Jul 4, 2011

Birthday & Fourth of July Meal

Interestingly, the Declaration of Independence was not signed on the 4th of July it was signed on the 2nd. I'm not sure why we celebrate our independence on the 4th, but we do.

My boyfriend, Mark's, birthday was yesterday (July 3rd) and since we didn't really have any plans for today (July 4th) I decided to cook a nice dinner for his birthday to include Portabello sandwiches with roasted red pepper and mozzarella, cucumber salad and his traditional Pineapple Upside Down Cake for dessert. 

Even though we had this dinner for his birthday you could just as easily make it a 4th of July meal or any summer meal really. Sometimes it's a nice treat to have a meatless meal that is this scrumptious and the cucumber salad is both light and refreshing on a hot day.

Cucumber Salad
4 med. cucumbers, peeled & diced
1 - 8 oz. container vanilla low fat yogurt
1 - 8 oz. container reduced fat sour cream
1/2 c. diced onion (I used red onion)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp dried dill weed
salt & pepper to taste

~ Simply dice everything up and mix together in a bowl and voila!

Portobello Sandwiches - yields 4 sandwiches
1 red bell pepper
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 c. olive oil
4 portobello mushroom caps, cleaned
4 slices onion
4 kaiser rolls, split
4 tsp mayonnaise
1 tsp roasted garlic, mashed into paste
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
4 slices tomato
16 fresh basil leaves

~ Preheat an outdoor grill for med-high heat and lightly oil the grate.

~ Place the red bell pepper onto the preheated grill, and grill until the skin is completely charred on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Place the pepper into a paper bag, seal the bag, and let the pepper cool. When cooled, remove the charred skin, slice the pepper into quarters, and remove the seeds. Thinly slice the pepper and set aside.

~ Mix salt & pepper into the olive oil in a small bowl. Brush the smooth side of the mushrooms with the seasoned oil, and grill, oiled side down, until the mushrooms show grill marks, about 3 minutes. Brush the gill sides of the mushrooms with more oil, flip the mushrooms, and grill until the mushrooms are softened and juicy, about 3 more minutes. Set the mushrooms aside and keep warm.

~ Lightly grill the slices of onion until softened and lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Spread the rolls out onto the grill to toast, about 1 minute. Mix the mayonnaise and roasted garlic in a bowl.

~ Spread each roll with garlic mayonnaise, and make each sandwich with 1 mushroom cap, 1 slice of mozzarella, 1 slice of tomato, 4 basil leaves, some grilled onion, and 1/4 of the roasted red pepper slices. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.

Serve sandwiches and cucumber salad together.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted
2 (20 oz.) cans sliced pineapple
1 (18.5 oz.) package yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 c. vegetable oil
12 maraschino cherries, halved

~ In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and butter, mix well. Spread into greased cake pan(s). Drain pineapple, reserving the juice. Place pineapple rings into cake pan in the manner of your choosing.

~ In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, oils, and 1-1/4 c. of the reserved pineapple juice; mix well. Pour over pineapple filling your cake pan(s) until 2/3rds full. Bake at 350' F for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

~ Immediately invert onto wire racks to cool. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple ring.

Serve with whipped topping or vanilla ice cream!

Voila! A delicious meal for a summer day!


  1. That cucumber salad sounds delicious. I can't wait to try it! (: