Beach Food Recipes - JUNE/JULY 2016

  • September 09, 2020
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When friends called to invite me and my husband to join them at their beach house at Grayton Beach, Florida, I didn't have to think about it. I was packing before I ended the phone call. Two other couples would also be joining us and I was ready for some fun in the sun. I dug out my swimsuits, beach towels, beach chairs and umbrella. I stuffed some shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops into my bag and ordered my husband to do the same. Our hosts did ask us to bring food and I'm always at the ready when it comes to packing foodstuffs for a week at the beach. I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but at the same time fast food doesn’t appeal to me either, so I always have a plan. I try to eliminate too many trips to the supermarket and too much time getting meals together. Most of my repertoire includes casseroles or one-pot dishes, which I can prepare ahead of time, freeze, then pack them in ice chests. Then when mealtime rolls around, all we have to do is throw together a salad of mixed greens or fresh fruit, heat up a French bread and chow down. Desserts can be as simple as ice-cold watermelons, popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, store-bought cookies, or pound cake topped with fresh berries. Voila! Here are a few suggestions that have always been popular with our family and friends.

SPAGHETTI SUPREME

Makes 12 servings 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 pounds lean ground beef 2 cups chopped onions 1 cup chopped bell peppers 1 cup chopped celery 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste 2 (1-pound) cans whole tomatoes, mashed with can liquid 2 (7-ounce) cans sliced mushrooms with can liquid 1/3 cup dry red wine Salt and cayenne to taste 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves 1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked and drained 1/2 pound grated Cheddar cheese 1/2 pound grated American cheese 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring often, until all pink disappears. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery and garlic and cook, stirring often, until they are very soft, about six to eight minutes. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomatoes, mushrooms, and red wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Season to taste with salt and cayenne. Add the oregano and basil. Simmer, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally. To assemble, lay about one-third of the pasta on the bottom of a large casserole dish. Spread one-third of the tomato evenly over the pasta. Then sprinkle with one-third of the Cheddar, American and Parmesan. Repeat the process until all of the pasta, sauce and cheese is used. The casserole can be frozen at this point. When ready to serve, thaw the casserole. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and hot throughout. This next recipe is a south Louisiana version of goulash. It’s similar to the previous recipe, but no one seems to tire of this kind of food on vacation trips. Do what I do. Serve the spaghetti recipe early in the week and the goulash at the end of it. I guarantee no one will complain. Oh, by the way, this recipe makes enough to serve about 20. You can freeze the goulash in two casseroles (one to take with you and one to use another time), or simply cut the recipe in half. You can also pack the mixture into quart-size freezer containers to make it easier to stash in the ice chests.

MY FRIEND MIL’S GOULASH

Makes about 20 servings 5 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 1/2 pounds lean ground pork 2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef 3 cups chopped onions 2 cups chopped bell peppers 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves 1/2 cup chopped green onions 3 (10 3/4-ounce) cans tomato soup, undiluted 1 (10-ounce) can Ro-tel tomatoes 2 (7-ounce) cans sliced mushrooms, with can liquid Salt and cayenne 1 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed 2 1/2 (14-ounce) packages (#4) spaghetti, broken into 3 to 4 inch pieces (cooked and drained) Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven medium heat. Add the pork and beef and cook until all pink has disappeared. Drain off any excess fat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, parsley and green onions. Cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, or until very soft. Add the tomato soup, the tomatoes, and the mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and cayenne. Cook, uncovered, for one hour. Stir in the cheese and cook until it has completely melted. Add the spaghetti and mix well. Pour into casserole dishes. The goulash can be frozen at this point. When ready to serve, thaw and bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven until bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes. If you like Mex-Tex food, try this casserole. Accompany it with avocado slices drizzled with a little olive oil and fresh lime juice and seasoned with a dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

MEXI-CHICKEN CASSEROLE

Makes about 8 servings 1 1/2 cups chopped onions 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped 2 cups cooked chopped chicken 1/2 cup chicken broth 2 teaspoon chili powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon dried oregano Pinch or two of cayenne (to taste) 6 corn tortillas, cut into fourths 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese Cook the onions in the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for about five minutes, or until tender. Add the tomatoes, chicken, broth, chili powder, salt, ground cumin, oregano and cayenne. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Layer half of the chicken mixture in the bottom of a lightly oiled baking dish. Then layer half of the tortillas and cheese over the chicken mixture. Make another layer of chicken and another of the tortillas. The casserole can be frozen at this point. When ready to serve, thaw and bake, covered, in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake an additional five minutes.

Here’s a couple more ideas that friends have given me:

Make ahead two or three meat loafs (use your favorite recipe), bake and freeze. Pack them up in the ice chest and at your destination, thaw, and slice. They’re ideal for making sandwiches and po-boys for lunch. Too, you can always pick up a couple of bags of pre-packed salad greens. At the same time, purchase some sliced Swiss and Cheddar cheese, sliced ham and turkey. Then everyone can make their own chef’s salad. Now, my piece de resistance, usually saved for the last night of this last fling, is to cook steaks-- -big filets or rib-eyes. Broil them in the oven if a grill is not available. Accompany them with baked potatoes and a tossed green salad.

summer recipes , marcelle bienvenu

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