It’s been a busy and beautiful three-day 4th of July weekend and one Barrington family is planning to end the holiday with a bang! The entire Van Dam family gathers for dinner (almost) every Sunday of the year. It’s a tradition they’ve cherished for more than a decade and they’ll be bringing some culinary fireworks to tonight’s dinner table. Chef Kaia (Van Dam) Kraus is sharing the secret to their weekly family summertime fun with the latest post in our Heinen’s Sunday Supper series. Heinen’s recently gave Kaia a gift card for food to prepare a special family meal and her menu looks amazing!
Summertime Van Dam Family Dinners
by Kaia (Van Dam) Kraus, Barrington native, CrossFit Coach & Mother-of-three
Dinner for 17 (nine of whom are kids)… I’m not sure if that sounds like a party or a headache to you, but for me and my family it’s cherished time that allows us to focus on family and reconnect when life’s busy schedules have us all running in many directions. It is the keystone to our week.
Our Sunday Supper tradition began 12 years ago after my first son was born. I think my parents were just trying to give us a break and create an excuse to see the baby. Not long after that both my sisters moved back to Barrington and started their families, too.
Dinners were a little more sophisticated and a lot less noisy back then. But with our large brood gathered in my parent’s kitchen, Sunday dinners have become more boisterous and free flowing. That is why we focus on simple, healthy and easy to prepare meals.
The trick to this menu planning is making a lot of different taste buds happy. A menu that allows each person to build his or her own meal is key. This week a traditional summer cookout satisfies the discerning tastes of the four-year old, the more complex tastes of adults and our Paleo eaters alike. What starts as simple grilled burgers and hotdogs gains a lot of wow with some flavorful, easy to prepare additions like these sriracha bacon onion rings.
Burgers are made from Heinen’s organic ground beef and can be garnished with grilled pineapple and onions, a spicy avocado spread and topped with a bun or lettuce. For the kids grilled Eisenburg Black Angus sirloin franks are a healthier and tastier choice than typical store bought hotdogs.
Roasting summer’s bounty of fresh vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt adds sweetness and depth of flavor to the mix of whatever is in season. Tossing these in the oven at 375’ for about 20 minutes while prepping the sides results in a quick and beautiful addition to the plate. Roasted vegetables are also wonderful at room temperature, which takes off the stress of meal timing.
Our Paleo eaters often avoid cookout staples such as white potatoes and corn, but sweet potatoes are a delicious and easy substitution. These chili-lime seasoned wedges go on the grill just before the meat on the upper rack. Paleo eating, in its simplest definition means grains, dairy, sugar and legumes are eliminated from the diet. The Paleo plates are filled high with vegetables and a serving of lean meat or fish.
When it comes to dessert, we keep it easy with dishes like fresh blueberries topped with homemade whipped cream and a drizzle of pure organic maple syrup plus a plate of Heinen’s all-butter chocolate chip cookies for the kids.
An added bonus to easy desserts and grilling is spending less time with food prep and clean-up in the kitchen and more time having fun outside. The adults catch up as cousins run around playing kickball and keep-away together, making summer memories that will last a lifetime.
Heinen’s Grocery is located at 500 N. Hough Street, between E. Main Street and Route 14 (next to Meathead’s) in Barrington, Illinois. They’re open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit Heinens.com.
About the Author
Kaia Kraus grew up in Barrington and currently lives in the Village with her husband Matt and three boys.
She is also a coach at CrossFit Barrington and works with clients seeking better overall fitness through regular exercise and habits for a more healthy lifestyle. “CrossFit has given me an outlet to feel the sense of accomplishment from a challenge outside of the daily rigmarole. I walk out of CrossFit feeling like I can tackle the day and whatever it and the boys will throw at me. CrossFit empowers me, makes me feel strong, makes me feel pride in what my body can do.”
Here’s a closer look at Kaia’s Heinen’s Sunday Supper Recipes…
Grilled Pineapple Burgers with Spicy Avocado Spread
Adapted from paleomg.com
1lb Grass Fed Ground Beef
1 pineapple, cored and sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced into thin rings
juice of 1 lime
juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon hot sauce (your favorite will do)
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of salt
Place onions, burgers, and pineapple on the grill at the same time.
Avoid putting onions directly over the flame.
While the ingredients are on the grill, make your spicy avocado spread.
Use food processor to cream the avocado. Once creamy add the next six ingredients.
Grilled Chili-Lime Sweet Potato Wedges
Adapted from paleomg.com
2 sweet potato
4 tablespoons choice of fat (I use olive oil)
juice of 4 limes
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste
Place your sweet potatoes in a large pot with water that completely covers it.
Over medium heat, let the sweet potatoes cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
When cooled, cut it into wedges.
Toss the sweet potatoes in a bowl with the remaining ingredients.
Place on the top rack grill for about 15 minutes, turning them over half way through cooking.
Salt and pepper to taste while potatoes are still hot. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Sriracha Bacon Onion Rings
Adapted from halfbakedcooks.com
2-3 large Vidalia onions
4-6 tbsp sriracha hot sauce
1 lb bacon
1 cup brown sugar (optional)
2 toothpicks per O-ring (skewers would be better)
Line a metal baking pan with aluminum foil.
Place a cookie cooling rack or roasting rack on top of the pan to allow the juices to drip down.
Peel the onions and slice into 1/2 inch rings.
Remove the centermost portion of the rings, leaving at least 2-3 layers per ‘O’.
Brush each O-ring with sriracha.
Pour brown sugar into medium sized glass bowl and dip a slice of bacon in the sugar, coating gently on each side.
Wrap the slice of bacon around an O-ring and secure with toothpick or skewer
Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, gently turn each O-ring, and place back in oven. Bake for another 20-30 minutes or until crisp