Monday, April 25, 2011

Summertime Dinner After a VERY Busy Workweek

For the last few weekends, we’ve been having company over for an informal grilled dinner on Friday evening. This past weekend was no exception. We had some friends over for a rotisserie chicken dinner. There is just something totally wonderful about sitting outside with friends, eating “summer food” and listening to the waterfall and fountains in the pool—after an extremely busy and often very stressful workweek. The worries and pressures of the week just slip away! That’s especially true if you open up a bottle of wine for your guests while you veg-out in front of the grill while the chicken’s cooking!

Besides chicken, we served up a fresh garden salad (using the head and purple leaf lettuce and spinach from our garden), seasoned and cubed baby red potatoes in the oven, spiced corn on the cob cooked on the grill, and you guessed it...a strawberry dessert (because yes, we’re still picking strawberries from our garden!). So we had homemade strawberry shortcake, homemade vanilla ice cream and freshly-whipped cream for dessert.

We’ve served up this menu (with a different dessert) three weekends in a row now (to different people every time). Our guests always tell us they like it, and somehow we never get tired of this meal either. Here are the recipes for the meal:


1 T. paprika
1 T. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 T. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 T. oregano
1 T. thyme

Mix all the ingredients together and rub on a large (4-5 pound) roasting chicken—inside and out. Put chicken on chicken on rotisserie rack, and tie legs together. Cook 1 ½ hours over medium heat. For extra flavor (and calories—but who’s counting calories?!!) inject chicken with melted butter. To keep the chicken moist, put a shallow baking pan of water at the bottom of the grill during cooking.


6 ears sweetcorn, husked and rinsed
3 T. butter, softened
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper

Rub butter over each ear of corn. Mix the last five ingredients together, and rub this spice mixture over each ear of corn. Wrap in aluminum foil and place corn on grill, about 4-5 inches from heat source. Grill, turning once, about 10-15 minutes.


4 pounds baby red potatoes, washed and cubed
½ cup olive oil
2 (1 ounce) envelopes dry onion soup and dip mix

Coat potato cubes with olive oil in 10 by 13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle potatoes with onion soup mix, and stir to evenly coat. Bake about 45 minutes in 375 degree oven, stirring occasionally.


Spongecake shortcake:

7 egg yolks
10 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup unbleached white flour, sifted
¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour the cavities of a bundt pan or 3 6-cavity (1/2 cup each) shortcake pans. In large bowl, beat the egg yolks, vanilla and 1 cup of the powdered sugar until thickened; set aside. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until mixture forms soft peaks. Add the remaining ½ cup powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently stir egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture. Then sprinkle flour and salt on top. Carefully fold mixture together until blended. Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake about an hour for a bundt cake; about 20-30 minutes for individual shortcakes. When done, cake should be slightly golden around edges, and a toothpick inserted into center will come out clean.

Top shortcakes with a spoonful of sliced and sugared fresh strawberries, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, more strawberries, and a dollop of whipped cream. Yum!

This is a relatively easy meal to prepare….yet is oh so tasty. No matter how often we make it, we always seem to enjoy it. There’s nothing like summertime food on the weekends!

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