July is National Grill Month, and summer is the perfect time to appreciate this celebration. The days are long,the nights are warm, and you want to spend most of your day outside. Before you get grilling, here are a few basic things you should know about.
The marinade is arguably the most important part of the grilling process. This gives all of the taste to the food. Choose simple flavors for your marinade, and pay attention to the different flavors that go best with different meats, fish, tofu, or vegetables. You can buy pre-made marinades at the store or easily make them from scratch. Make sure to use your marinade only once; reusing it can spread bacteria that can be harmful to you.
When grilling, choose a base that is both fresh and firm enough to flip over. Some great veggies to grill are zucchini, bell peppers, onions, corn, Portobello mushrooms, asparagus, eggplant, and potatoes. Some easy meats for grilling are lean hamburgers, turkey burgers, chicken breasts, and steak. Tuna, salmon, swordfish, tilapia, and mahi mahi are also great fish options. These veggies and protein choices create the main component of the perfect grilled meal.
Grilling can be a really simple way to cook something quickly, but you should take some precautions. A grill can get hot very quickly—so be aware of that when handling the food. Use tools designed for grilling becaue of the heat-proof technology and long handles. Also be sure to keep the grill as clean as possible. You can clean the grill grates by placing grill-safe tin foil over the grates while the grill is still on. The heat that radiates off of the tin foil will remove most food remnants from the grates. You can also use a grill brush to get rid of the larger pieces of burnt food. Be careful with very oily foods or marinades on the grill because the flames could flare up if too much oil drips through the grates. Keep a spritzer bottle of water nearby to put out small flare-ups if necessary. Practice common sense as you’re grilling and it will be a pleasant experience!
The Easiest Grilled Chicken in the World
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cleaned and cut in half (about 4 pieces total)
1 cup your favorite Italian Dressing
Clean Serving Plate
Start with the chicken breasts in a strong, gallon sized resealable plastic bag. Pour in the Italian dressing and seal the bag. Place the bag on top of a plate and in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours to marinade.
After the chicken has marinated, turn the grill on to a medium heat setting and allow it to preheat. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and let it sit out about 30 minutes. One piece at a time, place the chicken on the grill, leaving enough space to flip it over next to each piece. Allow the chicken to cook for about 3-4 minutes, and flip it to the other side. Finish cooking the chicken for about 3-4 minutes, until the meat is completely white, and there is no pink in the middle. Take the chicken off of the grill and serve it! This grilled chicken is delicious served alongside some grilled corn and veggies, or on top of a salad.
4 ears corn
Butter or Olive Oil, if Desired
Bowl of Cold Water
Clean Serving Bowl
Pre-heat the grill to medium. Pull the corn husks all the way down to the base of the corn, but do not detach them. Remove the silky material from the corn and pull the husk back into place around the corn. Soak the corn in a large bowl of cold water with 2 teaspoons of salt for about 10 minutes. After soaking, remove the corn and shake off the water.
Place the corn on the grill and close the cover for about 15-20 minutes, turning the corn about every 5 minutes. Leave the corn on the grill until the kernels are tender. Remove the husks and serve the corn hot. Top with a bit of butter, olive oil, or Kosher salt if you’d like!
1 bunch asparagus (about 15 pieces), trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Clean Serving Dish
Pre-heat the grill to medium. In a dish, drizzle olive oil on the asparagus and mix around until each stalk is coated. Sprinkle the salt on top and mix around again.
Grill the asparagus for about 5 minutes, rolling each stalk every minute. Cook until there are brown spots, but not until the asparagus is charred.
2 Peaches, washed, dried, pitted and cut in half
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Clean Serving Plate
Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
Preheat the grill to medium. Place each half of the peach skin side up for about 3 minutes, until you notice grill marks on the flesh. Flip over each half and add ¼ tablespoon butter and a sprinkle of the cinnamon- sugar mixture. Grill for about 2 more minutes, until the skin is slightly charred. Serve as a dessert with some vanilla ice cream on top!
With these easy and delicious grilling recipes, you will have to drag yourself back into your kitchen and away from the grill to cook next time. These are great for a group of four, so enjoy with your family or your roommates this summer!
Photo Credit: Laura Asbury