Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer Menu Suggestions

Summer Menu Suggestions on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - A collection of some of the summery recipes we've tried, for the Schoolhouse Review Crew Summer Cooking Inspiration Round-up

So I'm not really that good at menu planning. Actually I'm mostly horrendous at menu planning. My goal is usually to spend as little time on meal planning and preparation as necessary, but at the same time I want to put decent home-cooked meals on the table for my family, and a little variety is a good thing to aim for as well.

Summer mealtimes are often easier for me because GRILLING. Not only is it easy and relatively quick to get a meal together, it's outside and doesn't heat up my kitchen. And possibly best of all, in my opinion, it's a lot easier to enlist the help of the menfolk in my house to act as Grill Sergeant. (The hubster even has a t-shirt designating him as Grill Sergeant!) Okay, but I still need ideas. Here are a few I've collected from past blog posts that strike me as good choices for summer mealtimes and desserts.

Balkan-Style Burgers

A Taste of Europe - Burgers Balkan Style! on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

This is not even really a recipe, but just a different way to serve burgers. Personally, I've been trying to cut the amount of bread I eat (which is tough because I LOVE bread!), but eating a burger patty with a fork and knife somehow doesn't do it for me. So this is brilliant, and has become my go-to way to eat burgers, even if the kids still want a traditional bun. The true Balkan inspired recipe would have the meat patty made of ground lamb, sausage, and beef; but whatever meat combo you choose, just put it in a pita instead of a bun and it will work. Add some combination of cheese, spinach, kale, roasted red pepper hummus, or whatever toppings you like.
(See: A Taste of Europe - Burgers Balkan-Style! for the accompanying geography lesson and more.)


Caribbean Tres Leches Cake

Summer Menu Suggestions on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - A collection of some of the summery recipes we've tried, for the Schoolhouse Review Crew Summer Cooking Inspiration Round-up

This light and delicious cake flavored with coconut and rum is one of my favorites, but my kids aren't big fans of coconut. For that reason, when I've made it, I do a smaller size cake than the original recipe. The secret to this cake is letting the three milks soak in all night long, which obviously means it needs to be refrigerated. So clear some room in your fridge, and get ready for a taste of the Caribbean! I'm planning to have this treat sometime this summer, even if I have to eat it all by myself!

Caribbean Tres Leches Cake
3 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup milk

Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt - set aside.  Beat egg whites on medium speed of a stand mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar gradually, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Then beat in egg yolks, one at a time. Add the vanilla to the milk. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the eggs, about a third of each at a time, beating at low speed.

Pour into a greased 9x9 pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Let it cool for about 30 minutes before pouring on the milk mixture.

Combine 6 ounces of evaporated milk (about half a can, or 3/4 cup), 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk, and about a teaspoon of rum flavoring.  (You could substitute heavy cream for the sweetened condensed milk if you'd like a version that is not quite as sweet, and of course you could use real rum if you wish.) Prick holes all over the top of the cake with a fork, and pour the milk mixture evenly across the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for about 8 hours. It needs that long for the milk to soak right into the cake.  Should you have leftovers, make sure to store covered in the fridge.
(See the original post: Eating the Americas: Caribbean Tres Leches Cake)


Ham and Swiss Dip Bread Bowl

Ham and Swiss Dip Bread Bowl - a recipe on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #recipe

This was a recent discovery of ours, and it is sooooo good! I think it's suitable for any party table, and it might even make it onto the menu for Landon's grad party.

Ham and Swiss Dip Bread Bowl

2 large round loaves of bread, unsliced (French, Italian, or Sourdough)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. mayonnaise
1/2 package ranch-style dressing mix
onion powder and/or garlic powder
1 lb. ham, diced (thick deli ham or leftover baked ham)
5-6 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded

Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, dressing mix and seasoning. Stir in the ham and Swiss cheese. Hollow out one of the loaves of bread. Put the dip inside the hollow and place it on a large sheet pan to catch any overflow. Bake at 350 for about an hour. Cube the bread removed to make the hollow, and the second loaf of bread. Toast in the oven for 7-10 minutes and serve with the dip. You can also use crackers or veggies with the dip.
(See the original post: Ham and Swiss Dip Bread Bowl)

Easy Tapas

A Taste of Europe - Easy Tapas from Spain on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

My kids have always been crazy about mozzarella sticks - or queso frito. Sure, it's easy to just buy the frozen ones, but it's actually easier than I'd thought to make my own. Also, churros - yum. They make a great summer evening dessert.

Queso Frito (Fried Cheese)
2 beaten eggs
2 tbsp water
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into "sticks" 
   OR use string cheese, which is already in the right shape!

Mix eggs and water in a shallow bowl. Put bread crumbs in another shallow bowl. Coat each piece of cheese twice: dip it in egg mixture, then crumbs, then repeat. Lay the coated cheese sticks on a baking sheet and put it in the freezer for about an hour. 

Heat oil in a deep fryer or large skillet to about 350 degrees. Fry the cheese a few pieces at a time, just until browned. Ours were done in about one minute in a deep fryer. Remove from oil using a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with a tapas assortment, or as an appetizer.

1/2 cup butter
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup water
1 cup flour
3 eggs

Put butter, sugar, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the flour all at once, and stir with a wooden spoon for about a minute, until it's smooth and sticks together in sort of a ball. Remove from heat and beat in the eggs one at a time. By this time it should be just warm so you can handle it. Pack the dough into a pastry bag with a huge star tip (like a 1M piping tip) OR into a large ziploc bag with the corner cut off so you can use it like a pastry bag. (I cut my corner a bit too big, so my churros were rather fat.) 

Heat oil in a fryer or a large saucepan to 350 degrees. Pipe the dough into the hot oil and cook until golden, turning once halfway through. Depending on how fat your churros are, it should be about 8 minutes total.

Drain on paper towels, then coat with cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup sugar with about 1 tbsp cinnamon) if you want to. Enjoy!

(See the original post with geography lesson: Easy Tapas from Spain)


Croque Monsieur/Croque Madame

Food with French Flair @kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

This dressed-up version of grilled cheese sammiches is perfect for summer lunch. All you do is grill ham and cheese sandwiches, then spread with Bechamel sauce, sprinkle on some more cheese, and then put them under the broiler for a couple minutes. If you want a Croque Madame, add a fried egg on top, and voila! Breakfast!
(See my entire French Flair post: Adding French Flair to American Fare)


Slovakian Style Garlic Bread

A Taste of Europe - Garlic Bread Slovakian Style on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

How about an easy but flavorful garlic bread to go along with the steaks hubby is grilling? The first time I tried this, I was about ready to move to Slovakia. And it's really easy.

Slice up some sourdough and/or rye bread. Heat bacon drippings in a cast iron skillet and saute the bread slices till they are golden brown. Then take freshly peeled garlic cloves  and just rub all over one side of the toast. I did it while the toast was still in the skillet. If you want strong garlic flavor, you can mince up a garlic clove and garnish the toast as well.
(See the original post with the geography lesson: Garlic Bread Slovakian Style)


Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to get lots more summer menu ideas in the Summer Cooking Inspiration Round-up, which will be live on Friday, June 10th.

Summer Inspiration

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Joanne said...

These all sound so yummy! Plus I now have a father's day gift idea; my husband is our grill master too!

BARBIE said...

We love grilling in the summer (and winter too)!. These look yummy!

A.Marie said...

Oh my goodness.....that Caribbean Tres Leches Cake looks so delicious!!

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