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Community Cookbook: Backyard barbecue and dinner fare, just as summer heats up

As summer hit just last week, it’s the perfect time for backyard barbecues and dinners.  (Getty Images)
By Dick Sellers For The Spokesman-Review

We’re in the season for backyard barbecues and dinners. These dishes can help fill out the menu. Smoked Sausage Dogs with HD Sauce offer a perfect sandwich for hot dog and sausage fans.

Those who prefer slightly healthier food or have vegetarian inclinations may find Barbequed Beefless Sandwiches more to their liking.

And finally, not everyone has a barbecue grill in their backyard. For those people, Barbequed Beefless Sandwiches and Micro-Steamed Corn on the Cob come to the rescue with their indoor preparation.

Smoked Sausage Dogs with HD Sauce

This simple recipe makes hot dogs simply exceptional. The smoked links and mustardy sauce make a perfect pairing. The mayonnaise nicely mellows the bite of the mustard and gives the sauce its satiny texture.


¼ cup mayonnaise

4 teaspoons yellow mustard

4 hot dog-sized smoked sausages

4 warmed hot dog buns


Make the sauce by combining the mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl or measuring cup. Let the sauce rest for an hour or more to allow the flavors to blend. Cook the sausages by frying, grilling, microwaving, or boiling (browning adds flavor). If using uncooked sausages, a good technique is to boil them first, then quickly brown them in a skillet or on a grill.

Spread the buns open on a work surface. Spread equal amounts of sauce on the buns, leaving some left over. Place the sausages on the buns, then spread the remaining sauce on top of the sausages. Include other add-ons, such as chopped onion, pickles, peppers, and sauerkraut, to your liking.

Notes: Many premium smoked sausages are made with quality meat, contain no fillers and are pre-cooked. Any hot dog-sized sausages or franks can be used. Double the sauce for more servings.

Yield: 4 servings

Barbecued Beefless Sandwiches

These sandwiches have all of the flavor, appearance, and chew of Sloppy Joes. They don’t have the fat and calories, or the messiness and fuss, of ground beef. Textured vegetable protein (TVP) has one-third the calories of lean ground beef, zero fat and zero cholesterol. It’s high in protein and fiber while low in carbs. TVP is easy to store and use and has a long shelf life, yet it costs no more than the best sale price on regular ground beef. Meat fans and vegetarians alike can enjoy these sandwiches.


2 teaspoons cooking oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

⅛ teaspoon salt

½ cup finely chopped bell pepper

¾ cup water

½ cup tomato sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon beef bouillon powder

¼ plus ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon liquid smoke

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons small flaked, unflavored textured vegetable protein

4 (4-inch) or 6 (3-inch) diameter hamburger buns

Shredded lettuce (optional)

Dill pickle chips or spears (optional)


Heat the cooking oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell pepper and return to a sizzle. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until tender but still slightly firm, stirring occasionally.

Combine the next 10 ingredients (through liquid smoke) in a medium saucepan. Stir in the TVP and bring just to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium and lightly boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium-low and lightly boil, uncovered, until most of the liquid disappears (the filling needs to be very thick), about 12-15 minutes, stirring more frequently and reducing the heat as the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and let sit, uncovered for 5 minutes, then stir in the vegetables. Stir the filling just before use.

Warm or lightly toast the buns. Layer shredded lettuce on the bottom halves of the buns, if used. Top the lettuce with ⅓ cup of filling for 3-inch buns and ½ cup for 4-inch buns. Top each with 3-4 pickle chips, if used (or consider serving pickle spears on the side), then cap with the top bun halves.

Notes: Use vegetarian bouillon and Worcestershire sauce for vegetarian sandwiches. The filling freezes well. Bob’s Red Mill offers a good TVP product at Kroger/Fred Meyer stores and by order from Walmart.

Yield: 4 or 6 sandwiches

Micro-Steamed Corn on the Cob

Whether microwaved or grilled, corn cooked in the husk tastes better. This recipe relies on the microwave oven, freeing up grill space for other uses. Apply the seasonings you like, and the corn is good to go.


2 ears of corn in the husk

Seasonings of choice


Cut 1- to 1½-inch of the cobs off of the silk ends. Trim most of the stalks off the other ends, leaving the husks in place. Place the ears with the stalk ends opposite each other in a 9-by-6-by-3-inch glass baking dish (the ears should lay flat in the container). Cover tightly, leaving one corner open to allow venting. Microwave on high power for 6-8 minutes. When done, let rest, unopened, for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the husks (the ears will be hot). Serve with the seasonings of choice.

Notes: Go beyond the butter and salt treatment. Season softened butter or mayonnaise with tastebud-tingling flavors like minced cilantro and lime juice, seasoned salt, lemon pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder, and/or finely grated Parmesan or Cotija cheese. This recipe was developed using a 1,000-watt microwave oven with a turntable. Cooking times will vary with ovens of different wattages.

Yield: 2 servings

Dick Sellers is a freelance writer. Contact him at