Tuesday, September 30, 2014

#3267 - Crushed Croutons and Sprouts

(by Shirley McNevich)

16oz. to 32oz. fresh Brussels sprouts (or use frozen ones if you wish)
1/3 cup crushed croutons (your choice of flavor)
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 to 1 TBSP black pepper (less if you wish)
1/2 tsp. salt

Place croutons in a Ziploc bag a few at a time--pound the outside with your fist until they are crushed. Repeat until you have 1/3 cup crushed croutons. In a bowl add crushed croutons, Parmesan cheese, pepper and salt--stir well with a fork until mixed. Cook Brussels sprouts in salted water until tender, then drain them. Slice a few Brussels sprouts in half and place them in a serving bowl--sprinkle some of the Parmesan cheese mixture over the top. Keep repeating with layers of halved Brussels sprouts and layers of sprinkled Parmesan cheese mixture. Optional: instead of boiling the sprouts in salted water, slice the raw sprouts in half, place them in a bowl with 1-2 TBSP olive oil, and toss to coat. Place the sprouts round side up on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until edges start to brown and sprouts are tender. Layer as above with the Parmesan cheese mixture.

Monday, September 29, 2014

#3266 - Stuffed Mushrooms and Bacon

(by Shirley McNevich)

12 large fresh whole mushrooms
1/2 of an 8oz. Philadelphia cream cheese (softened)
garlic powder (to your taste)
4 slices cooked bacon (crumbled)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 TBSP fresh chopped parsley

In a bowl add cream cheese--stir. Add crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped parsley and garlic powder (to your taste)--stir until well blended. Wash and drain the mushrooms. Cut and discard the stems from the mushrooms. Place the mushrooms cap side down on a greased baking sheet. Scoop the cheese mixture into each mushroom. Bake at 350 degrees for 16-20 minutes.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

#3265 - Fried Onion Strings

(by Shirley McNevich)

1 large onion (more if you wish)
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 TBSP salt
1/2 to 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (more if you want them spicier)
canola oil

Thinly slice the onion and separate the rings. Place the rings in a glass baking dish and cover them completely with the buttermilk. Let the onions soak for about an hour. In a bowl add flour, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper--stir to mix. Fill a cast iron skillet halfway with canola oil--turn heat to medium and heat oil to 375 degrees. Using tongs, grab some of the onions from the buttermilk mixture and dip them in the flour mixture. Shake off any extra flour and then dump them in the hot oil. Fry the onions until browned, then use a slotted spoon to take them out of the hot oil and spread them on paper towels to soak up extra grease. Repeat with all onions.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

#3264 - Tomato Onion Salad

(by Shirley McNevich)

4 home grown tomatoes
1 sweet onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1 TBSP oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
shredded mozzarella cheese

Wash tomatoes and cut them into bite sized pieces. Place tomato pieces in a large bowl and sprinkle them with the garlic salt and black pepper. Cut the onion into rings, then cut each ring into four pieces. Add onion pieces, oregano and olive oil to the tomatoes--toss to mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. When ready to serve, carefully drain off any liquid that has formed. Add as much shredded mozzarella cheese as you wish--toss to mix.

Friday, September 26, 2014

#3263 - Baked Pumpkin Seeds

(by Shirley McNevich)

3 cups raw pumpkin seeds
4 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. Lawry's seasoning salt
2 tsp. garlic powder

After carving pumpkins, pick out the seeds away from the pulp/strings of the pumpkin. Place the seeds in a sieve and rinse pumpkin seeds until clean. Spread the damp pumpkin seeds on ungreased baking sheets and allow them to dry for a few hours. When they are bone dry, grease a jelly roll pan. In a bowl add dry pumpkin seeds and olive oil--stir to coat. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer in the jelly roll pan. In a bowl add seasoning salt and garlic powder--stir to mix. Sprinkle the salt mixture all over the coated pumpkin seeds. Place the jelly roll pan on the top rack of your oven. Bake at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes, gently shaking the pan every 10 minutes. Because the inside of the pumpkin seeds can burn even when the outside of the pumpkin seeds are not browned, taste a seed every 10 minutes while baking. Once the seeds are crispy on the outside, they are done. If you bake them too long, the inside of the seeds will burn.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

#3262 - Cream Cheese Bean Dip

(by Shirley McNevich)

