Burgers, ‘bobs, brownies and brews: It must be summer

Published 12:18 pm Monday, June 19, 2023

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Burgers, ‘Bobs, Brownies, and Brews.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

We’re in the throes of summer, so take your cooking outdoors where the only thing fired up is a grill.

If I had to choose a favorite, grilled meal – it would be a simple, charbroiled beef patty with all the fixings and delicious, accompanying side dishes. While premium beef burgers are a welcome addition to any patio party, grilled kabobs offer a different presentation. The kabob makes a colorful statement on a plate with alternating tastes of assorted veggies. And for the more waist-conscious folks – it comes sans bun.

There’s a difference between a shish kabob and a shish kebab. The word shish kebab comes from the signature Turkish meal and means “sis kebap” which translates to “skewer” and “roasted meat.”  The two dishes are similar but there’s one main difference. A Shish kabob is made with cubes of meat and veggies threaded onto skewers while kebab meats are shaped into meatballs or patties and then grilled.

Skewered meats and backyard kebobs became all the rage after well-traveled international tourists brought the idea back to the States.  While traditionally made with lamb and pork, kebab style using beef and chicken is now more popular with alternating chunks of tomato, onion, peppers, and other vegetables.

There are lots of tasty desserts for a delicious finale to your grilled meal. My favorite would have to be a frosted, decadent, brownie made with cocoa – giving each bite a richer and deeper taste of chocolate. But in keeping with a simple menu, any of your pick-up desserts – like brownies and bars – will fit in nicely with an easy, outdoor entertaining theme. Any sweet cake, bread, or bar made with garden veggies such as carrots and zucchini would be a tasty choice, as well.

When it comes to beverages – you can’t beat good ol’ Southern tea. I’m always on the lookout for new brews – those thirst-quenching tea punches. I love concoctions that begin with a fresh pot of hot brewed tea. Just add your favorite spices and fruits, chill, and serve over ice.

Life’s great when things go our way – when we get to choose our favorite foods to eat and things to do. However, living doesn’t feel quite as good when life dishes out what we don’t want.  So, reluctantly, we take what’s offered. We feel forced to accept what we didn’t choose – that which didn’t make our list of favorites.

But it’s reassuring to know that God works “all things” for our good. We are wise not to focus on what makes us happy but rather, on how we fulfill God’s purpose.

Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)

So even when life doesn’t go our way and we’re unable to have all we want from this life – know that God has a better plan for us.  We’ve been called by the Holy Spirit within to receive Christ. And those who receive through the Spirit are predestined to be conformed to the likeness of the Son of God. Keeping our eyes focused on heaven – let’s continue to honor and serve God.  And by doing so, we will learn to let go of our desires, wants, and favorites – without resentment.

God has chosen you – and He is for you. If God had a list of favorites, we’d be right at the top!

STUFFED HERB BURGERS

2 Tbsp. salted butter

¼ cup finely chopped green onions

¼ cup diced green peppers

¼ cup toasted, chopped almonds

1 ¼ cup herb-seasoned stuffing

1/3 cup beef broth

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

3 lbs. ground beef

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a skillet, melt butter. Add green onions, green peppers, and toasted almonds. Cook for 5-6 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the butter/vegetable mixture with stuffing. Mix well. Add broth and lemon juice and mix well. In another bowl, place beef and season with salt and pepper. Form beef into 16 patties. Top half the patties with ¼ cup of stuffing per patty. Cover each with another patty, and pinch edges together to seal. Grill on both sides for 12 minutes or until meat is desired doneness. You can cook burgers in a preheated 350-degree oven for 8 minutes before finishing on the grill.

ANGELA’S ALOHA SURPRISE BURGERS

1 lb. ground beef

Salt and pepper to taste

4 fresh pineapple slices

¼ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup catsup

4 tsp. mustard

Shape beef into 8 thin patties, and season with salt and pepper. Place a pineapple slice on 4 patties. Top with remaining patties and press edges together to seal. In a bowl, combine brown sugar, catsup, and mustard, and set aside. Broil patties until brown. Turn patties and top with brown sugar mixture. Broil for 5 minutes longer or to desired doneness.

BACON WRAPPED BURGERS

1 ½ lbs. ground beef

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

½ cup shredded Swiss cheese

4 oz. drained sliced mushrooms

4 slices bacon

In a bowl combine ground beef with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Shape into 8 patties. In the center of 4 patties, place cheese, and mushrooms. Top with remaining patties and press around edges to seal. Wrap each patty with bacon, and secure with toothpick. Grill for 14 minutes or desired degree of doneness.

FRENCH BREAD BURGER

2 lbs. lean ground round

8 oz. crushed pineapple

1/3 cup chopped fresh green onions

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 loaf French bread

3 Tbsp. melted, salted butter

Salt to taste

1 ring-sliced green pepper

1 sliced tomato

In a bowl, combine ground beef, pineapple, green onions, soy sauce, and garlic powder. Shape the meat to the size and shape of the French bread loaf. Grill the ground beef loaf on medium for 10 minutes and then turn over. Grill for 10 minutes longer or until desired level of doneness. Slice the bread loaf into halves, lengthwise. Brush the cut sides with melted butter. Place buttered sides down on grill and heat until golden and crispy. Place ground beef loaf on bottom half of bread. Season to taste. Top with green pepper, and tomato slices. Top with remaining portion of bread. Cut into serving portions.

