Monday, May 29, 2017

Summer Vacation Favorites

One of my families favorite holidays is Memorial Day each year.  It's a holiday in the US that honors our veterans who gave all for our country.  Being the granddaughter of a veteran makes this holiday even more special. I'm thankful for his service, of all those in the past and those serving our country now.

As we stop to commemorate this weekend and enjoyed time with our family and friends, pay tribute with a prayer, remembrance or kind thought for those still serving so that we all may be safe this holiday.  I sometimes think that only until we've seen a world outside our safe borders, do we truly understand what freedom means.

Our family this year as in those of the past, spent our time at the lake enjoying it with family and friends. We fished, swam, tubed, chair skied, dodged a few rain storms and most of all ate too much! The beauty of having three daughters is the help cooking up family favorites and the clean up afterwards.  As my husband and I began to shop for this last next weekend, it's their favorites we bought toward. With our girls getting older, we enjoyed the quality vs. quantity time we spend with them since the older two live on their own now.  Holiday weekends and summer vacations are cherished more because we get to spend time with them especially when it's at the lake.

There were lots of family favorites this weekend to cook and over the summer ahead, but top of the list will be a brisket from our the Hereford beef we raise on our ranch.  Since you do not get as many of this cut, it's one that is cooked on special occasions at our place. Try this recipe for brisket tacos with the leftovers. One of our very favorite leftover meals!

 brisket tacos

Most recently we love cooking both brisket and pork serving them as soft tacos in yellow corn tortilla's with my coleslaw with it's sweet dressing.  Cole slaw isn't just for BBQ or with fish at our house.  We love it for a light topping over our tacos.  For years I bought my coleslaw dressing until I started making my own in bulk to use over our lake weekends. This recipe is simple, delicious and light.  Sugar can be substituted for Splenda substitute and I like to add red cabbage and onion for flavor in our coleslaw and add color.  Add the dressing over the cabbage about 20 minutes before you serve your 'slaw' as we say in the south or it will become a bit soggy.  I also like to keep my coleslaw at a safe temperature by serving it in a bowl on top of a larger bowl filled with ice.

Appetizers are something we like to have on hand to eat for snacks or add to lunch or dinner.  Days at the lake or on vacation are long ones thankfully and dinner may not be until after eight most nights. So these appetizers below are served as a kind of happy hour fare that are welcomed by all the hungry kids spending the weekends with us.

Click on the pictures and links below for the recipes for our favorite appetizers.

This imitation Chuy's Sauce made with jalapeno's, buttermilk, cilantro and lime sauce is wonderful spooned over tacos too!

 Nolana's Hot Sauce

Since our garden is exploding, I love to serve fresh cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini with my Dilly Dip featured below.  When I can, we use fresh dill, but dried is just as good.  Honestly, there is nothing better and low fat than ditching the chips or crackers and using fresh veggies with this dip!

 Dilly Dip

Some of the vegetable side dishes we served were my sauteed squash and zucchini with potatoes.  My new favorite potatoes are the Butter Golden Yukon Gold Potatoes that are new to our grocery.

Butter Golden Yellow Potato (10 lb. bag)

These potatoes saute well in the skillet along side my squash when sliced 1/3 inch thin and bake super fast in my microwave.  Our favorite way to serve squash is with this recipe below.  You can cook on the stove top or in foil packets along side your meat as you grill.  Just make sure to spray your foil with Pam oil spray and add about 6 ice cubes to help place moisture in your squash as they roast.

Roasted Garden Squash and Zucchini
Just add potatoes to this recipe sliced 1/4 inch thick

For dessert the classic choice was smores over the campfire each night with our new favorite addition of Reece's Peanut Butter Cups.  Personally I like a little char on my marshmallows and peanut butter cups throws it over the top.  Sitting by the fire each night for us is a nice way to bring the day to a close and catch up with our girls.  A few weeks ago we got the surprise of watching a comet streak across the sky. That moment was really neat to share with our girls.

For these smores, just use the Reece's Peanut Butter Cups instead of Hershey's Chocolate bars, top with a marshmallows and place between two graham crackers for an over the top treat! We love, love them!  Our Audrey asked everyone this weekend if they wanted their smore rare or medium rare....personally I like mine well done! 

Ending our evening at the fire pit.  My first Pinterest pin that my husband recreated for me! 

Happy Memorial Day weekend to everyone.  Remember why we celebrate and enjoy your holiday. As we jump into summer of 2017, check back to The Ranch Kitchen for new recipes and blog post featuring summer recipes.

The Ranch Kitchen