Burgers, brats and hot dogs were made for summer picnics, but there’s a whole host of other foods that can be cooked in the great outdoors, too. Sides, veggies and even whole meals can be prepped right on the grill, so there’s no need to stick to just the basics. Break out of your picnic rut with these surprisingly grill-able foods.
Make grilling carrots an easy process by leaving them whole; just wash and peel. It’s even fine to leave the green stems on. Brush the carrots with olive oil or melted butter. Sprinkle on your favorite seasoning, such as salt and pepper, thyme or rosemary. Grill over medium heat for 15 or 20 minutes, turning occasionally. The carrots should be fork tender when removed from the grill.
Start with frozen or refrigerated shredded potatoes. If the potatoes are frozen, microwave them until thawed, but not thoroughly cooked. Spray a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil with cooking spray and place the potatoes on the foil. Drizzle the hash browns lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and dried parsley to taste. Add shredded cheese, such as Parmesan, pepper jack or cheddar, if desired. Fold the foil loosely around the potatoes and crimp the seams to seal. Cook the packet over medium heat until the potatoes are tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Cheesy Garlic Bread
Slice a loaf of Italian bread lengthwise. Mix melted butter with fresh minced garlic to taste. Spread the mixture liberally on the cut sides of the bread. Place the loaves directly on the grill, cut side down, until warm and toasty. Flip the bread over and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan or mozzarella cheese. Remove from the grill when the cheese is melted.
Halve a small acorn squash and remove the seeds. Slice off a bit of the bottom side of each half, so it will sit stably. Mix equal parts olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey—about ¼ cup each—and spread the mixture over the cut halves of the squash. Pour the remaining sauce into the seed cavities. Sprinkle thyme, rosemary or crushed red pepper over the squash. Cover the halves with foil and grill them over medium heat until tender, about one to 1.5 hours.
Roll out fresh pizza dough and coat one side with olive oil. Put it on the grill, oiled side down. While it cooks, spread oil on the top. When the bottom is nicely browned, remove it from the heat and place it cooked-side-up on a work surface. Spread sauce, cheese and other toppings on the browned side, then return the pizza to the grill and cook until the underside is browned and the cheese is melted. A pizza peel is handy for moving the pizza on and off the grill, but it is not necessary.
Cut four just-ripe bananas in quarters by slicing them in half both crosswise and lengthwise. Do not remove the peels. Stir together equal parts cinnamon, honey and brown sugar. Grill the bananas, cut sides down, for two to three minutes. Turn and brush the cut sides with the honey mixture. Grill for a few more minutes until the bananas can be easily slid out of the peels. Serve over ice cream or pound cake. Pound cake slices can be warmed with a quick visit to the grill grates, too!
Meghan Ross is a freelance writer covering all things home and living. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.