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5 Must-Make Super Easy Grilling Recipes For Summer

These are perfect for super busy weeknights.

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Photographs by Ted Cavanaugh (Prop and Food Stylist: Sean Dooley)
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It's the grilling season — the harbinger of summer with its smoky barbecue flavors tied to memories of swimming pools, afternoon baseball and catching fireflies in jars at night. If you want to avoid the heat in the kitchen, outdoor cooking is the best solution, and the clean-up is even easier!

Grilling has also come a long way since the days of traditional backyard hamburgers and hotdogs. Today, you can grill pizzas, sandwiches, fruit desserts and vegetable "steaks" to please every palate in the family. On busy weeknights when I don't have time to cook, I toss boneless chicken breasts, fish, veggies or pork chops into a resealable, plastic bag filled with Italian dressing and let the food marinate a few hours before tossing food on the grill. And everything comes out perfect every time! If you want something super easy to prepare that everyone will love, fire up the grill, play your favorite tunes by the pool and savor the delicious flavors of summer.

Huli Huli Chicken


This grilled Hawaiian chicken recipe from The Recipe Critic is made with a sweet Huli Huli marinade that's super easy to make. The chicken thighs should ideally marinate overnight for ultimate tenderness and flavor. Take the dish up a notch by adding grilled pineapple slices on the side. *Cut the recipe amounts in half for smaller servings.

Serves 10

4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (or chicken breasts)

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, grated

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

Green onions, sliced for the garnish

In a medium bowl, whisk together pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, chicken broth, ginger and garlic. Reserve 1 cup for basting. Add chicken thighs and sauce to a large plastic bag and marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 6-8 minutes per side (until no longer pink). Baste both sides occasionally and serve with sliced green onions sprinkled over the top.

Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote)


The first time I tasted Mexican street corn was on a camping trip, and after one bite, I was hooked. I love corn, but this recipe takes the flavors to a new level of deliciousness.

Serves 4-6

6 ears of corn, husked

1/4 cup Mexican Crema (or sour cream)

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1-2 cloves garlic minced

Fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 tablespoons from 1-2 small limes)

1/2 cup cotija cheese, crumbled (you can use feta if cotija isn't available)

Season with equal amounts of chili powder, smoked paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper

*Optional: fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix together crema, mayonnaise and garlic. Set aside. Heat the grill to medium-high, brushing the grates with a bit of oil. Cook corn for a total of 8-10 minutes, rotating sides every 3 minutes for even cooking. It will be done when the kernels begin to turn golden brown and look charred. Remove from the grill and brush each ear liberally with the mayo-crema mixture. Sprinkle with the cotija on all sides, then squirt lime juice over all. Sprinkle with seasonings and top with chopped cilantro.

Meat N' Potato Kabobs


I love a well-seasoned steak kabob fresh from the grill, but this recipe also adds potato chunks, fruit and veggies on a skewer, making it a complete and perfect "meal on a stick" from Taste Of Home. The unique addition of acidic cola as a marinade helps tenderize the steak to supreme juiciness.

Serves 4

1 pound beef top sirloin steak cut into 1-inch cubes

1 1/2 teaspoons steak seasoning, divided

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup cola

3 small red potatoes (about 8 ounces) cubed

1 tablespoon water

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 medium orange bell pepper (cut into 1-inch pieces)

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 cup pineapple chunks

Sprinkle beef with 1 teaspoon of steak seasoning and garlic. Place cola in a large bowl. Add beef, toss to coat, and set aside. * I recommend letting the meat sit in the marinade for at least 2 hours to tenderize and absorb the flavors. Place potatoes and water in a microwave-safe bowl.

Microwave until tender, about 4-5 minutes, then drain. Return potatoes to bowl and add tomatoes, pepper, oil and remaining steak seasoning. Gently toss to coat. Once the meat is marinated, drain the marinade. On 8 metal skewers, alternately thread beef, veggies and pineapple. Grill covered over medium heat until beef reaches desired doneness and pepper is crisp-tender — about 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally.

Grilled Cabbage Wedges


This recipe is great for the vegetarian in your family who may want a "Cabbage steak," or you can serve it as a side veggie to seasoned, grilled meats.

Serves 6-8

1 medium head green cabbage

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

For the topping:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup

*Optional toppings: roasted pecans, grated parmesan cheese

Discard the tough outer leaves of the cabbage, then cut into 8 wedges, leaving the stem intact. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic and seasonings. Brush both sides of each cabbage wedge with the oil mixture. Heat the grill to medium-high, brushing the grates with a little oil or cooking spray. Cook cabbage for 5 minutes per side until it is crisp on the outside but tender on the inside. In another small bowl, mix together the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of oil and honey (or maple syrup). Drizzle this over the cabbage, then add optional toppings if desired before serving.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp


Shrimp is one of the easiest foods to cook on the grill — and most marinades for it are simple (you can also buy shrimp that has already been peeled and deveined to save even more time). This recipe from Allrecipes is as quick as it gets, and its spicy kick makes it oh-so-good. Pair it with your favorite pasta side dish and a salad for a complete meal.

Serves 6

1 large clove garlic

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined

8 lemon wedges for garnish

Preheat the grill to medium heat. Crush garlic and salt together in a bowl with a fork. Mix in paprika and cayenne. Stir in olive oil and lemon juice to form a paste. Add shrimp and toss until well-coated. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill shrimp until opaque, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve.

What's YOUR favorite thing to grill in the summer? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Lifestyle