The heat is back today, but so, apparently is the rain, just not before we reach the mid-90's. I'll be tucked away somewhere cool trying to find the get-up-and-go to get up and do something.
I mentioned earlier this week that I cooked for 26 on the Forth. I pulled all my recipes from Pinterest. For a meal of normal size, like for just your family, any of the recipes were quick sides to something from the grill. Which was our original plan - we were keg roasting a turkey. Unfortunately, the burner wasn't feeling like working on the holiday, so with 26 people headed our way and a partially cooked bird on the porch we opted for Plan B - a couple buckets of KFC. Naturally, just as the final guests arrived, and I was putting the last of the sides on the counter, the thermometer let us know the turkey was finished, thus making our dash to KFC unnecessary. The flip side is, you know if we didn't make the chicken run, the turkey would have taken until midnight to finish cooking. Life is just fun that way. But we've been enjoying the turkey in many ways all this week, but I think we've reached our turkey limit.
Anyway, my daughter and I set out to make these sides:
- Mango Baked Beans - these were awesome. My family is a canned bean sort of group, but these were deemed "better than the canned stuff;" high praise indeed. I opted to cook them in the slow cooker because I was doing my best not to turn on the oven or stove in Hell's Kitchen. They were rich and gooey; loaded with bacon. The only change I will make is to add the mango at the end, or at least add more mango before serving, as it cooked down completely during the much longer cook time. And that wasn't a bad thing.
- Macaroni Coleslaw - I've had this salad pinned for quite some time. I've never been a huge slaw fan, but I can say it is definitely growing on me. I loved the pasta (I used Ditalini) and the addition of cucumbers and green peppers. The store was completely out of bagged coleslaw mix of any kind, so I shredded a half a head and added some julienne carrots - probably cheaper and better than the bagged stuff anyway.
- Grilled Red Potato Packets with Pesto Ranch Sauce - I had originally pinned this for our cabin trip, but forgot about it. Because of the size of the group I was serving I chose to put everything in a tin foil pan and cook on the grill. I might have cooked it a bit more than it should have as the sauce "broke" a little, but they were still good and I'll give them a go in the packets next time. I might even parboil the potatoes then toss them in the sauce, and then just heat them when it's dinner time. The sauce tends to be absorbed by the warm potatoes and it becomes a make-ahead dish that way. Should you go the parboil route, reserve some sauce for reheating to keep the potatoes creamy and saucy.
Lemon Berry Shortcake - This was the only thing that needed the oven and so I cooked it early in the morning. It was super good and so easy! It would be good with other fruits as well - blueberries, raspberries, even fresh peaches (just minus the lemon juice and maybe almond extract instead.) It was pretty and simple.
Lemon Berry Trifle - We also threw this little gem together in no time; about an hour before the party. The most difficult thing was that our area doesn't seem to carry lemon yogurt! In hindsight I could have used vanilla (or even plain) and added lemon zest and juice to it, but I ended up finding some plain Greek yogurt with this lemon gel you add to it - so I went with that. Trifles are such an easy, totally make-it-up-as-you-go dessert.
Time to get it in gear. Here's to hoping for a creative weekend.