Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Easy, Cool Summer Eating

On the 21st it will officially be summer again. Although, with the temperatures we've been having it seems like it's already here! I'm starting to think more about different meals and methods that I can prepare them having to heat up the kitchen.

1st Edition:Grilling:
The grill is great during the summer, isn't it? It allows us to keep all that heat outdoors where it belongs!

Grilling meats is of course the obvious choice. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken breasts, pork chops, ribs, chicken legs, steaks. Any of those can be marinated and grilled up in no time flat. You can even make kabobs with hunks of chicken, pork or steak.

You can also grill fish. But, if you're like me and have a horrible time with the fish sticking to the grill, you can use foil packets. Just lay a square of foil out on the counter. Place your piece of fish in the middle and top with lemon juice and whatever spices/herbs you want to use. Pepper, garlic and butter are a favorite of ours and so easy. Then, bring the foil up to meet and scrunch it down and in, and then fold the sides up making a nice little package that the fish can steam in. Place on the grill and grill til done. Keep an eye on it, grilling times will vary! Don't forget about shrimp. On skewers with squash, tomatoes and onion, it makes for a great dish.

Speaking of foil packets, why not prepare your side dish while you're at it? Place your foil sheet on the counter again and put some veggies in it, along with some butter and spices. Our favorite is yellow squash, onions and asparagus with garlic, butter, salt, pepper and oregano. But, it will work with practically any veggie. Scrunch and fold, plop on the grill to cook while your meat does.

Also, while grilling I like to throw some potatoes on there to cook after the meal has cooked. This makes for some excellent hash browns the next morning and really helps you utilize all the heat from the charcoal.

Did you also know that you can grill pizza? It seems to be all the rage lately. Just make up your favorite pizza dough, add it to the grill to pre-bake a few minutes per side. Remove, add your toppings (pre-cook your veggies & meats, like onions and peppers, foil packet perhaps..or leftovers?), place back on the grill with the cover until the cheese is all nice and melty and the crust has cooked through.

Let's not forget about desserts! Grilled pineapple and peaches are wonderful with some vanilla ice cream. You could also use the foil packet idea to make some smores, or grilled sliced cinnamony apples.

BBQ Chicken, Ribs and Pork Chops
Marinate meat all day in the fridge in a half bottle of your favorite bbq sauce. Grill meats while basting with the other half of the bbq sauce. Don't reuse the bbq sauce that you marinated in, it will be germ infested.

Hawaiian Chicken, Pork Chops
Marinate meat in a mixture of 1 pineapple juice (from pineapple chunks), 1 can mandarin orange juice, 2TBSP soy sauce, 1tsp garlic, 1tsp ginger and a dash of hot sauce. Cook on the grill and serve with some grilled pineapple.

My Family's Favorite Burgers

2lb ground chuck
1package (or homemade) dry onion soup mix
4Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1Tbsp chopped garlic

Mix all ingredients well and shape into 8 patties and grill. We like to top ours with pepper jack cheese and all the trimmings.

BBQ Hamburgers
Mix 2lbs ground chuck with one bottle of your favorite bbq sauce. Shape into 8 patties and grill.

My Turkey Burgers

2lbs ground turkey
1/2c chopped roasted red pepper
1/4c chopped onion
1Tbsp chopped garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1tsp oregano

Mix all well, shape into 8 patties and grill.


Next on the agenda: Summer crockpot meals.

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