a total of 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Rest the steak 5 minutes before slicing. Cut across the grain and on a deep bias, in wide, thin slices. Serve, passing remaining chimichurri sauce on the side.

Each serving: 353 calories; 28 grams protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 26 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 56 mg. cholesterol; 636 mg. sodium. 

GRILLED ROMAINE WITH FAVA BEANS AND PECORINO

Total time: About 45 minutes

Servings: 4

Note: From former Times Test Kitchen director Donna Deane

1 pound fresh fava beans, shelled

2 tablespoons cubed pecorino Romano ( 1/4 -inch cubes)

4 1/2 tablespoons best-quality olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

1/8 teaspoon salt

Cracked black pepper

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 small head (about 1/2 pound) romaine lettuce, quartered lengthwise

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then add the fava beans and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Break the outer skin of the bean and squeeze the bean out of its skin.

2. In a small bowl, toss the beans with the cubes of pecorino Romano. Stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, chopped parsley, salt and cracked black pepper (about 4 grinds). Set aside and allow the beans to marinate while you grill the romaine.

3. In a cup or small bowl, combine the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and the minced garlic. Brush the quartered romaine with the garlic olive oil and place on an oiled grill over medium-high heat until the lettuce is lightly charred on all sides but still crisp in the center, about

4 to 5 minutes.

4. Place a grilled romaine quarter on each of four serving plates. Spoon an equal amount of the fava bean and pecorino mixture over the top of each and season with a few more grinds of black pepper.

Each serving: 271 calories; 12 grams protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 18 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 7 mg. cholesterol; 226 mg. sodium.

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