2 - 8oz. Philadelphia cream cheese (softened)
2 - 16oz. containers spicy black bean dip
2 - 8oz. shredded Mexican three cheese blend shredded cheese
green onions (sliced)
1 or 2 containers cherry OR grape tomatoes
sliced black olives (drained)
Tostitos scoop chips

In a bowl add cream cheese--mix with a spoon until spreadable. In a 9 x 13 glass baking dish make repeating layers of cream cheese, then bean dip, then shredded cheese. Once all ingredients have been used, sprinkle sliced green onions all over the top. Spread sliced black olives over the top. When ready to serve, cut each tomato into four pieces and spread the tomatoes all over the top. Serve with scoop chips.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

#3261 - Amish Cinnamon Swirl Bread

(by Shirley McNevich)

1 cup softened butter
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
Topping: 2/3 cup white sugar; 2 tsp. cinnamon

In a mixer add butter and 2 cups white sugar--beat. Add eggs--beat. Add buttermilk and baking soda--beat. Slowly add flour--beat. In a bowl add 2/3 cup white sugar and the cinnamon--stir to mix. Grease 2 bread loaf pans. Divide the batter evenly into two bowls. Pour 1/2 of the batter from bowl 1 into pan 1; pour 1/2 of the batter from bowl 2 into pan 2. Divide the cinnamon mixture evenly into 2 bowls. Sprinkle 3/4 of the bowl 1 cinnamon mixture over the batter in pan 1; sprinkle 3/4 of the bowl 2 cinnamon mixture over the batter in pan 2. Sprinkle the remaining bowl 1 cinnamon mixture over the top of the batter in pan 1. Sprinkle the remaining bowl 2 cinnamon mixture over the batter in pan 2. Wet a bread knife. Stick the wet knife all the way to the bottom of pan 1 and carefully swirl the cinnamon mixture through the batter. Repeat with pan 2. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes--test with a toothpick for doneness. Cool the breads for 20 minutes, then loosen and remove from loaf pans.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#3260 - Frosted Pumpkin Bars

(by Shirley McNevich)

Batter: 4 eggs; 1 2/3 cups white sugar; 1 cup canola oil; 1 - 15oz. can Libby's canned pumpkin; 2 cups flour; 2 tsp. cinnamon; 2 tsp. baking powder; 1 tsp. baking soda; 1 tsp. salt; chopped walnuts (optional)

Frosting: 6oz. Philadelphia cream cheese (softened); 2 cups Domino's powdered sugar; 1/4 cup softened butter; 2 tsp. vanilla; milk as necessary

In a mixer add eggs, white sugar and canola oil--beat. Add pumpkin--beat. Add baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt--beat. Slowly add flour--beat. Pour batter into a greased 15" x 10" (by 1" deep) jelly roll pan. Slightly lift and drop the pan on to your counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely. Frosting: in a mixer add cream cheese--beat. Add butter and vanilla--beat. Slowly add powdered sugar--beat. If too thick, add 1 TBSP milk at a time and beat again. If too thin, add more powdered sugar and beat again. Frost the whole top of the cooled pumpkin mixture. Cut into squares or bars. Optional--sprinkle chopped walnuts all over the cream cheese frosting before cutting.

Monday, September 22, 2014

#3259 - Pickled Brussels Sprouts

(by Shirley McNevich)

2 - 10oz. boxes frozen Brussels sprouts (substitute fresh Brussels sprouts if desired)
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Cook Brussels sprouts according to box directions, then drain them and let them cool to room temperature. Once cooled, slice each sprout in half. Repeat with all sprouts. Place all Brussels sprout halves in a quart glass jar. In a saucepan add cider vinegar, salt, dry mustard, oregano and fresh ground black pepper--cook/stir over medium heat until boiling. Once boiling, remove from heat and carefully pour the vinegar mixture over the Brussels sprouts. Cool to room temperature, then place the lid on the jar and refrigerate them overnight before eating. Drain before eating. Note: you most likely won't need all of the vinegar mixture depending on the size of the sprouts.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

#3258 - Salmon Salad

(by Shirley McNevich)

2 cups canned/cooked red salmon
1/2 rib of celery (chopped)--more or less as desired
2 hard boiled eggs (peeled and chopped)
1/3 of a cucumber (peeled and chopped)--more or less as desired
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped onions
salt and pepper (to your taste)

Into a bowl flake the cooked red salmon. Add the chopped celery, chopped eggs, chopped cucumber and chopped onions--stir to mix. Add 1 TBSP mayo at a time and stir. Keep adding mayo and stirring until salad is the consistency of tuna salad. Add salt and pepper to your taste--stir. Serve on rolls, on top of lettuce or with good quality crackers.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

