I thought it might be fun to share some of our tried-and-true Memorial Day recipes. Be sure to listen to Friday’s podcast and have a great weekend!
No Memorial Day is complete without grilling out. My Toastmaster’s friend, Jeff Thompson, is one of the managers at our local Hy-Vee store. One night he gave a speech with pointers for grilling meat and one of his suggestions is probably the best tip I have ever had for cooking outside. It is also the easiest thing in the world to do. For grilling pork chops, chicken, or beef, use assorted wood chips like these, such as Apple Wood, Mesquite, or Hickory, following the directions on the package, to enhance the flavor of the meat. Our favorite is Apple Wood for pork chops and Hickory for burgers. Mesquite is great for chicken, especially when used in fajitas.
Here are two side dish recipes that are great with grilled meats…..
1 7# can pork and beans, drained, reserving 1 cup liquid
2 pounds hickory smoked bacon, fried, reserving grease
1 large onion, finely minced
2 TBS. garlic, minced in oil
1 large green pepper, finely chopped
½ to ¾ cup prepared mustard ( taste to see if it is too tart)
1 ½ pound brown sugar
Place beans in large casserole dish. Fry bacon, reserving grease. Crumble when cool and add to beans. In grease, fry onions, garlic, and peppers until translucent. Over low heat, dissolve brown sugar and mustard, stirring until all are well mixed. Pour over beans and mix well. If mixture is too dry, add some of the reserved liquid from the beans. Bake in slow oven, about 300 degrees, for 3 hours or until the top is slightly browned and the liquid is absorbed. (You may need to turn up the heat.) You can add brats if you want to make this a main dish meal.
They call these “stuffed” down south but we Yankees know them as twice-baked potatoes. In deference to the North Carolinian who shared this recipe with me, I will call them stuffed but whatever you do, try these.
6 large baking potatoes, well-scrubbed and rubbed with olive oil
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 pound bacon
1 pound Velveeta cheese, cut into small cubes
1 pound sour cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Wrap potatoes in individual foil squares and bake at 450 degrees for about 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool. Open and cut off the top third of each potato, being careful not to damage the skin. Put potato insides into a bowl and set aside.
Fry bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels. In bacon drippings, fry onion and green pepper until translucent. Drain. In separate bowl, mix together butter, sour cream, and Velveeta. Mix all together with potato and salt and pepper to taste. Place into shells and wrap in foil. Refrigerate overnight. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted through.
And, for dessert…..
I was convinced that I could never make a delicious cheesecake until I tried this recipe and now this is one of my favorite company desserts. It is especially good served with fresh strawberries or raspberries!
20 squares graham crackers, crushed well
3 TBS. sugar
4 TBS. melted butter
3 8 0z. packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
½ Tsp. vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon, optional
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix crumbs, sugar and margarine. Press into bottom of 10 ½” spring form pan. Bake 8 minutes and cool. Combine rest of ingredients, adding the eggs one at a time and beating well on high speed until fluffy. Fold into cooled crumb mixture.
Bake at 300 degrees until it looks like the center is firm, about 1 hour. Cover with foil if it starts to darken. Whendone baking, turn off the oven and hold the door open an inch or two with a wooden spoon. Allow cheesecake to cool to room temperature inside the oven. This prevents it from shrinking! Refrigerate a least 3 hours before serving. Lasts in fridge 10 days. (not at our house, though, what a joke!!!)
No-Bake Pineapple-Raspberry Cheesecake
2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
1 8 oz. carton Cool Whip
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 package Keebler shortbread cookies
1 pound fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed and mixed with sugar to taste
4 oz. melted butter
In food processor or by hand, crush cookies and mix with butter and place in sides and bottom of spring form pan.
In mixer, whip together cream cheese and sugar
Mix in pineapple
Fold in Cool Whip and pour onto crust
Chill several hours or overnight
Before serving, top with berries.