NORTHWOODS COOKS: Fire up the grill

When family and friends gather over the Fourth of July holiday, it’s the perfect time to fire up the grill.

Shrimp tacos with homemade salsa, limes and parsley
Many people will be grilling over the Fourth of July weekend. Shrimp tacos prepared on the grill and served with homemade salsa and a squeeze of lime add a bit of spice to the holiday. <br/><br/>
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In addition to the standard fare of grilled steak, hamburgers, hot dogs, brats or chicken, there are many other foods that can be made on the grill. This is a sampling of recipes from “Top 50 Grilling Recipes” at

Grilled Blackened Shrimp Tacos

1 ripe avocado

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 small clove garlic, grated


1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound large raw shrimp (16-20 count), peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons salt-free Cajun spice blend

8 corn tortillas, warmed

2 cups iceberg lettuce, chopped

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 cup prepared pico de gallo

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Mash avocado with a fork in a small bowl. Add lime juice, garlic and salt and stir to combine.


Pat shrimp dry. Toss the shrimp with Cajun seasoning in a medium bowl. Thread onto four 10- to 12-inch metal skewers. Grill, turning once, until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 4 minutes total.

Serve the shrimp in tortillas, topped with the guacamole, lettuce, cilantro and pico de gallo.

Grilled Salmon with Sweet Peppers

1-1/4 pounds skin-on salmon filet, cut into 4 portions

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 pound sweet mini bell peppers

2 medium red onions, quartered


Preheat a gas grill to high, build a fire in a charcoal grill or build a campfire and let it burn down to high heat (about 500 degrees F).

Brush or drizzle salmon with oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle peppers and onions with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Oil the grill rack. Place the salmon, skin-side up, on the grill, along with the peppers and onions. Grill the salmon until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a metal spatula, gently nudge one of the pieces: it should release from the grill without much force, but if it feels stuck, continue cooking for another minute. When the salmon releases easily, flip and continue cooking until browned and the flesh is opaque, about 3 minutes more. Cook the peppers and onions, turning frequently, until tender and well browned, 8 to 10 minutes total. Serve the salmon with the vegetables.

Vegetarian All-American Portobello Burger

4 portobello mushroom caps, gills removed if desired

Cooking spray

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish

4 teaspoons steak sauce

4 slices American cheese

4 whole-wheat buns, toasted if desired

1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce

4 large tomato slices

Thinly sliced red onion & pickles

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Coat mushrooms with cooking spray and sprinkle with pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes total. Mix mayonnaise, ketchup and relish in a small bowl.

Transfer the mushrooms to a plate and pat dry with paper towels. Brush with steak sauce and top the gill side of each mushroom with a slice of cheese. Return the mushrooms to the grill and cook until the cheese is just melted, about 1 minute more. Serve on buns with the sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and onion and pickles, if desired.

Extra for online only:

Grilled Taco Pizza

1 pound 90%-lean ground beef

15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed

1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup fresh salsa or pico de gallo, divided

1 pound whole-wheat pizza dough

1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 cups shredded romaine lettuce

Fresh cilantro & sliced pickled jalapeños for garnish

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Cook beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in beans, chili powder, cumin and salt. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup salsa (or pico de gallo). Transfer to a medium bowl.

Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch oval. Oil the grill rack. Grill the dough until puffed and lightly browned, 1 to 3 minutes. Turn it over using tongs. Spread the beef mixture on the crust and sprinkle with cheese. Grill until the cheese is melted and the crust is lightly browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board. Mix sour cream and lime juice. Top the pizza with lettuce, the remaining 1/4 cup salsa (or pico de gallo) and the sour cream mixture. Garnish with cilantro and jalapeños, if desired.

Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to

Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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