BBQ “Q” for Quick Sides on the Grill

Oh my, September is already here but no worries we still have more time to grill up our favorite BBQ foods.

Now if you are as fortunate as I am, you can BBQ almost all year round. Our grills are tucked under a side of the house that is very protected so rain or shine we can turn them on and grill away.

This year at the Oregon State Fair I was asked to do a cooking demo on “Quick Sides” for our BBQ day.  The day includes a BBQ sauce demo as well as a BBQ sauce contest. Can you have to much BBQ sauce? I am really looking forward to the variety of entries.

So “Q” stands for “Quick” sides. What kind of side dishes do you serve with your BBQ? Beans, potato salad, corn bread….?????

How about foil packet cooking on the grill? It’s easy to prepare, it’s convenient to grill and so easy to clean up.

The ideas for side dishes go on and on…Grilled Olives, seasoned nuts, ratatouille, veggie and potato packets, even grilled fruit packets.

Here are a few ideas to try at your next BBQ. FYI, all of these foil packets can be cooked in the oven as well. Just in case it’s a bit to cold outside.

Grilled Moroccan Olives: 2 cups mixed pitted olives, a good drizzle of olive oil, 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves,  1 teaspoon Moroccan spice, 2 large pieces of jarred roasted red bell pepper, chopped, crumbled feta cheese and mint leaves for garnish. Mix all together except for the feta and mint, place in a foil packet and grill for 10-15 minutes or hot and warmed through. Open the foil packet and garnish with feta and mint.

Four Leaf Balsamic Artichoke: 2 cans of artichoke quarters packed in water, drained, 1/4 cup of Saucy Mama Four Leaf Balsamic Dressing (other Italian dressing could be used), 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and a small bunch of fresh basil cut in ribbons for garnish. Spray the foil with cooking spray. Toss the artichokes in the dressing and Parmesan, arrange on the foil square and fold to close. Grill until hot and heated through. Open the foil packet and garnish with fresh basil. (A fun option would be to chop the artichoke pieces and add a small amount of mayonnaise, approximately 1/4 cup, to the ingredients before grilling to make a quick artichoke dip!)

Grilled Curry Chickpeas: 2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and dried, 2 T olive oil, 1 tablespoon Curry powder, 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes, 2 teaspoon garlic powder. Toss all of the ingredients together and arrange in the foil packet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Fold and heat over the grill for 10-15 minutes until hot and heated through. (Optional: Chopped mint makes for a great garnish for this side dish)

Ratatouille Bruschetta: 1 small peeled and cubed eggplant, 1/2 each of diced yellow and green summer squash, 1/2 small diced sweet onion, 2 chopped Roma tomato, 3 sliced garlic cloves, salt and pepper to taste and 1/2 cup of Saucy Mama Parmesan Garlic Marinade, 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan and fresh basil cut into ribbons. Toss all of the ingredients together except the shredded Parmesan and fresh basil. Arrange on foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Fold and grill for 15-20 minutes. Serve over toasted baguette bread and garnish with shredded Parmesan and fresh cut basil.

Dad’s Family Favorite Hash Browns: 4 cups thawed shredded hash brown potatoes (1 cup per person), 8 ounces shredded Cheddar/Monterey cheese, 1-2 teaspoons dried onion flakes, salt and pepper to taste, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter. Blend the potatoes, shredded cheese, onion flakes, salt and pepper. Arrange on 4 foil pieces that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Top each with one tablespoon of the unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (or melt butter and add to the hash browns when mixing with the other ingredients). Grill for 15- 20 minutes until the potatoes are golden brown and heated through.



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