#3257 - Red Salmon Casserole

(by Shirley McNevich)

15oz. canned red salmon (drained well and broken into small pieces)
2 cups uncooked pasta (your choice of shape)
2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
4 TBSP butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 TBSP flour
2 cups milk
2 TBSP lemon juice (OPTIONAL)
2 TBSP chopped parsley
3-4 slices buttered bread (cut into small pieces)

Cook pasta in salted water according to box directions--drain but do NOT rinse. In a skillet over medium heat add butter and chopped onions--cook/stir until onions are tender. Slowly add flour while stirring. Turn heat back to medium low--slowly add milk to onions--cook/stir until mixture thickens. Add lemon juice and chopped parsley--stir to mix, then remove from heat. Grease a casserole dish and spread drained pasta into the bottom. Arrange salmon pieces over the pasta. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the salmon. Pour all of the onion mixture over the cheese. Spread the rest of the cheese over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and arrange buttered bread pieces over the whole top. Return to oven and bake until buttered bread pieces are brown and crispy.

Friday, September 19, 2014

#3256 - Cream Cheese Chocolate Mousse Pie

(by Becky Lynn Mohr - friend)

4oz. Baker's German sweet chocolate (broken into small pieces)
1/3 cup milk
2 TBSP white sugar
1 - 3oz. Philadelphia cream cheese (softened)
1 - 8oz. Cool Whip (thawed)
1 ready-made graham cracker crust (regular OR chocolate)

In a saucepan over low heat add 2 TBSP of the milk and chocolate pieces--cook/stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. In a mixer add cream cheese--beat. Add white sugar--beat. Add melted chocolate mixture--beat. Slowly add remaining milk--beat until smooth. Remove from mixer--add Cool Whip--stir until mixed. Spoon mixture into the graham cracker crust. Freeze pie overnight. Keep pie frozen.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

#3255 - Bratwursts and Sauerkraut

(by Shirley McNevich)

12 bratwursts
1 large sweet onion (more if you wish)
1/2 stick butter
1 bag sauerkraut
long rolls

Peel the onion, then cut and separate the onion into rings. In a Dutch oven add the bratwursts, onions and butter--keep pouring beer into the mixture until everything is covered. Turn heat to medium--cook (stirring occasionally) until mixture comes to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat back to simmer and cook (stirring occasionally) until bratwursts are completely cooked and onions are tender. Prepare sauerkraut according to bag directions. Use tongs to carefully remove the bratwursts from the beer mixture, then place them on your outdoor grill until the outsides of the bratwursts are well browned. Use a slotted spatula to remove the onions from the beer mixture. Serve bratwursts on long rolls with the sauerkraut and onions.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#3254 - Easy Beef Burritos

(by Shirley McNevich)

1lb. ground beef
1 onion (chopped)
1 cup water
1 envelope burrito seasoning
flour tortillas
your choice of toppings (shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, corn chips, etc.)

In a skillet over medium heat add the ground beef and chopped onions--cook/stir until meat is browned, then drain off the fat and discard the fat. Add the water and the burrito seasoning--cook/stir until mixture starts to boil. Once boiling, turn heat back to simmer and simmer until the liquid is gone (7-10 minutes). Spoon beef mixture into tortillas, add your toppings, then fold the bottom of the tortillas and roll up the sides.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#3253 - White Chocolate Layer Cake

(by Shirley McNevich)

1 box Duncan Hines white cake mix
1 stick softened butter
6oz. Baker's white baking chocolate
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 TBSP raspberry extract (optional)

In a microwave safe bowl add white baking chocolate and butter--melt on high in 30 second increments until melted and stir until smooth. Cool the chocolate mixture for 5 minutes. In a mixer add cake mix powder, milk and eggs--beat. Add cooled chocolate mixture--beat. Add raspberry extract (optional)--beat. Beat whole mixture for 2 minutes. Pour half of the batter into each of two greased and floured 9" round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes--test with a toothpick for doneness. Cool completely. Remove one cake and place it on a cake plate. Frost the top with your favorite white or cream cheese frosting. Remove second cake and place it on top. Frost the top and all around the sides.

