Friday, June 24, 2011

Grilling Desired, Family Inspired

Can you smell that?  You know that it's summer when you catch the fragrance of charcoal grills and burgers in the air.  It's a scent that is associated with relaxing and enjoying warm weather. 

Over the Father's Day weekend, I took a trip back to my home town of Milwaukee to visit and get some much needed family time.  I was even more excited to do one of my most favorite activities.... cook with my Mom. 

We started planning the menu only a couple days before the "Father's Day Party" at my parents house.  I was craving something grilled but wanted anything other than the typical burger or brat.  We decided to make vegetable skewers, BBQ chicken and salads for the sides.

Here are a few recipes that would be great for a 4th of July party.  It's quick, easy and probably more "figure-friendly" than burgers.  We hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we did.

Mara and Denni's Sweet Broccoli Slaw
- 2 packages of broccoli slaw, rinsed and drained (usually found by the pre-packaged lettuce)
- 1 cup of dried cranberries
- 1 cup of scallions, sliced
- 1/2 cup of sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/2 TBSP celery seed
- 1/2 cup EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper

In a separate bowl... whisk the sugar, EVOO and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing and almonds over the broccoli slaw right before serving (otherwise you will have a soggy slaw).  In a large serving bowl, mix the broccoli slaw, cranberries, scallions and celery seed.  Serve and enjoy.

Balsamic BBQ Chicken Skewer (courtesy of Cuisine At Home)
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar (regular... not aged)
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 2 TBSP Dijon mustard (not yellow.. trust me on this one)
- Salt and pepper

It has been a while since I've followed a full recipe, but this one looked too good to change.  I found the recipe for "Balsamic Sauce" in the Cuisine At Home magazine - "Cuisine Tonight: Grilling".  It will impress the heck out of your guests.  Plus, you're allowed bragging rights to say, "I made the BBQ sauce myself". 

It was very easy.  Mix the ingredients together and stir.  Brush the chicken after it has grilled about 10 or 15 minutes and is no longer raw.  If you put the chicken on a skewer... be sure to leave space between the chunks of chicken so that they grill evenly.

My sister, Megan, helped to skewer the chicken.
She was a good helper.

We also made vegetable skewers; which included red onion, zucchini, green and red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, mini Yukon gold potatoes, and mushrooms.  My Mom suggests brushing a mixture of balsamic vinegar and olive oil on to the vegetables after they have been grilled.  Delicious!

On the side, we served a bean and veggie salad made by my aunt.  I also found an amazing loaf of cheese bread at the bakery in Wal-Mart.  We all loved it, so it's highly recommended. 

Mom and I grilling together on Father's Day.

It was a fantastic day filled with quality family time and delicious summer food from the grill.  I hope that these recipes will be included in your summer memories too.  Have a great weekend, readers.

We could all use a hint of more time.
Copyright 2011 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

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