Thursday, July 2, 2015

Food for Thought : 4th of July

Friends and visitors this post will be a tad different from my others, bare with me and let your hair down and stay awhile .[ENJOY]
The Fourth of July is a time for enjoying get-together with friends and family, and dining outdoors is the greatest pleasure of the day. If you haven't planned a gathering, you still have time to pull together a fun party with a minimal amount of work. It just takes a little help from friends and an exciting menu.

The grill plays a big part when it comes to outdoor casual entertaining. While guests visit and sip, have your featured Louisiana grilled sausage smoking on the pit. These zesty pork links are seasoned with brown sugar, orange juice, mustard and vinegar. Encourage guests to bring a favorite outdoor appetizer to go along with the sausage.

Another  main meat of the day — another grill favorite — is tequila lime chicken. These breasts are juicy and tasty — just be sure not to leave them on the grill too long, and baste often with the zesty marinade. Chicken can dry out very quickly.
For a cool sure-fire winner, the  featured wild rice shrimp salad blends perfectly with the tequila chicken. This delicious dish provides a different slant on the usual potatoes and baked beans July 4th fare. The addition of shrimp is optional. It's delicious with or without it.

Marinated Tomato Salad is a refreshing complement to your menu and will add a colorful addition to the table. With the brilliant red and yellow tomatoes, mozzarella, calamata olives and green lettuce, the presentation has pizzazz. The baby yellow tomatoes, shaped like pears, are not always available, but I'll bet you could find them at the Farmers Market.

For a cool dessert everyone will love, serve this new Summer 
Light Sprite Zero Cake. The only sugar in this delicious Bundt cake is the natural sugar in the crushed pineapple used in the icing. My slim and trim grand Nanette  shared this recipe recently (she do not cook, laughing my butt off) and the whole family gave it a big thumbs up. As for ease in preparing, it doesn't get any simpler than this.

On this anniversary of our freedom, let's all pause to say thanks for our beloved country, remembering that every generation has had its worries and concerns since the beginning of time. As we proudly fly Old Glory on July 4th, let's recall the words of Mahatma Gandhi: "When I despair, I remember that through history the way of truth has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it always."
Let's hear it for the red, white and blue!

                Marinated Tomato Salad
4            large fresh red tomatoes
1/2         pound baby yellow tomatoes
12-14     seedless calamata olives
1            cup fresh Mozzarella, cut in cubes
1            bunch Romaine lettuce
5            stalks coarsely chopped green onions
1/2         cup shaved fresh Parmesan cheese for topping, optional
                     Dressing ingredients:
2            tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1           cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4        teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1           tablespoon crushed garlic
1           tablespoon minced parsley
1           teaspoon sugar
1           teaspoon salt
Ground pepper to taste
1          head Romaine or curly lettuce
Cut each red tomato into six chunks; in a large bowl, toss red and yellow tomatoes with olives and Mozzarella cubes. For dressing: Whisk ingredients together and drizzle over tomato mixture; toss well. Marinate in refrigerator for 3-4 hours. To serve: Arrange Romaine lettuce on platter and place marinated veggies on lettuce; sprinkle with chopped green onions and Italian parsley. Sprinkle center with shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired. Makes 8-10 servings.

                             Louisiana Grilled Sausage:
1            cup brown sugar
1            tablespoon flour
1/4         cup orange juice concentrate
2            tablespoons prepared mustard
1            tablespoon cider vinegar
1            pound smoke sausage links
Combine first five ingredients; blend well. Add sausage links and coat well. Place on a medium-hot grill and smoke for about 20 minutes until done. To serve, cut into slices and place on a plate with gourmet mustard for dipping.

                                 Tequila Lime Chicken
1            cup fresh lime juice
1/2         cup tequila
2           tablespoons brown sugar
1/4        cup chopped fresh cilantro
2           tablespoons minced seeded jalapenos
1           tablespoon chili powder
1           teaspoon salt
3/4        teaspoon ground black pepper
6           boneless skinless chicken breasts
Mix first eight ingredients in a bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for about 8 hours. Prepare grill – medium heat. Brush grill rack with oil and grill chicken until cooked through, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
            Basic Basil/Lime Marinade:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup chopped fresh basil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 2 limes
Mix all ingredients and use as marinade or basting sauce for shrimp, pork, chicken, beef and vegetables. The seafood, meat and veggies can be threaded on skewers for a colorful dish.
                            Wild Rice Shrimp Salad
1           box Uncle Ben's Wild Rice Mix (Original)
2           stalks celery, chopped small
1/2        medium bell pepper
1/2        cup chopped green onion tops
1           pound small-medium shrimp, boiled
1           teaspoon Greek seasoning
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2        cup mayonnaise
1/2        cup sour cream
Prepare wild rice by package directions. Fold in next six ingredients. Mix mayonnaise and sour cream, sprinkling a little more Greek seasoning in it. Blend into rice mixture. Served chilled on large lettuce leaves, garnished with grape or cherry tomatoes. Makes 6-8 servings.
                          Summer  Light Sprite Zero Cake
1           Betty  Crocker  Sugar Free Yellow Cake Mix 
12         ounces (1 can) Sprite Zero
1           (8-ounces) Lite Cool Whip, thawed
1           (8-ounces) can crushed pineapple
1           small sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
With an electric mixer, blend together cake mix and Sprite Zero. Place in a Bundt  pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. 
Bake at 325 degrees (as per instructions on cake mix) for about 40 minutes. When done, let cake cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. 
                        For icing: 
Whisk together Lite Cool Whip, pineapple and sugar-free pudding, mixing well; spread icing generously on cooled cake. Keep cake refrigerated. 

A proud grand-poppa          G.

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Come on in , set awhile and have a cup of tea and cookies , as always you are welcome .