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Weekday Grilling

Master the Tuesday night cookout

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According to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) more than 60% of Americans grill year round, and 35% of all grilling is being done by women. This means that grilling has gone from a weekend summer party activity to an everyday way of cooking. With the greater flavor and the reduction in fats, grilling is more than a special event; it's a way of life. So, it's time to start looking at the new way of grilling or the Tuesday night cookout.

Yes, with a little preparation you can come home from work and throw together a great meal on the grill in less than 30 minutes. Your typical grill (now a gas one according to the statistics) can cook hotter and faster than virtually any other appliance you own. The secret is proper meal planning, something you should probably already be doing.

Meat: Getting your meat entree ready is really easy. The secret is portioning it out beforehand, placing the meat in a resealable bag, and adding a good marinade to it. Now you have something ready for the grill, or better yet the freezer. By freezing meats in marinade you stop the chemical reaction that tenderizes the meat. All you need to do now is thaw and grill. The added bonus is that by freezing meats in marinades you protect it even more from freezer burn. A microwave oven can thaw a package of meat in about the same amount of time it takes your grill to heat up.

Veggies: You can use the same trick on vegetables. By grilling your vegetables you have everything you want to cook in one place so you don't have to run back and forth. The biggest problem with grilling has always been using the grill for the meat and the kitchen for everything else. Modern gas grills typically come with side burners that let you do anything you can on your stove top right next your the grill. But, don't boil those vegetables, try grilling them. Grilled vegetables taste better and retain more nutrients than boiled vegetables. All you really need is some veggies, a clean grill, and a little oil.

Dessert: You can even grill a quick and easy dessert on the grill. Grilled fruit is a delicious treat, particularly when topped with ice cream. For most fruits you can simply slice and grill. Of course, you might want to dust them with a little sugar so they brown nicely.

Plan ahead and you can turn any weekday meal into something spectacular using your grill. With a little practice you can get a complete meal from your grill in less than 30 minutes.

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