Two amateur cooks explore the world of cooking for a Crohn's and Colitis diet

Taking on the Grill

Grilling has been a cooking method that we have sorely missed since moving out of our homes, especially during the D.C. Spring and Summer months.  There have been numerous times when we have said “this dish would have been perfect if we had a grill,” or “we could have grilled this with X ingredient.”  Well, thanks to Marnina’s co-worker, the proprietor of Grilling with Rich, a well-known grilling blog , we have finally caught on to the grilling madness.  We recently purchased an indoor grill faux equivalent to the outdoor grill – a George Foreman electric grill.  While the George Foreman does not offer the smoky flavor, the food still sits on grates that leave nice grill marks, and it provides some charred pieces of food that Marnina loves to nosh on.

Christine, one of Marnina’s IBD friends from Camp Oasis, had recently tried and LOVED a grilled lemon chicken recipe, which turned out to be a perfect, hard-to-screw-up, introductory recipe for our new indoor grill.  This particular recipe is very IBD-friendly because it does not involve any high-fiber foods, and the only potential GI irritant is the lemon juice, which should be reduced if you are sensitive to acidic foods.

The recipe says to marinate the chicken in the mixture for 30 minutes, but we recommend marinating the chicken overnight to allow the chicken to absorb more flavor.  Skinless chicken breasts always need help in the flavor department because without skin, they have a tough time absorbing and retaining flavor and moistness.   You can also cut the breasts in half to allow the chicken to absorb even more flavor or add your favorite spices, herbs, or other flavors to the marinade.  For an Asian-inspired lemon chicken recipe, you could omit the mustard, and add soy sauce and grated ginger.

In addition to the chicken, we also made a spinach casserole (shown in the final picture), and acorn squash.  Marnina has been trying to expand our winter squash repertoire as it has historically been mostly confined to butternut squash.  We had occasionally baked acorn squash with some brown sugar and cinnamon but we had never tried using the skillet to braise this hard vegetable because it would need a lot of cooking time to make it soft enough for Marnina to digest.  Luckily, we found a recipe that involved cooking the squash in a sweetened herb wine sauce that provided enough liquid to soften the sliced squash and infuse it with lots of flavor.  Once again, the only potential GI irritant in this recipe is lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon is usually not enough to harm anyone.  Rosemary was a surprise ingredient, but we thought it added an earthy flavor that perfectly complemented the squash.

Pictures and recipe below:

Grilling the chicken on the George Foreman.

The cooked chicken.

Acorn squash cut up into wedges.

Acorn squash cooking in the olive oil and butter.

Braising the squash in wine, brown sugar, lemon juice, and rosemary.

We paired the sweetened squash and mild lemon flavor of the chicken with a moderately sweet riesling….This was a Shabbat dinner to remember.

Grilled Lemon Chicken:


1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper (we omitted this and the chicken still came out delicious)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves


1. In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, red bell pepper, salt, and pepper. Set aside 1/4 cup of the mixture to use for basting. Place chicken in the bowl, and marinate at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

2. Preheat grill for high heat.

3. Lightly oil grill grate. Drain and discard marinade from the bowl, and place chicken on the grill. Cook 6 to 8 minutes on each side, until juices run clear, basting occasionally with the reserved marinade.
Adapted from:

Rosemary Acorn Squash


One 2-lb. acorn squash (unpeeled), halved lengthwise, seeded,
and cut into 8 wedges
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar
1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Using a paring knife, score each wedge of squash lengthwise down the middle of the flesh. Heat the butter and oil in an 11- to 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Arrange the squash in the pan in a single layer and cook, flipping occasionally, until deep golden-brown on all cut sides, about 10 minutes.

2. Carefully pour the wine into the pan, then quickly scatter the brown sugar, rosemary, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper over the squash. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the squash is almost tender, about 10 minutes more.

3. Uncover the pan and increase the heat to medium. Flip the squash and cook until the liquid is thick and the squash is tender, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the squash to a platter, season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle any remaining liquid over the top, and serve.

Adapted from:

Comments on: "Taking on the Grill" (1)

  1. Thanks guys for the mention!! Here is a little tip to make that perfect grill marks anywhere!! just turn whatever you are grilling at a 45 degree angle, and then when you feel that you are ready, then just simply move it another 45 degrees therefore creating the perfect grill marks! 🙂

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