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A Backyard Menu for Spring

By Brenda Hyde

Clean off the grill, fill the tank, or light up the fire pit and have a spring
barbecue! It's a great time of year because it's not too hot, or too cold, and
everything can be served indoors if spring showers head your way.

These three recipes should please everyone. If you have small kids, just throw
on some hotdogs when you are cooking the steaks. If you are on a budget,
serve grilled hamburgers instead of the steak-it's still a great menu!

Spicy Grilled Steaks

1 tsp. grated lime peel
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoon oil
6 Tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoon prepared mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
2 pounds top round, sirloin, or flank steak
Lime wedges

In small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except steak and lime wedges.
Score steak across top and place in shallow non-metal baking pan or plastic bag.
Pour marinade over steak; turn steak to coat all sides. Refrigerate 6-8 hours,
turning occasionally. Remove steak from marinade and grill to desired doneness.
Slice thinly on the diagonal. Serve with lime wedges. Serves 6.

Note: You can use this on any cut of steak. I often just serve individual steaks or
if they are larger, cut them into sections and serve buffet style where everyone
grabs your own.

Easy Potato Bake

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup minced sweet onion
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 package (24 oz.) hash browns, the cubes or shredded, thawed
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Heat oven to 350°. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add onions and potatoes. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with
flour; cook 1 minute. Add milk, salt and cayenne pepper; bring to a simmer,
stirring frequently. Butter or spray an 9x13 baking dish or 1 1/2 quart shallow
casserole dish. Layer half of potatoes in dish; spoon half of sauce over potatoes.
Top with half of cheese. Repeat layering with remaining potatoes, sauce and
cheese. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.

Note: I just grab whatever casserole on hand-sometimes I divide it into two
dishes to bake. You can also buy a foil pan if you are using it for a pot luck or
want easy clean up for the holiday weekend.

Southwestern Bean Bake

1/2 cup Honey
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
32 oz canned black beans, rinsed
12 oz canned kernel corn, drained
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Combine honey, ketchup, vinegar, chili powder,
salt, beans, corn, jalapeno, onion, and cilantro in a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Cover
and bake 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 servings.

Brownie Pizza

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Chocolate and White Chocolate Chips
Sprinkles and candy to top pizza

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12" pizza pan or 13 X 9 cookie sheet. Mix by
hand, a wooden spoon works well, melted butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs in a
large bowl. Stir in dry ingredients until well blended. Place batter onto the
prepared pan. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until top springs back when touched
lightly. Do not over bake! Remove from oven and sprinkle the pizza with a
combination of white and semi sweet chocolate chips. When they look soft use a
butter knife to spread and swirl so the white and dark mix together. Top with
M&Ms, sprinkles, or other decorative candy. Note: You can use just white
chocolate chips and use shaped sprinkles for a cute kid's dessert, or mini M&Ms.
You can also substitute peanut butter or butterscotch chips.

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer, wife and mom to three kids living in the
Midwest United States. For more family friendly recipes and cooking tips
visit Brenda at

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