Make-ahead food for leisurely summer entertaining

Whether at the cabin, entertaining on the back deck or for busy farm seasons, food prepared ahead of time frees up the cook to enjoy the fun or help with the work.

Barbecue slow cooker beef dip

Beef roast is browned on the barbecue and then cooked in a flavourful broth. The sliced meat is served on lightly toasted crusty rolls along with the broth or “au jus” as a tasty dip. Serves 10-12

  • 6 lb. sirloin tip roast with good marbling 3 kg


  • 1/2 c. canola oil 125 mL
  • 2 tsp. garlic, finely chopped 10 mL
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, roughly chopped 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped 15 mL
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon or grainy mustard 30 mL
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper 5 mL
  • 355 mL can Pepsi or dark beer


  • 1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. garlic, finely chopped 10 mL
  • 3 c. beef stock 750 mL
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 45 mL
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce 45 mL
  • 2 tbsp. prepared mustard 30 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper 2 mL

To serve:

  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 12 mushrooms, sliced
  • 12-18 crusty rolls, lightly toasted

To marinate roast:

Cut roast in half and place both pieces in a large sealable bag. In a medium bowl, mix all marinade ingredients to combine. Pour over roast in bag, squeeze bag to remove air and seal. Massage marinade over meat to evenly coat. Place in a bowl and refrigerate four to six hours or overnight.

To cook roast:

Preheat barbecue to 450 F (230 C).

Drain marinade from roast and discard. Place roast on preheated barbecue, cover and brown all sides, or brown in large Dutch oven or frying pan.

Place onions in a frying pan and sauté over medium heat until softened and lightly browned, about five minutes. Add garlic and sauté for one minute.

Transfer roast to a six quart (6 L) slow cooker. Combine broth, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix. Add to roast and spoon onion garlic mixture over roast.

Cover and cook on low for four hours. Remove bay leaves. Remove roast and thinly slice. Return sliced meat to the slow cooker and continue to cook for additional two hours.

To serve roast:

Place onions in a frying pan and sauté over medium heat until softened and lightly browned, about five minutes, remove and keep warm. In the same pan, sauté mushrooms over medium heat until cooked.

Remove meat slices from broth with a slotted spoon, place in a heated serving bowl to keep warm.

Strain broth, if desired, and season to taste, return to slow cooker to keep hot. Provide small bowls of broth for dipping.

Serve with crusty rolls.

This is a family favourite recipe.

No knead crusty rolls

Makes: 16 rolls

  • 5 c. bread flour or all-purpose flour, sifted 1.25 L
  • 1 tsp. quick-rise yeast 5 mL
  • 2 tsp. salt 10 mL
  • 2 1/2 c. hot tap water (up to 130° F)

Sift flour before measuring to add air and lighten the flour. In large bowl combine dry ingredients. Stir in water. Mixture will be thick and sticky.

Cover with plastic wrap and let stand on counter for three hours.

After three hours, the mixture will be puffy and bubbly on top. Place wet sticky dough on a well-floured surface and with floured hands or a scraper fold dough over about 12 times, adding enough flour so it doesn’t stick, maximum four tablespoons (60 mL).

Pat dough into a circle, use a sharp knife to cut dough into two pieces. Pat each into a circle and cut into eight pieces.

With floured hands, shape each piece into a ball by folding and tucking the dough to the underside of the ball.

Place on parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and cover with a tea towel. Let stand at room temperature for 35 minutes. The rolls will puff up but will not double in size.

Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C). Place a cake pan in the bottom of the oven and fill with water. The steam will help the surface of the rolls become crusty. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Rolls freeze well. To thaw and re-crisp, place frozen rolls directly on oven rack in a preheated 325 F (160 C) oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Adapted from

Blueberry coleslaw

This make-ahead slaw is enhanced with the flavour of fresh berries.

  • 1/2 c. cider vinegar125 mL
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened apple or cranberry juice 125 mL
  • 2 tsp. sugar 10 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper 1 mL
  • 4 c. shredded cabbage, could use a combination of green and red cabbage 1L
  • 2 c. broccoli slaw mix 500 mL
  • 1-1/2 c. blueberries or fresh sliced strawberries 375 mL

In a large bowl, combine vinegar, apple juice, sugar, salt, celery salt and pepper; add cabbage and broccoli slaw. Toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least eight hours or overnight, stirring occasionally. Just before serving add blueberries. Adapted from Taste of Home

Cinnamon yogurt fruit dip

Make a batch of this dip to serve with fresh fruit for a quick and refreshing dessert or snack. Serves two to three.

  • 1 c. plain Greek yogurt 250 mL
  • 3 tbsp. honey, melted 45 mL
  • Or 2 tbsp. maple syrup 30 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1 mL

Serve with a selection of apples, banana slices, strawberries, orange sections, grapes, raspberries, blackberries, pineapple chunks, kiwi, blueberries and/or pears.

Stir yogurt, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla together. Taste, and adjust honey, vanilla or cinnamon as desired. Store in tightly sealed container in refrigerator for up to five days. Stir well before serving. Serve with a selection of fresh fruits. Adapted from

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact:

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