Summer is full of holidays, birthdays and get-togethers. While the weather is warm many opt to grill out or barbecue. When the coals are hot and the crowds are large, the temptation is there to throw a little bit more of everything on the grill!
Since eyes really are bigger than the stomach, there is usually an abundance of leftovers. They are too delicious and costly to throw them out. And no one wants repetitive meals back to back. So, what can you do to change it up while still enjoying those leftovers? We've got the answers.
Set Up a Tasty Taco Bar
Crumble the leftover hamburgers into a large bowl or dish and warm before serving. Line up bowls and fill each with leftovers for toppings. These will definitely be toppings with a twist, making this meal different than your everyday taco. A taco shell filled with grilled ground beef, baked beans, slaw, onions and tomatoes will make a meal to remember. Pick up a carton of sour cream to top things off. Make the leftover corn on the cob into Mexican street corn by sprinkling them with some cumin, cilantro, and cheese. Just add some butter at the end and enjoy!
Keep it Cool With a Salad
After filling up on cheeseburgers and heavy side dishes, you might want to go lighter the next night. Using the leftover hamburger toppings of lettuce, tomato, onions, fresh spinach and such, you can make a salad! The possibilities here are endless. Mix all the veggies then sprinkle with chopped hamburger meat, sliced hotdogs and a few spoons full of baked beans. You might even be surprised how good barbecue sauce is as a salad dressing!
Take Your Lunch to Work
If you are headed back to work soon after your barbecue, take some for lunch! Pack some soft tortillas and your favorite leftovers in separate baggies. When lunchtime comes simply roll them up and you have a delicious wrap! Don't forget to add your favorite condiments.
If you are at work, school or simply busy all day and need a quick dinner, throw some of everything into a crockpot. When you return home, you’ll have a hearty soup ready and waiting. Add some chicken broth to the mix to reach your desired consistency. If you want to add more veggies or really just about anything, go for it! When making soup, the more ingredients the better and it is almost impossible to go wrong. Another win with this idea is that you can freeze it. When the crisp fall evenings arrive, with the help of a microwave, you can quickly have a warm, cozy meal in minutes.
Bring in the Bell Peppers
When I think of summer I think of peppers. Probably because everyone in my family grew them. Basic stuffed peppers can be a little bit bland but not when you fill them up with leftovers from a summer cookout!
Slice large bell peppers in half. Remove the seeds and other internal parts. Drop them in boiling water just long enough for them to lose their crispness. Drain well. In a large bowl mix your leftover hamburger meat; crumbled, chopped hotdogs, onions, baked beans…whatever sounds good. Stuff your peppers with this mixture and securely arrange them in a baking dish, making sure they won’t turn over. Bake at 350°, covered for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with a zig-zag of ketchup. Add some sliced, buttered French bread and you’ll have another incredible summer meal.
If you’re not feeling a meal where traditional meets barbecue, you can do what those in New England do…have a breakfast of baked beans and eggs! Here’s the recipe:
1 tsp olive or cooking oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cups of baked beans
1/3 cup shredded cheese, optional
Chopped scallions or crumbled bacon for garnish
Lightly oil or spray a large pot. Sauté onion in oil until softened. Add baked beans and mix well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until beans are heated through and bubbling.
Make several indentations in beans and gently slide eggs onto the beans. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. When eggs are cooked halfway sprinkle on cheese. Cover and cook until eggs are done the way you like them.
Serve beans with eggs over toast or English muffins.
Cows and Pigs in the Garden
We started with a taco bar so let’s end with a potato bar.
Same concept, but this time instead of taco shells have a row of hot baked
potatoes waiting. It’s sort of like the burgers, hot dogs and smoked pork
wandered into a potato patch and vegetable garden. Add some butter and sour
cream to the topping lineup and you’ll have another quick, easy and extremely
filling summer meal ready to go!
However you decide to mix or serve it, summer barbecues and
all the sides that go with them deserve to be at your table as often as