Quick-Fix Recipes for Back-to-School Nights

The kids are back in school, and those special hours spent outside around the grill this summer already seem like distant memory. But wait, grilling doesn’t have to take hours! With our quick-fix grilling recipes, you’ll have a special dinner on the table in no time!

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Since school started back, our evenings have gotten a little crazy.  Homework, sports practice, laundry, school projects, band practice, and trying to get everyone showered and in bed on time make for a hectic schedule.  Fixing dinner shouldn’t add to the chaos; it should make the evening more enjoyable.  That’s why we developed these quick-fix grilling recipes that make weeknight dinners a snap!  

Quick Fix Grilled Chicken Tacos

Tacos are a great weeknight dinner the whole family loves.  Fresh grilled chicken tacos with avocado salsa and Mexican spicy pink sauce (You’re going to love this stuff!) bring tacos to the next level, and dinner will be ready in 30 minutes!

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper - optional
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2  tablespoons fresh lime juice (½ of a lime)
1 garlic clove - minced
10 small flour tortillas -- wrapped in foil

Place the chicken in a glass casserole dish.  Mix the oil, chili powder, paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper, black pepper, lime juice, and garlic in a small bowl.  Pour the mixture over the chicken.  Turn chicken several times to make sure it’s evenly coated, and let it marinate for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium high heat.  Place the chicken breasts on the grill over direct heat and sear for two minutes.  Turn the chicken and place the packet of tortillas on the grill to heat. Close the lid and let the chicken cook for 7 minutes.  Turn the chicken and the tortillas, and cook for approximately 7 more minutes. When done, the chicken’s internal temperature should register 165 degrees fahrenheit on a quick read thermometer.

When done, remove the chicken and the tortillas from the grill.   Let the chicken rest 5 minutes, then shred it with claws. If you don’t have claws, cut it into bite size pieces.

Note from the Grill Beast Team: We like using claws to shred meat. They’re easy to use and the shredded chicken is the perfect consistency for tacos.

Mexican Spicy Pink Sauce

(This sauce is so good, you may find yourself tasting it until there’s not much left!)

¾ cup mayonnaise
½ cup Mexican Crema (can substitute sour cream)
1 chopped chipotle chili (packed in adobo sauce)
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from chilies)
Juice of ½ fresh lime
1 teaspoon agave (can substitute sugar)
1 large garlic clove - minced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro

Mix all ingredients together. Use as a topping for the tacos. You can make this the night before if you have time!

Note from the Grill Beast:  This sauce has a kick.  If you want less heat, just use less chopped chipotle and/or adobo sauce.  

Fresh Avocado Salsa

2 avocados -- cut into bite size cubes
1 cup frozen corn kernels -- thawed
4 scallions -- chopped
1 or 2 garlic clove -- minced
4 roma tomatoes -- chopped
salt to taste
pinch of black pepper
½ teaspoon agave
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Dash balsamic vinegar

Mix all ingredients together and stir gently until well mixed. Serve on tacos.

Note from the Grill Beast Team: If you have time and want the salsa to be even better, roast two ears of corn (husks on) on the grill for 20 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove the corn from the grill and remove husks and silks. Cut the corn off the cob and stir into the salsa.


Spread a little pink sauce on each tortilla and top with shredded chicken. Add shredded cheese and avocado salsa. Serve with rice. If desired, drizzle tacos with additional pink sauce. (You know you want to!)

There you go!  Dinner’s done in 30 minutes, and everything is homemade and delicious!  

Note from the Grill Beast Team:  If you are in a super big hurry, just use store bought salsa and sour cream for your toppings.

Quick-Fix Grilled Shrimp with Orzo Alfredo

This meal will have your family asking, “What’s the special occasion?” It’s delicious, and it’s super quick to make.

2 pounds jumbo shrimp -- wild caught  -- peeled and deveined
¼ cup olive oil
¾ stick butter, melted - divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lemon - divided
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Place the shrimp in a large resealable plastic bag.  Mix olive oil, half the melted butter, garlic, half the lemon juice, red pepper, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl until well mixed. Pour the mixture over the shrimp and marinate for 15 minutes.

Remove shrimp from the plastic bag and discard any remaining marinade.  Skewer the shrimp on flat skewers. Preheat the grill to medium high heat.  Place the skewers on the grill and cook shrimp over direct heat for 2 minutes. Flip the shrimp and grill for two additional minutes.  You’ll know the shrimp is done when it turns pink and opaque.  It cooks very quickly, so keep an eye on it!

In the meantime, mix the reserved lemon juice, reserved butter, and parsley (or basil) together in a small bowl. Remove the shrimp from the grill, brush with lemon-butter-herb mixture and serve it over a bed of orzo Alfredo (recipe below).

Note from the Grill Beast Team:  To save yourself more time, purchase shrimp that has already been peeled and deveined.  We still think wild caught is best!

Orzo Alfredo

This dish is similar to fettuccine alfredo, and it makes a nice bed for the grilled shrimp!

2 cups uncooked orzo
¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoons pepper
1½  cups heavy cream
¾  stick butter
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (extra for serving)
Pinch of nutmeg
⅓ cup fresh parsley, chopped (can substitute fresh basil if desired)

Cook orzo according to package directions, drain, and set aside in a warm place.  In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat, being careful not to let it brown. Pour in the cream and add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.  It will begin to thicken slightly. Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings if necessary. Remove it from the heat.  Pour the cream sauce over the drained orzo and stir until the orzo is separated. Add the Parmigiano Reggiano and parsley (or basil) and stir until nicely incorporated.  

Place a bed of orzo on each plate and top with grilled shrimp. Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired.

Note from the Grill Beast Team:  We know it’s a weeknight, but we think a good pinot grigio would really be great with this dish!

Quick-Fix Outside-In Burgers

Cheese burgers are an All American favorite, but sometimes, we just have to play with tradition to find something awesome!  Your family will love these outside-in burgers, and since they’re grilled, you won’t have any pans or splattered grease to clean up!  It’s a win-win, and more important on a school night, it’s quick!

1 ½ pounds freshly ground chuck (see Note from the Grill Beast Team below)
1 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese -- room temperature, rolled into 4 one-ounce balls, and slightly flattened into ovals
4 large hamburger buns
Toppings and condiments as preferred

In a large bowl, mix the meat, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder, being careful not to overwork the meat.  Divide the meat into four equal portions and form 4 patties.  Place a cheese ball in the middle of each patty, and fold the edges around the cheese.  Flatten the patty slightly., but make sure you’ve sealed the meat well and the cheese is covered evenly on both sides of the patty.  This will keep the cheese inside the burger as it cooks.

Clean the grates and preheat the grill to high heat (450-550F). Place the burgers over direct heat, close the lid, and cook for approximately 6 minutes.  Turn the burgers, close the lid, and continue to cook for 6 additional minutes. Remove the burgers from the grill.   

Serve the burgers with your favorite toppings.

Note from the Grill Beast Team: Prepackaged ground beef is often made from scraps, and it can be inconsistent in content and quality.  For the perfect burger, ask your butcher to grind the meat to order, and make sure it’s either Choice, Angus, or Prime cut beef for the best flavor and fat content. It only takes a few minutes extra while shopping, and the results are worth every second!

Just Remember...

Life gets hectic, but coming together with family over a quality (and quick) meal will give everyone time relax and share the day’s events. We hope you enjoy these quick-fix recipes!  To let us know what you think or to share your quick-fix recipes with the Grill Best community, contact us at info@grillbeast.com.