4th of July {in three ingredients}

I hope you had an amazing 4th of July! We had fun with our family and friends, which of course included a cookout. I love to cook and to bake, but sometimes, I just want to make something really simple – especially when I’m bringing it to someone else’s home. So today I’m sharing a few simple ideas for some three-ingredient, patriotic cookout contributions.

Fruit Salad

This is an obvious summer favorite, but you can keep it super simple with watermelon, blueberries, and bananas if you’re stick with a red, “white,” and blue theme. Add in strawberries, apples, pears, and anything else you love! And cutting watermelon into stars is fun for the kids, and for the adults.

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Chocolate M&M Pretzels

Remember these beauties? I love these because every holiday has its own themed m&m’s, which makes it easy to create a treat that is holiday-appropriate. Substitute the m&ms with red, white, and blue ones to go patriotic. And if you like caramel, try using rolos instead of hershey kisses!

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Flag Kabobs

These are even more fun than star-shaped watermelon for the kiddos. Simply use kabob skewers with marshmallows, blueberries, and either strawberries, cherries, or raspberries (or all of them!) to create a fun little display. Let me know if you’re able to make yours with straighter lines than I did…

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What else? Do you have a favorite, easy, summer trick when it comes to all the cookouts and holidays? Please share!

Cooking for a Crowd: Baked Ziti

Just dropping in to say hello.

Hello.

I don’t have photos yet, but last night I whipped together a big ol’ batch of baked ziti for the undergraduate Presbyterian Student Fellowship-ers (PSF) tonight.  Are you ever asked to make something for a whole bunch of people?  Is your reaction, “OMG no.”  Well, fear not.  I’m here to tell you how to make it happen.

Easy Peasy Baked Ziti (for lots of hungry undergraduates)

Ingredients

2 lb. penne pasta
2 26 oz. jars pasta sauce of your choice
2 lb. mozzarella
1 c. parmesan
1/2 c. romano
salt and pepper (which I almost always forget in almost every recipe)

Directions

1. Cook your pasta until it is al dente (just a little bit tough to chew).

2. Drain and mix in a large pot or bowl with your pasta sauce, mozzarella, half your parmesan, and all the romano.

3. Pour your mixture into an extra large lasgana pan (I usually just buy a disposable one at the store). Top with the rest of your parmesan.  And maybe a little extra romano, if you’re feeling generous.  One of my most important cooking mottos: when all else fails, add cheese.

4. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, and serve.

5. Tell them all you made your sauce from scratch and maybe even that you made the cheese from imported milk.

What? You never know what they might believe.  I’ll do my best to update you with photos later if the food survives long enough to photograph.

Happy Tuesday!