Ideas for an Entire Meal on the Grill

October 13, 2016 Grilling, Seasonal Tips

True confession: I love to grill. Everything from toast to turkey, I love to grill. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I love to grill. Even in wintry weather, when I can make tracks through the snow, I love to grill.

There’s just nothing better than the crispy char that comes from an open flame – except for maybe the entire season of summer when I can grill every day if I please. And I do. When the sun is shining, I plan week after week of menus cooked entirely on the grill, in fact.

For family suppers and weekend entertaining too, here are my favorite meals that are grilled from start to finish:

Classic Celebration In celebration of everything from stellar spelling tests to baby announcements, this is the grilled steak with vegetables dinner I share with the people I love the most.

I take care to select a juicy cut of beef, a market basket full of colorful peppers, onions, mushrooms, and squash, and a couple cans of my favorite baked beans, and bring the grill to a high heat. Generously seasoned the beef with salt and pepper, I sear the steaks and rotate as they cook for professional grill marks. All the while, the veggies roast right on the grates and a cast-iron crock warms the beans simmering inside. To complete the steakhouse celebration experience, I give the meat several minutes to rest, off the grill, before I slice and dress the plates.

Burger Night Burgers sound good to me and the rest of my crew nearly every night. During grilling season, especially, though, I really try to mix up Burger Night. I’ve always got the fixings for a spread of healthy burgers in the pantry. In minutes, I can pull together these protein-packed patties – and shhh! – sometimes I even sneak in some extra veggies too. They finish quickly on the grill and go deliciously with charred corn-on-the-cob.

The Belly Filler At the end of a crazy week of work, school, sports, and more sports, a hearty, healthy chicken dinner is just what the doctor (and my family) ordered. The glaze makes it full of flavor and super juicy when I go to grill it. Then, I throw something gorgeous and green, like asparagus, onto the grill, and a crock of beans, and we’ve got all we need to fill our bellies and recharge our batteries for the rest of the night.

Side Spread For entertaining especially, one of my favorite menus to serve hot off the grill is one of several side dishes. The expanse of a grill top makes the perfect perch for lots of different recipes and it’s a fun, unexpected way to eat – almost like summertime tapas. I always have some watermelon wedges and pineapple rings on the grates, alongside the elements of a great bean salad tossed in a simple Dijon mustard vinaigrette. I build the rest of the menu from there. Toasted bread or focaccia is always a treat, as are small sausages, or skewers of shrimp. The possibilities are endless, really.

I could be enticed to grill out any day of the year. But when the sun shines into the night and the sprinkler’s dancing around the backyard, you better believe I’ll be stationed at the grill. For full-fledged events and family suppers too, there are no better – easier, more delicious – meals than the ones that are served right off the grill.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Dessert Ideas: A Day Worth of Meatless Meals

October 13, 2016 Dietary Considerations

Sometimes, we just need to take a break from meat. Whether it’s for religious reasons, money-saving, or even just because we want something light and flavorful, it’s a lot easier to create vegetarian meals when you have beans as a backbone.  In fact, you can go through an entire day without a touch of meat—but with a lot of flavor.

Breakfast: There’s nothing easier than a breakfast burrito, and you can easily make a batch of these to put in the fridge for the week and reheat in the oven (or even in the microwave).  You can vary this by switching black beans for pinto, different types of salsa (a pineapple or mango salsa would be a delicious change of pace!) or even using tomato, spinach or another flavor of tortilla.  They’re versatile, filling, and nutritious.

Lunch: A salad that can be easily toted to work (and made ahead) is one of the easiest way to embrace a meat-free meal.  The cucumber with citrus tastes better the longer it sets.  The fresh flavors mingle in the citrus vinaigrette.  While the recipe calls for lemon, you could easily use lime, orange or grapefruit juice instead, and you could vary the fresh herbs as well: use fresh tarragon with grapefruit, cilantro with lime, or basil with orange.   

Dinner:  A substantial, hearty dinner is just what you need after a long day of work or school.  You don’t need meat to do that. Try these meat-free burgers using Portobello mushrooms which are easy to grill in just a few minutes.  Vary up the ingredients to please your family:  cheddar, American or mozzarella cheese are delicious, and look for herbed mustards to compliment the smoky portabellas.  And, of course, serve with vegetarian baked beans on the side.

Dessert: Sweets can involve beans, too! In these brownie bites, the beans provide a fudgy texture and protein without adding a ton of calories.  They’re sweet, chocolaty and satisfying and could be popped into a lunch box or just grabbed off the counter for dessert.

Meatless doesn’t mean complicated—it can be easy and delicious, with a few tweaks, some creativity, and of course, beans!

Meet Julie Niesen

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