Summertime Grilling Shortcuts for Delicious Meals

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Summer time means it's the perfect season for grilling! Today we are serving up inspiration, shortcuts and recipes  to help you gather your family around the table.

Got a hungry family and an outdoor grill? The combo can be a set up for a delicious dinner with an added bonus—not heating up the already toasty house!

Make summertime grilling easier with these few simple shortcuts below.

~ Marinate ahead by freezing.  On a day you have extra time, plan ahead for another day when you won’t. Place meats in plastic bags with zip closures and pour marinade over them. Squeeze out the air and freeze. On grilling day simply remove from the freezer, thaw and grill. It really intensifies the flavor. Here are some great combos:

* Chicken breasts in raspberry vinaigrette dressing. (or pomegranate vinaigrette—delicious!)

* Pork chops in Italian dressing

* Steaks in any dressing that has a cheese in it such as asiago or parmesan

* Chicken breasts in 1 1/2 cups orange juice mixed with 1/4 cup soy sauce and a hint of garlic

* Pork ribs in 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice mixed with 2 T. brown sugar and a little garlic powder

~Have grilling veggies sliced and ready to go for a quick, healthy side dish.  Onions, asparagus, red, yellow or green peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash etc.. You can grill them in a little drizzle of olive oil with some cracked pepper and sea salt on heavy duty foil on the grill. (If using regular foil, double the layers) Or, invest in a grilling plate with holes designed for veggies. Totally worth the $10 we spent.

Think herbs. Incorporating herbs makes meats and veggies so yummy. I grow rosemary, pineapple sage, basil, oregano, lemon thyme and tarragon for just such a reason. You can Google oodles of recipes for your favorite herb. (Below is a potato recipe we love.)

For clean-up, use an onion.  I just saw a report on the news where many people are accidentally ingesting the tiny wire bristles from the brush used to clean a grill and then requiring surgery for removal. Ouch! Instead, use an onion cut in half to clean the grill once it has cooled off slightly. First, put the grill on high once all the items have been removed. This burns off much of the stuck-on food. Then, turn off the grill and 15 minutes or so later and rub the onion over the grill’s surface. Works like a charm!

~Now, here is a tasty potato recipe for a side dish to your meat and a sweet-ending fruit dessert idea too!

HERBED RED SKINS

6 cups chopped red skin potatoes with skins on

2 t. finely minced fresh rosemary

2 t. lemon pepper

* 1 T. fresh minced basil

* 1 t. fresh minced oregano

* 2 t. minced fresh garlic

* 1 t. cracked sea salt

Toss all in a bowl and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Grill on foil over medium heat until tender stirring frequently (about 20 minutes or more). Spray foil with cooking spray heavily before beginning. You may need to drizzle a bit more oil if it starts to stick.

GRILLED FRUIT

This is any easy one as goes great with any meat. Simply take either a 1/2 inch slice of fresh pineapple or a canned or fresh peach half. Drizzle it with a little pure maple syrup.  (No, imitation syrup doesn't work. It tastes NOTHING like the real deal!) Next, sprinkle on some ground cinnamon. Carefully transfer to a grill and cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes, just to warm. Serve alone or with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yum!!!

Happy grilling!

Karen Ehman, KarenEhman.com