Barbecued chicken and roasted potatoes done up right. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at or 504-0545.

Back when I was a little kid with skinned knees, freckles and cowlicks, these grilled chicken and potatoes were the stars of my favorite summer meal. Served with lettuce and corn from our garden, it was supper made repeatedly during those idyllic summers of the ’60s.

The chicken was marinated in this sweet and sour sauce all day – I can’t remember ever seeing a bottle of store-bought barbecue sauce in our cupboards. To grill the chicken, Dad built a wood fire in the outdoor barbeque pit he had built himself.

I loved the accompanying potatoes cooked Dad’s summertime way, with their beautifully browned skins and sliced, fluffy soft insides. Mom placed a pat of butter and sliver of onion between each slice and added garlic salt and pepper before wrapping the potatoes tightly in foil. At the time, we had never heard of “Hasselback potatoes,” we simply knew them as “Dad’s potatoes” and thought he was a very clever guy.

Dad placed the spuds right in the wood coals and after they got a head start, he watched over the chicken, basting it until cooked to perfection. Our delicious summer meal was often served at the long table on the screened-in patio while the sky glowed pink.

For dessert, there were slices of watermelon, strawberry shortcake or roasted marshmallows. But occasionally, when our busy mother had the time to put it together, we had this ribbon pudding dessert that was made ahead and chilled.

My favorite pudding flavor for this dessert is chocolate, garnished with chocolate syrup, but lemon with fresh raspberries on top is delicious, too. You can also use vanilla pudding and fold fresh berries or chopped peaches into it, or just decorate the top with fruit. If you don’t want to use Cool Whip, whipped cream works just fine in this recipe but doesn’t keep as long if there are leftovers. (There probably won’t be.)


Mom’s grilled chicken

1 (10.75 ounce) can tomato soup

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup apple-cider vinegar

1 small onion, diced

Salt and pepper, to taste


12 chicken drumsticks and/or thighs

In a bowl, whisk all ingredients except the chicken together to combine. Marinate chicken in a covered container in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. When ready to grill, wrap the chicken in foil – three pieces each in four foil squares – spoon marinade over chicken, then seal tightly. Grill on a 375-degree gas grill or over hot coals, turning often until tender. Unwrap and finish directly on the grill until the skin is crisp and temperature at the chicken pieces’ meatiest point is 180 degrees when checked with a meat thermometer.

Yield: 4 servings

Dad’s summer potatoes

4 russet potatoes

1 small onion, thinly sliced

4 tablespoons butter, divided


Garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper

Grated cheese and sour cream for garnish, optional

Scrub potatoes and pat dry. Cut in slices nearly all the way through. Place on squares of heavy-duty foil. Season with garlic salt and pepper and a tablespoon of butter each. Place onion slices on the potato in the foil and wrap tightly, sealing at the seams and ends. Place on a hot gas grill set at 375 degrees or in white-hot coals for 1 hour or more, turning every 15 minutes, taking care not to puncture foil. Cook until potatoes are golden brown on the outside and soft on the inside.

Yield: 4 servings

Ribbon pudding dessert


1 1/4 cups flour


1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

1 1/4 sticks butter, diced

Mix all ingredients together in a buttered 9-by-12-inch glass baking pan. Firmly press mixture on the bottom of pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool.

Layer one

1 cup powdered sugar

8 ounces softened cream cheese


1 (16-ounce) container Cool Whip, divided, or 

Alternative: 1 cup whipping cream, whipped to measure 2 cups; plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, divided

Combine powdered sugar and cream cheese with 1 cup Cool Whip. If using whipping cream, combine with granulated sugar and vanilla, then combine with powdered sugar and cream cheese. Spread onto cooled crust.

Layer two

2 (3.9-ounce) boxes instant chocolate pudding

2 cups cold milk


Combine with an electric mixer. Spread on top of cream cheese layer. (You can keep going with other flavors of pudding and more layers if you would like – just chill between each additional one.)


Spread the remaining Cool Whip on top and garnish with chopped nuts, grated chocolate, chocolate syrup, sprinkles or fruit.


Yield: 10 servings

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