Weekend Fare: 4th of July!

The 4th of July just seems to be the essence of summer. Cooking out, eating fresh foods, enjoying ice cream, and dining outdoors are just a few of the wonderful parts of this season! Today I’m sharing three recipes that will be great for your weekend bbq: baby back ribs, baked beans, and a summer cocktail.

A friend of ours makes the most amazing ribs ever. He told me the secret to them is slowly baking them first. I don’t make them often but I always follow his advice!

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1 rack of baby back pork ribs
salt & pepper
olive oil
bbq sauce of choice (homemade or bottled – I used a fabulous local honey bbq sauce)

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. Drizzle olive oil on ribs and season with salt and pepper. Bake pork in a disposable aluminum pan or a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until tender.

Prepare grill. Liberally brush the ribs with bbq sauce and put on the grill. Brush with bbq sauce every 5-6 minutes. Cook ribs for 30-45 minutes until charred and very tender. Enjoy!

Side note – the company (Local Folks Foods) makes amazing bbq sauce and ketchup with local, fresh ingredients! We love them!


These are vegetarian baked beans but they would be quite awesome with bacon, too.

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2 cans cannelini (white) beans
1/2 c. red onion, diced
1/2 c. bbq sauce
1/4 c. ketchup
2 Tb. prepared mustard
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 Tb. lemon juice
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes until sauce is thickened.

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coarse salt
1/4 c. vodka
1/4 c. fresh squeezed key lime juice
1/4 c. fruit juice or nectar (I used strawberry nectar)
key lime carbonated water

Dip rim of a tall glass in vodka and then coarse salt. Fill glass with ice. Pour in vodka, lime juice, and fruit juice. Add carbonated water to top of glass. Stir if desired. Makes 1 cocktail.

Weekend Fare: Grilled Sandwiches

It’s impossible to describe just how much I love grilled sandwiches and paninis. Let’s just say, I can get pretty excited about a good sandwich. I don’t have a panini press so I order them out sometimes. And for us, the sky is the limit when we are grilling sandwiches. So today, I’m going to give you some ideas that hopefully you can take off with to make your own perfect sandwich. Grilled sandwiches are great for on-the-go weekends or for enjoying with a bowl of soup and company.

All sandwiches start the same – two pieces of bread buttered (or drizzled with oil) on the outside. The kind of bread is totally up to you.

Some Favorites:
Rye or Pumpernickel
Whole wheat
Raisin Cinnamon

Then add some kind of spread to the inside of the bread.

Some Ideas:
Mustard – brown, spicy, dijon, yellow, champagne – there are so many varieties!
Mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip if you are so inclined – we are not :))
Peanut Butter
Honey Mustard (I make my own by combining dijon, mayo, and honey)
BBQ Sauce
Cranberry Sauce or a Chutney
Olive oil
Flavored Mayonnaise (I like to add Balsamic Vinegar)

Next, choose a protein (or two or three).

A Few Ideas:
Peanut Butter (yes, I’m listing it twice – my kids love it!)

Then add toppings. You can add however many you want, in whatever order you want, and at any time (before or after grilling).

Some Many Ideas:
Pear (thinly sliced)
Apple (thinly sliced)
Carmalized Onions (or raw – I like red onions)
Peppers (any color – grilled or raw)
Fresh Herbs
Spring Mix

I must note that I think most (though definitely not all!) good sandwiches include cheese. So I will list a few that I think are especially excellent on grilled sandwiches but again – choose your favorite!

Cheese (probably my favorite food ever):
Provolone (smoked or otherwise)
Fresh Mozzarella
Sharp (or even extra sharp!) Cheddar

Choose the ingredients, build your sandwich, and grill it over medium heat (turning once) until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden on each side. Cut in half (or not – I like mine cut diagonally) and enjoy. My kids really like grilled pb & j or pb & honey with bananas. I like pretty much any kind as long as it has cheese.

Yum. Now I want a sandwich!