Friday, July 11, 2008

MMC 30-Minute Menus Week of July 20

This is a continuation of our Family Reunion menus from last week. I hope you are having a great summer! I will return from the reunion Sunday, July 27.

These are the menus for week 2 of our Family Reunion. I am sending our menus out early (I will be at the beach and in the kitchen for the next two weeks and enjoying every minute of it!).

Our family loves to cook - everyone enjoys the time in the kitchen: the men like to do the 'chop-chop' of preparing the meats and vegetables; the kids fix the salads, do a lot of stirring, and set the table; and the moms fill in the gaps plus do the planning. We set out munchies and beverages for everyone so we are happy campers!

Since preparing the meal is a much fun as eating it for us, we will be doing a lot of cooking ourselves with some time out to enjoy local cuisine. We also have designated meals where one family is responsible for the meal (we do take some time for ourselves!).

We will be arriving during the afternoon and early evening of Sunday, July 13 and leaving the weekend of July 25. The families are my sister with husband, two daughters with husbands and three children; my brother with significant other and single daughter; me with husband, single daughter, and son with wife. We make quite a group. Lots of good times! Lots of good eats!

Breakfast is usually on-your-own with fruit, breads & pastries, cereals, and yogurt on hand. We will make a few special breakfasts including a breakfast casserole, sausage balls (family gathering must-have), eggs Benedict, French toast with fruit topper, several omelets and frittatas with local fare, and a brunch with shrimp & grits over the course of the two weeks.

Lunch is a combination of eating out on day trips, etc. or sandwiches and salads - pretty much grab and go. Some favorite sandwiches are tuna or chicken salad in pitas; Buffalo chicken tenders in wraps; BLTs on toasted whole wheat bread; club sandwiches on sourdough bread; PB&J, grilled cheese, and hot dogs for the kids; and Kentucky hot browns which are great to use up leftovers toward the end of the visit.

Here is our plan (and yes, the menu will go on the refrigerator door just like at home!). Over the course of the two weeks, the menus will be changed, marked out, and added to because, while it is good to have a plan, it is best if it remains flexible for spur-of-the-moment events and food finds. We will add local foods as we find them. Shopping in local markets is great fun!

We generally gather at the end of the day for appetizers and to talk about the experiences of the day. Our appetizers will be a simple mix-and-match of family favorites such as Brie, 5-layer Gloucester, Swiss, smokey Gouda, and cheddar cheeses; smoked salmon, boiled shrimp, and lump crab; slices of leftover ham, chicken, turkey, and steak; 3-layer cheese loaf, 7-layer mexican dip, guacomole, dried beef dip, and spinach-artichoke dip; with assorted vegetables, salsas, crackers, and breads.

Sunday (sister's turn to prepare dinner):
Ham (brought from home cooked and frozen, thick sliced and grilled to warm with citrus sauce) Baked Potatoes (microwave 1 minute per potato then bake for 20 minutes, bake extra for Wednesday)
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Fried Okra and Tomatoes with Spicy Mayo
Peach Yogurt Tart (cream cheese, peach yogurt, and peaches in crushed walnut and butter crust)

Crab Boil (pick remaining crabs for Thursday)
Potato Salad (canned potatoes)
Slaw (adding crushed pineapple gives a different flavor to the slaw)
Angel Food Torte (purchased angel food cake divided into four layers with instant pudding between layers and whipped cream on top garnished with strawberries)

Ham Kebobs (ham chunks, pineapple, bell pepper, sweet onion with Italian salad dressing marinade)
Long Grain and Wild Rice (boxed rice)
Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes with Pesto Dressing (jarred pesto)
Cherry Fool (cherry pie filling, frozen whipped topping, crushed nuts on top served in parfait glasses; chocolate mint cookies are delish with this!)

Wednesday (brother's turn to prepare dinner):
Grilled Steaks
Twice Baked Potatoes (baked potatoes from Sunday, grated cheese and onions)
Grilled Vegetables (avocado wedges, carrots, asparagus)
Tomatoes with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
Orange Souffle (orange sherbert, whipped cream, orange zest, with mandarin orange sections and crumbled coconut macroons on top)

Chris' Crab Cakes (picked crab from Monday with purchased lump crab if more is needed; crab cakes with bell pepper, onion, and creole spices)
Red Beans and Rice (boxed mix)
Layered Tomato and Mozarella Towers (alternating slices of tomatoes and mozarella cheese with drizzled Italian dressing with fresh basil garnish; using different colored tomatoes gives a nice touch)
Almond Blueberry Bars (sugar cookie dough, blueberry jam, white chocolate morsels, almonds)

Grilled Pizza (prepared pizza crust, jarred spaghetti sauce, vegetables of choice, grated mozarella and parmesan cheeses)
Asperagus Wrapped in Proscuitto over Bed of Lettuce (asparagus blanched and chilled)
Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream (cut peaches in half and pit but leave the skin on, brown sugar and honey in pit hole)

Saturday (last full day):
Jambalaya (to use up any leftover seafood, ham, bacon, bell pepper, onions, celery)
Watermellon, Raspberry, and Strawberry Salad (fresh fruit with ginger mayo on the side)
Cream Puffs (puff pastry with pudding filling, whipped cream on top with drizzle of chocolate)

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