Pat’s Pantry: Cook’s Specialties

Having a get together or just having a family dinner? Kabobs from the grill and a cold bean salad on the side on these hot summer days can’t be beat. Top the meal off with a pecan-topped carrot pie and your family will never know they are getting extra vegetables in their diet. – Pat

Sizzling beef kabobs

1/3 cup canola oil
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 pounds boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1-in pieces
2 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-in slices
1 large onion, cut into 1-in chunks
1 large green pepper, cut into 1-in pieces
1 large sweet red pepper, cut into 1-in pieces

In a large resalable plastic bag, combine the oil, soy sauce, vinegar and garlic powder; add beef. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Drain and discard marinade. On eight metal or soaked wooden skewers, alternately thread beef pieces and vegetables. Grill, covered, over medium-hot heat or broil 4-6-in. from the heat for 8-10 minutes or until the meat reaches desired doneness, turning occasionally.  Yield: 8 servings.

Stuffed potatoes

4 medium baking potatoes
¼ cup butter, cubed
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
3 to 4 green onions, sliced

Bake potatoes at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until tender. Cool slightly. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving thin shells. In a large mixing bowl, mash the pulp with butter. Stir in the sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon and green onions. Spoon or pipe the mixture into the potato shells. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 8 servings.

Mixed bean salad

½ cup sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon pepper
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 ½ oz) cut wax beans, drained
1 can (14 ½ oz) cut green beans, drained
3 celery ribs, sliced
½ medium green pepper, chopped
¼ cup chopped onion

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yield: 8 serving.

Pecan-topped carrot pie

4 cups sliced fresh carrots
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash salt
1 unbaked pastry shell (9-in)
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Add 1-in of water to a large saucepan; add carrots. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 9-11 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool.  Place carrots, milk eggs, pie spice, cinnamon and salt in a blender. Cover and process until pureed; process 1 minute longer. Pour into pastry shell. Combine the pecans, brown sugar and butter; sprinkle over filling. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and the edges are browned (cover edges of crust with foil during the last 20 minutes to prevent over browning if necessary). Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 6-8 servings.

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