Your Charcoal Grill, Summertime Cook's Best Friend

If you are like me and the thought of heating up your kitchen in summer is making you groan, step out of your box and use the grill. The charcoal grill, be it real charcoal, or propane can make your life so much easier. You can use it to cook just about anything you can think of.

Most of us think of hot dogs, burgers, steaks, and maybe shish kebobs, when we start to grill. That's great, but you can also do side dishes and even dessert on the grill. Take some corn, pull out the silk and soak it in the husks before grilling. You can add some butter or whatever seasonings you like, pull the husk back up and grill.

Other vegetables like squash, peppers, eggplant, onions, or tomatoes can also be grilled. If you want to cut them in small pieces, just toss with a little olive oil, season, and wrap in foil packets. They can grill right along with your main dish.

One of my favorite tactics is to grill a lot of hamburgers at once and put the excess in the freezer. When you thaw them, they will taste freshly cooked. The same method works well for chicken breasts. If you're going to fire up the grill, make a lot. They can morph into chicken salad, or a pasta dish later in the week.

If you are making kebobs, make sure to soak any wooden skewers before using them on the grill so they don't catch fire. If you have a large rosemary plant, you can use the branches for a flavorful skewer, just soak first.

When people think of dessert, s'mores come immediately to mind. That gooey, graham cracker, marshmallow, chocolate concoction has been around forever. Don't limit yourself though. Pineapple slices, peaches, or nectarines are delicious grilled. It brings out the natural sugars. You can eat as is or with ice cream for an easy dessert.

Try some new uses for your charcoal grill. You may not be ready for a throwdown with Bobby Flay, but you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much you can cook outside. Add a salad and you'll have a yummy summer meal. Let's barbeque!!


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