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The Weekend Wendy: Beach Blankets & BBQ-to-go

Now that the summer season is upon us it's time to start thinking of the beach.

There's nothing better than spending the day at the beach with family and friends.  But who wants to do all the work of preparing a grill and slave over the hot coals when they can relax and enjoy good company? 

With these make-ahead-of-time recipes, you can still have barbeque at the beach and relax while you're at it. Oh, and they're all low-fat/low-carb too! Except for the S'Mores, of course.

To start off with, shrimp cocktail is a no-brainer. 

Here are a few more of my favorites:

Mermaid Munchies

Crunchy Crab Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound crabmeat
  • 1/3 cup crushed lo-fat Ritz crackers
  • 3 diced scallions
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled with peeler then finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Cooking spray

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. Shape into small patties. Heat griddle and spray with cooking spray.  Cook each crab cake on medium-high heat until browned on each side.  Wrap in foil and bring to the beach in a soft cooler/hot bag to keep warm.

Red Hot and Sweet Chicken Poppers

  • 1 cup hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • ½ stick 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter'
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • Black pepper & cayenne (about ¼ tsp each to taste)
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts cut into large chunks
 

Combine hot sauce, honey and butter substitute in pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Pour half of the sauce in a bowl and keep the remaining sauce in the pan on low.

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Brush the wings with the reserved sauce in the bowl and grill for 5 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Remove from grill and toss with hot sauce. Can be served warm or cold. Use low-fat ranch dressing and toothpicks for dipping.

Lighthouse Lunches

Rockin' Wraps

You can add chicken, beef, turkey, or whatever you'd like to these delicious vegetable-based wraps.  Stop & Shop sells a low-carb tortilla for wraps called "Wrapz-It" which only has one gram of sugar carbs and 120 calories per serving.  They are one-hundred percent whole wheat and quite tasty.

Veggie Wraps

  • Avocado Spread (recipe below)
  • Chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded carrots
  • Your choice of filling (or leave plain/bulk up on veggies for vegetarians)
  • Whole Wheat Wraps

For the filling sautee beef, chicken, or shrimp in a little extra-virgin light olive oil, 1 teaspoon of Adobo spice and ½ tsp Old Bay seasoning. Spread Avocado spread on the wrap (or light mayo), then veggies, then meat.  Roll up and wrap in foil. Delicious served warm or cold (but it's easier chilled).

Avocado Spread

  • 1/4 cup mashed peeled avocado
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped tomato
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth paste forms.

Lemon-Garlic Scallop Kabobs

  • 2 pounds sea scallops
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 large cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons diced fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons diced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Chunks of pineapple and mango
  • Cooking spray

Combine lemon juice, wine, garlic, and pepper in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal, and shake to blend. Add scallops and shake. Marinate in fridge for ½ hour.

Grill on medium-high griddle until firm.  Thread scallops onto skewers, alternating with pineapple and mango chunks. Sway to serve is in wraps.

Simple S'Mores

  • Marshmallow Fluff
  • Hershey's Chocolate Bars
  • Graham Crackers

Spread fluff on crackers, top with chocolate, and enjoy!

Click here for my Fruit Kabobs recipe.  Substitute honeydew melon balls for the marshmallows and a healthier alternative.

I always make a plain version for those picky eaters (A.K.A. my kids) who don't like all the zest and fanfare that goes along with these yummy grown-up treats.  For example, leave out the peppers and celery for the crab cakes, leave out the hot sauce for the chicken, and make peanut-butter and honey or peanut-butter and jelly wraps for their wraps.

Make everything the night before so all you have to do the next day is feel the sand between your toes, the sunshine on your shoulder and enjoy relaxing at the beach.

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