Monday, September 15, 2014

#3252 - Crockpot Chicken Chili

(by Shirley McNevich)

2lbs. cooked chicken (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 TBSP butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 - 24oz. cans great northern beans
16oz. salsa (your choice of spiciness)
15oz. chicken broth (or make your own)
shredded cheese (your choice of type)
fresh ground black pepper (if necessary)

In a skillet over medium heat add butter--melt. Add chopped onions and cooked chicken pieces--cook/stir until all chicken is browned. Set aside. Drain both cans of beans, rinse them in cold water, then drain them well. In a crockpot add chicken broth and salsa--stir well. Add drained beans and chicken/onion mixture--stir well. Cook on low heat for 5 hours. Taste--if necessary add black pepper to your taste--stir. Serve in bowls and top with a handful of shredded cheese.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

#3251 - Bacon Broccoli Salad

(by Shirley McNevich)

1/2 lb. bacon
5 cups broccoli florets
1 tsp. salt
1 or 2 TBSP cider vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup mayo
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Fry the bacon until crispy, drain bacon on paper towels and them crumble the bacon--set aside. Fill a saucepan halfway with water and add the salt--bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, add broccoli florets and cook them for 3 minutes or just until they start to soften. Remove from heat--drain the broccoli, rinse the broccoli with cold water, then drain the broccoli a second time. In a bowl add mayo, cider vinegar and white sugar--stir well. Add chopped onions--stir well. Add the broccoli--toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 90 minutes. When ready to serve remove from refrigerator, uncover, add the bacon pieces and toss to coat. Sprinkle the whole top with Parmesan cheese (optional).

Saturday, September 13, 2014

#3250 - Chocolate Chip Lard Cookies

(by Shirley McNevich)

3/4 cup Domino's dark brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup lard
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 - 3oz. box Jell-O vanilla INSTANT pudding mix
2 1/4 cups flour (reduce to just over 2 cups if you like flatter cookies)
12oz. Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate chips
pinch of salt (OPTIONAL)

In a mixer add butter, lard, white sugar and brown sugar--beat. Add eggs and vanilla--beat. Add vanilla pudding powder, salt (optional) and baking powder--beat. Slowly add flour--beat. Remove bowl from mixer--add chocolate chips--stir with a wooden spoon until mixed. Drop batter by spoonfuls on to greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 3 minutes, then remove cookies from cookie sheets using a metal spatula and place them on paper towels to cool.

Friday, September 12, 2014

#3249 - Cooked Onion Dip

(by Shirley McNevich)

2 large yellow onions
2 TBSP butter
1 1/2 cups Breakstone's sour cream
8oz. Philadelphia cream cheese (softened)
1 TBSP fresh chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to your taste (optional)

Peel the onions, slice them and separate them into rings. In a skillet over medium heat add the butter--melt. Once butter is melted, add the onions--cook/stir over medium heat until onions are tender and caramelized (it takes a long time--at least 20 minutes). Remove skillet from heat and allow onions to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, drain off any grease from the onions and chop all of the onions into bite sized pieces. In a bowl add sour cream and cream cheese--beat with a spoon until mixed and smooth. Add the chopped parsley, onion powder and Worcestershire sauce--stir well. Add the chopped onions--stir to mix. Taste--add salt and pepper if necessary--stir to mix. Serve with good quality crackers.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

#3248 - Parmesan Cauliflower

(by Shirley McNevich)

1 head of fresh cauliflower
1/4 cup cold butter
4 tsp. mayo (more if necessary)
4 tsp. French's yellow mustard (more if necessary)
garlic powder to your taste
fresh ground black pepper to your taste
3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Break the head of cauliflower into florets and steam them for 10-15 minutes. Carefully place the cauliflower florets on paper towels to soak up any extra moisture. In a bowl add mayo, mustard, garlic powder and black pepper--stir until mixed. Place the cauliflower pieces into a greased 8 x 8 glass baking dish. Use a pastry brush to spread the mayo mixture all over the cauliflower pieces. Cut the 1/4 cup of butter into small pieces and dot the butter pieces all over the tops of the cauliflower pieces. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese all over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until top is browned and bubbling. Let is sit a few minutes after removing it from the oven before serving.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

#3247 - Three Cheese Mexican Dip

(by Shirley McNevich)

2 - 8oz. containers Breakstone's sour cream
1 tsp. dill
2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Pace salsa
1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (more if you wish)
tortilla crackers

In a bowl add the sour cream, dill, dried parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, salsa and cheese--stir until well mixed. Serve with tortilla crackers.

