With "Father's Day" upon us and the 4th of July to follow within a couple weeks, food may play a very important task over the next month. Grilling out for any summer occasion is always an easy way to impress a "Dad" or a crowd, but dads usually end up manning that grill on most occasions. A lot of dads specialize in grilling that perfect steak or ribs on the BBQ and have perfected that chore down to the ultimate pleasure. Sounds like we might get a little more rain this weekend though, so dad might catch a break and get to enjoy just being catered too or a chance to rest a spell in that recliner.
However your weekend turns out, whether it's getting to cook out or staying at home with family, this is a great time of year for food fun and being a dad.
My sister enjoys cooking for most special family days with Father's day being no exception. My dad is easy to please when it comes to food, something as easy as a bowl of beans and some cornbread to him is a meal fit for a king. Don't be fooled, my dad is well aware of foods, not only the simple satisfying southern ones, but having been well traveled in life, his food experiences are pretty extensive. He has always come up with some of the better recipes that I have used throughout my career as well. Not only is he an avid foodie, his love of being in the kitchen and doing a lot of the cooking is also obvious. His influence has blessed me abundantly in many ways, not only in the kitchen but also in life in general. I have to yield to him most of the credit for that hunger I have had for the food world and especially the wisdom he's given me to find meaning or perfection in almost everything I do or accomplish. Just to consult him on the little things in daily life brings great comfort in ways that only I may ever know.
For all those folks out there planning a meal for this weekend and those missing your dad on such a memorial day, take it easy and make it simple but delicious. I know that those dads who work hard all week will enjoy the rest with little mess. Slice yourself a big ole watermelon, throw some steaks or burgers on the grill and create a restful easy day.
It's time to pull out those paper plates and make some tater salad or simple side dishes like baked beans or a big salad loaded with good crisp veggies which is simple enough. Even a light dessert could suffice like a bucket of ice cream and some fresh peaches.
If you're skipping eating at home and venturing out to a restaurant there are many places that are running "Father's Day Specials" this Sunday, he might even get to eat free. For those that are staying home and cooking, here are a few simple ideas for your consideration.
The Best Baked Beans
8 strips thick cut bacon, cut in half
1 pounds ground beef or sausage, (I use Tn. Pride sage sausage)
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
3 cans pork and beans, including juices (Van-Camp brand are great)
1 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons Colman's dry mustard, or 2 tablespoons Dijon
5 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In large skillet fry bacon to render the fat but not too brown, remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Pour off grease from skillet and add beef or sausage, cook until pink is gone and it starts to brown, remove and drain, pour off grease as well. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté until tender.
Place beef, onion, bell pepper, beans, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, molasses, salt, and pepper in a bowl and stir to thoroughly combine. Pour in a 9x13 glass casserole dish (or similar oven proof container) and arrange bacon halves on top. Bake until bubbly and bacon is crisp (about 1 ½ to 2 hours). Allow to rest for thickening.
Buffalo Baked Shrimp
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 dashes cayenne pepper, or Sriracha sauce, more or less to taste
2 tablespoon ketchup, or chili sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact (about 18-20 count per pound are perfect)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a bowl, or gallon size baggy stir together garlic, celery seed, paprika, cayenne, ketchup salt, honey and oil. Add shrimp and toss to coat.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray a couple casserole dishes with cooking spray) and arrange shrimp in a single layer. Place in oven and roast until shrimp are opaque throughout, and thoroughly cooked (about 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.
Quick Marinated Shaker Style Chicken Thighs
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 cup good extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste, about a teaspoon of salt and fresh ground black pepper works well.
1/4 cup sweet onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, (about 8 pieces)
In a medium bowl or in a gallon size baggy mix vinegar, paprika, oil and salt, add onion, and garlic,
Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. (Or up to 3 hours)
Preheat grill to medium high.
Allowing excess marinade to drip off, place chicken on the grill. (Discard marinade) Grill the chicken, turning once, until chicken is cooked through _(internal temperature at the least should be 160 degrees)__, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Serve with buttered mashed potatoes for a great meal.
Note: Apple wood or hickory wood chips used for smokiness are great to use for this recipe. Simply soak chips in water, drain and wrap in foil, poke holes in the foil and throw on the grill, grill meat when wood chips begin to create smoke.