Cook Once, Eat Twice: Grill then Chill

grill with meat and vegetablesIt’s time to escape the heat of the kitchen and enjoy the benefits of the BBQ: hopefully your grill is ready for you to cook outside in one of the fastest, tastiest ways ever.

Grilling is simple and doesn’t require a lot of fat. It’s convenient, letting you cook a lot of meats and veggies at once. And then you can eat again, if you plan it right! Here’s how.

Repurposing Grilled Leftovers

Even if you aren’t fond of leftover casseroles or half sandwiches the next day, it’s hard not to love dishes that make use of grilled leftovers. The difference is likely in the extra flavor and texture grilling provides. The smokiness and char marks deliver a twist on the usual ingredients for many meals.

Best of all, it can truly cut your meal planning and cooking in half. Grilled chicken breasts, steak, ribs, pork and burgers can all be reinvented, really easily, without a lot of extra cooking required.

The first step is simply to cook extra, and make sure you don’t overcook what you’re grilling. Then chill it in the refrigerator and use again throughout the week. Here are some great examples of meal ideas that use your leftover grilled food.

Chicken Breasts

If you’re grilling chicken breasts for something like family-friendly chicken wraps, be sure to place double the amount of chicken on the grill, and take it off when it’s still juicy. You can use it later in the week for chopped salads or a chicken salad sandwich.

It’s nice to eat leftover grilled chicken in a form that allows you to add some moisture—oil and vinegar, a dab of mayo or better still, some mashed avocado. Another fast idea is to toast some whole grain pita topped with shredded chicken and your favorite toppings to make a stovetop pita pizza: try Greek flavors with oregano, feta cheese, tomatoes and Kalamata olives.

Pork Ribs, Roast, and Chops

Imagine a few of the menus you see in some of your favorite restaurants. What do you like to order, and how can you recreate it easily, substituting grilled leftovers?

One example from Chinese take-out is BBQ pork fried rice. Next time you cook up some ribs, make enough to shred the meat off the bones when they cool a bit, then chill them until you’re ready to reuse. A bit of rice, soy, egg and your favorite chopped veg makes a great fried rice stir-fry with pork.

If you grill chops or a whole pork roast, you can use your leftover meat as a basis for a smoky pork hash (dice the meat, potatoes and onions, and cook until crispy brown on the stove) or carnitas (dice the meat and cook quickly in a pan, then serve in tacos with onion, cilantro and hot sauce—a bit of pineapple or mango salsa is great too).

Grilled Steak

Leftover steak is ideal for steak and eggs. Just be sure to cook your extra steaks that you will store for later use, on the rare side. That way, when you put them on the stovetop, you won’t end up with something resembling beef jerky.

Another tasty idea for grilled steak on another day is to slice it thin and cook it in a pan with fajita seasoning. Don’t forget the grilled onions and pepper to go with your fajitas! Which brings us to ideas for leftover grilled veggies.

Grilled Veggies

Don’t forget to fill the grill with a bunch of extra veggies while you’re out there. You can make some fantastic dishes featuring Southwestern, Cajun, and other flavors with the grilled tomatoes, onions, peppers, corn and chili peppers.

Try Jambalaya, for example. If you happened to have grilled smoked sausage lately, hopefully you can use those leftovers to add to your pot. For a super healthy topper for your taco salad or your chicken sandwich, try using your leftover veggies to make guacamole. Grilling the avocado is a nice touch too: and it stalls the flesh from turning all brown when you store it in the fridge.

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