Welcome to the Favorite Freezer Foods Ezine Issue #22: Bust out the Grill!

July 7, 2011

What’s New This Month?
Building a Better Burger
Freezer Foods for the Grill

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Spring is finally here and it's grill season. Not that we didn't grill all winter but now that we don't need a winter coat and wool lined boots it's time to experiment.

Build a Better Burger

Who doesn’t like a good burger? They are fast to make, easy to eat and insanely versatile.

The options are endless with ground beef, pork, chicken or turkey for the meat lovers, tofu or beans for vegetarians and vegans, so anyone can come up with a burger that they’ll love. You can even make salmon, crab or tuna burgers to boost your Omega 3 and 6.

Plus, grilling burgers at home is perfect for a leisurely afternoon on a summer day (or Mother's Day). I remember my dad grilling out under the roof on back patio, behind the garage when it was hot, humid and raining with the rustic smell of real charcoal wafting through the yard.

But building a better burger isn’t just about grilling, it’s about layers. So having a soft bun is essential, but it’s gotta be sturdy enough to hold everything together.

Next add  layers of produce so you can get in your recommended 5 a day. ;)

Lettuce and fresh tomato are classic. Roman lettuce is much more flavorful and nutrient rich than iceberg and vine ripened tomatoes taste like a whole different fruit than hothouse ripened ones.

If you like onion try thinly sliced raw red onion, it’s more mellow for eating raw than yellow or white onions.

Every once in a while you gotta get out of the classic burger mode.  Try some sauteed mushrooms, pour them on your burger top it with some steak sauce and  smother it with Swiss cheese .  

Tip:Give your burger a minute or two for the cheese to melt and it’ll hold other small toppings, like mushrooms, in place while you eat.

There's also the 'pizza burger' topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. A sprinkle of Parmesan and if you’re not a total weakling like me some red pepper flakes would be awesome too.

And, of course, you can always spice up the burger its self. Try adding your favorite seasoning blends like taco seasoning or curry powder. Mix in diced veggies like onions or mushrooms. Dice up some fresh herbs and mix them in or stuff cheese inside your burger.

When you find a burger recipe you love make a bunch of patties and freeze them. In my experience the best results come from freezing raw patties and thawing them overnight in the fridge before cooking. Plus there's that much less to clean up on grill nights when the prep work is already done.

But if you want to go from the freezer to grill without thawing try this method from grill expert Barry "CB" Martin. Throw your frozen burgers on a hot grill until nicely seared, then flip and sear the second side. Once it looks good put it in a pan on the grill with indirect heat, take it off the flame and put the lid down, until cooked through

Freezing cooked burgers is better than wasting them, but with so much surface area they can get freezer burnt easily and become dry by the time you reheat them.

Freezer Foods for the Grill

What better way to beat the heat and still have dinner at home than to grill? Preparing foods in advance can make grilling even faster and more flavorful.

Here’s Four Freezer to Grill Tips to Get You Through the Summer Heat (If you’re lucky enough to have any. It hasn't started in my corner of the world yet)

1) “Dump” recipes don’t sound appetizing but the principle is great. Dump one of your favorite marinades into a freezer bag with some meat and toss it in the freezer. Pull it out to thaw a day or two before you plan to cook it and the meat marinates while thawing. How’s that for an easy way to multi-task in the kitchen? Plus the marinade helps prevent freezer burn.

2) For meats you don’t plan to marinade, individual serving of things like steak, chops or burgers can be ‘slip sheeted’. Slip sheeting is essentially slipping a layer of something like plastic food wrap or waxed paper between to pieces of meat so you can freeze in it all in one bag without the food freezing together.

This way you can simply pull out as much or as little as you need.

3) Just because it’s the grill doesn’t mean you have to use super high heat the whole time and with anything that’s frozen and not thawed high heat all the time would mean the outside gets charred and the inside is still cold.

Look, I like my steak rare but the center shouldn’t be colder than my drink.  So get those lovely grill marks on high heat then move the food off the flame to indirect heat and give it some time to cook through. For best results though, you're better off thawing before grilling.

4) You can grill frozen vegetables on the side. Empty a bag of frozen veggies into the middle of a large piece of tin foil and season to taste. Use enough foil that you can curl up the ends and seal it into a packet with extra space for steam.  Place the packet on the grill, off to the side of the heat, for 20-30 minutes with the lid down. Cooking times will vary based on the size of the veggies and the temperature in the grill.

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Eat Well!
Michelle Zack


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