When Grilling This Summer, Consider Cooking More Than What You Need

Grilling season is officially underway, and if you haven't already sparked the grill for an al fresco dinner or holiday cookout, you're probably going to very soon. Your go-to meal might be grilled chicken or steaks paired with corn on the cob or perhaps it's mouth-watering kebabs.

No matter what you're grilling this summer, why not cook more than you need? You're already outside in the heat, after all. We don't mean to pile paper plates with to-go food for your neighbors — instead use that food to prepare your meals for tomorrow (or the next day). It's a fun summer activity to use that precious smoke from the grill to your advantage, which could mean more time to take a dip in the pool. 

Having leftovers with delicious charred flavors will elevate your next meal without having to venture outside and light up the grill again so soon. However, this doesn't mean you have to be boring and toss that BBQ chicken in the microwave — there are many ways to elevate and repurpose that extra food.

How to use your grilled leftovers

The first trick to repurposing your food is knowing how to reheat it, and this depends on what exactly you plan to do with that extra food in the fridge. In some cases, like if you shred chicken into a chicken salad for this week's lunch, reheating isn't necessary.

When it's time to reheat those extra meats, slow and steady wins the race. You'll want to avoid high temperatures because this can lead to it drying out and becoming tough. Instead, toss it in the oven heated to 300 to 325 degrees Fahrenheit until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can always flip the meat halfway through to ensure it's heated evenly throughout. 

If you don't want to heat up your kitchen by turning on the oven during a hot day, a toaster oven does the same trick. Keep in mind that the cooking time might vary in a toaster oven depending on its size. Just be sure to use a lower temperature under 350 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results. And no matter what your method is, spread the food evenly so it all gets warmed properly.

Do you need inspiration for your uneaten charred yumminess? If you have leftover chicken, shred it up and put it in a quesadilla, and for leftover salmon or steak, use it as a salad topper. The possibilities really are endless, so don't forget to toss extras onto your grill next time it's fired up.