My husband and I are busy people and with a hectic schedule comes an often lackadaisical approach to mealtime. More often than not we find ourselves heating up frozen food or eating cereal for dinner. Really responsible, I know. But every once in a while I get inspired and last night was no exception. We have a lovely roof deck on our apartment building, complete with big gas grills and nice dining tables.

So last night, with the gorgeous summer weather, I decided to whip up a tasty dinner on the grill to enjoy on the roof. And, if I do say so myself, it was quite tasty! So, if you will indulge me, here are a couple recipes I made last night that I thought you might like.

Dad's Grilled Shrimp
A recipe concocted by my father-in-law that is as delicious as it is easy. All the ingredients listed below are highly approximate; add them to your taste.

1 1/2 pounds (or really as much as you like) of deveined, shelled shrimp
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of good quality maple syrup
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/8 cup of cilantro
juice of two limes
salt and pepper to taste
dash of cayenne pepper

step one | Add the maple syrup (reserve the two tablespoons for later), honey, olive oil, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper to the bowl of a blender or cuisinart. Blend until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

step two | Put the shrimp in a large ziploc bag and pour in marinade you just made in the blender/cuisinart. Allow to sit in the fridge of for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

step three | Open the ziploc bag and pour off the marinade. Put shrimp on a large plate/platter and drizzle the remaining maple syrup on top. Add the dash of cayenne pepper and an extra pinch or two of salt and pepper.

step four | Put shrimp on the grill, carefully making sure they don't fall through the cracks (if you have a gas grill set the temperature to between 300 and 350 degrees; otherwise put shrimp on the hottest part of the grill). Grill shrimp for two minutes each side. Remove from grill and enjoy!

Katie's Amazing Asparagus
Perfect for a quick solo dinner or a big dinner party. Crazy easy given how tasty the result is! Again the ingredients are flexible; feel free to experiment!

1 bundle of asparagus, the thinner and fresher the better
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
Pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)

step one | Snap off the ends of the asparagus (they should snap easily where they want to be broken off). Lay asparagus on a aluminum foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Turn the broiler in your oven to high and put an oven rack in the topmost position. (Make sure your baking sheet fits on this rack.)

step two | Drizzle olive oil and soy sauce on the asparagus. Sprinkle kosher salt and, if using, sprinkle sesame seeds too.

step three | Put baking sheet in the oven under the broiler for between 5 and 10 minutes. Once the spears start to become crispy and the stalks start to wrinkle they are done! Serve and enjoy!

Happy cooking!

p.s. I also made the Smitten Kitchen recipe for blueberry crumb bars (see last photo) and holy cow they are good. See the recipe here.

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