I think it is safe to say that one of the ways to a Dad's heart really is through his stomach. Knowing this, I took some quick opinions of the fathers I know and came up with a dinner menu to please even the pickiest of Dads. I also have some quick ideas for jazzing up your celebration. The best memories are created not by fretting over perfection, but by the laughter and love that is present as family members join together to make Dad's day a special celebration.

Decorating Ideas

Buy one poster board for each child, plus paint, markers and construction paper. Fold each poster board in half and crease to create a giant card. Let each child sit on the lawn, picnic table or floor and make Dad a special greeting.

Buy paper plates, napkins and cups in a theme for Dad, but instead of using a Father's Day design choose something fun such as race cars, ocean animals or whatever the family thinks he would enjoy. Let Dad be a kid for the day too!

Buy flowers for Dad! Bouquets can be picked up inexpensively at most grocery stores. Men like flowers too!

These are just a few fun ideas, but you can pick a theme and continue to use it throughout the entire day.

The Menu:

Country Style Ribs
Homemade Cornbread
Sweet Coleslaw
Corn on the Cob
Crumb Apple Pie

Country Style Ribs

Ingredients:

4 pounds country style ribs
BBQ Sauce-Dad's favorite
salt and pepper to season
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder

Combine the vinegar, water and spices in a shaker bottle or a bowl (use brush to baste).Cut ribs into 1 rib portions. Place a large piece of foil over the coals to catch drippings. Place ribs on grill about 6 inches above coals, or gas grill unit. Season with salt and pepper. Close hood and cook for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the ribs, turn them, and sprinkle or baste the other side. Repeat this every 10 minutes; closing the hood in between basting. Cook a total of 50 minutes, then brush on the bottled sauce the last 15 minutes or until the ribs are done. Makes 8 servings.

Sweet Cole Slaw

Ingredients:

1 large head green cabbage, shredded
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise or salad dressing
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar

optional: one handful of chopped chives or green onions

In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, carrots and green pepper. In another bowl, mix salad dressing, or mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. Spoon the dressing over the cabbage mixture. Store, covered, in the refrigerator. Add chives or onions just before serving. Makes 8 cups coleslaw.

Homemade Cornbread

Ingredients:

3 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
1/4 cup oil
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups creamed corn

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9x13 baking pan. Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl. Combine the milk, yogurt, melted butter, oil and eggs in another bowl. Add to the cornmeal mixture. Stir until just combined. Stir in creamed corn. Pour batter into the greased pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack. Note: You can make this the day before, and store covered.

Corn on the Cob

Allow 2 ears per person. Choose fresh green husked corn without blemishes. Put on a large pot of water to boil. Husk the corn and remove silk. Place in pan so it is just covered with water. Cook 3-5 minutes. You can also start with cold water and cook until water reaches boiling, then remove corn. Serve with butter, salt and pepper. For a special treat mix a stick of butter with a tablespoon of finely chopped chives the night before, so the flavors have time to develop.

Crumb Apple Pie

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/4 cup ice water

Filling:
7 medium Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt

Topping:
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup chilled butter or margarine, cut into pieces

Place rack on lowest position. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To prepare crust; in a medium bowl mix together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives (I also use my fingers) cut shortening into flour mixture until course crumbs form. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork, until a dough forms. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes. On a floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 12 inch circle. Fit into a 9 inch pie plate. Trim dough, leaving a 1 inch overhang; pinch a decorative edge.

To prepare filling; peel, core and very thinly slice the apples. Mix together with other filling ingredients. Spoon into crust.

For topping, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut butter into mixture until course crumbs form. Sprinkle apple filling evenly with topping. Bake pie until topping is lightly browned and filling is bubbly, 35 minutes. If pie is overbrowning, cover loosely with foil. Cool on a wire rack. 8 servings

About the Author:
Brenda Hyde is a work at home mom and owner of Seeds of Knowledge