Tuesday

Easy Dinner Recipes: 5 Tips For Grilling Dinner

When it comes to easy dinner recipes in summer nothing is simpler than firing up the grill. That's right, I've taken over man's territory and I love it!

Usually my husband does the grilling like it's some male ritual with fire. Normally I'm just fine with him cooking on the grill because then I don't have to. But a few weeks ago he broke his arm and had to have surgery (a metal plate and 5 screws). In his recovery, I had to figure out how the lawn mower works. It took my kids and me 1/2 hour just to get it started. Then we were so excited that we gave each other high fives and let go of the handle and had to start it all over again. Needless to say I have since hired an interim gardener.

Having mastered the lawn mower and the art of delegation, I next decided that I was going to conquer the BBQ. We have a gas grill. I can figure this out, right?

This experiment has turned out better than the lawn mower. I still make the sides inside, but they usually are 20 minute quickies like rice and salad.

Here are my simple tips for barbecuing for the novice (please note, I know nothing about old fashioned grills, only gas).

1. Marinate during the day. In the morning I toss the meat or chicken into a storage size baggie and toss in some sauce. Italian dressing works really nicely as does teriyaki sauce for both chicken or steak. The baggies just gets tossed out and then there's no need to brush on extra sauce while cooking. When I forget to marinate I don't worry about it. My kids and I all like different dipping sauces that we put on our plates so it's like a custom meal.

2. Pre-heat the grill. I turn both sides on high for 5 minutes before I start grilling. This ensures that my cooking times will be even on the top and the bottom. I also use this time to clean off the grill from last night's dinner. It's very efficient.

3. Use different temperatures for each side. The side I'm cooking on tends to be lower than the side I'm not using. I do leave both on but the higher temperature of the non-cooking side tends to help cook my meat faster without the dangers of burning it over high flames.

4. Get out your timers. I don't stand by the grill enjoying a beer in the afternoon sun. I get back inside and work on the rest of the dinner fixings to consolidate my time. Therefore I tend to forget that there's something outside gilling (oops!) For a boneless anything, I go for 5 minutes a side on average (thin means 4 and thick means 6). At the end of the 10 minutes, I press on the meat to test its' solidity. If the chicken feels spongy, it's not done. Wait until it is firm. Same with steak, although fully firm means well and fully squishy means rare.

5. Don't cut it right away. Let your meat rest for 5 minutes once off of the grill so the juices can settle. Your meal will be tastier and moister if you can show a little patience!

Grilling really is about the easiest way to cook dinner. The best part of it is, there's no recipe required!