(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
When grilling is on the menu for Father's Day, many families report that Dad still prefers to be king of the cooks rather than get waited on hand and foot. If your father is such a nice guy that he still wants to grill the grub for the whole group, consider taking some of the heat off of him by offering to be his sous chef (second in command in the culinary world) and assemble some sassy sides. The best part is that, even when accompaniments are innovative, they are still usually simple and economical
, like the fruity sugar-free soda pop-packed baked beans or daring chili-filled double-baked potatoes that follow. At the end of the gala, finish your sous chef shift by further helping out Dad by thoroughly cleaning the completely cool grill and washing barbecue utensils. Hopefully, not much dish duty will be needed, since, if you ate outdoors, you may have turned to paper or plasticware for ease and safety.
Fun fare like this also proves cooking can be easy, nutritious, economical, fun - and fast. They take just 10 seconds each to read, and they are almost that quick to prepare
. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for tasty home cooking and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it! Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since there are no right or wrong amounts
. These are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations, so whatever you - or your kidlet helpers - choose to use, you can't help but draw "wows" from everyone - especially Dad. Better Beans
Add sugar-free cherry or sugar-free orange soda to a bubbling pot of store-bought or homemade baked beans, as well as ground cinnamon, thick bite-sized chunks of cooked ham and quickly grilled or broiled pieces of red onion.Potatoes for Pop
Bake potatoes, carefully scoop out insides and combine with cooked store-bought or homemade chili, nonfat sour cream, shredded pepper jack cheese and diced red bell pepper. Refill potato skins and reheat until bubbling.Creative Corn Salad
Cook corn, let cool, and combine with sliced fresh mushrooms, peeled and sliced jicama (a delicious, economical choice in most produce sections), drained mandarin orange slices that were canned in no-sugar-added fruit juice that you reserve, chopped walnuts or hazelnuts (usually found in the baking aisle of most supermarkets). Top with a dressing that's a mixture of champagne vinegar, olive oil, the reserved fruit juice from the mandarin oranges and freshly ground black pepper.Get Rolling
Halve whole-grain dinner rolls and toast cut side-down on grill. Top with honey you've combined with a small amount of cayenne pepper and curry powder and then sprinkle with extremely finely diced garlic that you've toasted.Clever Condiment
These textures and flavor combinations are inspired by moves super chef/TV star and best-selling cookbook author Jamie Oliver has made to improve the nutrition and to pep up the flavor of the hamburgers he and restaurateurs he has influenced prepare. I tasted it at a drive-thru Oliver convinced to sell them in Los Angeles. Bake sweet potatoes, carefully remove insides or used canned plain pumpkin that you've cooked and combine with cooked pinto beans, a small amount of ketchup or barbecue sauce, spicy mustard and freshly ground black pepper. Reheat until hot. Spread on bottom of a whole-grain hamburger bun before adding a cooked lean hamburger and topping with mixed greens, tomato slice and the top of the bun.QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Unlike yesteryears, not as many fathers make their living by plowing fields, however in England, takes on the traditional "Ploughman's lunch" are still popular. Today's platters often include crusty bread, vegetables, aged cheese, thickly carved meats, like baked ham or turkey, and relish or chutney, all put together by each diner for an open-faced sandwich. You can use store-bought or homemade chutney, or for an especially authentic touch, get "Branston Pickle" at gourmet markets or reasonably priced as a jarred import online. It's named for an English town and is a relish often filled with dates, apples, carrots, cauliflower, gherkins, malt vinegar, garlic and onions.
Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.