It's July and Independence Day celebrations are almost upon us. That means it's time for July's tip of the month. Many of us turn to the outdoors to cook and entertain, but don't fret if you don't have an outdoor grill. You can still make all your favorite grilled foods on an indoor grill. I love my indoor grill and I avoid the hassle of propane or charcoal as well as the carcinogenics of using lighter fluid. Yes, cooking with lighter fluid is not healthy and that's why you should use a chimney starter if cooking with charcoal. Have you read what's in lighter fluid? Take a look next time, you may be surprised. Though whatever your grilling preference is, some of my tips will help you create a great meal for your holiday.
Try these tips and tricks, whether you entertain for a crowd or a few people:
1. Keep it simple - decor and food. I love solid, checkered or similar red, white and blue tablecloths for the 4th of July. Check out This table-setting.
2. Entertaining is not the time to experiment with new recipes. Test out new recipes before the big event.
3. Have activities for the kids. Here's a great one to make - Pinwheels.
4. Never press down on burgers when grilling. I've heard this tip a few times on Food Network. You will lose all the juices from the meat.
5. Oil the grill and let the fish cook then turn over once, otherwise your fish will stick to the grill. Same for indoor grill pans.
6. Try grilling sweet potatoes for a great alternative to fries or baked potatoes. Just slice, season with salt and pepper (you can use other spices too). Mist with oil (brushing will work, but you use more oil that way) and grill on both sides. You can even toss in more spices after grilling before you serve.
7. Remember that the loud popping sounds of fireworks can scare dogs or even make them upset. Make sure they have ID tags and consider keeping them inside during the time fireworks are being set off. If you are away, consider pet-sitters or boarding to make sure your dog is safe while you are away.
8. Don't leave foods that can spoil or go bad at warm temperatures in the sun or heat. Potato salad is one example, keep it chilled so you will avoid food poisoning. I've heard horror stories about accidents like this at people's houses.
9. Here's a great idea for keeping tablecloths in place and still look decorative. Table weight from rocks.
10. Finally have fun and don't stress over every detail. If you plan your menu ahead of time you will be able to enjoy your day.