Culinary Sleuth

by Lynn Kerrigan


12 Summertime Shortcuts
and Culinary Tips


Summer is synonymous with outdoor festivities and friendly gatherings and no one wants to be stuck in a hot kitchen when the sun and nature beckon. Here are twelve tips for enjoying this season's bounty of leisure without sacrificing taste.

1. Take a shortcut to coleslaw

If you're hosting a cookout for friends and family try this shortcut coleslaw.

Shortcut Bacon Coleslaw

Makes 10 servings

3/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
8-ounce package of shredded coleslaw blend (red and green cabbage)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 ounce can of real bacon bits

Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Refrigerate.

2. Make quick and easy Turkey-Onion Burgers

Another shortcut cooking method for preparing onion burgers uses onion soup mix.

Quickest Turkey-Onion Burgers

Summertime Shortcuts

Combine 1-1/4 lbs. ground turkey with one package onion soup mix. Shape into 4 patties. Grill.
Optional: Top with grilled onion slices and your favorite cheese.

3. Keep your potato salad snowy white

When boiling potatoes for salad, add a teaspoon or two of lemon juice to the cooking water to keep them white after cooking.

4. Cook the best grilled corn

Gently pull back husks from corn and remove the silken strands. Close the husks and tie at top with metal twist tie or wire. Soak corn in cold water for 15 minutes to prevent the husks from burning while cooking. Grill for 15 to 30 minutes depending on size. Slather with butter and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

5. Play it safe, Part 1

Research has shown that some ground beef patties look done at internal temperatures as low as 135 degrees—not high enough to kill all bacteria. Burgers must be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees to ensure that they're safe to eat. Buy and use a food thermometer. It's the only way to know if the temperature is right to bite.

6. Play it safe, Part 2

Keep picnic foods in a cooler packed with ice or frozen gel packs. Place the cooler in the shade. Do not keep foods out for longer than an hour.

7. Cool the kids with snow cones

Place 1 cup sugar and one envelope of unsweetened drink mix in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup water to dissolve. Place 1 cup finely crushed ice in a plastic dessert cup or wide-mouth drinking cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the drink mixture over the ice. Give kids a spoon to dig in. Makes 8 snow cones.

8. Shortest Short Cake

If you're camping or on a picnic, there's no need to forgo a splendid dessert like strawberry shortcake. Here's a real shortcut recipe.

Shortest Short Cake

Makes 7 servings.

1 package (12 ounces) pound cake cut into 14 slices
3 cups strawberries, sliced
8 ounces whipped topping

Place 7 pound cake slices on individual plates. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the strawberries over each slice. Sprinkle sugar over strawberries. Top each with 1/4-cup whipped topping. Repeat layers, ending with a dollop of whipped topping. Serve immediately.

9. Use the cook once, eat twice method

Make extra chicken, meat and vegetables when grilling and the next night use the leftovers for a meal of salad or sandwiches. Tossing leftover cooked pasta, grilled meat and vegetables with bottled salad dressing makes an easy, delicious meal.

10. Dive into packet cooking

Wrap sliced peeled carrots, potatoes, onions, a hamburger patty and a smidgen of barbecue sauce with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Seal and cook over coals about 12 minutes on each side. (Use a thermometer to test doneness of the meat.)

11. For an unusual summertime appetizer, try grilled cheese

Coat chunks of hard cheeses, like sharp cheddar and provolone with olive oil and oregano, then grill briefly to sear the outside without melting the inside. Fabulous served with fresh fruit!

12. Make yummy Hamburger Cookies

Here's a quick, cute treat for the kids. Place a chilled, round chocolate covered mint (the burger) between two vanilla wafers (the bun). Squeeze yellow and red icing from tubes atop the mint for the mustard and ketchup.


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This page created July 2000


Copyright © 1998-2001, Lynn Kerrigan. No portion of this article may be reproduced for publication without express, written permission of the author.


This page modified February 2007