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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Using the Grill to Cook Mac & Cheese and Nachos

We spent much of May at our vacation home in sunny Florida where it was considerably warmer than at home in beautiful Ontario, Canada.  Warm weather regardless where we are means a stronger reliance on the outdoor grill.  Our outdoor grill at our vacation home is propane only while our main home grill is a dual fuel (charcoal, propane) Nexgrill.  The outdoor grill is considered one of our must have kitchen appliances.  While we use our grills year round, they definitely see an increased use during the warmer summer months.  An outdoor grill can be used not only grilling (short cook time) and barbequing (long cook time), it can also be used very much the same way an oven is used.  It is however, even more versatile as certain foods like some vegetables can be cooked without the use of pots and pans, although a grill pan or mesh tray is nice if cooking smaller pieces.  Other than that, I use the same bakeware I use in the oven. 

using the outdoor grill to cook mac and cheese and nachos
Nachos are incredibly easy and quick to make on the grill if you start with pre-cooked ground beef from the freezer or home canned ground beef, either plain or seasoned.  Pre-heat the grill to medium heat (350°F).  Place the nacho chips on a baking sheet.  Top with browned ground beef and shredded cheese.  Bake on the grill until cheese is nicely melted.  Remove from grill.  Transfer to serving dish.  Top with chopped tomatoes, onions and green peppers or toppings of choice.

Mac & cheese is another very easy dish to prepare on the grill.  Use your favourite recipe, 7 Cheese Mac 'n Cheese, or variation.  I like keeping cooked macaroni on hand for this purpose.  Simply mix with cheese and bake on the top rack on the grill in an oven proof baking dish. 

Bring a bit of extra flavour when cooking dishes like nachos on the grill by using a smoker packet or box.  A small reusable smoker box will cost less than $10 or you can make a simple smoker packet from aluminum foil.  You will need about a quarter cup of wood chips.   Wood chips of sugar maple, apple, hickory, pecan, cherry, mesquite and more are available wherever grilling accessories are sold.  Soak the wood chips in liquid of choice for 30 minutes.  Drain and put them in the smoker box or in the centre of a square of aluminum foil.  Seal the aluminum foil to form a pouch.  Poke a few holes in the foil.  Place the smoker box or foil smoker packet over direct heat.  Place food on the grill when chips start releasing smoke.  Smoking with add a subtle, mellow flavour to the food.

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