The summer of 2016 has been one of the hottest and dryest that I can recall. Our grass is brown, we have trees dying, and our yard already resembles autumn with the yellow and falling leaves. We, most likely, have several more weeks of hot weather, but I am over summer already!
Labor Day is going to be the unofficial end of summer for me, and I’m going to send it off with a bang! I will be with family this year cooking up all of our favorite summertime foods. Hamburgers and hot dogs, brown sugar baked beans, potato salad, homemade ice cream and my cousins fabulous Twisted Slaw!
My cousin, Regina, has a delicious slaw recipe. It is similar to the slaw I have made for years. However, the addition of bell pepper, chives, and green onions definitely takes her slaw over the top with the fresh flavor. It’s delicious alone or on top of a burger or hot dog!
If you are looking for a short-cut, use the pre-shredded cabbage. Regina says that she does this often when feeding her big family. Prepare several hours before serving and store in the refrigerator. Oh, and don’t forget to have a few extra copies of this recipe handy at the cookout because it’s sure to be a hit!
- 2 heads cabbage, chopped
- 1 lg. carrot, chopped
- ¼ c. chopped chives
- 3 green onions, chopped
- ½ c. chopped bell pepper
- ⅛ c. sugar
- 1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. seasoning salt
- 1 tbsp. white vinegar
- 1½ c. mayonnaise
- Mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, seasoning salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the bell pepper, green onions, chives, carrot, and cabbage and toss to coat the vegetables.
- Chill at least one hour before serving. Several hours makes it even better.
After mixing the slaw taste for sugar. It the slaw has a bitter taste add a bit more sugar.
Sometimes the only thing that will satisfy the stomach and the soul is comfort food. There’s just something about creamy mac and cheese, delicious chicken and dumplings, melty chocolate chip cookies, or this ultimate homemade tomato soup with over-the-top grilled cheese sandwiches. This combination has always been a favorite of mine. It’s like a warm hug and especially good when the weather turns cool.
I start my tomato soup as I do marinara sauce, with onions, garlic, carrots and celery. After adding tomatoes and simmering for a while, I then blend it until smooth and add a can of diced tomatoes so that I will have a small chunks of tomato scattered throughout the soup. The name of this grilled cheese could not be more fitting. It is over-the-top good! However, you can change it up to your liking. I usually start with good bread then I add a creamy cheese, like Monterey Jack or Brie, a sharp cheese, like Cheddar, and a few crumbles of goat cheese. Then as if that isn’t enough I add sliced onion and tomato, and a few leaves of arugula, basil, or spinach. Grilled to perfection in a skillet or Panini press its divine when dipped into a delicious bowl of tomato soup!
Ultimate Tomato Soup
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (14.5-oz.) can chicken broth
- Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add onions and garlic and cook about 10 minutes over medium heat, until onions are translucent. Add celery, carrot, salt, and pepper and cook until soft. Add bay leaf, crushed tomatoes, 28-oz. can diced tomatoes and bring to a boil, uncovered. Lower temperature and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour.
- Remove bay leaf and puree in a blender, in batches. Pour the pureed tomato soup into the Dutch oven and add the 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if desired. Simmer until heated through.
Over-the-Top Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Good bread
- Monterey Jack cheese, sliced
- Sharp Cheddar cheese, sliced
- Goat cheese, crumbled
- Arugula leaves
- Onion, thinly sliced
- Roma Tomato, thinly sliced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the Monterey Jack cheese on one side of the bread. Add arugula leaves, onion, tomato, salt and pepper. Crumble goat cheese over top and then add Cheddar cheese. Top with second slice of bread and grill in a buttered skillet or a Panini press until the cheese has melted and the bread is lightly browned.