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By Susan M. Selasky

Detroit Free Press

Summer means pool parties, garden parties and backyard barbecues galore.

"Choose a menu that will be easy to execute," says Jeffrey Gabriel, a master chef and instructor at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Mich.

Serve items that can be prepared in advance and will hold up well during the party. The more cold items you include on your menu, the easier it will be.

- Prepare as much as possible in advance. Grill dishes like chicken and beef and reheat later. Grilled vegetables hold well for a few hours.

- An easy alternative to chicken is pork tenderloin. "It's inexpensive and you can grill them whole and slice and make little sandwiches," he says.

- With salads, figure about 1 cup per serving if you serve one kind of salad; a half cup is plenty if serving two to three salads.

- Most recipes - such as potato and macaroni salads - easily double or even triple. But it's not necessary to double or triple seasonings in most recipes. A rule of thumb is to increase the seasonings by half.


Grilled Pork Tenderloin

2 pork tenderloins (about 1-1/2 pounds each)

For the marinade:

-1/2 cup orange juice

1/3 cup canola oil

5 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil, optional

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce, optional

Or for the rub:

4 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon Morton Nature's Seasons Seasoning Blend

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

Trim the pork tenderloins of any silver connective tissue. You then can marinate the meat or coat it with a rub.

If marinating, whisk together the orange juice, canola oil, soy sauce, sesame oil and hoisin sauce in a glass measure. Place the tenderloins in a plastic sealable bag and pour the marinade over. Seal bag and marinate at least 4 hours or overnight.

If using the rub, combine the brown sugar, seasoning blend, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the tenderloins. Place in a sided dish and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

When ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium-high. Oil the grill grates.

If you marinated the tenderloins, remove them from the marinade and discard the marinade.

For either method, grill each tenderloin about 3 to 4 minutes on all sides to get nice sear and grill marks. Reduce the heat to medium or move the tenderloin to a cooler part of the grill. Continue grilling until the center reaches 145 to 150 degrees, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the grill and let rest about 5 minutes - the tenderloin will continue to cook.

Slice on a slight diagonal into 16 slices about -1/4-inch thick. Place on a platter and serve.

Makes 32 1-1/2-ounce servings for party sandwiches.

Nutritional information based on 1 slice seasoned with the rub: 68 calories (13 percent from fat), 1g fat (1g saturated fat ), 2g carbohydrates, 11g protein, 97mg sodium, 31mg cholesterol, 0g fiber.

Source: Susan M. Selasky, Detroit Free Press



Greek Pasta Salad

For the salad:

2 (16-ounce) packages cavatappi pasta or elbow macaroni

2 pints grape tomatoes, washed, halved

1 (7-ounce) jar kalamata olive pieces in brine, drained

10 ounces feta cheese (half regular and half reduced-fat or fat-free), crumbled

1 large red onion, peeled, diced

1 hot house cucumber, seeded, diced

1 large bunch radishes, washed, ends removed, thinly sliced

1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

For the dressing:

-1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, peeled

4 ounces fat-free, reduced fat or regular feta cheese, crumbled

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon sugar

-1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning

1-1/2 cups olive oil

To make the salad, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Spread the pasta out on a baking sheet to dry for 30 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the tomatoes, olive pieces, feta cheese, onion, cucumber, radishes and parsley in a large serving bowl. Add the pasta and toss.

To make the dressing, place the red wine vinegar, garlic, feta cheese, oregano, sugar, salt, pepper and seasoning blend in a blender or food processor. Pulse to chop up the garlic and cheese. With the machine running, slowly and in a steady stream add the olive oil and process until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. The dressing should be salty enough from the feta cheese; try not to over-salt.

Pour the dressing over the salad. Toss to thoroughly combine and serve. You can make both the salad and the dressing a day in advance, pouring the dressing over the salad and combining just before serving.

Makes 48 -1/2-cup servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 157 calories (45 percent from fat ), 8g fat (2g saturated fat ), 17g carbohydrates, 4g protein, 230mg sodium, 7mg cholesterol, 1g fiber.

Source: Susan M. Selasky, Detroit Free Press


Chicken Delights

3 pounds ground raw chicken breast

2 shallots, peeled and minced

2 large ribs celery, finely minced

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 (12-ounce) jar mango chutney, divided use

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups dry stuffing mix, crushed

-1/2 cup almonds, coarsely ground (optional)

Nonstick cooking spray

Hot water as needed

In a large bowl combine the chicken, shallots, celery, eggs, mustard, curry powder, 8 tablespoons chutney, lemon juice, salt, pepper, stuffing mix and, if using, almonds. Mix together thoroughly, trying not to work the mixture too much. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a sided baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place the remaining chutney in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add a little hot water if the mixture seems too thick.

Using about a heaping teaspoon of the chicken mixture, roll into 1-inch balls and bake on the baking sheet about 12 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

Remove from the oven and immediately brush with chutney. Serve immediately or store and reheat just before serving.

Makes about 130 chicken balls.

Nutritional information per 3 balls: 78 calories (34 percent from fat), 3g fat (1g saturated fat ), 8g carbohydrates, 6g protein, 209mg sodium, 33mg cholesterol, 0g fiber.

Source: Adapted from chef Lynn Miller by Susan M. Selasky, Detroit Free Press