Friday, June 25, 2010

Quick Dinners for Visiting Cousins

Last night, my cousins Eric & Linda, who drive a big truck hauling motorcycles all over the country for shows, were in town for a show. Eric is particularly partial to our family's celebratory meal, shrimp in beer. On festive occasions when Lindstroms & Schaffnits gather, we have shrimp in beer. My grandmama always made it and my aunt made it for us last night. There's a cream cheese dip that is officially for the shrimp, but we always dip ruffled potato chips in it, as well. My auntie added a Caesar salad and, since we were going for special dishes, I made Nigella's chocolate pavlova with whipped cream and raspberries. It was my first attempt at any sort of baked meringue concoction, aside from lemon meringue pie, and I was pleased with how it turned out. It was lovely to look at and delicious to eat! Here's her recipe: Better yet, just pick up a copy of Nigella Summer. You'll use it again & again.

And my grandmom's for shrimp in beer:
2 lb. shrimp (uncooked, shells-on)
6 12-oz. cans of beer (light beer is not an option! My aunt always uses Labatt's or Molson, I think my grandmom used Budweiser)
1 heaping tsp. salt
2 heaping tbsp. onion powder
2 heaping tbsp. garlic powder
2 heaping tbsp. celery seed
2 heaping tbsp. mustard seed
2 heaping tbsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. peppercorns or allspice
Dash of Tabasco

Bring beer mixture to a boil. Boil 20 minutes. Add shrimp & cook just until pink. Don't overcook!

Potato Chip Dip (AKA Shrimp Dip):
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. chopped onion
2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
Salt, to taste

Mix together.

This will serve 4 people.

Tonight, my cousin Andy & his best friend since preschool came down from Columbus for dinner. I was happy to have a quick & easy Rachael Ray meal to make. It's perfect for summertime. Watermelon's dessert.

Here's the link to the Rachael Ray recipe:

I couldn't find any chicken sausages when I went to the grocery. All of the Aidell's were sold-out. So, I subbed cheddar brats. I used regular orange sharp Cheddar, which I find more aesthetically pleasing with cauliflower. And I chose grill seasoning for burgers, since I couldn't find Montreal Steak Seasoning & had left my bottle of it in Cleveland for J to use until she moves down here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jan's Showstopper Calico Beans

When my friend Jan told me about her calico beans, I said, "What on earth are calico beans???" She gave me this recipe, noting that "These have been a showstopper at more than one barbecue that I've gone to." Our family loves them & tonight, I took them to a church picnic. Very little remained at the end.

Jan's Showstopper Calico Beans
1 lb. burger
1/2 lb. bacon (I used 12 oz. tonight because that's what I had & I figured I might as well)
1 can baby limas, drained
1 can dark kidney beans, drained
1 can Bush's baked beans (I use original)
1 can Great Northern beans, drained
1/2 c. dark brown sugar, well-packed
1 sm. onion, thinly-sliced
1 bottle bbq sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's)
1 tsp. dry mustard
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Brown burger and bacon. Add to beans. Add the rest & mix well. Bake 3-4 hours in a 13 x 9 baking dish.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Summer Green

Tonight's dinner had a green theme. I made avocado sliders, Goddess potato salad and a spring mix salad with feta, sliced almonds and raspberry vinaigrette. It was all very tasty & summery.

Avocado Sliders
1 lb. burger
Garlic powder
Salt & pepper
1 avocado, cubed
American cheese
Dinner rolls
Mix the burger with the seasonings & form into about 12 balls. Press an avocado cube into each and seal. Make into patties & cook in a skillet greased with cooking spray. Serve on rolls with American cheese, half a slice per burger. Serves 4-6.
Goddess Potato Salad
1 and 1/2 lb. fingerling potatoes
8 oz. sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/4 lg. red onion, thinly sliced
Green Goddess dressing
Salt & pepper
Thickly slice the potatoes and cook in salted water until just tender. Drain and allow to cool. Toss with the sugar snaps and onion. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Serves 4-6.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Comfort Food, Summer-Style

The other night, we were talking about food we could serve at our church bazzar & sloppy joes came up. I've been really hungry for them & my auntie loves them, so I decided to try a variation on my standard Manwich on a bun. She asked if we could have tater tots with them, which is, in my opinion, the ideal starch to go with sloppy joes. As I headed to the grocery, she asked if we were having corn with them. But of course! Add a glass of limeade, some watermelon & ice cream sandwiches for dessert & you have a perfect dinner to eat while sitting on the deck watching fireflies on a June evening.

