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Grilling Makes Family Dinners Doable

Whether they're chauffeuring kids from one activity to the next, remembering car pool schedules or assisting with practice, parents play a big role in after-school pursuits. Juggling schedules can be difficult, causing many parents to feel rushed when it comes time to get dinner on the table. In fact, while the majority of men and women say they like to "cook whenever they can," nearly 75 percent acknowledge that they don't have the time.

A family dinner that's manageable and fun can be as easy as heating up the grill. With a variety of foods and a selection of recipes that can be grill-ready in no time, grilling can fit into any busy schedule and please picky eaters.

"It's a common misconception that grilling takes a lot of time," said Steven Raichlen, grilling expert and host of Barbecue University on PBS. "In reality, grilling can save time with easy prep, quick cooking time and faster clean up. In addition, you're keeping the mess and heat out of the kitchen."

By making use of time-saving tricks, simple recipes and getting the whole family involved, sitting down for a family meal may not only be possible, but fun.

Bratwurst Kabobs

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup of frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
3 tablespoons hot mustard
1 package (1.24 pounds) Johnsonville Original Bratwurst, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 yellow squash, sliced
2 red peppers, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
Metal or wooden skewers

In a resealable plastic bag or bowl, combine soy sauce, apple juice and hot mustard. Add onions, yellow squash and peppers and refrigerate for one hour. Drain and reserve marinade. Thread bratwurst and vegetables alternately on skewers. Brush with reserved marinade. Grill over medium-hot coals; turn and baste often, until vegetables are soft and bratwurst is cooked, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Serves: 4 to 6.

Baked Beans Quesodillas

12 6-inch flour tortillas
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 small white onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 can (28 ounces) BUSH'S Boston Recipe Baked Beans
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 cup prepared salsa
1/2 cup sour cream

Lay out six tortillas and sprinkle half with cheese, onions and peppers. In medium bowl, combine Boston Recipe Baked Beans and hot pepper sauce. Portion beans among tortillas. Sprinkle remaining cheese over bean mixture and top with remaining tortillas. Cook on warm grill for three minutes on each side or until warm throughout. Serve with sour cream and salsa. Serves: 6.

Maraschino Cherry Shake

2 10 ounce jars maraschino cherries
1/3 cup maraschino cherry juice
1 1/2 quarts vanilla ice cream
Whipped topping
Whole maraschino cherries, for garnish

Blend cherries, cherry juice and ice cream in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into 4 (12 ounce) glasses. Top with whipped topping; garnish with whole maraschino cherries. Serves: 4.

Winning the Race Against Time

  • Make the Cut--Cut veggies in advance. They're great for snacking and can be thrown on the grill for a healthy side or meat topping. Refrigerate extras in baggies for lunch the next day.
  • Calling all Hands--Encourage everyone to play a role to save time. Have kids mix the fruit salad, open the can of baked beans, slice cheese into fun shapes with cookie cutters or add maraschino cherries to lemonade.
  • Ditch the Dishes--Without the extra pots, pans and baking dishes required for most kitchen-made meals, grilling makes clean-up a snap.
  • Put a Lid on It--Enjoy leftovers and cut down on clean-up time by using storage containers as serving dishes. After dishing out during dinner, simply put a lid on the leftovers and refrigerate.

    Something for Everyone

  • DIY Dinners--Make everyone happy with a "do-it-yourself" table including veggies, cheeses and different sauces like salsa, ranch dressing, BBQ or honey mustard. Kids will enjoy dinner more when they can choose what they like.
  • Simple Sides--Serve easy sides like baked beans that are ready in minutes. Simply pour beans into an aluminum tray, place on the grill and enjoy.
  • Traditional Twist--Do away with buns and serve bratwurst sliced on a kabob or wrapped in a tortilla.
  • Rich Rewards--Finish the meal with a "sundae station." Let everyone get creative with caramel, sprinkles, bananas, cherries and other fun toppings for a sweet treat.


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