A Summer Menu for Family and Friends

A Summer Menu for Family and Friends
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A Summer Menu for Family and FriendsWe grill as often as possible during the summer, and I try to avoid using the oven to keep the house cool, and save on air conditioning costs when we do use our central air. My husband and I both grill, depending on who has less work to do around the house and yard.

While we do splurge on steak when it's on sale for a good price, we tend to grill whatever meat is cheapest during a particular week. It’s sometimes a challenge when adapting the weekly menu, but it saves money.

The pork chop recipe below is adaptable to any type of chop, sliced pork loin, or pork steak.  Pork can also be cut into one-inch chunks, then thread on skewers after marinating with the same recipe.

Feel free to substitute any of the dry herbs in the recipes with fresh herbs. Snip, wash and mince the herbs before adding to the ingredients. I usually double whatever dried herbs are called for when using fresh.

Grilled Herb Pork Chops

8 pork chops, boneless or bone-in
2 lemons, juiced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1 cup soy sauce
2 cups water
3 tbsp. brown sugar

Combine all the ingredients except for the pork, and mix well. Place the chops in a plastic or glass container (a plastic resealable bag will work too). Add the marinade, making sure the pork is covered. If it's not, flip a couple of times during the marinating process. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat the grill. If using charcoal or wood be sure the fire is hot but not flaming up- let it burn down a little bit before cooking. Remove the pork from the marinade, and discard the used liquid. Brush a small amount of oil on each side of the pork, and season lightly with salt and black pepper. Grill the pork until, turning often until it's no longer pink inside. Pork should register at least 145 degrees F. on a meat thermometer when it's done.

Notes: If you want to add some heat to the marinade, use 1/4 tsp. of cayenne pepper, or 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes.

Fresh Corn Salad

8 ears of corn
1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 dried basil
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

Fill a large pan with water, and heat to a boil. While this is heating, husk the corn and remove the silk. Add the corn to the boiling water for 10 minutes or so, remove from heat and cool enough to handle. Cut the corn off the cobs and set aside in a bowl. Add the chopped tomatoes, green pepper and red onion. Mix together the oil, vinegar, lemon, salt, sugar, basil and cayenne. Pour this over the vegetables and mix well. Chill several hours before serving.

Red Potato Salad

2 pounds red potatoes
4 large eggs, boiled
6-8 slices bacon
1/2 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. mustard
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. horseradish sauce
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Cut the potatoes into chunks and boil until just tender. Run under cold water until they are cool and set aside in a bowl. While the potatoes cook, boil the eggs for ten minutes after they come to a steady boil. Remove and run cold water over the eggs, allowing them to sit in the cold water to cool. Saute the bacon until crisp, then drain on paper towels. Add the chopped onion to the potatoes in the bowl. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, black pepper, salt and horseradish sauce until mixed well. Peel the cooled eggs, and chop, then add to the potatoes. Crumble the cooled bacon, and then add to the bowl. Add the cheese to the bowl as well. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix all the ingredients in the bowl gently. Add the dressing and mix again. Cover and refrigerate several hours before serving.

Notes: The prep work can be done the day before, so the salad can mixed in the morning and chilled until dinner.

Summer Fruit Salad

1 seedless watermelon, cut into one inch chunks, rind removed
1 pint blueberries
1 large, or two small cantaloupes, cut into chunks, rind removed
1 quart strawberries, cleaned, stems removed, halved
1 whole pineapple, cored, peeled and cut into chunks
1 pound seedless red grapes

Combine all of the fruit into a large bowl. If this is done in the morning, and it sits in the refrigerator until a half hour or so before serving, the flavors will blend and there really is no need for a dressing. Without bananas or apples, the fruit will not change colors.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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