Sloppy Joe Bake
1 lb. burger (I used 94% lean), browned & drained
8 oz. tomato sauce
3/4 c. water
1 envelope sloppy joe seasoning
1 tsp. minced onion flakes
2 (8 oz.) tubes crescent rolls (I used the reduced-fat kind)
1 c. shredded sharp Cheddar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix the burger with the tomato sauce, water, seasoning & onion. Bring to a boil. Simmer about 7 minutes. Roll 1 tube of crescents out flat in a lightly greased 13 x 9 baking pan. Add the burger, then evenly sprinkle the cheese on top. Roll out the other package of crescents on top to cover. (You can brush this layer with an egg wash or milk to make it look prettier) Bake 15 minutes. Serves 6.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Satisfying My Aunt's Greek Tooth

Last night, I wasn't sure how I felt about what I had planned for dinner and I was pretty sure it would be too out there for my auntie. However, she loved my Moroccish burgers & feta potato salad! I thought they turned out great, too! I based the burgers on a Rachael Ray recipe available here:

Here's what I did:
1 & 1/2 lb. burger (85% lean)
1 tbsp. chili powder
4 finely-chopped cloves garlic
A couple tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp. cumin
A little sprinkling of cinnamon
Salt & pepper
A drizzle of olive oil
1 c. Greek yogurt
1/3 c. finely-chopped mint
2 sliced scallions
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
10 oz. broccoli slaw mix
4 sandwich thins (Arnold's brand)

Mix burger with next 8 ingredients. Form into 4 patties. Grease skillet with cooking spray and heat. Add burgers and drizzle with olive oil. Cook through. (You can do these on the grill, too, but it was raining & I'm afraid of the grill...if J & I were living together at the moment, I could make her do it) Mix yogurt with mint, scallions & a little salt. Whisk oil & vinegar together & toss with slaw mix. Put a pile on one half of the bun, add a burger & top with yogurt sauce. Finish with the other half of the bun. Serve extra slaw on the side.

Feta Potato Salad
3 lb. potatoes, diced
2/3 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice (juice 2 lemons & use the rest in the burgers)
1 tsp. Dijon
1 tsp. salt
A good grinding of pepper
1 bunch scallions, sliced (I removed 2 for the burger sauce)
6 oz. crumbled red pepper & herb feta
Boil potatoes tender & drain well. Whisk oil with lemon juice, Dijon, salt & pepper. Add rest of ingredients & toss to coat. Cover & chill a couple hours (I did mine before starting the burgers & just let it chill while I finished the rest of dinner & it was fine). Serves 6.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Dusky Breakfast on the Deck

The air is remarkably cool for June in southwest Ohio, a lovely night for dinner al fresco with my auntie & the dachshunds! I did scrambled eggs, a hash brown casserole of sorts and fresh cherries.

Bacon Browns
About 4 c. cubed cooked potatoes (peels on, if you like 'em...I do)
12 oz. bacon, cooked & crumbled (wipe out the pan & use it for the eggs)
1/2 c. milk
The smaller half of an onion, chopped & dropped in the hot bacon grease for a minute or two
Garlic powder
A couple handsful of shredded cheese (I used cheddar-jack because that's what was handy)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything but cheese & paprika together in 13x9 pan. Scatter cheese over top evenly. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Tea, Dahling?

It's been too long since I baked for people and tomorrow's staff meeting seemed like as good an excuse as any, so I broke out a scone-ish recipe. Very simple & quick, perfect with a hot cup of Earl Grey.

Currant Tea Biscuits with Citrus Glaze
2 c. flour (I use unbleached, all-purpose flour unless otherwise specified)
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
5 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small bits
1/2 c. dried currants
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 tbsp. orange juice
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Mix the first 4 ingredients together. Cut in the butter, mixing until it is incorporated but still a little want little nubbins of butter throughout. Add currants and buttermilk, mixing until just blended. Divide mixture evenly into the muffin cups. Bake 12-15 minutes, until golden. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a plate for another 5 minutes. While they are cooling, mix the juices together. Add the powdered sugar and mix with a fork until the sugar is completely dissolved. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the glaze. Allow to set a few minutes before serving.