When it’s hot, I don’t know about you, but I don’t even really feel like eating, much less cooking or even meal planning.
I try not to use the oven in summer to further heat up our poorly insulated house. Our kitchen and adjacent dining-living room are like greenhouses, and in the warmer months, I have to shut all the blinds and curtains to maintain a semblance of coolness.
Once our garden kicks off, we eat from that often. Tomatoes, beans, squash, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, lettuces. We eat steamed or sautéed or grilled – or just raw.
Some of my favorite summer recipes:
Grilled Romaine Lettuce. Who’d ’a thunk it?
Cut the lettuce in half lengthwise. Spritz with EVOO. Lightly grill the lettuce for just a little char. Plate it up warm with some crumbled cheese (blue is good!), balsamic or flavored vinegar, bacon bits, candied nuts, dried fruit bits. Ah-may-zing!
So simple and pow! flavor. Tomatoes. Fresh mozzarella. Basil. EVOO and balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper. Slice it up. Cube it. Make it pretty. Mix it up. Try different colored tomatoes and flavored oils and vinegars for something special.
Slice or cube veggies: yellow squash, zucchini, bell peppers of any color, sweet onions, eggplant. Grill or sauté with EVOO or coconut oil to desired doneness. Serve up with a spritz of lemon, and a pinch of “house” seasoning – salt, pepper, garlic powder.
1. Any veggies of choice. I love the Ratatouille ones above on pizza! Grill veggies and then top a par-cooked pizza crust. Add goat cheese and/or sauce. Grill with indirect heat until cheese melts a bit. Voilà!
2. My kids love grilled pizza too. They don’t care for many veggies on their pizza, but prefer meat. So, just sauté up some sausage or slice up some pepperoni. Top with bacon bits or ham. Sauce and cheese. Grill with indirect heat until cheese melts. Happy kids!
3. Fig, prosciutto, and goat cheese pizza. Insanity. Seriously. Use blackberry jam for “sauce.” I also love the figs scored, stuffed with herb goat cheese, wrapped in prosciutto, grilled just a bit, then drizzled with honey and almonds. Yum!
I suggest wearing gloves or being very, very careful. Cut the stems off and halve jalapenos. Scrape out seeds (I use a grapefruit spoon). Add a little scoop of a cream cheese. Slap a lil smoky on there. Wrap it in bacon. Put ‘em in a smoker for a couple hours or grill over indirect heat. Make lots of new friends. These are insanely good and not that spicy.
For kid snacks or to impress a dinner party! Hollow out cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, you name it…mix a cream cheese with fresh dill and top with bacon bits. You’re welcome. It’s amazing. Set out pita or tortilla chips and cut up fresh veggies for dipping.
You can also make a healthy homemade ranch dressing: plain Greek yogurt (or a mix of buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon, EVOO), dill, parsley, chives, minced fresh garlic, minced shallot or sweet onion, salt and pepper.
Ices, Smoothies, Milkshakes.
On a super hot day, we love making our own slushy drinks. So much healthier than that colorful chemical snow cone hut on the corner in town!
Add 1 cup ice to blender. sweetener of choice (we just like a simple syrup or honey). choice of fruit: watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, any citrus juices. Try mixing new and fun flavors!
You could add kefir or yogurt for a different texture and flavor.
We love making milkshakes too! My personal favorite is leftover coffee, homemade ice cream, a few ice cubes, homemade chocolate syrup, cinnamon. Frothy and delicious. Kate likes plain vanilla, so I just leave out the coffee and chocolate syrup. Add some milk or cream to make it go farther.
You can also freeze the mix in some fun silicone push ups for homemade popsicles!
What are some of your favorite summer recipes?
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