20 Recipes for Summer

Summer is here! Okay, well maybe not “officially” but I think all the moms out there can agree that summer starts when school lets out. Now that it’s hotter outside and the days are longer we want to avoid turning on the oven as much as possible and either grill or eat light, refreshing meals.  I don’t know about you but my kitchen gets really hot when I use the oven so I will definitely be planning any baking for very early in the day and relying more on the grill and other summertime fare.

Here is a roundup of 20 recipes that are summer worthy from appetizers to desserts, and not a one requires an oven.

summer recipes

Appetizers: Bruschetta, Cherry Caprese

bruschetta

cherry caprese

Salads: Deviled Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Cheeseburger Salad, Chopped Thai Chicken Salad, Chili Lime Chicken Salad, Greek Chicken Salad with Grapes & Pecans

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cheeseburger salad

thai salad

fiesta salad

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On the Grill: Grilled Balsamic Chicken, Bourbon BBQ Sliders with Garlic Aioli, Honey-Lime Chicken Kabobs

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bourbon sliders2

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In the Crock Pot: Honey Sesame Chicken, Sweet Chicken Rio, Cashew Chicken, Chicken Teriyaki

honey sesame chix

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Cool Desserts: Chocolate Banana Pudding Pie, Mud Pie, Watermelon Petit Fours, Chocolate & Peanut Butter Ribbon Dessert, Easy Eclair Dessert

banana pie

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watermelon

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Marvelous Mondays, Melt in Your Mouth Mondays,

April Menu ~ 2013

Spring has officially arrived and with it comes some great eating. It’s almost time to pull out the grill and make some awesome Balsamic Grilled Chicken (I’ve been craving that!) or make a Caprese Pasta Salad or some Black Bean Taquitos.

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Hot Hamburger Plate (Number One’s birthday) and Caramel Cake

Oven Baked Tacos with Crock Pot Pinto Beans and Pico de Gallo

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Pesto Parmesan Green Beans and Oven Roasted Potatoes

Cheeseburger Salad

Black Bean Taquitos with Salad and Mexican Rice

Caprese Pasta Salad

Romano-Crusted Chicken with Skillet Veggies and Cheesy Pesto Bread

Pan-Seared Tuna Steaks with Lima Bean Butter 

 Homemade Mac ‘n Cheese

Taco Cornbread Pizza

Chicken and Rice Pilaf with Roasted Asparagus

~ Recipes I am working on this month ~

Chili Lime Chicken Fiesta Salad with Chili Lime Ranch

Poor Man’s Mongolian Beef

Wonton Taco Cups

Amazing Cashew Chicken

Poached Salmon with Sour Cream & Dill Dressing 

Beer Battered Fish & Chips

Chicken Asadero Chimichanga

Artichoke Crusted Chicken

Eggplant Pizza

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad

Asian Chicken Pizza with Peanut Sauce

Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken Tacos

~ Sides ~

Smoked Salmon & Creme Fraiche Bruschetta

Macaroni Salad

Spinach Squares

Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini with Ragu

Asparagus Feta Tart

Crispy Parmesan Baked Potaotes

Arancini w/ Marinara

Homemade French Bread

~ Desserts ~

A Little Bit of Everything Cookie Bars

Raspberry Coconut Squares

30 Minute Mini-Cini Buns

Margarita Cupcakes

marvelous-mondays

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Sweet Cherry Caprese

If you’ve been following me long enough you know by now that I love caprese. And brushetta. And well….anything tomato and basil and balsamic-inclined. This caprese is a flavorful twist on the original by adding sweet cherries and avocado. Who would have thought that cherries and balsamic go together? Well, they do! And it’s fabulous 🙂

Sweet Cherry Caprese

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

1 T lime juice (about 1 lime)

1 T EVOO

1 tsp balsamic vinegar (or to taste)

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

20 fresh cherries, pitted and halved

8 oz. sweet grape tomatoes, halved (yellow works too)

1 ripe avocado, diced

4 oz. mini fresh mozzarella balls (or use a block like I did and dice into small pieces)

 

In a large bowl add chopped basil, lime juice, EVOO, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Combine well.

Remove stems and pits from cherries. Cut cherries and tomatoes in half and them to the mixture; toss well.

Drain mozzarella balls and add to salad (cut first if using a block). Toss well to coat.

When ready to serve, gently fold in diced avocado but do not over mix.

*I found this recipe at The Nourishing Home and it was sooooooo good. Avocado doesn’t keep well so be ready to eat it up right away!

Caprese Pasta Salad

I love Caprese (and not because it looks like my name either ;p) but because I just can’t get enough of tomato and basil, which is why I can literally live for days off of nothing else than brushetta.

The Caprese is similar to brushetta in ingredients: tomato, fresh basil, garlic, EVOO, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and traditionally is served knife and fork style on thick slices of big, beefy tomatoes. Here is a bite-sized version using fresh mozzarella balls and grape tomatoes. You can also use cherry tomatoes, or a mixture of both.

Let’s just say that adding my bite-sized caprese salad as a pasta topper was phenomenal! It truly was awesome and I gobbled it up. The best part about this is that it becomes a meatless meal and a light summer-time dish for those evenings when you just want to throw something together quickly without a whole lot of fuss.

Make this soon. You will not be sorry!

Caprese Pasta Salad

8 oz. *whole wheat spaghetti noodles (or pasta of your choice. I think a farfalle would look lovely)

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

5 oz. fresh mozzarella balls packed in water (I used the little ones packed tightly in a moist package)

1/8 cup EVOO

2 -3 T. balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

2-3  T. fresh basil, minced

1/2 t. sea salt

dash freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Rinse tomatoes and cut into halves. If using 1-inch mozzarella balls, cut into bite-sized pieces.

Mince fresh basil and garlic. Place in large bowl with tomatoes and mozzarella, EVOO, vinegar, salt and pepper, and mix well.

The longer this mixture sits and marinates, the better it will be.

Drain cooked pasta. Top with the Caprese and enjoy!

*This particular recipe uses whole wheat spaghetti, but you could easily substitute rice noodles and make this a gluten-free meal.

These measurements yielded about 3 servings. To serve 4 or more, just double up on the measurements.