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July 2009 Issue
by Ronda L. Halpin
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Strike up the band and fire up the grill! It’s Old Glory’s greatest day of the year, and the barbecue’s finest hour.

Show your patriotic pride this Fourth of July by setting a spectacular stars-and-stripes-theme picnic table and serving an all-American menu that is sure to please any palate. Our barbecue bonanza includes beer-boiled, flame-kissed brats, foolproof fixings, and a gooey, campfire-classic dessert that will satisfy even the sweetest tooth at the table. And best of all, using our budget-friendly tablescape tips and our ready-in-minutes recipes, you can make a lot with a little, showing your spirit without breaking the bank.

TIP Paper punched stars add the perfect festive touch to this table. Check out your local crafts stores for an assortment of punch designs to fit every occasion. Your kids will have fun creating their own confetti.


Grilled Romaine Salad

  • 1 (12-ounce) package romaine hearts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon zesty herb marinade mix, McCormick Grill Mates®
  • 1/2 cup prepared ranch dressing, Kraft®
Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350° to 400°). Spray grill rack with nonstick nonflammable cooking spray.

Cut each romaine heart in half lengthwise.

In a small bowl, combine olive oil and herb marinade mix. Brush evenly over romaine. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until tender.

Cut each half in half lengthwise. Drizzle with ranch dressing. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: Makes about 12 servings


Grilled Zucchini

  • 5 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons garlic and herb seasoning
Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350° to 400°). Spray grill rack with nonstick nonflammable cooking spray.

Brush zucchini with olive oil. Sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until tender. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: Makes about 10 servings


Beer Brats

  • 1 (19.76-ounce) package hot Italian sausage, Johnsonville®
  • 1 (19.76-ounce) package mild Italian sausage, Johnsonville®
  • 2 (14.9-ounce) cans stout beer, Guinness®
  • 10 hot dog buns
  • Sauerkraut
  • Dijon mustard
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, combine sausages and beer. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350° to 400°). Spray grill rack with nonstick nonflammable cooking spray.

Remove sausages from pot; cut each sausage in half lengthwise, leaving halves intact just at the bottom. Grill sausages, cut side down first, for 3 minutes per side.

Place 1 sausage in each hot dog bun. Top with desired amount of sauerkraut and mustard. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: Makes 10 servings


Chocolate S’mores

  • 16 sheets graham crackers, cut in half
  • 2 (6.8-ounce) dark chocolate bars, each cut into 8 squares, Hershey’s Special Dark®
  • 2 (4-ounce) white chocolate baking bars, each cut into 8 squares
  • Homemade Marshmallows (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Arrange graham cracker squares on prepared baking sheet. Place 1 dark chocolate square on half of graham cracker squares. Place 1 white chocolate square on remaining half of graham cracker squares. Bake for 4 minutes, or until chocolate is melted. Top each white chocolate square with a Homemade Marshmallow. Top each marshmallow with a dark chocolate graham cracker square. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: Makes 16 s’mores


Homemade Marshmallows

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided, Domino®
  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 3 cups sugar, Domino®
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with wax paper. Sift 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar evenly over wax paper.

In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer, soften gelatin in 1/2 cup water. Let stand for 10 minutes.

In a large saucepan, combine remaining 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; boil for 1 minute.

Turn mixer on low. Add vanilla to gelatin mixture. Slowly add hot sugar mixture. Increase speed to high; beat for 10 minutes, or until thick. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sift evenly with remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Let stand for 3 to 4 hours. Cut into 16 squares.

  • Yields: Makes 16 marshmallows

Recipes reprinted with permission by Hoffman Media, LLC.

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