Don’t you love grilling out in the summer? It’s a wonderful way to bring out the best in your food and enjoy the outdoors at the same time. Let’s look at some unexpected foods to grill this summer.
Most of us think of red meat when we think of grilling out, but chicken is great off the grill. Chicken is so versatile. You can eat it on the bone, boneless, cut into bite-sized strips for the kids, or tossed in your favorite salad. A great strategy is to grill some chicken breasts, serve them with barbecue sauce or on their own, and then enjoy the leftovers for a couple of days served either cold or hot as an entrée, in a sandwich, or a salad.
If you're looking for an easy summer lunch, chicken is a great choice. Just be sure to pack an insulated lunchbox if you'll be taking it to your office or on the road. Cooked chicken is good for a couple of days but will need to stay refrigerated.
Shrimp is great on the grill—jumbo shrimp are best though as the smaller ones can fall through the grate and you won’t want to waste any of that goodness. They are great by themselves or as part of a kabob. Shrimp is one of those ultra-fast grilling foods, too, so if you have spent a day at the beach or the pool, after the crew changes out of that wet family swimwear, fire up the grill and add some shrimp to the favorites that you have on hand.
Veggies are some of the best foods that you can grill, and they make perfect side dishes and accompaniments to the main course. Consider adding sweet peppers (6 to 8 minutes per side), onions (5 to 7 minutes per side), zucchini (5 minutes per side), portabella mushrooms (7 to 10 minutes per side), or everyone’s favorite, corn on the cob (25 minutes). For the most part, if it is a vegetable that won’t fall through the grate, you can grill it.
Fruit is another great category of unexpected food to grill. You will need to choose fruits that are firm and not overripe. They will also need to be large enough to sit easily on the grill. You can cut the fruit up into slices or chunks, but make sure they are “hefty” enough to handle the grill. You will want it to maintain its structure as it heats up. Consider peaches, melons, pineapple, pears, avocado, tomato, and bananas on the grill. Heat your grill to medium-high for at least 10 minutes, then scrape and oil the grates before you place the fruit on it. Safflower oil is a good choice as it tastes “neutral."
If you're a gardener, keep an eye out for the freshest bounty of the season. The time that you tend your garden in your women’s shorts, T-shirt, and a sun hat isn’t just for your serenity, it will also impress your family and friends when you bring the freshest ingredients for dinner. If gardening isn’t your thing, no worries! Ask advice from a gardening friend or your grocer about choosing the freshest produce available. You’ll be glad you did.
Not only are Kabobs the perfect solution for all those small hard-to grill-foods, but they're also a lot of fun! The only rule about kabobs is to combine small enough chunks of food that they will cook at about the same rate. Keeping meat and veggie kabobs separate from fruit kabobs will help with this.
Making kabobs can be a fun family activity, too! If you have little ones, be sure to cut up the food into right-sized pieces first. Chances are they'll enjoy “building” their own kabobs. You can mix meat like beef and pork on the same kabobs along with veggies. In fact, kabobs can be a great way to get little ones to try new vegetables (win!). After dinner, have the ones play relay races in the backyard or set up a sprinkler or water toy and have them change into their kids’ swimsuits. They’ll be well fed and burn off some energy before bedtime.
New and unexpected foods are great straight from the grill, but if you have some famous crowd pleasers, why not make those, too? If you're known for those juicy burgers or the kids love your perfect hot dogs, you might even have disappointed customers if you don’t make them.
Why not whip up a great meal and then enjoy some delicious food and good company on the outdoor furniture on the deck or the patio? The best conversations happen outside over food.
Enjoy grilling some new foods with your family and friends this summer!