Easy Outdoor Cooking At The Cottage

The key to avoiding the ‘whine’ is to plan your menu in advance and arrive prepared with easy recipes, the best of which can be done on the barbecue! Who wants to be in front of a hot stove in July?If you’re into cooking and food, check online for local farmers’ markets and bakeries. You can get fruit & veggies, bread, desserts and more, all in one easy stop. Some will even have local meat producers, which is always a treat. If you’re like my husband, more of a weenies and beans kind of guy while on vacation, then you’ll have the easiest time of all. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, so here are some easy barbecue recipes to tempt most palates:Boneless Marinated Flat Chicken with Veggie Packets:Most butchers have these available: it is a vacuum packed boneless flat chicken. If you’re lucky, it will be a capon and so really heavy on the breast meat. Even better if it pre-marinated! All you have to do is open the package and pop it on a pre-heated barbecue! 1. Pre-heat the barbecue to the maximum – at least 500 F 2. Place the chicken on the lower rack and sear the chicken for 2-4 minutes, depending on the size of the thickest part of the breast. Flip it over and do the same for the other side. 3. Move the chicken on the upper rack to one side. Adjust the heat to about 350F, turn off the flame under the chicken then close the lid. At this point, the heat needs to be indirect to allow for a moist and tender end result. Leave on for about 20 minutes, flip once only and leave on for another 8 to 10 minutes. 4. Remove and let rest for about 10 minutes!Now, for the accompanying veggie packets – what you put in a veggie packet is all up to personal taste, but this is a family favorite: 1. Take pieces of foil, about 12 inches wide, and lay out one piece for each packet (1 packet per adult).2. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of each one and sprinkle liberally with either Montreal Steak Spice or a combination of salt/pepper and Herbes de Provence (all of which can be bought pre-mixed in the herb jars at the grocery store).3. Start laying a stack of veggies – here’s a sample list: o Really thin slices of yam / sweet potato (too thick and they won’t cook)o Slices of red oniono Slices of mushroomo Slices of red, orange, yellow pepperso Small chunks of zucchini (for greenery!)o Some finely chopped or grated garlic4. Sprinkle a little more oil on top, and a little bit more herbs and you’re done! Simply fold up the packets and make distinctive ‘ears’ or other markers to show which packet belongs to which person. This is a fun way to get the kids involved – they can each make their own packet!5. These should be placed on the lower rack when you have lowered the heat to medium (350 F) for the chicken – and moved to the upper rack when you flip the chicken. The yam is the longest to cook and can burn because of the sugar content so be careful not to place them directly over the flame!Barbecue Pizza Another hit with kids of all ages as each person can prepare their own toppings! The easiest way is to get pita bread – individual sizes – to use as the pizza bases – avoids mixing, kneading or otherwise messing about with dough on your vacation! Prepare the following toppings: • Grated mozzarella cheese or use slices of bocconcini cheese for extra gooey oomph• Fresh bay leaves, if you can get them, ripped up• Canned pizza sauce• Grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in halves or slices• Sliced mushrooms• Sliced red onion • Pepperoni – pre-sliced or sometimes we buy pepperettes and slice them up thinly – makes tiny but packed with punch tasty pepperoni!• Canned pieces of pineapple• Cut up cooked hamYou can vary any and all of the toppings based on your likes / dislikes1. Brush each pita with a little olive oil and place a pre-heated to medium heat grill for 2 minutes to warm up.2. Remove and quickly add toppings.3. Return the pizzas to the grill and close the lid – leave them in there to 2-5 minutes, depending on the amount of toppings.4. Remove and serve!What would dinner be without a great dessert? How about Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream you are going to need: • 3 tbsp. sugar • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar • 2 tsp. fresh ground black peppercorns • 2 large fresh peaches with peel, halved and pitted1. In a saucepan – either on the grill or in the kitchen – simmer, over medium heat, the sugar, balsamic vinegar and peppercorn. When the mixture is reduced by half and has become thicker, remove from heat and set aside. 2. Preheat grill to medium-high (350-400 F)3. Place peaches on the grill with the peel side up. Grill for five minutes or until the peach is caramelized. Turn the peaches and coat the top with the balsamic vinegar mixture. Grill for another 2-3 minutes. 4. Serve vanilla ice cream in a bowl, topped with a peach half and pour over the remaining balsamic vinegar mixture!