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Great grilling can make summertime entertaining simple

The backyard barbecue is one of America’s most beloved, iconic traditions. Summertime entertaining season is upon us once again, meaning it’s time to perfect your grilling game to avoid falling into the same old rut. Boring burgers and ho-hum hot dogs can get old fast, but it’s easier than you might think to add a spark to your outdoor cooking.

The following tasty tips and simple tricks offer high-quality, easy-to-prepare foods that will make your backyard party the best one on the block.

Keep the heat out of the kitchen

Think twice before cranking up the stove or oven this summer. Is it really necessary to cook indoors, or could you easily prepare your favorite foods on the grill instead?

Most summer hosts and hostesses think about cooking meats on the grill, yet rarely realize the potential for grilling snacks, sides and even desserts. Why not serve a 100 percent grilled menu at your next summer soiree and get ready to receive your guests’ rave reviews:

• For an unexpected appetizer, grill quesadillas stuffed with cheddar cheese and corn and black bean salsa. Top with sour cream and cilantro.

• Sprinkle chicken breasts with dry rubs offered in local markets and top with a smoky barbecue sauce as a finishing touch.

• Brush fresh vegetables like asparagus, zucchini and mushrooms with a garlic or other infused olive oil before grilling for incredible color and flavor.

• Place buttered slices of your favorite pound cake on the grill until just heated through. Top with grilled peaches, ice cream and caramel sauce for a truly decadent dessert.

Savor seafood

On warm weather days, appetites lean toward lighter fare. Rather than serving a hearty meal of beef or pork, try grilling up your family’s favorite seafood.

Shrimp, peppers and onions can be threaded on a skewer to make a spectacular shish kabob. Salmon is healthy and delicious when grilled on a cedar plank, and adding hickory chips to your coals can add incredible flavor to grilled seafood, meat or veggies. Just remember to soak cedar planks or hickory chips beforehand to prevent them from catching fire on the grill.

Celebrate special occasions

Skip the fancy restaurants this year and celebrate summer birthdays and anniversaries at home instead. When you plan a special menu for that special someone, you’ll show them how much you care without the hassle or added expense of dining out.

 

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