#3246 - Pimento Dip

(by Shirley McNevich)

8oz. shredded yellow sharp cheddar cheese
8oz. shredded white cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped pimentos
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1 box Ritz roasted vegetable crackers

In a bowl add shredded yellow sharp cheese, shredded white cheddar cheese, chopped pimentos, mayo and celery salt--stir until well mixed. Serve with Ritz roasted vegetable crackers.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

#3245 - Pesto Ravioli

(by Shirley McNevich)

1lb. fresh OR frozen ravioli (it's ok if it's a little more than a pound)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup pesto sauce
shredded mozzarella cheese
fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Cook/drain ravioli according to bag directions. In a bowl add heavy cream and pesto sauce--stir until well mixed. Add the drained ravioli--stir carefully until coated. Spread the ravioli mixture into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese all over the top. Sprinkle fresh grated Parmesan cheese all over the top. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

#3244 - Tomato Egg Noodle Soup

(by Shirley McNevich)

10 plum tomatoes
3 TBSP butter
1 - 32oz. container Swanson vegetable broth (or make your own)
1 cup raw egg noodles (more if you wish)
2 cups milk
salt (if necessary)
fresh ground black pepper (to your taste)
fresh grated Parmesan cheese

In a blender add the tomatoes--blend until liquified. Remove any large skin pieces from the liquid tomatoes. In a large saucepan over low heat add butter--melt. Add tomato liquid while stirring. Add vegetable broth--stir until mixed. Add egg noodles and salt/pepper to your taste--turn heat to medium and cook/stir until noodles are tender. Turn heat back to simmer--add milk and stir until well mixed. Simmer for 5 minutes. When ready to serve, divide mixture into bowls and top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Friday, September 05, 2014

#3243 - Fruit Coffee Cake

(by Becky Lynn Mohr - friend)

1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1 can of any fruit or berry pie filling

In a mixer add white sugar, baking powder, salt, canola oil, eggs and flour--beat until mixed, then beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour 2/3 of the batter into a greased 9 x 13 cake pan. Spoon the whole can of pie filling over the batter. Pour the rest of the batter over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Cool completely.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

#3242 - Barbeque Ranch Dipping Sauce

(by Shirley McNevich)

1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup Breakstone's sour cream
3 TBSP Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix
1/2 cup of your favorite barbeque sauce

In a bowl add mayo, sour cream, ranch powder and barbeque sauce--stir until well mixed. Use as a dip with tortilla chips or french fries.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

#3241 - Parmesan Cheese Spread

(by Shirley McNevich)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup softened Philadelphia cream cheese
1 cup softened butter
3 tsp. Italian seasoning
garlic powder (to your taste)

In a bowl add softened cream cheese and softened butter--stir until well mixed. Add grated Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning--stir until well mixed. Add a little garlic powder at a time and stir to mix--taste and add more as needed. Use as a spread for homemade bread or good quality crackers.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

#3240 - Bagel Chips

(by Shirley McNevich)

stale bagels
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder (more if you wish)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Use a large bread knife and, cutting sideways, slice each stale bagel into thin (1/8" thick) slices. Place the bagel slices in a single layer on greased cookie sheets. In a bowl add olive oil, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese and salt/pepper (to your taste). Use a pastry brush to brush the top side only of all the bagel slices. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely. Note: the thinner you are able to slice the bagels, the crispier they will get. Also you need to cool them completely to give them time to crisp up.

Monday, September 01, 2014

#3239 - Grilled Vegetables

(by Shirley McNevich)

1 large sweet onion (separated into rings, then slice rings in half)
1 red bell pepper (cut into strips, then cut strips in half)
1 green bell pepper (cut into strips, then cut strips in half)
olive oil

In a large bowl add sliced onion pieces and bell pepper strips--add a few TBSP of olive oil, then toss to coat. Add more olive oil if necessary. Rip off two large pieces of aluminum foil and spray them with Pam. Dump half of the onions/peppers mixture into the center of each greased piece of foil. Pull up all four sides to make a packet but leave the very top slightly open. Turn outdoor grill to medium and place the packets on the middle or top rack for about 15-20 minutes. After 15-20 minutes, leave the packets on the middle or top rack and while you grill your meats on the lower racks. When your meats are done, remove the onions/peppers packets and dump the contents into a serving bowl to use as toppings for your meats. Cooking them this length will still leave them a little crispy--if you don't like them crispy, move the packets to the bottom rack and continue cooking until tender. You can also substitute other vegetables such as yellow bell peppers, orange bell peppers, squash zucchini, etc.