A Summer Menu for Company

A Summer Menu for Company
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It's hot, it's humid and you've had a dinner planned for guests for weeks. How can you enjoy the day without melting from the heat while you fix dinner. Fix it ahead and grill the main dish! Everything but the kabobs in this menu can be fixed early in the morning while it's still cool. Prepare the kabobs early too, and all that will be left is the grilling. Put a nice big fan near the grill where you can watch the kabobs and pour a large, cool glass of iced tea!
Beef and Vegetable Kabobs

Ingredients: 1 pound round steak; cut into 1 inch chunks

1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, quartered

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon orange or apple juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon chili sauce

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1 medium zucchini

1 medium yellow squash

1 red or green pepper

1/2 lb. medium mushrooms

1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes

In a medium sized bowl, mix the first 7 ingredients. Cover mixture and refrigerate at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Prepare the grill, or preheat gas grill. Cut zucchini and yellow squash into 1 inch chunks. Cut the pepper into 1 inch pieces. On long skewers, alternately thread zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms, beef and onions. (leave off whatever someone doesn't like) Save the marinade for later.

Place kabobs on grill over medium heat. Cook about 10 minutes, brushing with the reserved marinade Turn skewers several times while brushing frequently. Serve with rice or pasta and a fresh salad.

Fruity Spinach Salad


1 cantaloupe half, seeded and skin removed

7 cups torn fresh spinach

1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/2 cup halved green grapes


3 Tbs. sugar

2 Tbs. orange juice

2 Tbs. vinegar

1 Tbs. chopped onion

Dash pepper

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. poppy seeds

1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted.

Cut melon half in 1/2 inch rings, then into 1 inch pieces; place in a bowl. Add spinach, mushrooms, onion and grapes. Chill for at least 2 hours. Place sugar, orange juice, vinegar, onion, orange peel and pepper in a blender, cover and blend until smooth. With blender running, gradually add oil until slightly thickened. Stir in poppy seeds. Cover and chill. Just before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss. Top with pecans. You can substitute other fruit such as strawberries or blueberries for the grapes, or other types of melon.

Green Bean Salad


1 pound fresh green beans

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a saucepan, cover beans with water, cook until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse in cold water; place in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients; toss to coat. Serve at room temperature.

Strawberry Glazed Cheesecake


1 cup all purpose flour, sifted

1-3/4 cups sugar

1-3/4 tsp. lemon rind, grated

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1-1/4 lbs. cream cheese, softened

3/4 tsp. orange rind, grated

1-1/2 Tbs. all purpose flour, sifted

3 eggs, room temperature

2 Tbs. heavy cream

5 cups fresh strawberries, washed and hulled

1/4 cup cold water

1/8 tsp. salt

1-1/2 Tbs. cornstarch

1 tsp. butter, softened

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp. lemon rind and half the vanilla in a bowl. Add 1 egg yolk and 1/2 cup butter. Use your hands to mix until blended. Pat or spread onto bottom and sides of a 10 inch pie pan. Bake about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees. Beat cream cheese in a bowl with an electric mixer until soft. Add 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 tsp. lemon rind, orange rind and 1-1/2 Tbs. flour-mix. Add eggs and 1 remaining egg yolk one at a time, beating after each addition until just incorporated. Beat cream and remaining vanilla. Pour into crust and bake about 1 hour until edges are firm and center jiggles slightly.Cool. Puree 1 cup strawberries in a blender. Press through a strainer. Combine strawberry purée, 3/4 cup sugar, cold water, salt and cornstarch in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 2 minutes, still stirring. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp. butter. Cool slightly. Arrange whole berries over top of cheesecake. Serve glaze over cheesecake. Serves 12 people.


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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