It is obvious that a return to a “normal” work environment is not likely soon. You may be one of the blessed who has decided you do not want to return to an office but rather continue the joys and challenges of working, educating, entertainment and sleeping from home.
To manage all these needs, meal planning needs to be addressed to allow for more family time. Rather than discuss animal proteins as we have previously done, the focus will be on other food categories that provide for endless options at mealtime.
Time to bring in our top 10 foods to get on the grill or smoker for fabulous flavor to your meals!
Do not purchase fire roasted peppers in the store! They are so easy to make using any type of grill you own and any pepper you prefer. By grilling in bulk, these can be added to meals like grilled sausage topped with peppers and onions, whipped into a fire roasted pepper tapenade for snacks or appetizers, bring an elevation to a salad, or as an addition to Dutch oven meals (think chili, goulash, mac and cheese).
Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Charred Pepper Dip
This group also includes sweet potato as they are just as fantastic on the grill. Whether you grill whole with the skin on, sliced or cubed, potato is a versatile vegetable that can work for any meal. Include them in an egg-based dish or make them into their own main course. Do not forget, they can be mashed as well for the ultimate smokey mashed potato. This is a bargain item as you get so many potatoes in a single bag with the finished product freezing well.
Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Smoked Curry Potatoes
Fungi are one of my favorite items to infuse wood flavor to on the grill! There are so many varieties with each providing a variation in texture and flavor. Large mushrooms are perfect as a meat substitute. Like other items, they easily can be frozen to allow for quick meal preparation. One of my favorite uses is in sauces for meats, pasta, grains and vegetables. These also make a great pizza and bread topping.
Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Smoked Mushroom with Ricotta
Although I am listing fruit in #6, know that tomato would also be included in this category. A separate listing is offered for the simple reason there are many varieties of tomatoes that surpass your average fruit.
Cherry tomatoes done whole on the grill, plum tomato diced and grilled in a pan make the perfect base for saucing, and hearty beefsteak tomato for pronounced tomato flavoring.
Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Wood Fire Tomato with Rice
Meatballs are one of those foods that just work perfectly for storing and using as needed. Weather you hand make your own, or you purchase premade from the store, go bulk and you will not be sorry. When grilling, leave the sauces and glazes for when you make a meal. Just do simple grilling and/or smoking to the meatballs, store in bags or containers for up to one week in the refrigerator or in freezer bags for even longer use. Be sure when freezing, you do in so in numbers that are workable for feeding your family.
Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Smoked Greek-Style Meatballs
There are so many fruits that can be cooked on the grill and used in recipes. My favorites when in season: strawberries, apples, bananas, and peaches. All freeze well when placed on a sheet pan first and flash frozen, then transferred to freezer bags for future use. Although dessert certainly comes to mind first with fruit — think pie, cake and tarts — they certainly can be used to boost up the flavor of sauces or even used in a stuffing for a protein like stuff pork chops or chicken breast. Though it is hard to pick a favorite recipe featuring smoked fruit, I suggest this one:
Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Wood Fired Apple Pie
Grilled/smoked corn is a treat I wait the whole year for since our corn season here in New York state is so short. By grilling the corn on the cob, kernels can easily be removed and used in a variety of recipes. Think salsa, succotash, creamed smoked corn and so much more. Plus, I always freeze smoked kernels for use all year long.
Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Grilled Corn on the Cob
#8 Simple Meats: Ground, Thin Cuts, Pieces
One of the reasons thinner and ground cuts of meat and poultry are popular to stock for a week of cooking is,they cook fast and heat up easily. By doing batch cooking, you can use items like grilled chicken pieces in an assortment of meals: tacos, casseroles, rice dishes or served as is with suitable sides. Often you can purchase bulk packages of thin cut assorted pork chops or chicken pieces for low pricing that provide more than one meal. This is where those “family pack” meat items are a true value.
Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Smoked Beef Riblets with Soy Hoisin Sauce
#9 Salad Greens and Chicories
We all know salad greens are healthy for you but eating traditional salads can get boring to the taste buds. That is where the grill can work magic on lettuce greens bringing out a char quality that gives a hearty flavor to your salad. Although hearty greens work best, I have success with more fragile greens by grilling on a sheet pan. Just remember, salad greens and chicories should not be left unattended for any length of time as the cook that quickly.
Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Wood Grilled Romaine Lettuce
Making egg dishes on the grill or smoker is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to enjoy eggs. The options for making frittata, casseroles, puffs, and so much more are endless! Essentially, any ingredients you crave can go with eggs: seafood, meats, poultry, mushrooms, spinach, kale, parsnip, carrot, celery, corn. Anything! By keeping a dozen eggs in the pantry, you will always have a meal ready to go.
Keep in mind, simple scrambled or sheet pan eggs give a work week of meals and easy start.
What is your favorite bulk grilling or smoking food? Leave us a comment and subscribe to get our latest tips, techniques, recipes and the science behind the fire and smoke, for all live fire cooking methods. That’s SmokinLicious!