A man grilling vegetable kebabs and shish kebabs on a grill outside during a sunny day
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Family-Friendly Grill Recipes That Aren't Burgers & Hot Dogs
by Cat Bowen
Originally Published: 

It's summer and no one wants to turn on their ovens. Everyone's grills are getting a ton of use, but there are only so many times you can have the burgers and hot dogs before getting bored. If you prefer cooking outside, you'll want some family-friendly grill recipes that change things up a bit.

There's nothing wrong with the gold standard grill meals of brats, barbecue chicken, and burgers, but it gets a little dry after a while. But worry not, there is literally a whole world of food out there that kids and parents love made right on the grill. It's really just a matter of reconsidering how you cook your food. Pretty much everything that isn't a casserole or mashed potatoes can be made for the grill if you're willing to put the effort in, and seriously, when the breeze is blowing and the grass is soft? Why stay in the kitchen? And don't think you're limited to just the main course. Everything from mains to sides to dessert can be made on the grill, and easily. Just be sure to watch your temperatures.

All of these meals are approved by my picky kids, and my husband and me. (That's the real miracle.)


Grilled Pizza

I am a New Yorker, and while I'll always love a greasy slice, there is something infinitely wonderful about grilled pizza. Thankfully, it's also really easy. Assemble whatever pizza you want on the back of a cookie sheet that's been dusted with cornmeal or on a steel pizza paddle (not wood, for obvious reasons), get the grill hot but bank the flames, slide the pizza onto the grill, but not over direct heat, close the lid, and it's done in a few minutes.

I'm boring, so my favorite pizza is this margarita version from Allrecipes. (They also have fab instructions.)


Kebab — But Not The Kind You're Expecting

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Traditionally made with lamb, but can be made with ground beef, chicken, or pork, Adana kebab is a spiced Turkish delight that my son would give anything to eat. I love serving this with grilled tomatoes and onions with a heap of fresh cilantro, grilled pita, and creamy yogurt sauce.


Grilled Baked Potatoes

Did you know that you can make baked potatoes on the grill? I swear to you it's even easier than the oven. This recipe from Food and Wine includes a chive butter that I would bathe in if I could. Seriously.


Grilled Shrimp

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Why is grilled shrimp so much better than all other shrimp? Why is it that my children, who don't normally eat more than five or six shrimp a piece, can suddenly eat 15 or 20? How does that happen? I love this recipe for garlic grilled shrimp from Spend With Pennies, but make sure you're watching it so you don't burn the garlic. Burnt garlic tastes terrible.


Paprika Chicken

Growing up in a household that used paprika as often as it used pepper and salt, I love the idea of a garlicky paprika grilled chicken, like this one from Brooklyn Baker. They pair it with grilled corn, which is one of my favorite veggies to grill, and would go so well with the spicy chicken.


Grilled Peaches & Cream

I can't get enough of the peaches this year. This recipe for brown butter grilled peaches and cream from Half-Baked Harvest makes me want to buy even more.

I sort of want to eat all of these myself, and not let the children have any, but that would be cruel, right?


Tandoori-Inspired Kebabs

Tandoori chicken, typically made in the tandoor, is a Punjabi dish that has warm spices, tender, succulent chicken thigh, and just enough spice to keep everyone interested. This take on the classic from Budget Bytes adapts many of the flavors, while making it doable for those of us not fortunate or skilled enough to have a tandoor.


Flank Steak, Because You're Fancy, But Also Not Rich

I'm not going to lie, I buy my flank steak at Costco when it's on sale. My son just eats too much for me to be spending $20 per pound on porterhouse. Damn Delicious' recipe for grilled flank steak with grilled veggies is a favorite at my house because you can cook it up in 10 minutes and it's beyond tasty. Plus the leftovers are amazing on a salad the next day.


Grilled Meatballs

Did you know you can grill meatballs? You can, and they're amazing. We just put them on buns and call it good, but I guess you could get fancy and pair it with grilled corn and veggies or potatoes. We like them with potato salad and a pile of watermelon.



Quesadillas were made for the grill. Like the pizza, you don't want to make them over a direct flame, but the smoky grill really adds something to the flavor. My daughter, the reigning regent of picky eating, will eat three of these grilled quesadillas without stopping, so they must be delicious.



If you have a cast iron skillet or a brick you can wrap in foil, you can make panini on your grill, and you might never want to use your George Foreman ever again. It's that savory good. Go to town on your toppings, and make something different for everyone. It's all really good, and a Dish of Daily Life blog really lays out how to do it well.

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