What sounds better, a bologna sandwich for lunch, or a leftover grilled cheeseburger from last night's dinner?
Cheeseburger - no brainer. If you've got some leftover burgers in the fridge, you can heat that patty in the microwave and assemble a burger about as quickly as you could in making a bologna sandwich. And a burger is SOOOOO much better!
If you've never pre-grilled a whole lot of great eats to consume for breakfast, lunch or dinner later in the week, you should start doing so. Your meals - especially those on the go - will be more satisfying.
What I'm suggesting you do isn't a whole lot different than perhaps what your mom, grandma or spouse did/does in pre-making a few meals and putting them in the freezer. It's convenient to be able to pull out a lasagna or a beef stroganoff and throw it in the microwave and/or oven on a busy night, when family members are all on busy schedules and there's just no time to prep a good meal. This works out great for unexpected company too. So take that pre-made lasagna thought and turn it into grilled fare..... And grilled is SO much better!
When you've got some time on the weekend, fire up the charcoal and get to grilling! If you've got room in the fridge and freezer for leftovers, there's no reason not to stock up with grilled fare and enjoy it later in the week, without having to light a match or push that igniter button.
Got a package of hot dogs in the fridge? Throw them on. A couple grilled hot dogs reheated in the microwave for lunch is MUCH better than just a couple hotdogs taken out of the package and nuked or boiled. Get the charcoal!
Got some of those frozen hamburger patties in the freezer? Throw them on. I always grill up more hamburger patties than I think will be eaten. I like deli meat sandwiches, but a burger, even leftover, is SOOOO much better. And burgers aren't just for making burgers either. Patties can make a great impromptu Salisbury steak.
Here's the key to pre-grilling: Don't cook items all the way through like when you're going to eat it/them right then, for dinner. You want to pull meats and veggies off the grill slightly under-cooked to the way you typically like them if you're pre-grilling meals for later in the week. The reheating you do for that future breakfast, lunch, or dinner will finish the cooking process, charcoal flavor, preserved.
Grilling fare to consider, for some quick meals and/or sides/toppings later in the week:
- Bratwursts. I love brats, but who has time to do these properly for lunch during the week? Cook some up (I like to poach mine in wine or beer and then finish them off on the grill) on the weekend to enjoy later.
- Thinly sliced Ribeye steak for Philly cheese steak sandwiches.
- Grill up your favorite fish for some fish tacos. YUM!
- If you ever make kabobs for dinner, do more than you think will be eaten. Leftover Kabobs, along with a side of rice and pita bread, makes a fantastic quick meal!
- Pork chops - this one is a big go-to for me. I always cook up some chops when pre-grilling meals. Grilled chops are great leftovers for sandwiches, chopped up and put in a quick stir fry, or smothered in gravy!
- Chop up a few potatoes, steak fry style, toss them in olive oil, season them, throw them on the grill. All entrees need a side right?
- Breakfast sausage. You'll stop going to the drive-through at McDonald's on the way to work if you've got some pre-grilled and ready to assemble breakfast sausage with a biscuit or tortilla.
- Bacon. See sausage, above. And grilled bacon has so many uses. Crumble it up and put it on a salad, turn those steak fries into cheesy/bacon steak fries.
- Chop up an onion, throw it on. Onions seasoned with your favorite seasoning salt and olive oil, then grilled, add a lot of flavor to that deli sandwich!
- Slice up a couple of bell peppers. What you did with the onions, can be done with peppers.
- Pizza dough, yes, pizza dough. A nice pizza crust with a smoky flavor makes for a nice, quick lunch or 'everyone is eating dinner at a different time tonight' kind of thing. Just throw on some sauce, toppings and slip it under the broiler until the cheese melts. Grill up a half-dozen personal pan size crusts.
- Make a fruit cobbler in a cast iron skillet. Combined with some vanilla ice cream, a great dessert for later in the week!
Those are just a few ideas, use your imagination. Anything you enjoy in grilled fare, can be done in pre-grilling meals for later in the week. Just remember to pull whatever it is, off the grill, slightly under-cooked to how you like it.
If you don't have the time to plan out and pre-grill some meals on the weekend or during some downtime, if you still have some heat left on the grill from doing dinner, or maybe you used too much charcoal for the task.... Take advantage of that heat and don't let that charcoal flavor go to waste! Grab that package of hot dogs, pull out that breakfast sausage. Even if it's something as simple as slicing up a lemon or lime, getting a little char, then using that great flavor in the preparation of another dish later in the week is a good thing! Heck, pull out the cast iron skillet and simply brown some ground meat for putting in a meal next week. I can't say it enough I guess, take advantage of that heat.
And if you don't like to grill in inclement weather or winter time.... Brisket chili is a great cold weather treat and wouldn't it be nice to have something like apple wood smoked chops in your freezer?