Gourmet Father’s Day Menu

Father’s Day will be here before you know it.  As a mother, I am usually the one to cook the meals.  I like to avoid going out on these days, because it’s overly crowded, and the service is not up to the same standard.  I’d prefer a relaxing atmosphere. This year, I will have my kids prepare the meal with some guidance.  The menu has been set, and they will actually have fun making it, and a sense of great accomplishment after they prepare the courses of this meal.  As long as one child is over 10 years old, they can pull off the entire feast with just some help with the dessert and perhaps cutting.  The menu is a three-course meal for a family of four, which includes: Butternut squash soup, spring mix salad with apples, candied/glazed walnuts and feta cheese with a raspberry walnut vinaigrette, grilled salmon and mock crème brûlée or fruit tartlets.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 boxes of McKenzie/Birds Eye Southland Butternut Squash,
  • A can of your favorite chicken broth/stock
  • Optional garnishes: chopped fresh chives, toasted pumpkin seeds and sour cream
  • Spring/Mesclun Mix Salad
  • 1 1/2 lb. salmon filet
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • One diced apple
  • Ken’s Steakhouse or Newman’s Own Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette
  • Candied walnut
  • Virginia Brand Vidilia Onion Vinaigrette (available at BJ’s or Sam’s Club)
  • Hunt’s Vanilla Snack Pack Pudding
  • A vanilla bean or 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • Sugar
  • (Fruit Tart) Berries of your choice
  • (Chocolate Tart) Hunt’s Chocolate Snack Pack Pudding
  • (Chocolate Tart) A bar of white chocolate
  • (Either Tart) Mini graham cracker crusts

First Course – Butternut Squash Soup:  Two boxes of McKenzie/Birds Eye Southland Butternut Squash (frozen).  This is actually a seasoned puree, and tastes fantastic.  Lift one corner of each box, and place them in a microwave at full power for about 8 minutes.  In the meanwhile, heat a can of your favorite chicken broth/stock (about 8 oz.) in a pot, and then add the butternut squash.  To serve, ladle the soup in four serving bowls, and you may optionally garnish with chopped fresh chives or toasted pumpkin seeds and a dollop of sour cream.

Second Course – Spring/Mesclun Mix Salad and Grilled or Broiled Salmon Filets: Pre-heat George Foreman grill/panini press or broiler.  Cut 1 1/2 lb. salmon filet into equal portions, making sure there are no bones left.  If so, take tweezers to pull any remaining ones out.  Season with salt and pepper, and rub a very small amount of olive oil on each portion.  Place on a George Foreman grill/ panini press for about five minutes and in the broiler for 8-10 minutes, turning over once halfway through. While the fish is cooking, open a bag of pre-washed spring/mesclun mix salad greens and place four portions into a large bowl.  Add crumbled Feta cheese, diced apples, and candied walnuts.   Toss with Ken’s Steakhouse or Newman’s Own Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette.  Place one portion salad on each plate next to a salmon filet.  Pour a little Virginia Brand Vidilia Onion Vinaigrette on fish or next to it.  You can substitute the vinaigrette with a tiny bit of butter and herbs on top.

Third Course – Mock Crème Brûlée:  This is so easy to make. Open four cups of Hunt’s Vanilla Snack Pack Pudding, and place in a mixing bowl.  Add the seeds of a vanilla bean or 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract.  Divide into four ramekins or very small oven proof bowls/tins.  Sprinkle a layer of sugar on top of each. An adult will have to do the next step.  If you have a kitchen torch, torch the sugar until brown .  If you are using a broiler, place on the top rack until brown.  When done, place into the fridge until served.

Second Option – Mock Fruit or Chocolate Tartlets: This is even easier.  Open two cups of vanilla or chocolate pudding.  One pudding is good for two pie shells. If using vanilla, divide in four mini graham cracker crusts in metal pie pans, then add fruit on top. Cut strawberries in halves or quarters.  If using chocolate, add to shells, and grate white chocolate over each for contrasting color.

I hope the fathers enjoy this meal.  You can always substitute ingredients, i.e. pears for the apples, blue cheese instead of feta, change the type of fish or use steak or chicken breasts, etc.  Good luck!

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