My Grill and My Crockpot

In warm weather, my grill and my crock pot are like feuding siblings vying for my attention at dinnertime. I love cooking with my crock pot and find it perfect during any season, but during the warmer months there's nothing like the unique taste of food from the grill.

Much like my slow cooker, I do not limit my grilling to meat. Vegetables, potatoes, I love to grill everything! And, much like any other type of cooking, grilling can be as easy or as complicated as you choose.

Quick and Easy Recipes for the Grill

One of my favorite quick and easy grilling recipes is to marinate chicken breasts in Italian dressing. Throw the dressing and the chicken in a container in the morning, and at dinnertime throw them on the grill. Within 30 minutes (less or more depending upon the thickness of the chicken breasts) you'll have dinner on the table. Pair it with pre-made pasta salads from your grocer's deli and you've created a quick and easy stress free meal.

Do you like to make barbeque chicken? I love it on the grill, but hate the wait. I boil my chicken beforehand, cooking it fully. Then I marinate in my favorite barbeque sauce. When ready for dinner, I grill for 30 minutes. Knowing the chicken is pre-cooked, I do not worry; I am simply grilling for flavor.

Kabobs are another summertime favorite. I cut up the veggies and meat, marinate in bottled marinade sauces, skewer, and grill. Rather than use bamboo skewers where I have to worry about soaking them for hours, I use metal skewers.

I also love grilling vegetables. Cut veggies into bite size chunks, marinate in olive oil, black pepper, and seasoned salt, and grill. Once again, in 25-30 minutes, you have a tasty side dish to serve and have not heated up your kitchen and house cooking it! I have used a combination of the following vegetables: red and yellow onion, red, green, or yellow bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, and asparagus.

There is nothing like sweet corn on the cob in late summer. Soak the ears, husks on, in your sink for at least 45 minutes. Grill over a medium low flame for 30-45 minutes, husk, and enjoy!

Of course, there's also grilled sandwiches, but do not limit yourself to burgers. Chicken breast sandwiches, tuna steak sandwiches, get creative!

Grilling and Your Crockpot

Although grilling can be an elaborate event, like all my other recipes I like to keep it quick and easy. Use ready made marinades, rubs, and steak sauces. Start your marinade in the morning before leaving for work. By doing this you're not waiting for hours once you get home for the food to marinate; most meats do not suffer from marinating a few extra hours.

Rather than choosing between your grill and your crock pot, choose both. If making barbeque chicken and you do not want to boil it, use your slow cooker. Place the chicken in with 1-2 cups of water, cover and cook on low 8-10 hours. When you get home, remove the chicken, brush with barbeque sauce and grill, continuously brushing with sauce the entire grilling time.

I have mentioned brats before; where I am from they're a staple that must be prepared correctly. I use my crock pot and my grill, cooking the brats in 1-2 cans of beer with one chopped onion and 2-3 cloves of minced garlic in my crock pot on low for 8 hours, then grilling for flavor and color right before serving .

Better yet, use your grill and your crock pot side by side. Use one for meat and the other for sides, but literally use them side by side. To keep the heat out of your kitchen in the summer months, plug your crock pot in outdoors! Try Grilled Chicken Breasts with Creamy Herb Potatoes or Crock pot Lemon Chicken with Grilled Asparagus. Find these recipes and more at Natalie's Recipes .

Although you may not have the desire to cook when it's hot, using your grill and your crock pot can make dinnertime quick and easy while beating the heat of your stove and your oven.