STEAK SHISH KABOBS

½ cup catsup

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. steak sauce

2 Tbsp. vinegar

¼ cup water

2 Tbsp. melted shortening

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 ½ lb. cut premium beef steak

8 lg. onion wedges

8 lg. pieces green pepper

8 cherry tomatoes

8 mushrooms

8 fresh pineapple chunks

In a saucepan, combine, catsup, salt, sugar, steak sauce, vinegar, water, shortening, and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil. Place cut steak cubes in a bowl and pour sauce over meat. Marinate in refrigerator overnight. Drain well and reserve marinade. Thread steak onto skewers while alternating with vegetables and pineapple Grill over coals until the desired level of doneness while basting with reserved sauce.

TERIYAKI MARINADE FOR KABOBS

½ cup soy sauce

½ cup light brown sugar

2 crushed cloves garlic

1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. sherry

3 lb. cubed premium steak

In a bowl, combine soy, sugar, garlic, ginger, oil, and sherry. Mix well. Place beef in a shallow dish. Pour marinade over beef. Marinate in refrigerator overnight, occasionally turning. Grill until done to taste. Marinade is good for chicken and pork, as well.

KOREAN STEAK SKEWERS

1 lb. ½-inch cut premium steak

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup sugar

2 Tbsp. red wine

2 finely chopped green onions

2 crushed cloves garlic

½ tsp. instant chicken bouillon

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Cut beef across grain into ½-inch slices. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, sugar, wine, green onions, garlic, bouillon, and pepper. Mix well. Add beef pieces and oil and mix well. Marinate in refrigerator overnight. Thread beef loosely onto skewers. Grill until brown on all sides. Add to the skewer your favorite cut vegetables or small whole vegetables while alternating with beef pieces, if desired.

STEAK STRIPS EN BROCHETTE

2 lbs. ½-inch cut premium steak

1 cup Russian salad dressing

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

15 medium fresh mushrooms

15 cherry tomatoes

Cut steak into ½-inch thick strips and place in plastic bag. In a bowl, combine salad dressing and fresh lemon juice. Mix well. Pour into the bag with the steak. Pressing out any extra air, seal bag securely. Marinate overnight in refrigerator. Drain and reserve marinade. Thread beef strips alternating with mushrooms and tomatoes onto skewers. Grill for 3 minutes while occasionally brushing with marinade. Grill for additional 4-5 minutes or desired level of doneness while continuing to brush with marinade.

FRESH ‘MATER AND MAC SALAD

2 cups uncooked shell pasta

6 chopped hard-boiled eggs

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 chopped fresh tomatoes

1 cup mayo-style salad dressing

½ cup French salad dressing

3 Tbsp. sugar

Cook pasta according to pkg. directions and drain well. Cool. In a bowl, combine pasta with chopped eggs, shredded cheese, and chopped tomatoes. In a bowl, combine salad dressings and sugar. Gently fold dressing mixture into the pasta mixture. Mix well. Chill until serving time. You can add green peas, colored peppers, or other veggies, if you prefer.

CHOPPED GARDEN SALAD

1 chopped bunch broccoli

1 chopped head cauliflower

1 chopped med. red onion

1 chopped lg. green pepper

1 chopped bunch green onions

1 chopped med. pkg. radishes

¼ chopped head red cabbage

¾ cup premium mayonnaise

1/3 cup wine vinegar

1/3 cup Wesson vegetable/olive oil

¼ cup sugar

Coarsely chop all vegetables and place in a large bowl.  In another bowl, blend mayonnaise, vinegar, oil, and sugar. Gently fold mayo mixture into the vegetable mixture. Mix well. Chill for 2 hours before serving.

COCOA COLA BROWNIES

1 cup cola soda

½ cup buttermilk

1 cup softened, salted butter

1 ¾ cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup Hershey’s cocoa

1 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ cup miniature marshmallows

Cola Frosting

½ cup softened salted butter

1/3 cup cola soda

3 Tbsp. Hershey’s cocoa

16 oz. powdered sugar

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

¾ cup toasted, chopped pecans

For the cake in a bowl combine Cola and buttermilk and set aside. In a mixer bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Beat in sugar and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition, and the vanilla. Mix well. Beat in flour, cocoa, and baking soda to the butter mixture while alternating with the buttermilk/cola mixture that was set aside. Mix well. Gently stir in marshmallows until mixed well. Bake in a greased and floured 13 x 9 baking pan in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30-35 minutes. For the frosting, in a saucepan, melt butter. Add soda and cocoa and bring to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat, and whisk in sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Evenly pour Cola frosting over warm cake and garnish with toasted, chopped nuts.

MINTED TEA BREW

7 tea bags

12 sprigs of fresh mint

3 peeled rinds of fresh lemon

8 cups boiling water

7 juiced lemons or oranges

2 cups sugar

8 cups cold water

In a large pot, steep tea bags, mint, and rinds of 3 lemons in boiling water for 12 minutes. Discard solids. Add juice and sugar and stir until dissolved. Stain into a large pitcher. Add cold water. Makes 1 gallon of tea.

BERRY & CITRUS ICED TEA BREW

2 family-sized tea bags

1 tsp. whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

1-quart boiling water

2 cups sugar

2 quarts water

1 cup fresh orange juice

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

2 cups cranberry juice cocktail

Steep tea bags, whole cloves, and cinnamon sticks in 1 quart of boiling water for 5 minutes, covered. Strain mixture through a strainer and into a large pitcher. Discard solids. Stir sugar into tea until dissolved. Then add orange juice, lemon juice, cranberry juice, and water. Mix well and serve over ice. Makes 4 quarts.