Sometimes it's easy to get stuck in a rut, and cook the same things over and over. Mom's meatloaf and grandma's cabbage rolls are great standbys, but every now and again, it's fun to shake things up. Here, we'll look at some great summertime recipes that I have made myself, and I can personally vouch for their easy prep and deliciousness. Wow your family and friends by dropping something new in the mix, and I bet they'll all be asking you for the recipes!
Easy Appetizer - Crock Pot Sausage and Cheese Dip
Four ingredients - sweet maple sausage, savory ranch dressing, sour cream and cheese - a killer combination! The original recipe tells you to put this cheesy dip into little phyllo dough cups, but I failed miserably with the phyllo dough, so I popped the dip into a crock pot, and served it with tortilla chips. My brothers ask me to bring this dip to every single family get together. See the full recipe here.
Personal Tip - I sometimes have trouble finding maple flavored ground sausage, so in a pinch, I will drizzle maple syrup over the regular sausage as I'm browning it in a sauté pan, and the result is just the same.
Hearty Side Dish - Tortellini Pasta Salad
This is a great alternative to traditional macaroni salad, because it doesn't have mayonnaise, and can be set out for a few hours without worrying about keeping it chilled. I like to add green peppers, carrots, and raw red onion to this salad, for some freshness and color. See the full recipe here.
Personal Tip - Cook the green onions, or skip them entirely. Raw and undercooked green onions in the past have been associated with some food-bourne illnesses, so I skip them, but if you want to use them, give them a thorough sauté to keep your guests healthy!
Main Course - Red Wine Vinaigrette Marinated Chicken
If you want to serve something other than burgers and hot dogs, or just want to add another protein for variety, this chicken is juicy and acidic, with a hint of sweetness, and is so easy to make. There's not even a recipe, because it's that simple. Marinate chicken breasts overnight in a bottle of red wine vinaigrette dressing, and then toss them on the grill!
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