Our first meal would be perfect for a hot day in July! The Lemon Basil Chicken Salad can be made ahead of time, chilled in the fridge, then served one of three ways. The Cucumber & Melon White Sangria should be made ahead of time so it will be throughly chilled. Add chilled sliced watermelon for dessert and you have the perfect make ahead, no fuss meal for a luncheon on a hot day! Or light dinner on the patio!
Our second meal is Sunday Afternoon Slow-Cooked Spare Ribs and Bibb Salad with Honey French Dressing. These are not slow cooker (crockpot) ribs but slow cooked in a Dutch oven. Put these on before church on Sunday morning and lunch will be ready when you get home! You can make the salad dressing up the night before, wash and prepare the other salad ingredients then toss together just before serving. Add some crusty bread to complete the meal.
Cucumber & Melon White Sangria
1 750-mL bottle Gewürztraminer (dry Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup dry vermouth
2 cups diced honeydew melon
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
1 cup chilled plain seltzer
1. Combine wine, vermouth, melon, cucumber and basil in a large pitcher. Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours. Just before serving, stir in seltzer. Serve over ice.
Lemon Basil Chicken Salad
4 cups diced cooked chicken (parboil the boneless chicken breasts and dice)
1 rib minced celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, celery, basil and almonds. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add to chicken mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill. Serve on top of bibb lettuce leaves as a chicken, stuffed in a tomato, or as a sandwich with lettuce leaf garnish.
Sliced watermelon for dessert.
Sunday Afternoon Slow-Cooked Spare Ribs
8 pork loin spareribs
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay®)
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and black pepper (to taste)
1. Place the ribs into a large pot, and cover with lightly salted water. Bring the ribs to a boil, and boil for 45 minutes. Drain off the water and set the ribs aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until the oil shimmers, and brown the ribs on all sides, about 10 minutes per side. Remove the ribs, and pour in the beef broth, ketchup, brown sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, seafood seasoning, dried onion, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Stir the ingredients until the sauce has dissolved any brown bits of flavor from the bottom of the pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-low heat, and transfer the ribs back into the sauce.
3. Coat the ribs with sauce, cover the pan, and simmer over low heat until the meat is very tender and falls off the bones, about 3 hours.
Bibb Salad with Honey French Dressing
1/3 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vegetable Oil
1 tablespoon water
6 cups bite-size pieces of lettuce
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled (chopped (2/3 cup))
1 medium tomato (chopped (3/4 cup))
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons sunflower nuts
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (2 oz)
1 In large bowl, mix all dressing ingredients until well blended.
2 Add lettuce, cucumber, tomato and onion; toss to mix. Sprinkle with raisins, sunflower nuts and cheese. Serve with dressing.
Our first meal is a delicious pork tenderloin with green beans served with squash and zucchini cakes. The recipe for the cakes calls for jarred marinara. I recommend Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic marinara. You should use it very sparingly on top of each cake.
Our second meal is a casserole, Beef Lombardi. I’m not big on casseroles, especially ones that use canned creamed soups! This one uses canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Not too bad! The casserole can be frozen up to a month so you can make it ahead and use it later. Or if your family is small, or you are an empty nester, you can split into two casseroles, eat one now freeze one for later. Serve this with a green salad with homemade Midwestern House Salad Dressing. I’ve shared this dressing recipe before but it is worth sharing again! For dessert, Blueberry-Gin Sundaes! I haven’t tried them yet, but they sound yummy!
Our third meal is for when you are not too hungry and want just veggies! That is when my husband and I will turn to cooked cabbage and some cornbread. This recipe for Roasted Cabbage Wedges is simple and roasting vegetables always bring out their best flavor! Serve with Hoe Cakes, that is what my family has always called cornbread pancake like cakes. Serve them with lots of butter!!
Spiced Pork Tenderloin With Green Beans and Olives
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pork tenderloins (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
1 teaspoon fennel seed (crushed)
1 teaspoon paprika
kosher salt and black pepper
1 small red onion (sliced)
1 pound green beans (trimmed)
1/3 cup pitted green olives (halved)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1. Heat oven to 400° F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork with the fennel, paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Place the pork on a rimmed baking sheet; reserve the skillet. Transfer the pork to oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of each tenderloin reaches 145° F, 12 to 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
3. Meanwhile, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the drippings in the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, tossing, until beginning to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the green beans, ½ cup water, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, partially covered, until the green beans are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the olives and vinegar and toss to combine. Serve the pork with the green beans.
Squash and Zucchini Cakes
3 medium zucchini
3 medium yellow squash
1 cup toasted bread crumbs
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1/3 cup minced Vidalia onion
1 large egg (lightly beaten)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 jar store-bought marinara sauce
1. Grate zucchini and squash with a fine grater. Press between paper towels to remove excess moisture.
2. In a medium bowl, combine grated zucchini and squash and next 7 ingredients. Shape mixture into 2-inch patties, pressing together firmly.
3. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook squash and zucchini cakes 3 to 4 minutes per side or until lightly browned.
4. Place onto serving platter and serve with marinara sauce.
1 pound lean ground beef
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 (6-ounce) package medium egg noodles
6 green onions (chopped (about 1/2 cup))
1 cup sour cream
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
Garnish: fresh parsley sprigs
1. Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain.
2. Stir in chopped tomatoes and next 4 ingredients; cook 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and bay leaf, and simmer 30 minutes.
3. Cook egg noodles according to package directions; drain.
4. Stir together cooked egg noodles, chopped green onions, and sour cream until blended.
5. Place noodle mixture in bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with beef mixture; sprinkle evenly with cheeses.
6. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, at 350° for 35 minutes. Uncover casserole, and bake 5 more minutes. Garnish, if desired.
7. Note: Freeze casserole up to 1 month, if desired. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Bake as directed.
Salad with cucumber
Midwestern House Salad Dressing
3 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1. In a large bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and salt together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
1. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup blueberries and 1⁄3 cup gin. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the berries burst and the mixture begins to thicken, 5 to 8 minutes; let cool.
2. Divide 1 pint vanilla ice cream among bowls and top with the blueberry sauce.
Roasted Cabbage Wedges
1 tablespoon plus 2 more tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium head green cabbage (cut into 1-inch-thick rounds)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Place 1 medium head green cabbage, cut into 1-inch-thick rounds, in a single layer on sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds. Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden, 40 to 45 minutes.
White cornmeal mix
Measurements for this are not precise. Mix about a cup of white cornmeal mix with about a half cup of milk for each person you are serving. Season generously with salt and pepper. Batter should be slightly runny, not thick. Add oil to a medium to large cast iron skillet and heat to medium high. Do not let oil burn. Cook batter as you would pancakes, flipping only one time. Cakes should be golden brown.
Serve hot with butter!