A Taste of Summer Without Slaving Over the Stove

Sandra Lee enlightened cooks and foodies with her tricks that she calls "Semi-Homemade." Her cocktail of "30 percent store-bought indredients, combined with 70 percent fresh ingredients" makes an unbeatably practical, homemade meal.

The recipes below will let you whip up real summer flavors without thinking twice about sweating and slaving over each ingredient.

Pineapple Chicken in a Bag

Ingredients:

6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, rinsed and patted dry

½ cup crushed pineapple

¼ cup champagne vinaigrette

¾ cup canola oil

¼ cup Golden Margarita Tequila

½ cup pineapple juice

¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped

Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Pineapple slices – for garnish

Directions:

Place chicken breasts in large zip-top bag. Add crushed pineapple, champagne vinaigrette, oil, pineapple juice and chopped mint to the bag. Massage bag to mix thoroughly.

Marinate in refrigerator for 1-4 hours.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Clean and oil grate when ready to start grilling.

Place chicken breasts on grate and grill for 4-6 minutes per side.

Remove from grill and place on serving platter.

Garnish with fresh mint sprigs and pineapple slices and serve.

Bacon Wrapped Cheese Corn

As if butter-drenched corn on the cob weren't irresistible enough, wrap a strip of bacon around it, drizzle it with cheese and watch its popularity soar. Roasted ears of cheese corn are a common street snack in Mexico. A four-cheese and mayonnaise sauce makes it picnic-perfect.

Yields 4 servings: Prep time: 20 minutes; Grilling time: 25 minutes

You will need:

Small bowl

Aluminum foil

Ingredients:

1 packet (1.5-ounce) four-cheese sauce mix

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 ears corn on the cob, shucked and cleaned

4 slices thick-cut bacon

Directions:

Set up grill for direct cooking over medium heat.

In a small bowl, sprinkle cheese sauce mix over mayonnaise; stir thoroughly. Brush corn with mixture. Wrap each ear with a bacon slice and wrap in foil.

Place on hot grill. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until corn is tender and bacon is cooked, turning often.

Remove from grill; serve hot.

Directions if you're indoors:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Prepare corn, wrapped in foil, as directed

Roast corn in oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and serve hot.

Yeilds 4 servings

Strawberry Margarita Pie

Ingredients:

2 large or 12 mini Graham cracker pie crusts

3 pints or 12 oz. bag Fresh Strawberries, halved. Or use Frozen Strawberries, defrosted

1/3 cup Golden Margarita Tequila

2 Limes- zest and juice

14 oz. can Sweetened condensed milk

1 ½ cups Heavy cream

Garnish: Small strawberries and fresh mint

Directions: Puree all ingredients except for the crust and the cream in a blender. Transfer to a large bowl.

Beat the cream in another bowl with electric mixer, until it forms soft peaks.

Fold 1/3 of the cream into strawberry mixture, until incorporated. Then the other 2/3 or cream/fold till all smooth

Pour the filling into crusts.

Freeze uncovered until firm , about 4 hours

Remove from freezer and let soften in fridge for half an hour before serving. Garnish with strawberries and mint.

*2 pies serve about 12-15 people

*small pies serve 12, one each

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