Summer is my favorite season for spending time with my family, exploring various activities and getting my grill on. Most families associate grilling season with holiday celebrations, such as Independence Day, and eating your fill of hot dogs and burgers. Many families don't cook the healthiest of foods on the grill, but they’re missing out.
My family grills up meatballs, skewers and even s'mores. We play backyard games and celebrate enjoying quality time together. Plus, there are fewer dishes to wash and grime to scrub up in the kitchen. What’s not to love? Grilling is my favorite way to feed my family, and here are a few of our favorite recipes.
1. Grilled Meatball Sandwich
Get a taste of Italy on the grill by making a spice-rich, healthy meatball sandwich. The best part is filling the meatballs with your favorite spices, such as cumin seed and onion powder. Make your meatballs large if you want, but be prepared to chase them. Make the meatball sandwich more kid-friendly by opting for traditional bite-sized meatballs, and grill up bread for a delicious handheld treat. Use marinara sauce, provolone and parsley sprigs to optimize the Italian taste and create an unique grilled dish.
2. Grilled Spaghetti and Meatballs
Just go right for the spaghetti and meatballs, and yes, you can totally grill spaghetti for a smoky flavor. While you’ll still pop the noodles on the stove in water, you get the smoky flavor by using a grill basket and olive oil.
You’ll grill the meatballs like normal. Include whatever sauce or extras you like, such as bell peppers, onions or cherry tomatoes.
Skewers are quick, simple and fit all diets. Marinate meat, fish or vegetables in the fridge and pop them on the grill. The pieces are already bite-sized and manageable for little ones to chew.
Skewer recipes are plentiful, from lamb marinated in salt, pepper, onion and oil to zucchini and squash in balsamic dressing. Make steak tacos on a stick by grilling up pieces of sirloin and corn and adding on avocado and red onion, or Cajun shrimp skewers with grilled shrimp in Cajun spices and lemon slices alternating on the stick.
4. More Grilled S’mores, Please!
Watch your kid’s eyes get humongous as you announce you’re going to make s’mores on the grill — it’s seriously the best reaction. Wrap your s’mores in foil to make the process less sticky and tricky on the grill than campfire s’mores. Set the grill to a medium-low heat, and prepare four s’mores as you typically would, sandwiching the marshmallows and chocolate between the Graham crackers. Wrap each in foil.
Grill each side for one minute. Use tongs for more reach and no burns. Let them cool before destruction ensues.
5. Grilled Vegetarian Quesadillas
Quesadillas always please crowds. Plus, they’re handheld. Use gluten-free tortillas to avoid carb overloads and accommodate restricted diets.
Grill up summer vegetables and wrap them up. Zucchini, corn and black beans make up my favorite grilled vegetarian quesadilla. Grill two ears of corn and two zucchinis, and cut those when done. Wrap it up with cherry tomatoes, monterey jack cheese, scallions, spices and fresh lime and cilantro.
6. Grilled Flatbread Pizza
Forget the oven and battling sticky dough and waiting for it to rise. Just buy plain flatbread or grab some naan at the grocery store to make personal pizzas. Flatbreads also come with various spices in the crust.
Use marinara, tomato, Alfredo, or pesto sauces or olive oil as a base. Top with vegetables, curry chicken or good old pepperoni. Cheese it up. Grill. Destroy.
7. Grilled Tofu With Mojo Criollo Sauce
Without a good marinade, tofu tastes bland, but the right breading or nice grill marks make a world of difference in flavor. It’s basically a blank canvas for whatever mad scientist recipe you’ve in mind. Grind up garlic with a mortar and pestle and make a magic mojo criollo sauce, which includes orange juice and cumin for an unique Puerto Rican taste. Your kid will gobble it up with grilled summer vegetables.
8. Grilled Lemon Chicken
Keep it simple and make grilled lemon chicken. You don’t have to marinate it — just rub the chicken with olive oil and spices, and then grill it for three minutes on each side. Squeeze lemon on top and add any additional herbs that your palate prefers. Serve with mashed avocado to get your healthy fats in.
Don’t hide away from the summer sun. Get out into the backyard and play games, spending quality time with your family. Forget the dishes and avoid dirtying up the oven. Fire up the grill, and try out these eight recipes as a part of your meal planning for the summer. You don’t have to cook hot dogs, and fill up your stomach with this delicious and healthy comfort food. Surprise your kids with grilled s’mores for dessert.