journal, thrift kitchen

Saving energy + money entertaining with summer grilling

Last night we grilled at the new house for the first time. We impromptu had a few friends over, and it was a blast. It made me realize that grilling is a great way to save money on energy and entertaining.

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If we were to cook all that food inside, the cooling bill would be pretty scary. All the heat radiating from the stove from broiling and pan frying, yikes!

If you were to go out with friends for this kind of meal it would be around $50/person (sides, starters, entree, wine, iced tea, dessert, coffee, tea). Or to look at it a different way, food for that many people if we were to provide it all would be around $100 even if we did cook it all ourselves. At home we get to lounge, have dinner  followed by dessert and tea and coffee all for about $5/person. Yumm and cheap, now that’s my style :)

What kind of grill do I have?

For years Jason and I had a little $10 table top grill. It worked okay, if you just wanted to cook enough for 2 people with no leftovers. There just wasn’t room or the heat to cook a lot of food all at once.

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At the beginning of this summer we decided to live large and get a grown up grill. After coming up dry on Craigslist and Freecycle, we took a trip to Lowes. The cheapest grill they had was the Weber base model. It’s a perfect no frills charcoal grill and I love this grill! We brought it home and immediately the difference was apparent. It burned longer and hotter and we were able to cook enough food for ourselves, our friends, and stuff for leftovers for lunch the next day–amazing! It was about $90, but I think well worth it.

After last night I realize I have a lot to learn about grilling with a grown up grill. From getting the fire started to what kinds of deliciousness to make.

Are you like me and don’t know where to start with grilling?

Here are a couple of resources I love for their reliable information + a few more that followers on Twitter and Facebook recommended:

Recipes from the Grilling Hotline
– A free ebook from Martha Stewart radio show all about grilling goodies. And of course her website is a great place to find info/tips/recipes on grilling.

Grilling on All Recipes – Of course I’m loving this now that I’ve been formally introduced. Sometimes I’m so slow.

Talk about food porn: Girl on Grill Action – Deliciously seductive grilling adventures and recipes.

Live Fire – It was this post on steaks that sucked me in–love the other posts too. Neat recipes that are straight forward. I love reading about the inspiration or thought behind each ingredient vs. just seeing a list.

America’s Test Kitchen has some great episodes about grilling as well as articles on grills, starting fires, and equipment options – I am kind of digging on grill baskets now for veggies and fish. (suggested by @szyhomemaker on twitter)

Food in my Beard – though the name really freaks me out and instantly makes me want to vomit, the food pictures are not of food in his beard – so it’s all okay as long as I don’t think about the name too much.  Loads of grilling going on there and super tasty looking food. (suggested by Crystal on Facebook)

101 Things to Grill from the New York Times – Loads of things I want to try my hands at in this yummy round up. (suggested by Elizabeth on Facebook)

I tried my hand at the steak marinade from Live Fire. It really upgraded the cheap-o on sale steaks we purchased.  I changed it up to use what I had on hand, but the main ingredients were the same. I dropped it in about 2pm and grilled them around 7pm. Here’s how it turned out:

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That’s my grandma’s potato salad right there on the left and then a friend brought the black bean/corn salad – so delicious, I want to get the recipe from her.

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{image from allrecipes.com}

And I’m grilling again tonight, but this time I’m trying this Chipotle Grilled Avocado Chicken Sandwich that Calin on Facebook suggested. Yum yum! We have leftover potato salad, fruit, and more corn/bean salad to eat with it. We will make a few extra to have for lunch tomorrow too.

What is your best grill tip?

Do you use a meat thermometer?

What’s your favorite grilling recipe?

Charcoal/gas/electric?

How do you grill corn on the cob? With the husk or without?

I’ll be back tomorrow with a sewing pattern post. It’s time to put that clothes line to work!

Happy outdoor cooking!

Kristin Roach

4 thoughts on “Saving energy + money entertaining with summer grilling

  1. That all looks so yummy! We are going to try the Chipotle Grilled Chicken one tonight too, but we are swapping the chicken for salmon, since our dd is allergic to chicken. And no sandwich since she is gluten free as well. :) The black bean and corn salad looks good, so I might add that as a side.

  2. I like to put my pizza stone on the grill and bake pizza outside! It smells so good while it's cooking, not the usual grill kind of smells! And keeps the house nice and cool!

    MGM

  3. We have the same grill, pretty much. My fav on the grill is marinated mushrooms! They take on a whole new smokey flavor when placed over the coals!

  4. We have the same grill, pretty much. My fav on the grill is marinated mushrooms! They take on a whole new smokey flavor when placed over the coals!

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