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From Our Grill To Yours: Happy Independence Day!

June 20, 2013

The Fourth of July holiday marks a  much needed break from the hustle and bustle of the summer aid season. Whether you’re celebrating with family, friends, or fireworks, Nelnet Partner Solutions wants to make sure that you’ve got the best food to munch while celebrating America’s 237th birthday! We’ve compiled our regional directors’ tastiest recipes to inspire your holiday cookout. From our team to yours, Happy Fourth!

Kristi Jones, Southern Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Kristi Jones, Southern Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Kristi’s Corn Dip


2 cans (15 1/2 oz) corn, drained

1 cup light sour cream

1 cup mayo

1 package finely grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 block pepper jack cheese, grated

1 small can green chili pepper, diced

1/2 cup green onions, chopped


Combine ingredients and chill. Serve with Frito’s Scoops.

Matt Heng, Communications & Social Media Intern, Nelnet

Matt Heng, Communications & Social Media Intern, Nelnet

Matt’s Raspberry Razzmatazz Salad


1 package raspberry Jello

1 cup boiling water

1 10 oz package of frozen raspberries

1 15 oz can of applesauce

1 package miniature marshmallows

8 0z sour cream

Assorted fresh berries for garnish


Dissolve Jello in boiling water. Add frozen raspberries and applesauce. Stir until mixed and chill in a 9×13 glass dish until solid. In a separate bowl, stir together 1/2 package of marshmallows and sour cream. Let stand for several hours or over night, then stir until smooth, spread on raspberry mixture, and refrigerate until serving. Before serving, decorate with fresh berries in your favorite patriotic pattern (flags, stars, USA, etc).

Jodi Miller, Web & Social Media Manager, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Jodi Miller, Web & Social Media Manager, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Jodi’s Citrus Kebabs


4 chicken breasts, skinned and boned


30-40 shrimp, peeled and deveined

Large onion(s)

Bell peppers


Any other fruits or veggies (above suggestions pair well with citrus marinade)

Wood or metal skewers


Finely grated rind and juice of 1/2 orange

Finely grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon or lime

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons clear honey

2 tablespoons freshly chopped mint

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste


Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes. Mix marinade ingredients together in large mixing bowl, add chicken or shrimp (if using both, marinate separately). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.

Cut veggies and fruit into 1 inch cubes. Thread chicken, shrimp, veggies, and fruit onto skewers and cook on medium barbecue for 10 minutes, basting with marinade and turning frequently. If using wooden skewers, pre-soak 30 minutes in water to avoid charring.

Dawn Knight, National Manager, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Dawn Knight, National Manager, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Pineapple Upside-Dawn Muffins

This recipe can be made with either standard or jumbo muffin tins. Yields 8 standard or 6 jumbo muffins


2 eggs

2/3 cup white sugar

4 tablespoons pineapple juice

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 can pineapple rings

6 maraschino cherries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray.

Combine eggs, white sugar, and pineapple juice in mixing bowl and beat for 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix for 2 minutes.

In a small saucepan, melt butter and add brown sugar. Stir on low heat for one minute. Spoon a layer of the brown sugar mixture into the bottom of each muffin tin, then place a pineapple ring on top (if using standard muffin tins, you will have to cut rings down or use pineapple tidbits). Add a cherry to the middle of each ring. Pour cake mixture to fill muffin tin 3/4 of the way full.

Bake jumbo cakes for 25 minutes and standard cakes for 20 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 3 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each cake to loosen from the pan. Place a wire cooling rack on top of the pan, and quickly flip the tin over a sheet pan to catch extra drippings. Leave cakes wire rack/sheet pan combo to cool.

Don Buehrer, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Don Buehrer, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Don’s Crispy Chicken Salad


3 cups chicken, cooked and cubed

1 cup celery, chopped

4 small green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Mayonnaise or salad dressing

2 cups chow mein noodles


Combine chicken, celery, onion, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce. Mix in mayonnaise or salad dressing to taste. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill thoroughly. Before serving, add almonds and chow mein noodles. Add more mayonnaise to moisten if needed. Serves 4

Dan Dreves, Northeast Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Dan Dreves, Northeast Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Beth Dreve’s Pasta Fagioli


1 1/2 teaspoons oil

1 to 1 1/2 lbs ground beef

3/4 cup onion, chopped

3/4 cup carrots, slivered

3/4 cup celery, diced

24 oz canned, diced tomatoes

2 cups dry red kidney or white beans

44 oz beef stock

1 1/2 teaspoons oregano

1 1/4 teaspoons salt and pepper, or to taste

2 1/2 teaspoons flat leaf parsley, freshly chopped

1 teaspoon Tabasco

24 oz spaghetti sauce, Bertolli Garlic, Romano, or Italian Sausage suggested

1 cup dry tubular pasta, Ditalini or other

4 chicken bouillon cubes

1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, or to taste

Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano

Large capacity crockpot


Soak beans overnight, then simmer on stove in water until beans are soft. Drain and add to crockpot.

In a separate pan, sauté ground beef until browned. Add salt, onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes. Simmer together for ~10 minutes then add to crockpot. Add beef stock, oregano, pepper, Tabasco, spaghetti sauce, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Simmer on low for 8 hours until celery and carrots are tender.

Cook pasta with chicken bouillon cubes and drain. Add pasta to each portion when served. Makes 4.5 qts

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