I am a massive fan of grilling, and actually run my grill almost every night, year-round. Why, you ask? Well, 1) it’s the best way I’ve found to consistently eat healthy, 2) it’s super fast and easy, and 3) it requires very little clean-up.
Did you need more reasons than that??
Since I moved into my house a few years ago and finally got a real gas grill, I’ve been working to become a grillmaster of sorts, testing all kinds of different recipes.
So I wanted to share some of my favorite grilling tips and recipes here, particularly for grilling newbies…and I’m always looking to up my game so feel free to send me YOUR best ones too!
(I feel like I need to caveat here, that I’m not one of those amazing obsessed grilling nerds…but that’s why this guide is perfect for newbies)
What this post covers
- Grilling tools for success
- General grilling tips
- Tips for grilling various meats
Tools you need
It goes without saying that a good grill is a good starting point. I use a gas grill, so all the tips here will be geared toward that, I can’t speak to charcoal. I upgraded to a Weber recently but had a Charbroil for a few years, they’re only a few hundred bucks, and it did great.READ THE POST
I am known for many things, but my cake decorating skills (or generally making desserts that are aesthetically pleasing) is NOT one of those things. I make delicious things, but they’re not always pretty and that’s okay. When I try cake decorating, it looks like a two-year-old did it.
And I still didn’t do an *amazing* job on this adorable onesie cake, but I’m PRETTY DARN PROUD OF IT and also think the idea/technique is awesome.
For this shower, the mom-to-be had requested her favorite cake—regular yellow box cake with chocolate frosting. And what mama wants, mama gets.
HOWEVER, this hurt my baker’s soul, so I tried to figure out some way to make it special. Well, and I also made a second (delicious) cake 🙂
While sifting through baby shower cake ideas, I stumbled upon this onesie-shaped cake, and it actually looked super easy so it felt I could tackle it. It’s mainly just some simple cutting or carving of a 9×13 cake and then doing the frosting and just a bit of piping.
Mine is definitely not perfect (definitely looks wonkus in the diaper region especially), but I’ll talk about a few of the techniques I used below.
I’m quite picky when it comes to pizza. But give me an amazing Naples-style traditional margherita pizza and I am in 100% of the time.
And make that a grilled margherita pizza?? ALL THE YES.
This pizza is perfect in its simplicity…it’s less of a standalone recipe than it is the sum of a few delicious components. The flavor and high heat from the grill help kind of approximate the crazy heat and fire of the traditional woodfire oven.
It takes my favorite pizza dough (or use your own, or store-bought), a no-cook tomato sauce that takes literally two minutes to make, some fresh mozzarella, and some freshly-grated parmesan.
You can whip it up on any weeknight, something that always feels like a victory. The real problem for me is that…I’m one person. So I really can’t justify eating tons of pizza, but it’s not good as leftovers, so…
I guess what I’m saying is, my clothes are tight.
Not to brag or anything, but I make darn good grilled chicken breasts. Like, my-sister-requests-them-for-her-birthday-dinner good.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts often get a bad rap for being the iceberg lettuce of the protein world…a bland necessary evil but absolutely nothing to get excited about. However, I really struggle with the texture and flavor of chicken thighs or bone-in chicken, so I’ve made it my mission to crack the code on delicious chicken breasts.
My best friend (my Cheese) put me on to wet brining a few years ago, and it’s become an invaluable tool in my arsenal. I often forget to put chicken in to marinate in the morning before I leave for work, and so what I will often do when I get home at night is make up a brine, throw the chicken in, go for a run, and fire up the grill as soon as I’m back.
We’re going to talk about both wet brine and dry brine methods here, as both are great (but I’ll tell you my new favorite at the end).
Ever since I bought my house last year and was able to get a proper grill (not the electric nonsense I had before), I’ve been working on becoming a total grillmaster. That means all the usual things like learning how to make moist and flavorful chicken, steak, fish, and vegetables.
But one of my favorite things to experiment with has been grilled pizza, so I wanted to share what I’ve learned and provide my best tips for how to grill pizza. I won’t claim to be an absolute expert, but I’m super happy with how it turns out for me!
