We wanted a simple meal for our Friday night dinner that we knew would run late with everyone traveling to the cabin after work and decided that we would do a grilled cheese sandwich celebrating the flavors of summer. The luscious Minnesota grown tomatoes caught our eye and we settled on Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on sourdough bread.

Rather than toasting the bread slices we buttered the outside of the sandwich and placed on a griddle to make them golden brown and layered sliced fresh tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and thick slices of a Mozzarella ball sprinkled with some Kosher salt. We were feeding a crowd so to speed things up we placed the assemble sandwiches on a baking sheet and covered with heavy foil and placed in the oven at 350 degrees to melt the cheese. We sliced avocados to have them available for those that chose to add the avocado to their sandwich – I love sandwiches with avocado and it appeared to be a popular option with the group. This hardy sandwich would be a terrific meatless Monday dinner especially with the frenzy of back to school!

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At the cabin no one is an early riser because the conversation around the bonfire keeps everyone up late, what a great way to wind down after a hectic week. Needless to say by the time we roll out of bed and into the kitchen breakfast time has passed so we love brunch at the cabin.

Rather than a baked dish with eggs for Saturday we opted for Mini Ham Sandwiches and some heavenly cut cantaloupe and watermelon and while we were cooking everyone nibbled on sweet bakery cinnamon rolls. If you haven’t served the Mini Ham Sandwiches – be warned, they are highly addictive and you will rarely have leftovers.

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In between some fine conversation, a pontoon cruise and run-time with the dogs we (Laura) started prepping a recipe for some soft pretzel bites and a cheese sauce (there are so many recipes for these to choose from on Pinterest) to accompany our beer and cider tasting hosted by Andrew and Laura.

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The cheese sauce was 16 oz of shredded Pepperjack cheese, a 12 ounce beer, give or take Andrew’s testing to make certain the beer was good, 8 ounces of cream cheese, combined and melted.

The beer and cider tasting was a smashing success and the pretzel bites were obviously delicious because there was not a single pretzel bite remaining.

We were perhaps a little over ambitious with the Saturday evening meal plan to attempt to create a burger we enjoy at a local restaurant that is topped by chicken-fried bacon and deep-fried beer-battered cheese curds and yes… Velveeta cheese.

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Cheese Curds

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Saturday brunch we served waffles with a do it yourself line up of toppings Caramel Sauce, peanut butter, syrup bananas, and whipping cream. We prefer using the Krusteaz Light & Crispy Belgian waffle mix rather than making the waffle batter from scratch.

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The Saturday dinner plan – if you’re like me, you tend to skip over recipes that use the term marinate but it is so worth the time for the rich flavors that occur when you marinate meat or chicken. We had all day Saturday to marinate the chicken to serve it for dinner Saturday evening.

The basic recipe for this Honey Lime Chipotle Chicken makes chicken that is perfect for a salad, a rice bowl, or a delicious sandwich. This weekend we went for rice bowls using Cilantro Lime Rice, black beans, sweet corn, red, yellow and orange bell peppers, avocado shredded Monterey Jack cheese and cilantro. We use the Dad’s chicken breasts from the chef’s counter at Festival or the Smart brand chicken breasts for this recipe both result in moist and tender grilled chicken. We sliced the chicken for the buffet so guests could decide their own portion sizes.

We spooned rice into a pasta bowl and set up everything buffet style so guests could choose what they wanted for their rice bowl.

If you want a dressing or sauce to tame down some of the spice of the grilled chicken, our Cilantro Lime Dressing is lovely, if Ranch dressing is your favorite, give the Simply brand Ranch Dressing in our produce department a try. If you want to keep things spicy and hot the Chipotle Crema recipe included with the Honey Lime Chipotle Chicken keeps that spice going. Sour cream or Fiesta Top the Tater are also nice toppings.

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After indulging on great food and beverages all weekend I think all of us are watching our calories this week and stepping up the exercise routine but well worth it to have enjoyed the food and company on Labor Day weekend.

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