Easy Summer Menu



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Tips:

  • When traveling with food, spray the lid or the foil covering with non stick cooking spray to keep things from sticking to the covering.
  • Your pizza cutter is not just for cutting pizza. Use your pizza cutter to cut lattice strips for pies or to trim the edges you need removed from things like sponge cakes or hard brownies.
  • Make your life easier. Find and use as many cooking shortcuts as you can. For example, if you cook ground beef ahead of time and keep packets of it in your freezer, your prep time for many meals will be 15 minutes or less. This works great for spaghetti, lasagna, tacos, enchiladas, casseroles, taco salads, etc.
  • If you are tired or in a hurry and a recipe calls for chopped onions or minced garlic, you don’t need to take time to chop and mince all of that. Just pull out the garlic powder or onion powder and use it for seasoning instead. Some gourmets may have a heart attack over this, but they probably haven’t been juggling a colicky baby and 2 toddlers all day, so give yourself a break. Forget the chopping if you need to.

Quick and Easy Menu:

Barbecue Taco Platter*
Fruit Plate
Fruit Dip*



Recipes:

If you double this recipe, it makes a large batch (big enough to feed a party of 20 guests or 2 teenage boys.) :) :)

Barbecue Taco Platter

1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
1/2 pkg. taco seasoning
1/4 cup water

Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes.

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1/4 cup milk

Mix and spread on a plate. Top with ground beef mixture and toppings listed below. Then drizzle with barbecue sauce. Serve with tortilla chips.

Toppings

Lettuce
Chopped green chilies
Chopped green onions
Cheese
Tomatoes

 

Here’s an even faster version of the above recipe from my mom:

Taco Platter

2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Fiesta Dressing Mix

Mix everything and spread on a platter. Serve with tortilla chips.

Toppings to add:

Refried beans
Hamburger
Lettuce
Tomatoes
Olives
Green onions
Chopped green chiles
Cheese

 
This fruit dip is a little different, but if you like hot things, you should enjoy it. If you prefer your dips cool and sweet, try the second recipe. Both recipes are quick and easy!

Spicy Fruit Dip

1 (8 oz.) jar strawberry or raspberry preserves
1 (16 oz.) jar picante sauce
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese

Mix preserves and picante sauce. Pour over softened brick of cream cheese. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.



Easy Fruit Dip

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. lemon juice

Take cream cheese out the night before so it is very soft. Whip with a mixer, add milk and lemon juice and whip together.

 

photo by: jeffreyww

Comments

  1. Mary Crabtree says

    Thanks for the tip about spraying the inside of the foil–that will help alot! Also, I am keeping you all lifted up in prayer as you get settled in your new home!

  2. susan says

    Love the receipe for easy fruit dip! I will be using this with the fresh strawberries I just got from a local farmer. strawberries are my favorite fruit. How is everything going in your new house? I know it takes a while to get settled. I hope you will love your home and your neighborhood. Has any of your neighbors came by to welcome you into the neighborhood? I just wondered if people still bring a dish by and welcome a new family. In my neck of the woods we welcome new neighbors by bringing by a dish of food and to introduce our selfs.

  3. Crystal says

    Just checking….on the fruit dip recipe….did you mean to say take the cream cheese out the night before? Wouldn’t it go bad?

  4. Pat in Kitchener says

    Barbecue Taco Platter

    1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
    1/2 pkg. taco seasoning
    1/4 cup water

    Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes.

    1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
    1/2 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
    1/4 cup milk

    Mix and spread on a plate. Top with ground beef mixture and toppings listed below. Then drizzle with barbecue sauce. Serve with tortilla chips.

    Toppings

    Lettuce
    Chopped green chilies
    Chopped green onions
    Cheese
    Tomatoes

    As you can tell this is a new to me food. So question, do you put the toppings on top when you serve, or do you put them in separate bowles to be put on by the person eating the taco ?

    • says

      Pat you just put them all on as layers. Now we have some who don’t like onions or chillies so we sometimes will put one or two things in separate bowls but you mostly just layer what you want.

  5. Kim says

    Thank you so much for your timely article and customer e-mail on dry feet! My husband, a diabetic, has been having issues with dry feet and what he has been doing has not helped. I had just purchased the Gold Bond cream with Aloe and Vitamin E last night to try on my dry hands! I love God-incidences!!!

  6. Evelyn says

    Tawra and Jill, thank you for the tasty fruit dip recipe. I tried the sweeter version and my children enjoyed it. I also have an simple alternative for dipping or blending with chopped fruit which I had forgotten about. When I was working, we would have a fruit pot-luck one day per week and we used lemon or lime yogart to top the fruit. Also, sesame seeds make a nice addition to the mix.

    Also, thank you for the article on dry feet. My teen daughter has recently come to me with that problem and I didn’t want to use harsh foot tools on her feet. I checked the pads at the 99cent store, but they only contained 1% salicylic acid in them. Also, the face toners I checked only had .05% so readers might want to check the labels before buying those cheaper products. I will take your recommendation and buy those items at Walmart. Thank again!

  7. Kathy says

    Thanks for the great ideas on cracked feet! I can’t wait to try them. CVS has a good product in a tube called Heel Balm, I think for $10.00. But your idea is way better. My manicurist (who retired) told me that using a Ped egg or anything similar, you have to go in the correct direction, like shaving your legs, and I can’t figure out which direction! Avon used to have a product with the pads and acid together, but they usually dry out too fast. So I will definitely be trying yours. Thank you!

  8. Candice says

    Thank you for the tidbit on the pizza cutter uses! It has saved me so much time! I love your site, can’t wait to try some of your recipes!

  9. Kim says

    I’m confused. Do you boil & simmer the meat w/the taco sauce or the cream cheese, milk & ranch dressing?

    • says

      Boil these 3 things together.
      1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
      1/2 pkg. taco seasoning
      1/4 cup water

      Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes.

  10. says

    I cook and season taco meat 5 pounds at a time in my large dutch oven. I then freeze in meal-sized portions and use for tacos, burritos, nachos, taco/rice casserole and bun tacos (tacos on a hamburger bun). I cook up all the meat in the early part of the day, so the kitchen doesn’t get hot. And I have easy to make meals for several days in a month. I like the taco platter idea. I’ll add that to my list of what to do with this cooked taco meat.

  11. Maggie says

    You can also put taco seasoning in the cream cheese or sour cream before you layer it on the plate. It is easy to stir into the sour cream and you can use whatever portion you need to give you the flavor you want.
    Also, here is a great fruit dip. If you ever make this, you just can’t stop eating it.

    1 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup light brown sugar
    4 teaspoons Grand Marnier liqueur – (I use orange juice concentrate instead of Grand Marnier and the flavor is the same)

    Whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl until sugar is dissolved. Chill for an hour, then stir once before serving.
    This tastes awesome and is easy to prepare. Most of the time, you will have the ingredients at home.

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