Learn how to conquer the grill and eat healthy, too

June 12, 2014 

Cooking classes are held at the SC Blue Retail Center, 1260 Bower Parkway

PROVIDED PHOTO

We’re all looking for the secret to delicous, healthy food, and it turn out that it’s been in our kitchens all along: our stoves. “Cooking your own food is a healthy choice in itself because you’re avoiding so many of the chemicals you find in packaged food,” says Chef Lawrence Wright. He should know: as executive chef for BlueCross Blue Shield of South Carolina, Wright has created a series of free cooking classes that focus on creating healthy meals.

To mark the beginning of summer, this month’s class, which will be held Thursday, June 12, will focus on grilling. Participants will watch Wright prepare a full menu — honey mustard chicken, veggie kabobs, spiced sweet potatoes and a special dessert — and then enjoy the dinner.

Can’t make the dinner? Here are a few of Wright’s secrets for pumping up food flavors without overdoing salt or fat.

•  Vinaigrette is easy to make—and versatile. “Vinaigrette is a great salad dressing, but you can also use it as a marinade, basting sauce and finishing sauce,” says Wright. “The basic recipe is three parts oil to one part vinegar, then whatever flavors you prefer, such as Dijon mustard, garlic or fresh herbs.

•  Amp up flavor with homemade seasoned salt. “Mix equal parts garlic powder, smoked paprika, black pepper and salt in a shaker,” says Wright. “You’ll get tons of flavor with a lot less sodium.”

•  Invest in an instant-read thermometer. “Grilled or broiled meat, fish and chicken are healthy, but overcooking them can dry them out,” says Wright. “Use a thermometer so you can pull them off the grill the minute they’re done.”

Healthy Cooking will be held from 6:15 until 7:15 at the SC Blue Retail Center, 1260 Bower Parkway. For more information, visit scblueretailcenters.com

Katie McElveen, Special to The State

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