On the Grill: Easy Weeknight Dinners for Back to School

by / Thursday, 06 September 2012 / Published in Blog

The last big weekend of the summer is behind us and the kids are back to school. This doesn’t mean we have to cover up the grill and forget about it. Instead, we should remember that grilling results in quick and easy dinners, which are perfect for that back-to-school grind.

But just because you’re using the grill doesn’t mean you have to stick with the usual Steak, Potato, Veg or Chicken, Potato, Veg. There are so many different things to make if you let your creativity flow.

There are many obvious go-to grilled weeknight dinners like lean turkey burgers in whole wheat buns with some veggies for toppings:

Favorite Turkey Burgers from Martha Stewart

But you don’t have to stick with the usual burgers. You can make things interesting by adding avocado and feta and stuffing it all into pita pockets instead of buns:

Feta Avocado Turkey Burgers in a Pita by Sweet Treats and More

Grilled Fajitas are always a success around my house.

This is probably because everyone gets to choose what goes into their own tortilla. When dinner assembly happens at the table there seems to be less complaining from the kids about what they’re being forced to eat.  Sometimes there’s even pride and excitement at having picked things for themselves.

There are a bunch of grilled fajita recipes online. Here are two to try:

Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Fajitas from Children of America Educational Childcare and Academy

Flat Iron Fajitas from Another Pint Please

One of the best things about making fajitas is that there’s a never-ending list of possible toppings that you can add. My new favorite is this Toasted Corn Salsa that I originally came up with as a topping for Tostados. For this recipe, instead of toasting defrosted corn in a skillet, you could grill whole cobs of corn and then slice off the blackened kernels.

Oh, and don’t forget, just as with the turkey burgers, there’s no reason that you have to stay traditional. I mean, just because there’s a tortilla involved doesn’t mean you have to use Mexican flavors. Why not try grilled chicken served alongside slices of brie, sun dried tomatoes and arugula? (I think I just found our dinner for tonight!).

Quick pasta recipes are also great for weeknights. Why not use the grill for these as well?

Wait. I don’t want you to grill the noodles. Those get boiled as usual in a pot on the stove (but just before draining, rescue about 1 cup of the hot starchy water to help with the sauce later on).

Grill up chicken and veggies, slice it all, toss it with hot noodles, olive oil, shredded cheese and a drizzle or two of the reserved pasta water for a quick and easy dinner. Here’s a version of this kind of pasta dinner from Crostini and Chianti:

Grilled Vegetable Pasta from Crostini and Chianti

This pasta is a really good example of how easy it is to come up with grilled weeknight dinners. See, all you need to do is think about your normal weeknight dinners and then put a grilled spin on them.

Get creative, have fun and use the grill to make simple dinners that will get you and your family into the back-to-school swing of things again.

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