Actually Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Wednesday was National Grilled Cheese Day.  I don’t really remember that day from past years, but thought I would celebrate this year with actually preparing grilled cheese sandwiches–Not just made indoors on a grill, but made outdoors on a charcoal grill.

The feat was totally easy since I have a new grilled cheese basket by The Charcoal Companion.  This non-stick basket is perfect for any type of grilled sandwich on an open grill.  The rosewood handle is especially nice and the basket clip keeps the tool together for easy turning.  I was able to fit three smaller sandwiches with plenty of cheddar cheese for each sandwich into the basket. The sandwiches are held together nicely without any worries of losing a sandwich into the charcoal.

It took only minutes before the cheese was melty, gooey and so delicious!  The actual outdoor charcoal flavor adds that extra special taste that cannot be achieved indoors. The basket is the perfect size and really could be used to grill flat vegetables as well.

I plan to be using my grills so much more this year as I have come to appreciate all types of outdoor grilling and various foods that can be easily made on the grill today with the proper tools. Grilled cheese is also perfect for tailgating season.  There is just something about cooking food outdoors that makes it taste extra special!

Baskets can be found at Wal-Mart, World Market, many specialty cooking stores and even online at The Home Depot or bbqguys.com.

Grilled Romaine

Grilled vegetables are so popular right now in all the restaurants.  I especially love grilled romaine.  The tender leaves are transformed into a tasty dish that is very easy to prepare with the new porcelain-coated grill plate from the Companion Group. This Charcoal Companion product was featured at the International Home and Housewares show recently in Chicago.

The plate is just the perfect size to use and it allows for tender lettuce leaves to sear perfectly without any direct grill contact.  The plate could even be used to serve any type of grilled vegetable or even smoky flavored nachos.  The coating is absolutely stick-resistant and so easy to use and clean after using.

I absolutely love this new product and had to share some photos with you as I recently used with my charcoal grill.  Even though it was a bit chilly outside, I was able to prepare this salad easily and efficiently.

After grilling, I added a few sliced cherry tomatoes, ground pepper and shaved Parmesan cheese to the top of the salad.  It was super delicious.

Grilled chives from the garden

Summertime herbs are being harvested in my garden, and I recently decided to grill some chives with my other vegetable assortment for dinner.

The chives were delicious on the grill and gave another texture to the Asian dish, which I paired with some grilled shrimp.  There is something just so wonderful about taking cuttings from a home garden and adding them into the dinner menu.

I usually clip my chives a couple of times a season and enjoy them in everything from herb dips to garnishes for salads or pasta dishes.

If you did not plant chives this year, be sure to put them on your list for next year, as they are super easy to grow and will even tolerate some shade in the garden.

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barbecue tools for the kitchen

 


These are the months for summer barbecue.  I love to cook outdoors, and although I don’t have an outdoor kitchen, I enjoy my small grills.  I use both a charcoal grill and an electric grill for cooking outdoors, and recently was mailed a set of silicone basting brushes to try out and review on my blog.  This set is from Yumms! accessories for today’s kitchen.

The set of two brushes are made from high quality silicone with plastic handles.  The silicone is food grade and approved by the FDA and happens to also be BPA free.  They are heat safe up to 446 degrees F and can even be cleaned in the dishwasher.

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I tested one of the brushes recently when grilling marinated chicken thighs and the application was outstanding.  No more wooden basting brushes for me!  These brushes are non-stick and very flexible which makes it easy to apply barbecue sauces and marinades easily.

The circular brush will be great for applying egg washes for pie crusts or greasing muffin tins.  Another great product from the Yumms! brand.

For more information, please follow this link:  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=bl_dp_s_web_2972638011?ie=UTF8&field-brandtextbin=Yumms%21&node=2972638011

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grilled zucchini

Most of my grilled vegetable posts have been recipes made with a variety of mixed vegetables.  And, when I usually grill zucchini, I have sliced the vegetable into circles to accompany the other vegetables in the dish–following the rule that equal sized ingredients cook evenly.

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Recently, I have been grilling strips of zucchini with great success.  I would have to say that the most difficult part of this recipe comes when slicing the zucchini into even portions.  Using a mandoline cutting tool is the best method, though ribbons of zucchini would burn on the grill.  It is important to have just the right strip size of the zucchini, about 1/4 inch thick.

This past week, I seasoned the zucchini with olive oil, dill weed, salt, pepper, parsley flakes and a mixed herb blend.  I prepare the zucchini in a bowl and then add to the grill already seasoned.

This is a perfect quick side dish to accompany any barbecue dinner.

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BBQ grill mats are the answer to easy outdoor meals

Grilling season is back.  Some of my best meals seem to be those made with fresh ingredients that come off of the grill during the warmer months of the year.  We use both a charcoal grill and an electric patio grill for cooking, and have found many recipes work perfectly on both types of grilling surfaces.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Over the past five years, I have published many grilling recipes on this blog.  I plan to add to those this year, as I spend more time in my garden and cook with my freshly grown ingredients.  Recently, I was asked to review a set of two BBQ grilling mats made by Yumms!  These mats arrived in a flat package which allows for immediate use right out of the box.  No waiting for the grill mats to flatten on the grates.

I noticed immediately that the non-stick surface had a nice texture and will prevent food from sticking.  I also like that the mats are very sturdy and will hold food easily without dropping it through the grill’s grating. The mats can be cut to size for any recipe, and can be cleaned easily in the dishwasher.  They are also hand wash friendly.

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The mats can be used up to 450 degrees and are FDA approved.  By using grill mats, a variety of recipes that could not typically be made on a grill, without having specialty pans, are easily prepared.  Everything from eggs and toast to grilled sliced vegetables or grilled pineapple rings and melted chocolate for dipping.

I am looking forward to experimenting in the coming weeks.  For more information on the Yumms! BBQ grill mats, please follow this link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00THPZ1MG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

fall squash casserole

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAnother fall comfort food which adapts well to a casserole dish is squash.  I recently tried making this dish with a mixture of zucchini and yellow squash.  It was very tasty and could be adapted to include other herbs and seasonings as desired. Over the years, I have used several recipes to perfect this dish.

This past week, I used chives, basil, thyme, salt and pepper for this dish. I had these herbs growing in my home garden.  This side dish could be served with any fish, chicken or beef entrée.  It is smooth and creamy.  And, is especially tasty for children who may not typically like to eat squash.

to make this recipe:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Precook the two cups of sliced squash on the stove top in a steamer.  When the squash is tender, add the following ingredients to combine:  1 egg, 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1 1/2 cups of shredded white or yellow cheddar cheese, and herbs to taste.

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Place into a ceramic baking dish and top the casserole with 1/2 cup additional shredded cheese and a decoration of chives, thyme or parsley.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until browned. Serve while warm.  This dish will serve 6-8 guests.