With summer time in NC, we are in full grilling mode, as I am sure many of you are as well. Grilling is such an amazing way to enjoy the beautiful weather, create those summer memories through infusing our yard with smells and eating healthy at the same time. (I grilled a lot during my no carb, no sugar time.)
If you’ve been a reader here for any amount of time, you know how important it is for me to have easy ways to get dinner on the table and one of my fast 5 favorites (the rest found here) is to grill or bake chicken in bulk. (Really grill anything in bulk to have some for later.)
When we grill out, I always grill up at least ten pounds at a time. Today I checked out the price of 1/2 pound of prepackaged grilled chicken – $5.45. That’s crazy! You can make two pounds of your own grilled chicken for the same price. If you bake chicken or throw it in the crock pot, always make more chicken that you will eat, so that you have extras. Once cooled, then slice, shred and chop into individual meal size freezer bags for quick additions to salads, soups, sandwiches and casseroles all week long. Making up these meal packets is such a great time saver.
I hear so many people say that they aren’t the best on the grill. With a few simple tricks, we can all master amazing meals on here. A secret to great cooking is to know when to introduce acids to a recipe. Acid, such as infusing with fresh citrus options or vinegar, accentuates all other flavors included in the dish. White or red whine, sherry, balsamic or cider vinegars are all great choices. They are a long lasting shelf staple so have different variations available.
Marinate your meat.
Marinating is a great way to add flavor and save money by tenderizing tougher, cheaper cuts of meat, as well as chicken. A well-prepared marinade can help an amateur on the grill prepare food that tastes like it was prepared by an experienced grill master!
To save time, as soon as you come home from the store, take an extra few minutes and divide them into your favorite marinades to cook with in a few days or stick right in freezer.
Select your marinade elements.
Marinades vary from recipe to recipe, but they all generally contain three basic components – oils, acids and seasonings. Oils lock in the natural flavor and prevent vegetables from drying out, while acids allow flavors to be absorbed. Seasonings provide the unique flavor. Garlic, ginger and herbs are the most common marinade seasonings. It’s so easy to make your own homemade spice mixtures (like some of the easy ones I whip together.) It saves you money, plus you know exactly what ingredients are being added – all natural ones.
· Keep an eye on the time.
As a general rule, the longer food is left to marinate, the more flavorsome it will become. Small or tender cuts, such as lamb and beef fillets, chicken breasts and seafood, require shorter marinating times (usually two to four hours). Larger or tougher cuts such as leg, rump or shoulder will need longer (usually four to six hours). Never marinate in aluminum, cast iron or copper, as these metals will react with the acids and salts, resulting in off flavor.
· Use the right tools.
When grilling, always use tongs to turn the meat. A fork should never be used as it will punch holes in the meat and allow the natural juices to escape, causing the meat to lose flavor and become chewy.
· Don’t rush it.
Meat will tell you when it’s ready to flip. If the meat is still hanging onto the grill, it’s not ready to flip. Once a good sear is established, it will release on its own and this is one of the biggest mistakes that people make. Leave the food alone until its ready.
And don’t forget to see the directions for grilling corn on the cob! One of my favorites (and make sure you have the butter ready.)
I love this Easy, low carb Citrus Herb Chicken recipe or head on over to 10 Minute Dinners to get this delicious Grilled Chipotle Skirt Steak Recipe. It’s also a simple one with so much flavor. Remember to make a few extras for a C.O.S.T. cooking salad the next day.
What are some of your favorite grilling recipes? I’d love to try some new ones.