Creating a Sense of Community in Northeast Tennessee & Southwest Virginia

Knock It Out Of The Park For Dad

Knock it out of the park this Father’s Day with an All-American Lunch! Dad will sure love your creativity for this early summer celebration. Turn his love for the game into a baseball -themed luncheon guaranteed to make your dad’s big day a smash-hit!

Break out the patriotic red, white and blue and transform the back yard into a field-of-dreams for dad’s special day. The dining table becomes the infield with a layer of faux turf as the tablecloth while a ball & glove, helmet and bat are grouped together as the centerpiece. In keeping with the All-American pastime Mason jars are painted white with red stitches to resemble a base ball that holds utensils in their place and later the beverage. Red and white placemats and checked napkins add star-spangled panache to the classic white dinner plate. Boxed Old Fashioned Cracker Jack and miniature Baby Ruth Candy Bars greet dad and family members as they approach the pre-set table and place settings. Step up to the plate and take a swing at this simple menu for a Father’s Day lunch. The ballpark food includes Corn Dogs, Hamburger Sliders, and French Fries. The hamburger sliders are filled with Worcester sauce, Jalapeno Ranch dressing, and cumin. Prepared mustard is spread on both sides of the raw burger before grilling creating a seal that keeps the hamburgers moist on the inside. Toasted slider buns are layered with leafy green lettuce, ground sirloin burger topped with Pepper Jack cheese, sliced red onions and tomatoes, making this stacked slider a home run. You could serve regular sized burgers instead of the mini sliders, but with the corn dog and French fries the slider covers the bases.

Not to throw a menu curve ball, but you might want to bake an extra batch of the Brown Sugar Bacon Fries. Crispy thin frozen fries are baked and sprinkled with sea salt and brown sugar granules. Bacon strips are coated with black pepper and brown sugar during the baking process that adds a sweet, salty, and spicy flavor to ordinary fries. Serve these fries in a blue star-studded paper cone with sticks of sweet peppered bacon making this side dish a grand slam!

The Corn Dogs are made with a semi-thick batter and deep-fried to golden perfection. Long chopsticks are inserted in to the all-beef hot dogs and provide the most stable support for frying. When making corn dogs, you need to coat each hot dog with cornstarch first then coat with the batter. If the batter is too thick the inside batter will not be evenly cooked for the outside of the batter will brown very quickly in the hot canola oil. If the batter is to thin and you don’t coat the hot dogs with cornstarch the batter will not stick to the hot dog. You also need to serve these dogs as soon as they come out of the fryer or keep in a low temperature oven to stay crisp. If by chance you splash hot oil on you hands during the frying process, cornstarch makes a great calming and healing treatment.

What is more American than a Cherry or Apple Pie? Mini Lemon Cherry Pies are easy to assemble and serve. Greek yogurt and Lemon Curd are creamed together for the filling of the mini graham cracker crust pies. Canned cherry pie filling covers the top of the custard making these desserts one for the record. Keep the pies refrigerated until ready to serve, the red cherry pies presented on a white serving platter complements the red, white and blue color scheme and tastes great after all the fried foods. This special occasion meal is on the greasy side so if you want to lighten it up, change the corn dogs to regular hot dogs with maybe a side of kraut and skip the fries.

A baseball game isn’t the same without peanuts and root beer. Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer sports the dark bottles with its brand label, “America’s Premier Root Beer”. Soak a few shelled peanuts in a cold brew of root beer for a refreshing beverage anytime during this special day of celebration.

America’s favorite pastime inspires fans of all ages, especially dads who love the game. So batter up… get a game plan and go for the triple play. Serve the first pitch to your team for celebrating your dad’s day with an easy to prepare All-American menu. As you wind up your lunch celebration take a moment to let your dad know that he is one of your favorite all-time MVD’s…most valuable dad.

All-American Corn Dog

1 cup all purpose flour
2/3-cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 -teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons shortening, melted
1 egg
1 3/4 cup evaporated milk
8-10 all beef hot dogs
1/4 cup cornstarch
8-10 chopsticks
1-48 ounce canola oil


Place . cup cornstarch in pie plate and set aside. Pat dry hot dogs with paper towel. Insert one chopstick into one end of hot dog. Roll hot dog in cornstarch to completely cover dog. Dust off excess cornstarch. Set aside. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan heat canola oil over medium high heat until temperature reaches 360 degrees. Line a baking sheet with paper towel and wire cooling rack, set aside until dogs are fried.

In large mixing bowl add flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, dry mustard and salt. Stir to combine. In separate bowl combine milk, egg and shortening; add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients stirring until batter is medium consistency. If too batter is too thick hot dogs will brown too fast and will not bake coating, if too thin, batter will not stay on the dog while deep fat frying. Dip dogs into batter, then fry in saucepan turning dog to evenly brown, being careful not to burn your self or the end of the hot dog. Remove and place on baking rack to drain. Serve immediately with spicy mustard or topping of choice.

Yield: 8-10 corn dogs

Jalapeno-Jack Ranch Sliders

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Jalapeno Ranch Dressing *tested Litehouse
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
4 slices Pepper Jack Cheese
4 slices tomato
4 pieces green leaf lettuce
4 slices red onions
4 slider buns* tested Pepperidge Farms
Mustard, Ketchup, Mayo as desired
Garnish: sweet pickle chips, cherry tomatoes and decorative flag

In medium bowl, combine sirloin, sauce, and spices. Form into patties, coat with mustard and grill medium high heat 350-400 degrees 5-6 minutes or until well done. Serve on buns with lettuce, burger, cheese, tomato, & onion. Garnish with pickles, cherry tomatoes on a skewer or decorative flag.

Yield: 4 burgers

Mini Lemon Cherry Pies

2 cups Greek yogurt
1/4 cup lemon curd-tested Dickinson’s Lemon Curd
4 Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crusts-tested Keebler
1-20 ounce Cherry Pie Filling-tested Comstock

In medium mixing bowl combine lemon curd and yogurt blend until smooth. Fill 4 mini crusts with filling and add cherry pie filling to each mini pie. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve with whipped cream if desired. Keep refrigerated.

Yield: 4 mini pies

Brown Sugar Peppered Bacon Fries

1-(26-oz) bag frozen shoestring French fries* tested Ore Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries
1-(12-oz) package thick sliced bacon
1-cup packed dark brown sugar
1-teaspoon cracked black pepper
1-teaspoon coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a small baking rack inside baking pan. Spray foil and baking rack with nonstick cooking spray. Place bacon slices on baking rack, sprinkle with cracked pepper. Bake 3 minutes turn over slices and bake 3 additional minutes. Sprinkle dark brown sugar over one side of the bacon slices, continue baking until bacon is crisp. Remove from oven and cool.

On separate foil lined baking sheet spray with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange frozen fries in a single layer on prepared baking sheet bake 20-25 minutes until crispy brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt and extra brown sugar granules, toss to coat. Serve warm with bacon in strips or crumble bacon tossed with fries.

Yield: 10-12 servings

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Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tri-cities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIPSEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to or