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Summer parties with flair

OW Staff | 6/25/2008, 5 p.m.

Exciting flavors and fresh ingredients make it easy to give simple summer parties an unforgettable flair.
For a menu that goes beyond the basic grilled meat and separate side dishes, think about mixing things up. Side dishes don't have to stay on the side, and the grill enhances the fresh flavor of fruit. The bold flavors of Uncle Ben's new whole grain rice products and fresh mangos make these recipes sumptuously special.
Cooking meat and traditional side dish elements together is a convenient way to create a deliciously unexpected dish. Combining chicken in foil with rice, mango and spices on the grill blends the flavors together into a mouthwateringly good, easy to make entrée.
Mangos are a great way to bring an unexpected freshness to the menu. With a flavor often described as exotic and luscious, mangos add the taste of the tropics to any dish. And when combined with peppers, cheese and a hint of lime, the result is a tasty dish everyone will be talking about.
Topped with lime-spiked guacamole dressing, long grain and wild rice with spinach, tomatoes and whole wheat berries balance with grilled flank steak for a salad that's perfectly suited for summer.
Summer cooking is all about the thrill of the grill. Gather friends and family, fire it up and let these easy-to-make and fun recipes be the life of your next party.
- Courtesy of Family Features/Uncle Ben's.

Grilled Fajita Sun-Dried Tomato Rice Salad with Guacamole Dressing
1 (6-ounce) package Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice Sun-Dried Tomato Florentine
2 pounds skirt or flank steak
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons cumin, separated
1 large onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced into strips
1 ripe avocado, diced
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

Follow the cooking directions on rice package to cook rice. While rice is cooking, heat grill or broiler. Salt and pepper each side of the meat. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon cumin on both sides as well. In medium bowl, toss sliced onion and green pepper with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of cumin.
Grill or broil meat, onions and peppers for about 5 minutes on each side. While meat and rice are cooking, prepare dressing.
Slice avocado, remove seed and spoon insides into small bowl. Add lime juice, some salt, cilantro, olive oil and vinegar. Combine well with a fork or potato masher until well combined.
To assemble the salad, place a handful of chopped lettuce on plate. Top with several heaping spoonfuls of rice mixture, followed by a couple slices of onion and peppers. Of course, don't forget the slices of meat and a generous topping of the guacamole dressing.
Serves 8. Serving size: 1 cup of salad and rice, and 4 ounces of meat. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 40 minutes.