By Kevin Williams
The Amish and picnics go hand-in-hand during the toasty summer months. Amish homes can often be very warm, without the benefit of air-conditioning or fans. And who wants to share a room with a hot stove during July? So it’s not uncommon at all for Amish families to eat their meals outside during the summer, or better yet, pack up some food and head for their favorite swimming hole.
So when The Amish Cook’s husband, Daniel, called me the other day to tell me they’d be passing through my part of Ohio and perhaps we could all meet for dinner, I jumped at the chance. At first I thought maybe we could just meet at Cracker Barrel, but the idea of trying to keep 7 children (5 for the Yoders, 2 for us) in line while the adults visited seemed daunting. That’s when I quickly thought that a picnic at a park might be a better venue. This was literally planned 24 hours in advance and Rachel and I already had a lot on our calendars so there was no time to make anything home, so Rachel planned a menu of carry-in pizza and cookies and she bought a watermelon and cut it up so that we could have that also.
AMISH PICNIC RECIPES (scroll down to the end for the recipes!)
We all had a super time. It was great to see Gloria and Daniel again and it was my first time meeting their foster children and new baby Elijah. They have a lot of cuteness (and I’m sure chaos) in their house. One of my favorite things yesterday was just seeing our kids play together. We’ll have to plan a visit to Flat Rock in the near future to spend some more time with them.
We met for our picnic at Carriage Hill MetroPark in Huber Heights, Ohio, a bucolic park right off I-70. There’s an 1800s working farm on the premises (which made the Yoders feel at home, I’m sure) and a lot of nice trails and a pond. Here are some scenes from our picnic!
FOUR FAVORITE AMISH PICNIC RECIPES!
Hello! I hope all of you readers are having a great month of May. A special thank-you to my mother for filling in for me last week. Daniel, myself, Julia and Austin enjoyed a relaxing and refreshing stay in Kentucky the past couple weeks. I’m eager to tell you more about it in next week’s column.
This week I am sharing some favorite recipes that you might have missed from past columns. Enjoy these recipes, all of them perfect for any summer picnics you have coming up!
Stove-top Potatoes Au Gratin
4 tablespoons butter
3 large potatoes, sliced thin
1 large onion, chopped
11/2 cups shredded cheese
2 teaspoons salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup milk or cream
Melt butter in a 9-inch skillet.
Layer potatoes, onions, salt and pepper. Pour milk over it.
Begin cooking on medium heat until cover is very hot. Reduce to low and cook 25 minutes.
Last 5 minutes set lid ajar to allow some steam to evaporate. Sprinkle with cheese.
Meatball Sub Casserole
1 pound hamburger
1/2 cup onion
salt-and-pepper to taste
One loaf homemade bread, sliced 1-inch thick
One 8-ounce package cream cheese or sour cream
1/2 cup salad dressing
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cups mozzarella cheese or your favorite
28-ounce jar spaghetti or pizza sauce
1 cup water
dash garlic powder
Fry hamburger, onions, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Layer bread in a 9- by 13-inch cake pan. Mix cream cheese, salad dressing and Italian seasoning. Spread over bread slices and top with 1 cup cheese.
Mix spaghetti sauce, water and garlic powder; mix with hamburger. Pour this over cheese mixture.
Top with rest of cheese bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serves 12.
World Famous Burgers
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1/8 teaspoon pepper
11/2 pound beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix burger ingredients well and shape into patties. Use sauce to baste while grilling.
Cook on each side until desired doneness. Moist and tasty, serves six.
Overnight Pasta Salad
2 cups cooked and drained rotini
11/4 cup Italian dressing
1/3 cup green pepper chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1/3 cup tomato diced
1/2 cup cheese, Colby, shredded
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Cook pasta for 7 to 10 minutes or until tender.
In a large bowl, combine all of the above ingredients.
Cover the bowl and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
The next morning, remove from the fridge, toss and serve.