Summer’s almost here and it’s time for grilling

Fire up the grill for making a gooey cheese dip as an appetizer along with some marinated chicken and roasted potatoes.

I am so excited! I have a new gas grill! My sweet husband bought it for me. A few years ago, he bought a wood pellet grill that he uses for smoking turkey breasts and whole hams during the holidays. When the weather is nice, we usually turn to our charcoal grill for optimal flavor and doneness. Our old gas grill finally bit the dust, though, and I asked for a new one so that I could experiment with some recipes this summer. Recently, I have become interested in the art of grilling and, with my new gas grill all set up on the back patio, I am testing out some fresh, new recipes. Whether you use a charcoal, pellet, or gas grill, I highly recommend these tasty recipes—they are already new favorites at my house.

Grilled Chicken with Lime-Cilantro Marinade

• 2 ½-3 lbs. boneless chicken breasts

• ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

• 2 large limes

• 3 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 tsp. salt

• ½ tsp. freshly cracked pepper

• 1 tsp. light brown sugar

• 3 TBSP. olive oil

Zest and juice both limes. Put the zest and juice in a food processor; add the cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and olive oil. Pulse until smooth. Place the chicken in a large zipper bag or other container, and pour the marinade over the chicken. Refrigerate and allow the chicken to marinate for 2-3 hours. Remove the chicken and grill over medium-high heat for 30 minutes or until juices run clear. (I prefer to use a thinner cut chicken breast or a breast that has been butterflied for this recipe.)

Individual Grilled Potato Packets

• Russet potatoes

• Butter

• Everything bagel seasoning

• Sea salt and black pepper to taste

• Colby-Jack finely shredded cheese

• Olive oil cooking spray

Wash and scrub the amount of potatoes you will need. Spray pieces of foil packets with olive oil cooking spray. Cut the potatoes into thin slices, about ¼-inch thick, and place the slices in the middle of the prepared foil squares, about 1 potato per packet. Place a pat of butter on top of each potato packet and sprinkle ½ tablespoon of everything bagel seasoning over each one. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fold each packet and seal to close. Place the packets on the grill at 300-350 degrees, and grill for about 30 minutes or until done. When done, sprinkle some shredded cheese over the cooked potatoes and reseal until ready to eat.

Foil-Wrapped Spinach and Artichoke Dip

• 1 cup frozen spinach, thawed

• 1 (12 oz.) can artichoke hearts

• 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened

• ¼ cup mayonnaise

• ¼ cup sour cream

• 1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

• 1 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded

• ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

• ¼ tsp. garlic powder

• ¼ tsp. salt

Chop the spinach and cut the artichoke hearts into smaller pieces; set aside. In a bowl, stir together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and salt. Stir in the chopped spinach and artichoke hearts. Layer two sheets of heavy-duty foil. Lightly grease the top sheet of foil, and place the mixture in the center. Seal tightly and place on the warming rack or top rack of grill, if possible, or on top of grate over 200-250 degree-heat. In about 20 minutes, the mixture will become hot and bubbly. Open the foil packet, and serve the spinach and artichoke cheese dip with tortilla chips or crackers.

— Amy Fischer lives in Fort Payne, Alabama, and is a Southern food enthusiast who loves to spend time in the kitchen creating tasty recipes. You can contact her at facebook.com/MySouthernTable.

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