Grilled chicken breasts with thyme, garlic and lemon slices on a grill pan close up
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Recipes to make Father’s Day get-togethers special.

Is it possible that life is returning to a semblance of normal? You can watch the Tigers in person with 100% capacity at Comerica Park. You can go many more places maskless, and people are gathering again.

While we may feel we can get in the car and actually eat out — in a restaurant — chances are many are happy at home with extended family, either because there is still trepidation or because all the eateries are full, full, full.

So, since many of us want to spend the day on the lake, on the links or lounging, with Father’s Day just a few days away, it seems only fitting to offer up quick and easy recipes for easy eats.

Family cookouts with grill involvement are extremely popular on Father’s Day. Of course, shaping raw beef into a patty is the simplest recipe for hamburgers. Stick a small ice cube into the center of the raw beef for extra-juiciness (the ice melts as the beef cooks, making light pink centers easy). And use my foolproof grilling glaze by mixing 2/3 cup store-bought Italian salad dressing and 1/3 cup soy sauce and brushing this over the burgers as they cook. Unless you actually craft your own hot dogs, simply charred lightly (or not so lightly) on all sides is the best way to prepare kosher dogs.

Here are some other food options to add to your dad’s day.

Pulled Barbecue Turkey

If you don’t like turkey, use chicken breast.

Ingredients

  • 2½ pounds boneless and skinless turkey breast, visible fat removed
  • 1½ cups your favorite barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. prepared Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1-2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. ground cayenne pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 325F.

Cut turkey breast into 3-inch chunks. Boil turkey in a large saucepan of boiling water over high until just cooked through.

Remove the turkey from the pot and put in the bowl of a stand mixer. “Mix” the turkey until it becomes shredded or shred the cooled turkey with your fingers. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Transfer to a baking dish. Cover with foil and cook for 1 hour or more until hot and saucy. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve on soft buns (I like pretzel buns). Makes 6 servings.

Lime and Cilantro Slaw

Ingredients

  • 6 cups shredded green or red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves (not chopped)

Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 3-4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. sugar (to taste)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss well. Makes 6 servings.

Brown Sugar and Garlic Grilled Chicken Breasts

Ingredients

  • 2½ pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts

Marinade:

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 2 tsp. fresh minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Directions

Trim visible fat from the chicken breasts. Place the chicken in a zipper-style bag and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well. Pour the mixture over the chicken and seal the bag. Turn the bag several times to coat the chicken. Chill the breasts for 30 minutes up to several hours.

Thirty minutes before serving (for hot chicken — you may also serve the grilled chicken chicken at room temperature), spray the cold grill with nonstick cooking spray and heat to medium-high. When the grill is hot, remove the chicken from the marinade and place the breasts on the hot grill (shake off excess marinade first). Grill until the meat is marked with grill lines and turn the chicken to mark the other side. Turn the meat again so that the grill marks are going the other way (to make square marks on the chicken). Cook until done, a total of about 12 minutes. Serve hot or warm, sliced or uncut.  Makes 6 servings.

Eggplant and Chopped Vegetable Salad with Feta Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
  • Olive oil for brushing on eggplant
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup — or more, use it all)
  • 1 cup diced, peeled and seeded cucumber (or English cucumber, unpeeled)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup feta cheese, cut in cubes or crumbled
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley (any kind)
  • ¼-½ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2-3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (to taste — start with 2 Tbsp).
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste (do this last — Feta cheese can be quite salty)
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat grill to medium-high. Cut the top off the eggplant and cut it into 1/4-inch-thick circles and brush with olive oil. You may also bake these on a rimmed baking sheet at 400° for 12-20 minutes (start watching at 12 minutes to make sure the eggplant is cooked through — depending on how thick you cut the eggplant).

Grill the eggplant and pepper until lightly charred and cooked though, about 10 minutes. Remove from the grill, transfer to a plate and allow to cool until just warm or cold. Cut the eggplant into ½-inch pieces/cubes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss well, Makes 6 or more large servings.

Key Lime Pie

Easy Key Lime Pie

Easy because it’s no-bake! Plus, this recipe uses regular (Persian) limes. Key limes are tiny, and I don’t think worth the effort to squeeze or juice.

Ingredients

  •   cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs, from about 12 whole graham crackers
  •   1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • OR 1 premade 9- or 10-inch  graham cracker crust (already in a foil pie tin)

Filling

  • 1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 pound (16 ounces – 2 packs) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice (or more if you like your pie very tart, like I do)

Directions

For the crust: Preheat oven to 375°. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter and stir with a fork or with your hands until the mixture is well combined. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom and sides of an attractive pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes, until just slightly browned. Let the crust cool completely.

For the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all the filling ingredients and mix until smooth and creamy.

Transfer the filling to the pie crust and smooth to fill. Cover and chill for several hours until set.

Cut into wedges and serve. Makes 8 or more servings.