Thursday, July 15, 2010

Simple Summer Meals

It's been hot and humid here, so our air conditioner is running overtime, and I'm trying to keep the oven use to a minimum. Plus, it's summer and I'd rather be going out with my husband and the kids rather than spending a lot of time cooking. Hence, the ongoing simple meal plan. Today I wanted to share a few of the meals I make that are very, very easy, but everyone is the family loves them.

Grilled Brats or Kielbasa on Buns
Corn on the Cob

I don't have recipes for this easy meal, but wanted to mention that in our area sausage and Kielbasa has been on sale almost every week which is unusual. I try to buy the fresh variety, often made at our local grocery stores. It seems to be less fatty, and tastes better than prepackaged smoked sausage.

Italian Style Beef Sandwiches

3-4 pound beef roast, any cut
garlic powder
ground black pepper
Italian seasoning or Italian dressing
Medium Sweet onion
Fresh mushrooms, 12 ounce package
Green pepper, optional
salt, pepper
Package sliced Provolone cheese
8 Buns, sub style

Place the roast into a crock pot in the morning, or at least before noon. Season with garlic powder, pepper and Italian seasoning or you can use bottled Italian dressing as well. Cook at least 5-6 hours on high until the meat is falling apart. Pull the meat with a fork to shred.

Slice the mushrooms, onion and green pepper. Drizzle a small amount of oil into a skillet, heat on medium and add the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until they are soft. Remove from heat.

Open the buns, place on a slice of cheese and microwave for 25-30 seconds to melt the cheese and warm bun (optional). Place beef on the bun, then top with sauteed vegetables and close. Serve warm.

Notes: We serve these with onion rings, or chips and a salad.

BBQ Pork Sandwiches

5-6 pound pork roast
seasoning salt
garlic powder
ground black pepper
1 bottle of BBQ Sauce
Hamburger buns

In the morning place the roast in the crock pot and season with salt, pepper and garlic. Cook all day, at least 6 hours on high. When the roast is falling apart remove it with a slotted spoon to a bowl or platter. (do not turn off the crock pot) Discard all but maybe a 1/4 cup of the liquid/fat from the crock pot. Using a fork, pick out the fat and shred the pork. Place it back into the crock pot, and add the BBQ sauce. Stir to coat the meat and heat for about 1/2 hour on high again.

To serve, spoon the pork onto buns. We usually have Baked Beans and/or chips with this.


Monday, July 12, 2010

A Rainy Day Sunday Menu

Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth;without rain, there would be no life. ~John Updike

I love to grill all summer long for family and friends but recently we had a late Father's Day dinner and it was raining. At the last minute I came up with a menu that was easy and fun. My husband and the kids loved it. I did forget to take pictures, but I can share the recipes.

Creamy Coleslaw

2(16 oz.) packages Cole Slaw mix
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup Miracle Whip
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar

Mix everything but the cole slaw mix in a measuring cup or other container using a fork or whisk. Pour over the cole slaw mix and stir until the cabbage and vegetables are coated. This really tastes better is it's chilled for a few hours.

Notes: Add in minced green or red pepper for a little zest.

Slow Cooked Meatballs

1 bag of frozen meatball
Sweet Daddy Ray's sauce

Combine the frozen meatballs and the BBQ sauce in a crock pot. Start these on low in the morning and let them cook at least 4-5 hours to really soak up the sauce.

Baked Potato Skins

8 medium potatoes
3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups shredded Mexican blend (8 ounces)
4 green onions, sliced

Microwave the potatoes so they are JUST tender. You don't want them cooked too soft or the skins will become too soft. Cool the potatoes for about ten minutes or longer before handling. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop out the inside and save for another use, leaving 1/4-inch shell. (You can even freeze the potato insides.) Place the skins on a greased baking sheet. Combine the oil, salt, garlic powder, chili powder and pepper in a small bowl. Brush all over potato skins, inside and out. Bake at 475° for 6-8 minutes and turn over. Bake for another 6-8 minutes and remove from the oven. Turn the skins right side up. Sprinkle the cheese evenly inside of skins. Bake 2 minutes until cheese is melted. Top with sour cream and green onions. Serve warm.

Notes: You can also add in crumbled bacon and/or minced jalapeno pepper for a nice touch.