Large Crowd Summer Menu Cookout


Happy belated 4th of July!

Sometimes it’s hard to put together a menu suitable for a large crowd. You’ll have your gluten free guest, your guest sensitive to spices, another guest who cannot tolerate garlic, and your no onions please guest. Oh and your no beef guest.

So whenever my sister and I put together our menu for the next family function, we have to take all these request into consideration. And, we love it. It gives us an opportunity to get a gathering together fast and be creative.

Remember, more isn’t always necessary because people tend to have a few cocktails beforehand and also nosh on the chips and whatever else precedes the main course.

Here is our typical summer bbq menu:

We usually start with a platter of olives and pickles, chips, celery and ranch dressing. On occasion there will be buffalo chicken wing dip, cheese and crackers, etc.,

Next, here comes the burgers, hot dogs, sausage patties, sausage and peppers, and bbq chicken. Then we have the pasta salad, corn on the cob, and deviled eggs! Yum. I’m getting hungry just writing about it.

Lol well anyway this is just a gist of some menu items you can put together pretty quick for a large crowd.

Here are some pics of our family. I hope you all had a safe and happy 4th.

It was a great 4th of July. We even camped out back in the Yert. The boys slept in their hammocks. I’ll have to try that one night. They said it was wicked comfortable.

Oh geez I almost forgot the most important part of the menu lol, the adult beverage we fell in love with. Saranac’s Moscow Mule ginger beer. If you can get your hands on one, try it. They are so good ice cold. It’s really a great summer drink.

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Oatmeal Raisin chewy, amazing, easy Cookies


My life is all about quick, easy, but getting it done right. These cookies fall into those three categories let me tell you.

The key to these amazing cookies is that you cannot over bake them. I repeat, do not over bake them. You like them soft and chewy right? Then time them and keep checking.

Another thing you must know before you start to make these is, I have to give you heads up, you have to chill the cookie dough mixture for at lease 20 mins. I know time these days is a factor for everyone, especially me! Hey 20 minutes is 20 minutes right?

In addition, if you want to store the dough for a long period of time,  you can freeze the dough but make sure you roll your cookie balls out first and then when your ready to bake them, throw them right in the over frozen.

Ingredients

(You can do this now or when your mix is chilling, pre-heat your oven first at 350 degrees and I get two cookie sheets ready before I even start) You can use parchment paper or just make sure they won’t burn and stick to the pan. My cookie sheets are from Pampered chef and they are non-stick which I love. But if you don’t have non-stick just use parchment paper.

1 cup (2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened to room temp (if you forget to take your butter out, just throw it in the microwave for about 9 to 11 seconds) it works for me.

1 cup of light or brown sugar (packed, aka measured exactly)

1/4 granulated (white) sugar

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon of maple syrup or molasses (seriously don’t stress if you don’t have either of those ingredients, you can also use honey watered down with a little apple cider)

1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract

1 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking SODA

1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups of old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup of raisins

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (optional) those are usually by special request only in my house

Step one

From the above ingredient list take the softened butter and sugars, and mix with a hand mixer. Mix in the two eggs one at a time. Add in the syrup(or substitution)and the vanilla extract.  After combining those, set aside.

Step two

Add the flour, baking SODA, ground cinnamon, and salt together and mix up with a fork. Next, mix in your wet ingredients with those dry ingredients. On a low mix speed, throw in your oats, raisins, and nuts until well blended.

Now I didn’t always believe this was necessary but you do have to chill the cookie mix before you bake them. At least 20 minutes. It makes a difference in the way they come out. I chilled it as one big ball but if you want to roll out each cookie about a teaspoon heap, or just scoop and drop. Two reasons I didn’t chill as individual cookies is one, I didn’t have room in my freezer to put the cookie sheets in there and two I liked to roll them when they are harder so the mixture didn’t stick to my hands.

After chilling, bake at 350 9 to 11 mins. Make sure they stay light in color and put your oven rack in the middle or upper level so the bottoms don’t burn!

Good luck and remember, don’t over bake!!

 

 

 

 

Chicken sir fry yum! 


Creating meals couldn’t be any easier than this. All it takes is a little gumption and creativity for you to step out of the box once in a while. 

If you’re in a hurry but want something cost effective and tasty try this. 


Chicken Stir Fry

1 1/2 lb of chicken breast cut up and browned 

2 cups of fresh or frozen broccoli florets

2 green peppers and 1 red or 1 16 oz bag of frozen mixed pepper strips

1 6oz can of baby corn(found in oriental food section of your grocery store)

1 4 oz can of water chestnuts

2 cups of soy sauce 

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1 1/2 tbsp of ground ginger

2 packages of brown or white rice(boil in bag is what I use)

Except for the rice, mix all ingridents in a large skillet and cook on medium heat approximately 20 mins. 

Voila! 

My family loved it, it tasted great, and didn’t break my bank! 

Quick and easy is what I aim for especially with our schedule. I hope you enjoy. 

Remember cooking isn’t an exact science so play around with the flavor a little bit and critique it to how you like it. 

Chicken Cordon Bye Bye Blue


Okay so I made chicken cordon blue today but had to prepare it ahead of time because of our busy schedule and it came out delish. I had made it before but this time I did it a little different just to give it a little zip.

The problem is that we ate it so fast I forgot to take a “pretty” blog pic to post with the recipe. So the pic I posted was of my sons next to last piece before it disappeared.

My whole philosophy on cooking is that it isn’t an exact science. Yes, to some degree you have to follow the amount of ingredients and preparation but there is room for adding a little pizzazz here and there. One mistake I’ve made in the past is don’t over due it on the salt. Use your other salt free spices and be creative!

Here are the ingredients and the prep which took me about 10 to 15 minutes total.

Chicken Cordon Bye Bye Blue

~ 2 lbs. chicken breast (de-fatted, sliced thin and long)

~ Virginia Baked Ham, 1 slice per piece of chicken

~ Swiss cheese, any kind 1 slice per piece of chicken

1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs

salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder about 4 shakes of each on top of the rolled chicken cordon blue pieces

Cream Sauce

3/4 quarter stick of butter

1/3 cup of flour

1 cup of 2% milk

1/4 parmesan cheese

2 tsp. spicy brown mustard

1/3 cup of Honey Mustard dipping sauce/dressing

salt, pepper, onion powder to taste

Roll pieces of chicken with one slice of ham and one slice of Swiss cheese. Hold each piece with a tooth pick or two if needed. Put a few shakes of salt, pepper, and onion powder on each piece.

Drizzle bread crumbs on top of each piece to coat lightly.

Sauce/Gravy Preparation

Melt butter and then add flour to make a roux. Add milk slowly and stir until you see a smooth consistency.

Add mustard and honey mustard.

Add salt, pepper, onion powder.

Preheat oven to 350

Cover chicken pieces with gravy. Cook 45 minutes on 350. Voila!