The beauty of grilled pizza is how versatile it is…you can seriously top it with just about anything, as long as it’s already cooked or mostly cooked. From veggies to protein to fruit to cheese to chocolate, you can’t go wrong.
I’ve outlined my grilled pizza dough recipe below, and then at the bottom of the post I have a list of tips for how to grill pizza—both making and grilling the dough!READ THE POST
Marinated feta where have you been all my life?!
That was basically what my brain was yelling the first time I made this. It was meant to be just an ingredient in garlicky farfalle with marinated feta and arugula (now a fave of mine), but I pinched a little bite while I was cooking the pasta, and my mind was blown.
Since then I’ve made it on its own, either for tossing in a salad, for eating on crackers, or for just obsessively snacking on by itself. The key to making it especially amazing is to use a really good block feta (not the pre-crumbled stuff). Any block will do—and don’t go fat-free, bring on that fat—but I recently fell in love with the Pastures of Eden feta at Trader Joe’s (and wherever else you can find it). Amazeballs.
The cooking and baking world has long been obsessed with brown butter. Very charmingly called “beurre noisette” (or hazelnut butter…and it’s actually delicious *with* hazelnuts), it’s basically butter that’s been gently boiled until the milk solids evaporate, leaving you with a clarified, brown, nutty pool of YUM.
It’s useful everything from baking to simple, rich pasta sauces, and is actually super simple to make as long as you know what to look for. So today we’re going to talk about how to brown butter.
It’s fall, so you know what that means…
No, I’m not talking about festive Starbucks cups and new fall TV shows. It means that hundreds of butternut squash recipes are flooding Pinterest. You’re probably getting seduced by them as we speak. And then you remember that getting a butternut squash from whole into bite-sized pieces is THE WORST.
Until you know how to do it well. So that’s where I come in. I’ve found and refined a way to dismember butternut squash that doesn’t take long, doesn’t kill your hands, and will get you perfect little cubes every time. Sure, you can sometimes buy it pre-cut (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but you can’t always find it that way plus it gets kind of slimy fairly fast. Better to have a good back-up.
So let’s dive in, shall we? There are two main pieces of equipment that you need, and one of them is an actual decent Y-peeler. I’m in love with my OXO peeler, got it a few years back and now no longer accidentally take off layers of skin when I’m peeling veggies. It gives you so much more leverage and stability than a regular vertical-bladed peeler.
Begin peeling long, deep strips out of the squash. You’ll need to overlap your stripes, because it will likely take two tries to get it deep enough. Butternut squash peel is not messing around.READ THE POST
I’ve been buying natural peanut butter for years, because it’s generally healthier, to avoid trans fats, and overall just tastes good. But I’ve always been frustrated by the whole “stir in the oil” aspect of it, because I am apparently not capable of doing that. I start trying to stir it, splash oil everywhere, get the entire knife messy, and finally give up and put it in the fridge—where the next time I pull it out, there’s a congealed oil slick on top. So I eat half a jar of really oily peanut butter and half a jar of dry-as-a-bone peanut butter.
Suffice to say, I’m not a fan of the oil slick component. But I’d never really considered making my own, because that sounded like too much work. Plus, my grandma makes her own and just puts peanuts in the grinder attachment on her mixer, but that just ends up being dry peanut crumblies.
But behold—amazing creamy homemade peanut butter!
Enter Pinterest. Someone had pinned instructions for making your own homemade peanut butter with just the peanuts and a food processor, no additives. They said that if you just kept the food processor running past the crumbly stage and past the “dry ball of peanut goop” stage, magically the oils break down and it becomes creamy and delicious all on its own. No added salt, sugar, oil, etc. I was skeptical, but decided to give it a try. And, miracle of miracles, it works! So now I’m hooked.
I bought roasted & salted peanuts. Considered using honey roasted, but wasn’t sure of the additional sugar. You can use any type you like, or use mixed nuts, another type of nut, whatever floats your boat.